The typical orthodontic treatment usually takes between 12 and 36 months. However, every orthodontist and dentist has a different answer for this question, and times can vary as much as a year or more.
Why Orthodontic Treatment Times Vary
Orthodontic treatments correct issues with your teeth and jaw, and the process involves diagnosis, prevention, and correction. Devices like braces, aligners, retainers, brackets, and head-gear can correct protruding or crowded teeth as well as difficulty with biting, chewing, and even speech issues. With that in mind, you can imagine there are many things that affect how long treatment takes.
How bad is the misalignment? In addition to moving teeth, will the bite have to be corrected? Questions like this need to be taken into account. The age and health of the patient can also affect orthodontic treatment times.
What to Expect With Orthodontic Treatment
Initially, your orthodontist will check your teeth, take X-rays, and make a mold of your teeth. With that information, a treatment plan will be made. If teeth are too crowded, it’s possible one or more might have to be removed.
In other cases, a simple treatment, using a removable brace, might be all that’s needed. However, if teeth need more encouragement to move, you may need a permanent brace with wires, brackets, and bands temporarily attached to the teeth. This is a fixed appliance, meaning you cannot remove it yourself. All these appliances apply gentle pressure to move teeth into alignment.
Slow and Steady
To move misaligned teeth, slow steady pressure is needed, and that’s why orthodontic treatment can take a while. Too much force can loosen teeth and even affect gums and bone, so a light pressure is needed. This means that if teeth need to be moved a lot, the process will take longer than if just minor correction is needed.
Scope of the Treatment
If you only need to correct the alignment of the teeth, your orthodontic treatment time will be relatively short. However, sometimes, orthodontic treatment also needs to correct your bite. Bite refers to how upper and lower teeth fit together. It’s this second stage of treatment that takes more time.
If your orthodontist recommends bite correction following alignment, you should do that. Even though it takes time upfront, it safeguards jaw function and your ability to chew and bite in the future. Correcting your bite also reduces risk of TMJ disorders (problems with the joints of the jaw).
Oral health, inflammation, and gum disease can also affect the length of time for orthodontic treatment. Your age affects treatment time as well. Children usually have faster treatment times than adults because their mouths, bones, and tissues that support teeth are still growing. This makes their mouths more adaptable to changes.
A patient’s willingness to follow through with instructions is vital in achieving the most efficient treatment times. Remember, orthodontic care is completed in stages. Merely completing the first stage and not the second can result in possible relapse and the need for more treatment.
Want to find out exactly how long orthodontic treatment will take in your situation? Then, contact us at Braces Braces today. We can set up a consultation and help you decide which orthodontic treatment is best for your situation.