Getting a perfect smile by braces is a decision that needs careful consideration. The most common question asked at Krieger Orthodontics is: “How long do braces take?”
The answer is: it depends. The process can be complicated, depending on how much correction you need to get the results you want to see. For someone with severely crooked teeth, it’ll take longer than for someone with a mild issue. While we can give an estimate of how long braces treatment may take, we can’t give an exact time. That’s because treatment depends on a few different factors, like how well the teeth respond to treatment, how compliant the patient is with elastic wear, and how well the patient takes care of their braces. All in all, the average time in braces is usually 18-24 months, but your treatment could be a bit shorter or a bit longer.
It doesn’t matter how old you are – your teeth can move into a straight position at any age, but your teeth need time to move slowly and gradually in small stages to ensure the minimum discomfort and the maximum success. We plan very carefully before the treatment and every step is detailed in small increments. Different types of braces are available, from fixed braces to sets of removable aligners.
The length of your treatment doesn’t depend on the type of braces you wear, but on how much your teeth need to move. Orthodontic treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, because not everyone responds to treatment exactly the same way. Every treatment is customized to each individual. That means you can’t compare your treatment to anyone else’s because your mouth is completely different. Differences in bone density, the thickness of your gum tissues, how much you clench or grind your teeth, your chewing patterns, habits will change your timeline.
The first factor that affects the length of time you’re in braces is how well your body responds. You may have the same initial problem as your best friend, who was able to have their braces removed in only 12 months. But, just because your malocclusion or bite was the same, that doesn’t mean your teeth will respond to treatment the same way.
The type of braces you choose might also impact your treatment time. Self-ligating braces will get very crowded teeth to align faster than traditional braces. There are also clear braces, clear self-ligating braces, and clear removable braces, all of which can vary the length of treatment.
Another factor that plays into your length of time in braces is your habits. Caring for your teeth properly and following all directions we give you is crucial to helping speed up your treatment. If you don’t brush and floss properly, that can lead to dental issues, and dental work could set you back. If you constantly break your braces or don’t wear your elastics as instructed, that could delay the treatment as well.
First, you’ll go to a consultation with Dr. Krieger. He’ll give you a rough timeline, together with your different brace options and their costs. During your next appointment, we’ll take impressions of your teeth and we’ll send your X-rays and photographs to the dental laboratory who will make your braces. The following appointment after this will be to actually fit your braces.
Allow Plenty of Time
We allow ourselves plenty of time when fitting braces. Scheduling a two-hour appointment isn’t unusual, but that doesn’t mean it will take us that long. Two hours will ensure the procedure has been carried out just right before sending you home with new braces. The first fitting shouldn’t hurt, but if you have very sensitive teeth, we can give you numbing injections for added comfort. Dr. Krieger will need your mouth open for 20-60 minutes to fit the upper and lower braces, especially if they are made of wire. Sometimes, a rubber insert is slipped under your lips and over your gums to help keep the teeth exposed during the fitting. Dental bonding will be applied to your teeth to create the structure for the braces to fix on to. This also applies to aligners, which are clipped over tiny white nodules attached to the teeth. For wire braces, the wire is fitted onto the bonding and secured in place.
While patience is always key during orthodontic treatment, orthodontics has advanced so much in recent years and we aren’t using the braces of the past, so treatment times are far shorter than they used to be. Today, we can move your teeth more efficiently and quickly than ever before – but it’s important to know going into treatment that you won’t get an exact date your braces will be removed. But if we work together, that day will be here before you know it.
Keeping all of your scheduled appointments is extremely important, too. The movement of the teeth is precisely guided by Dr. Krieger and it is imperative to maintain all of the recommended visits to our office.
The Big Picture
Once you get fitted for your braces, you’ll receive guided instructions on care and we’ll see you in our office about every four weeks to adjust your braces or give you new aligners until the treatment is finished. For different treatment plans and individual cases, it could take longer – possibly up to several years to achieve the perfect result, but you’ll be informed of this once the planning stage is complete.
You also need to follow Dr. Krieger’s advice on what to eat and what not to eat. Taking proper care of your diet can prevent damage to your brackets and wires and ensure your treatment stays on track. If you’re concerned about the treatment time, you can ask about accelerated treatment options. Vibrating mouthpieces and micro-osteoperforations (MOPs) can make your treatment time faster and more comfortable. These options can help accelerate bone remodeling, which then accelerates tooth movement.
If you’re looking for more information on braces and you’re in the greater Plano area, stop by our office or call us today to set up a free consultation. We look forward to getting started on this journey together.