Long Beach, CA – When orthodontic patients learn they need braces, the most commonly asked question is often “how long will I need to wear them?” Unfortunately, orthodontists can’t give exact time frames and there are several reasons why.
The average length of time in braces in the United States is 23 months, but it is important to remember that this is simply an average. Some patients will be in braces for a shorter, or longer, time than that. The amount of time you will be in braces depends on:
- Age at the time of treatment
- Treatment option chosen
- The severity of the individual’s orthodontic issue
- Patient compliance
- Skill of the orthodontist
There is a reason why so many people receive orthodontic treatment in their adolescence. It is easier to straighten teeth and correct a bite when the jaws are still growing. Orthodontics can be done at any age, but is often easier the younger the patient is. And, if a patient has undergone early interceptive treatment, it can make future treatment much more efficient by reducing the severity of the malocclusion. Adults often spend a longer amount of time in braces than children, because growth is complete and the bone density is also greater, making tooth movement slower.
The type of treatment a patient chooses can also impact treatment time. Traditional metal and ceramic brackets and wires are still commonly used for a reason – they are efficient. But as technology improves, other treatment options, such as Invisalign and other clear aligner therapies, are closing the gap in treatment time. Adding accelerated orthodontics options, such as Propel and Acceledent, can speed up tooth movement by facilitating the bone remodeling process.
Every patient is an individual, and every malocclusion we see is unique. Just because you and your best friend both have overbites doesn’t mean you’ll have the same approach to treatment or spend the same amount of time in treatment. We need to consider the severity of your malocclusion as well as any skeletal or dental issues that need to be corrected. Not only that, but we simply can’t predict how your teeth are going to respond to treatment. Some people’s biology responds exceptionally well to the orthodontic process, while others are a bit slower. Teeth move at different speeds, and we won’t know how quickly yours will move until we begin treatment.
Orthodontic treatment is a team effort. Not only do your orthodontist and his or her staff work to improve your smile, you do, too. You’ll need to properly care for your teeth and braces, or Invisalign aligners, and follow all recommendations of your orthodontist. If you comply with everything that is asked of you, your treatment can speed along. But, if you don’t and forget to wear your elastics, or don’t wear your Invisalign aligners at least 22 hours a day, you will likely see your treatment time extended.
The skill of your orthodontist is also a factor in your treatment. It is important that you see a board certified orthodontist, and not just a regular dentist. An orthodontist treats malocclusions all day, every day and will have all of the knowledge, skills, and tools to treat your issue. A board certified orthodontist will be committed to the highest level of patient care, and will understand the importance of individualized treatment planning and the use of cutting edge technology.
With the right orthodontic team and a commitment on the part of the patient, the time spent in braces can fly by. HD Orthodontics is committed to providing personalized treatment using the best treatment options in the field. Schedule a consultation today by calling us at 562-283-6590.