If you want to address alignment issues with your teeth and bite, you’ll need to undergo orthodontic treatment. It’s important to understand that you’ll need to invest a significant amount of time in order to achieve the straight smile you desire. Braces are typically worn from 1-3 years, and the average patient undergoes treatment for 23 months. In some situations, your treatment may be longer or shorter than this range.
The reason there’s no concrete answer to the question of how long you’ll need to wear braces is because there are a variety of factors that impact the duration of orthodontic treatment.
Common Factors Impacting Orthodontic Treatment Time
The following factors will impact how long you will need to wear braces:
- Severity of your bite alignment issue – In general, the more severe your alignment issues, the longer you will need to wear braces. Dr. Khavari will evaluate the extent of crowding, the distance your teeth must travel and other alignment issues when determining the duration of your orthodontic treatment.
- Age – The earlier you address orthodontic issues, the quicker your treatment will be. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends undergoing orthodontic evaluations at 7 years old, and the optimal age for braces is 11-14 since your jaw can more easily be manipulated at this point in life. Getting braces in early adolescence will often result in a shorter treatment time. Adults over the age of 21 comprise roughly 20% of the population wearing braces, so a potentially longer treatment time isn’t a significant deterrent for many adults who want to achieve a straight, beautiful smile.
- Patient compliance – The extent to which you follow Dr. Khavari’s instructions will play a role in how long it will take to complete your orthodontic treatment. You’ll need to attend all of your maintenance appointments, practice good oral hygiene and wear all appliances as directed. For example, treatment with Invisalign requires you to wear your aligners 22 hours a day. If you only wear them for 12 hours, it will significantly impact the treatment time and your ability to achieve your desired results.
The Orthodontic Method Used Impacts Your Treatment Time
Another important factor impacting the length of treatment time is the orthodontic method you choose to undergo. During your initial consultation, Dr. Khavari will explain how this factor will impact your treatment so that you can make an informed decision regarding your desired method.
Traditional braces use metal brackets and wires made from a high quality stainless steel material. However, you can also get ceramic braces which provide a more discreet treatment option. Ceramic braces are thicker than metal braces and have greater friction between the brackets and the wire. This higher level of friction will result in a slower movement of your teeth and as a result, ceramic braces tend to have a longer treatment time than metal braces.
Invisalign is another option that uses a series of clear plastic aligners to shift your teeth to their desired position. Since there are no brackets and wires used, friction doesn’t play a role in how long it takes for your teeth to move. This often results in a slightly shorter treatment time for patients who choose Invisalign.
Contact our East Houston Dentist
Please contact Love Brushing Dentistry using the form on this page or call 713-490-2088 today to schedule your orthodontic consultation. We serve patients in Channelview, Baytown, Pasadena and throughout East Houston.