How Long Will I Have to Wear Braces?
At Omar Orthodontics, one of the most common questions we receive about dental braces treatment is: “How long will I have to wear braces?” Because our mouths and orthodontia needs are unique, orthodontic treatments can differ greatly between patients. On average, it can take about 18-24 months to complete an orthodontic treatment like braces or Invisalign. In outlier cases, some patients need anywhere from less than 12 months or up to 3 years for their treatment to take effect.
Your orthodontist should always work with you to determine the right braces for your orthodontic needs. Omar Orthodontics provides free consultations to patients to explain orthodontic treatment types, costs, and benefits. During that time, we’ll also answer your questions about your braces and offer guidance on how to maintain your braces during treatment.
Regardless of time commitment, braces and similar dental treatments are always a worthwhile investment – you’ll agree once you see your new smile! The benefits of a beautiful smile crafted with braces will last a lifetime. If you’re curious about the treatment times of your braces, be sure to consider these factors:
Age is a considerable factor in how long your braces will last. Not surprisingly, you or your child or teen may have some concerns about wearing braces for the first time. Rest assured: teenagers and children tend to see faster results than adults because their jaws are still growing and their teeth are easier to shift. However, this doesn’t mean that all adults will experience longer treatment times. Depending on the type of treatment, adults can experience shorter or average treatment times with their desired effect.
American Orthodontic Association generally recommends that interceptive orthodontics – that is, orthodontic treatment for young children – begin around the age of seven to determine and treat many common orthodontic issues early. Studies have shown that the earlier a child is treated with braces, the faster they can complete their treatment. A popular suggestion for the best age period to receive braces treatment is anywhere between the ages of 8 and 14 years old, barring any serious dental issues and assuming normal dental development.
Your Treatment Type
The type of braces or aligner treatment you receive can affect how long your treatment lasts.
These types of treatments include:
- Metal braces: Metal braces are usually constructed of stainless steel and can come in custom colors. Whether you receive standard metal braces or need additional headgear can affect how long you wear your braces.
- Ceramic braces: Ceramic braces are shaped like metal braces, but more discreet. Ceramic braces often use clear ties.
- Invisalign and similar invisible aligners: Invisible aligners come in custom sets of plastic trays that gradually shift a patient’s teeth. Dr. Omar has extensive training in Invisalign and can treat all of the orthodontic problem using Invisalign.
Because different orthodontic treatments may require additional components – like headgear or palate expanders – estimated treatment times can change at any point in the treatment process. Damaging your braces may also affect treatment times when repairs or adjustments need to be made.
If your smile isn’t responding to treatment, your orthodontist may need to increase the treatment time or even switch to a new treatment option.
Your Orthodontic Needs
Your orthodontist should always consider your unique orthodontia issues when developing your treatment plans. Even if you’re correcting a common orthodontic issue, the severity of your specific cause may require more treatment time to complete. For example, mild spacing between teeth can be fixed in a year or less, but severe spacing issues may take much longer and require more visits to monitor and correct. If your treatment requires in-office maintenance and scheduled visits, it may increase your treatment time, especially in the case of damage.
At Omar Orthodontics, we consider similar factors like the health of your teeth, gums, jaw, and supporting bone; the amount of room available; how far your teeth must travel to meet your goals, and even your current lifestyle to determine how to best treat your orthodontic issues. We’ll explain how to best maintain your treatment when you’re not with us in the office to ensure your treatment timeline stays on track.
Your orthodontist will always supply you with detailed instructions to maintain your treatment between doctor visits. This can include how to best care for your oral hygiene, when to set your dental appointments, and using any orthodontic appliances correctly. Patients who adhere to these guidelines faithfully will likely see faster results and an overall shorter treatment time.
Practice excellent oral hygiene – keep your teeth healthy and clean! If you wear Invisalign or other invisible aligners, take them out as directed. This can include when you eat, brush your teeth and floss. Consult your orthodontist before you skip a day.
If your braces utilize rubber bands or night time headgear, make sure you follow attachment and detachment instructions carefully. These appliances are not optional and are a crucial part of keeping your progress on track.
Let your orthodontist know if you play contact sports; they’ll fit you for a protective mouthguard to protect your teeth and braces. Avoid sticky, hard, or acidic foods that can break, erode or displace your braces, its wires, or brackets.
Ultimately, determining how long you’ll need to wear braces should be an ongoing conversation with your orthodontist. Even with an established treatment plan, damages and other unforeseen circumstances can affect how long you will need to wear your braces and aligners. Your orthodontist should be working closely with you to discuss your treatment options, timelines, and factors while answering your questions.
At Omar Orthodontics, Dr. Anisa Omar and staff are happy to answer your questions about getting and maintaining braces. Schedule a free consultation with us to learn more about braces treatments by calling (703) 542-6336 or contacting us directly.