Understanding How Long You’ll Wear Braces

So, your family dentist just referred you to Dr. Razdolsky for braces. Now what? How long will it take for braces to straighten your teeth? From gaps to overbites, to teeth or jaw alignment there are many factors that can affect the duration a patient will need to wear braces. Read on to learn what you can expect.

The short answer? It depends.

There are many factors that determine the amount of time a person must wear braces including age, type of treatment and individual needs or issues that should be addressed. The latter factors have the greatest impact on duration, as a patient’s issues could be as simple as minor adjustment, or as major as jaw realignment.

While the time it takes for braces to do their thing varies greatly by patient, after an initial evaluation and consultation, Dr. Razdolsky can help you better understand the amount of time that may be required for your unique case. So, when your dentist says it’s time to begin treatment, Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team will schedule your initial exam and you can have a better idea of what to expect.

Now that you know the short answer, let’s discuss the details…

At your initial appointment, Dr. Razdolsky will do a thorough oral and facial new patient examination to assess overall oral health and your unique orthodontic needs. Depending on this assessment a CBCT scan, facial photographs, digital impressions and/or x-rays may also be taken. Review and recommendation for your patient treatment program is provided upon a second appointment. This ensures Dr. Razdolsky and his team have had ample opportunity to evaluate all the data collected. It is at this treatment conference Dr. Razdolsky will review your orthodontic records, and show you examples of braces, clear aligners or any appliances that may be involved in your prescribed course of treatment. Also at that appointment, Dr. Razdolsky can answer questions specific to your case, as well as talk about the anticipated duration of your treatment.

On average, how long do braces take to work?

The average orthodontic treatment falls somewhere between 16-18 months, but can sometimes take as long as 24 months, or even more. Be wary of promises from anyone who says you can have a straight smile in only six months. While some patients may think they only need to close a gap, treatment in less than six months is fairly rare. What some patients may not see or know is whether their bite is appropriately aligned, the airway is properly open or is the palate formed correctly. These are the hidden maladies that can impact long term oral and systemic health. Only a qualified orthodontist like Dr. Razdolsky has the experience necessary to ensure you have the best results.

In cases of adult braces, the average length of treatment can be a bit longer than for children. Again, the actual time depends on the patient’s specific needs but since adult teeth have stopped growing and are set, they require more pressure to move. This means many adult patients can look to have braces anywhere from 18 months to about three years.

I hear some kids have to wear braces even longer!

Could be. In some cases, a younger patient may have a major alignment problem, such as a tooth coming in in the wrong place. In that case it could require tooth extraction and waiting for others to come in. Depending on the wait for remaining adult teeth, this process could take considerably longer. The Forever Smiles team can advise you of what to expect in your case.

Can I shorten the time for braces treatment?

Maybe. A patient who carefully follows treatment instructions can increase the likelihood they get their braces off sooner. This can be something as simple as maintaining proper oral hygiene or, in the case of aligners or removable appliances such as bands, wearing them for the full prescribed treatment time every day.

Patients should also practice proper eating habits while wearing braces. This includes avoiding sticky or hard food like gum, corn, popcorn, hard pretzels or chips and most candy, as this can improve the treatment time. Broken or missing brackets can stretch out the time required for treatment.

Finally, not everyone realizes how much more challenging it is to brush your teeth with braces, but doing it properly is very important. The good news is there are techniques for proper brushing that can also help to ensure your treatment plan stays on track. Dr. Razdolsky and the Forever Smiles team have some information which can help you understand the best way to take care of your braces at home and at school or work.

It is important to note, regardless of how long your treatment is scheduled to last, the time a patient is required to wear braces does not include the post-treatment retainer that’s necessary to ensure your Forever Smile lasts a lifetime.

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