Factors That Affect the Length of Orthodontic Treatment

If you are an orthodontic patient, one of the top questions you may have is how long you will have to wear your braces. It is a reasonable question to ask, but there is no generic answer. Generally, you can expect your orthodontic treatment to last anywhere from one to three years. However, every situation is different, and a number of individual factors can affect the length of time that you will have to wear braces.

1. Your Age

Orthodontic treatment can sometimes begin as early as age seven, and research indicates that the overall treatment time can be less with an early start. Unfortunately, this doesn’t help you if you are an adult seeking treatment for yourself, but if you are the parent of a young child who may need braces, it is something to take into consideration.

2. The Type of Braces You Choose

Sometimes your orthodontist may give you a choice of what kind of braces to get and where to place them. Metal braces are the strongest, and treatment with this type of braces can take a shorter amount of time.

However, some people have aesthetic concerns when it comes to their braces and do not want them to be noticeable. These people have options of lingual braces, which are metal braces that apply to the back of the teeth, or ceramic braces, which are smaller and less noticeable. Treatment using one of these options can take longer than treatment with traditional metal braces.

3. Your Current Oral Health 

If you have other conditions in your mouth that need attention it can affect the length of treatment. Even if your mouth is healthy, there may not be enough room for the teeth to move. This means that you may require one or more extractions before you can get braces, which can increase the overall treatment time. The original position of your teeth and the distance they have to move can make a difference.

4. Your Ability to Follow Your Orthodontist’s Instructions

When you get braces, your orthodontist will provide you with specific and detailed instructions about things you can and cannot do with them. These will usually include a brief explanation of the rationale behind each item. If you follow these instructions perfectly, your treatment is likely to proceed on schedule, or even slightly ahead of schedule. However, if you cause damage to your braces by disregarding the instructions, your treatment is likely to take longer.

An orthodontist, like an orthodontist in San Clemente, CA, from John Redmond Orthodontics, should be able to assess your particular situation and give you a more individualized estimate of orthodontic treatment time.