Are we there yet?
You might think this question is coming from the back seat of a car on a family trip. However, we hear this question a lot rising from our dental chair, almost as soon as the orthodontic appliance is in the patients’ mouth.
No universal answer exists for the question, either. How long you are in orthodontic treatment depends on your diagnosis, age, and the appliances chosen for the task. Another factor can be how well you comply with the orthodontists’ treatment plan. Also, how your teeth respond to forces moving them in the bone affects how long treatment takes.
There are some averages for treatment, however. Per the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO), the average orthodontic treatment lasts around 22 months. Other resources say 24 months. Some modern orthodontic treatments can be as short as six months, but that is not the norm, and all but a few patients shouldn’t expect it to occur that quickly. Moreover, some patients have two-phase orthodontics. Two-phase orthodontics is a treatment where the first phase begins before the baby teeth have fallen out and finished with a second phase after many of the permanent teeth have erupted. This type of treatment might have a longer total treatment time, even if it is separated in the middle by a couple of years.
Per WikiHow, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your treatment is as efficient as possible, which include:
- Starting early: Children and teens are ideal for treatment because their teeth, jaw, muscles, and supporting bone are not yet fully developed. When these areas are less mature, treatment can happen faster than when fully grown. In most cases, treatment occurs between ages 10 and 14, although some therapy is earlier, and some happen later.
- Choosing a faster treatment strategy: Some modern orthodontic treatments happen faster than others. If you want an appliance that works more efficiently in your case, you can accelerate your timeline. Also, adults can choose to have additional orthodontic treatment, like laser therapy or bone surgery, which promotes the faster movement of teeth to reduce treatment times.
- Comply with your orthodontist’s instructions: If you do what the dentist tells you, it will make your treatment plan go as fast as it can. When you do things that break off brackets or if you forget to wear your appliance, you lengthen the total time of your treatment. Moreover, having excellent oral care improves your dental hygiene, which can contribute to more streamlined procedures.
- Eat a proper diet: What you eat can contribute to your treatment timeline, if you are not in clear aligner therapy. It would be best to cut up your solid foods, like crunchy veggies or fruits and crusty bread, to reduce the chances of damage to your appliance. Also, avoiding foods that can get trapped inside your device will help prevent decay, which includes soda, hard and sticky candy, nuts, bubblegum, and popcorn.
- Do not chew ice: And while you are at it, don’t chew on pens, pencils, your nails, or straws either.
When your big day finally arrives and you have reached the end of orthodontic treatment, you will have had advance notice. It can take about an hour for an appliance like traditional metal braces to be removed from your teeth. Also, you will be receiving a crucial part of your orthodontic care, your retainer.
The retainer is an essential part of your orthodontic treatment. The appliance will hold your teeth in their new position after the braces are off to prevent them from slipping out of their corrected positions. Retainers are often worn all the time for the first few months after treatment. Many orthodontists recommend that you use a retainer, at least at night, indefinitely to prevent a relapse.
No matter how long it takes, the first step to a better smile is a consultation with an orthodontist. How long you will be in treatment is an answer best given by your specialist after a consultation and diagnosis. Be sure to discuss your options with your dentist and ensure that you have all the facts to make an informed decision about your care or the care of someone you love.
To schedule your free consultation today, call Bloom Orthodontics office in Long Beach at 562-421-8883.
Bloom Orthodontics in Long Beach has a long history of improving our patients’ smiles. We provide modern orthodontic treatments delivered with old fashioned excellence in patient experience. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
“How Long Do Adults Wear Braces For?” www.theorthodontists.com. 27 March 2019. Web. 3 March 2020. <https://www.theorthodontists.com.au/blog/how-long-do-adults-wear-braces-for>>
“How to Get Your Braces off Faster.” Wikihow.com. 16 August 2019. Web. 3 March 2020.<https://www.wikihow.com/Get-Your-Braces-off-Faster>.
“Your Final Appointment.” Oralb.com. Web. 3 March 2020. <https://oralb.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/braces/your-final-appointment>.