How Long Will I Have to Wear Orthodontic Braces?

Orthodontic Braces in Grand Rapids, MI

As orthodontists, we often get asked by patients how long they’ll have to endure braces. It’s a fair question, considering the dental discomfort and self-consciousness that can come with wearing braces. However, it’s a question that we have to consider on a case-by-case basis. In this blog post, we will explain the factors that affect the length of orthodontic treatment so you can start making plans to eat caramel, popcorn, and all the other foods you’ve been deprived of while wearing braces.

Factors that Affect Length of Orthodontic Treatment

  • Age
  • Teeth alignment and bite issues
  • Goals set by you and our orthodontists for how your smile should look
  • Treatment from orthodontist vs. general dentist

Beware of general dentists who promise straightened teeth for less time and money. General dentists lack the additional two to three years of specialized education needed to move teeth into optimal alignment. This means that they could move your teeth in such a way as to introduce new bite problems that will have to be corrected by an orthodontist

Dentists may also only be concerned with moving your front teeth, which doesn’t solve bite alignment issues with back teeth. While fixing only the front teeth takes less time, it doesn’t fix a misaligned bite that could be causing you pain.

Another factor that affects the length of orthodontic treatment includes your age. In general, teeth that have just come in are easier to move while your jaw is still growing. For this reason, orthodontic treatment for adults may take longer to achieve straightened teeth and an aligned bite.

Earliest: 12 Months

The easiest cases are the ones where all the adult teeth have come through the gum line and don’t need to be removed to resolve crowding. When the bite is normal and there are no issues with the jaw, this also eliminates the need for orthodontic appliances such as palatal expanders or orthodontic headgear.

Most Common: 12 to 18 Months

The majority of the patients we treat wear braces between 12 and 18 months. Orthodontic appliances may need to be used to resolve any crowding of the teeth. There may also be slight issues with bite, such as an overbite or posterior cross-bite. The patient won’t need teeth removed to achieve their best smile.

Extended: 18 to 24 Months

For patients with moderate to severe crowding, your treatment will take approximately 18 to 24 months. Orthodontic treatment also takes longer if you need a tooth extracted and the remaining teeth in your smile moved accordingly to close gaps. Some patients may also not have enough jaw space to accommodate all their teeth, which complicates treatment.

Keep in mind that the information in this blog post is meant to give you a general idea of how long treatment could take. To get an accurate timeline for orthodontics, you’ll need to consult with our family orthodontists.

At Armbrecht & Wierenga Orthodontics, we are dedicated to helping patients achieve their best smiles through quality orthodontic services. If you are interested in learning more about getting started with orthodontic treatment for juniors, teens, or adults, give our orthodontists in Grandville, MI, a call at (616) 455-4800

This blog post has been updated.