How Long Will I Need Braces?

If you recently learned that you need orthodontic treatment, you may be wondering, “How long will I need braces?” While the length of time will vary depending upon many factors, the average length of time is between one and three years. Typically, there are three main categories that play a role in the length of your orthodontic treatment plan: your age, type of braces you choose, and the severity of your case. This article will discuss the factors that contribute to how long you need braces.

How long will I need braces based on my age?

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends parents bring children to their first orthodontic consultation by the age of 7. Timing is extremely important when it comes to orthodontic health. While clients of all ages can benefit from braces, early orthodontic treatment while the face and jaw are still developing can be extremely beneficial. Due to the face and jaw development, and the fact that children’s teeth are not yet permanently set, typically children do not need to wear braces as long as adults.

How long will I need braces based on the type of braces I choose?

The length of time that you need to wear braces is also dependent upon the type of braces you choose. The three most common types of braces include traditional silver braces, ceramic braces, and clear aligners. A study published in the National Library of Medicine found those who used clear aligners, such as Invisalign, had a shorter treatment time than those with silver or ceramic braces. 

Traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, and clear aligners are all effective in treating malocclusion. While clear aligners work more quickly, metal and ceramic braces typically are more effective at treating more severe crowding and bite issues. Clear aligners work best for less severe spacing and alignment issues. The one caveat with clear aligners is that you must wear the aligners correctly. Aligners must be worn 20-22 hours per day, so if you consistently do not wear them for the proper number of hours, your treatment will take longer.

How long will I need braces based on the amount of correction needed?

The length of time for your treatment can also be affected by your bite alignment, amount of crooked teeth, and extent of dental issues to resolve. The length of treatment time is also affected by the way your top and bottom teeth align, otherwise known as your bite. If you have both bite and alignment issues, the length of time you will need to wear braces will most likely be longer.

Talk with your orthodontist about the best treatment options for yourself or your child. If you have concerns about how long your or your child will need braces, make sure to inform your orthodontist so that they can factor timing into your treatment plan. At Smith Orthodontics, Dr. Amy Smith and her team can help you achieve the smile you desire. Schedule a free consultation to begin the journey to your ideal smile.