1 February, 2019


How long do braces take?

How long do braces take?

Orthodontic treatment can transform your life by giving you a newfound confidence. A great smile is extremely important to many peoples self-esteem. One of the challenges, however, is the patience required to get there. In this blog post I will review some general comments on how long it will take to get your teeth and bite aligned properly with braces or Invisalign (clear aligners).

The first question after it is determined that a patient will benefit from braces or clear aligner treatment is ‘How long will this take’?

This question is not easy to answer because everyone is unique. Each person has a different estimated treatment time based on the distance certain teeth have to move, amount of bite discrepancy present, the appliance being used, and patient compliance factors. Additionally, we must have goals that are clearly established before treatment begins. Teeth and jaws cannot move unlimited amounts and goals are set up within the framework of keeping teeth in a healthy position within the jaws, bones, and gums.

With that being said, we can certainly look at the averages for standard comprehensive orthodontic treatment. If no phase I is needed standard adolescent orthodontic treatment takes typically 18-24 months. Some patients with limited treatment may take a year or less while some may need additional appliances causing total treatment time to be closer to 30 months.

Factors to Consider

In both braces and clear aligners that means following proper oral hygiene instruction, wearing rubber bands as requested, and coming in for routine appointments. In braces that also means avoiding certain foods that may cause broken brackets while in Invisalign it requires you to wear your aligners 22hrs/day.
Braces vs Invisalign treatment time is a hot button issue (future blog post?). In certain cases I favor clear aligners while in other cases I favor braces. These recommendations are always discussed at your initial consult. There are a lot of nuances involved so it is difficult to give a blanket statement on speed of clear aligners vs braces. Some of the factors include case type, patient compliance and provider skill.
Some companies tout that their braces move teeth faster than other company’s braces. This has never been proven and it is widely accepted in the orthodontic literature that all braces move teeth at the same general speed. Unfortunately, there are no magic braces!
Making sure that you are seeing a properly trained orthodontist who has experience treating similar cases. Do not trust your orthodontic treatment to a DIY company or a non-orthodontist. This can result in negative oral health results and extended treatment time.
Adult orthodontic treatment is often more goal-specific, which can shorten overall treatment time. For example, if the goal is ideal teeth alignment while recognizing the ‘bite’ correction will not be attempted the treatment time can be reduced. Also if there is orthodontic treatment occurring in preparation for a dental implant or crown there is usually very specific goals and treatment is significantly shorter.

As you can see there is a lot to consider when giving an estimated treatment time. Just know that at Gilbert Orthodontics everyone is on the same team and the goal is to get you that beautiful smile you are dreaming of in the quickest, safest, and most predictable way possible!

Please call or email with any questions and I look forward to talking again soon.