As an orthodontist, I’m often asked is “how long will my treatment take?” Well, like many things in life, the answer is not straight forward.
In reality, it’s hard to provide a definitive answer. I wish I could, but I don’t like raising expectations that can’t be fulfilled. With a lot of orthodontic treatment, until close to the end point, it’s impossible to tell when it will be finished.
Sometimes, treatment can be fast. For example, a small gap in your front teeth can be fixed within six months. However, orthodontic treatment usually takes between one-and-a-half to two years, sometimes longer. It depends upon the orthodontic problems we are going to correct.
The ingredients of a healthy smile
Of course, the whole point of getting braces is to create a healthy smile. Here’s what a healthy smile looks like.
- jaws are properly coordinated to allow the teeth to function well together
- teeth are aligned making it easy to brush and floss
- lips close naturally because of correctly positioned incisors
- roots are well set up and anchored in healthy gums and bone.
Creating a healthy smile doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time to do it properly, so that the patient can get the best possible outcome.
What affects treatment time?
The length of your treatment depends on several factors:
- The problem being fixed (crowding, poor lip posture, mismatched jaw sizes, etc.)
- Your age (treatment can be faster with younger, growing patients)
- Your cooperation
- Your face type.
We are not all the same
The way you respond to orthodontic treatment will depend on your face type. For example, if you have a strong face type with powerful muscles, the bone will be denser and treatment will likely take longer. On the other hand, if you are receiving treatment for crowding (when there are too many teeth in your mouth), your teeth will move more easily into the spaces where teeth have been removed, which may result in a quicker treatment time.
It’s about below the surface
When you first get your braces fitted, you will probably see HUGE changes happen. Three months into your treatment, you might think things are going super well, and the job is done. However, don’t get too excited. Though the parts of your teeth you can see may well be lining up nicely, the roots below won’t be — to get the roots and everything else lined up nicely in your mouth takes time. And as the old saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.”
Orthodontic technology is always improving. And today we now have sophisticated technology, such as Suresmile, that makes orthodontic treatment more efficient than ever before.
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