You’ve just taken the first step in your orthodontic journey by getting your braces on. Congratulations! But now you may be wondering, how long do you keep them on? There’s a lot of excitement and anxiety leading to the day you get your smile, and everyone has a different orthodontic journey. There are a few factors to consider when planning how long you’ll be wearing your braces. At Johnson Orthodontics, we want you to know to expect up to the day your treatment is completed. To help you out, here are a few things that could determine the length of your braces journey.
What are you being treated for?
Each patient is different, with different goals, needs, and treatment, but there is a general rule of thumb we can count on for most of our visitors. For example, if you have a complex case that requires comprehensive care, your treatment time will likely be longer than someone who begins with a reasonably healthy bite that has only mild issues. Teeth that are severely displaced or have significant bite problems will require more time to correct than simple spacing or crowding issues. The more work that’s needed, the more time it will take for the treatment to be completed.
How does your body respond to the treatment?
Everyone responds to treatment differently. Even patients with similar cases will rarely have the same response to the same treatment. Gum tissue thickness, bone density, and chewing patterns vary between people, and oral habits such as clenching or grinding the teeth can also affect your treatment. It’s important to have an orthodontist who knows your specific needs and can better anticipate how you will respond to treatment. Dr. Johnson takes a personalized approach to every patient that visits our office. He’ll build you a custom treatment plan based on your specific goals for the best results.
Are you compliant with your treatment?
Your orthodontic journey should be a collaborative process between you and your orthodontist. Dr. Johnson will take care of putting on your braces and prescribing the tooth movements associated with clear aligners. But you also have a role in perfecting your smile. Your treatment length will be greatly affected by how compliant you are with treatment guidelines.
The first step to starting treatment compliance is maintaining a rigorous dental hygiene routine. Your braces won’t do much if you don’t keep them clean. If you fail to take care of your teeth and gums, it can slow your treatment down. Orthodontic treatment may be paused if more dental work needs to be done to correct mistakes. It’s also important to wear your elastics if you’re wearing braces.
If you maintain good oral health and follow your orthodontist’s instructions, you can decrease the length of your treatment time. But another important part of the process is meeting with your orthodontic team. Dr. Johnson and our experts will examine the movement of your teeth and make sure everything is on the right track. If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, let us know and we can adjust to your busy schedule! But if you want to keep your treatment fast and steady, try to stick to the decided schedule as close as possible and make up for any missed appointments later.
Another thing to keep in mind is that braces and aligners, while essential tools, are also susceptible to damage. Any breaks, cracks, or snaps in your braces require fixing, and this can push your treatment schedule back. If you’re wearing braces, one way to avoid this is to avoid any crunchy or sticky foods, as these can weaken the bond strength of brackets or snap wires. A broken or loosened bracket is not considered an emergency, and may not need immediate attention. But we do want to rebond it as soon as possible. When a bracket isn’t properly bonded to your teeth, no active tooth movement occurs. This can add time to the treatment process, so be sure to contact our office if you experience any damage to your appliance.
How old are you?
You may not know this, but your age can also affect the length of your treatment. Patients can successfully move their teeth at any age. Children and teens, in particular, can move their teeth more easily due to their bones being more pliable since they’re still growing and not fully developed. This is why braces tend to be more common in childhood and adolescence. It also allows for Dr. Johnson to have more control over your bite correction. But for older patients, treatment can take longer with more developed teeth. The jawbone stops growing by our early twenties. Successfully treating orthodontic issues after that point may take longer.
Your orthodontic treatment requires a lot of work and patience, but it does not last forever. With diligence, care, and collaboration with your orthodontist, we will help you down the path to your well-earned smile. Our practice offers a wide range of treatments to move your teeth comfortably, efficiently, and as quickly as possible. While there will not be an exact end date for your treatment, the average time in braces tends to be anywhere from twelve to thirty-six months. Treatment with a clear aligner system like Invisalign can be slightly shorter.
Several factors can affect the length of your treatment, and not just the ones listed above. Any of these could make your treatment longer or shorter than others. But no matter how long your treatment takes, we can promise one thing: Our expert team of orthodontic experts will be there the whole time to make your final result the smile you want.
Get the smile you deserve at Johnson Orthodontics
No matter how old you are or where you are in your orthodontic journey, you deserve the right team at your side. Johnson Orthodontics provides an exceptional care experience with up-to-date orthodontic technology and a warm, professional team. Are you interested in learning more about treatment? Get in touch with us today to schedule a FREE consultation or follow-up appointment with Dr. Johnson in our Rehoboth Beach office!