Alpharetta, GA – “How long do I have to wear my braces?”
It’s a question every orthodontist has heard, and probably from almost every patient who has come to him for orthodontic treatment. But it isn’t one the orthodontist can easily answer.
“There is no exact length of time we can tell our patients their braces will be on,” says Dr. Nima Hajibaik, an Alpharetta orthodontist. “Many factors go in to the movement of teeth, and even the most highly trained and skilled orthodontist can’t tell how teeth will react to movement prior to treatment. We can offer time frames of how long we expect treatment to take, but we cannot give an exact or precise length of time you’ll have to wear your braces.”
And Dr. Hajibaik warns against receiving treatment from a dentist or orthodontist who claims they can offer an exact length of time you’ll have braces.
“The truth is, each person reacts to treatment differently,” says Dr. Hajibaik. “And different kinds of treatment take different amounts of time. That means if you choose Invisalign, you may have braces on for a different amount of time as your friend who has standard braces.”
There are several factors that go into how long orthodontic treatment may take.
The first is the type of malocclusion being corrected. You and your best friend may both have underbites, but the severity may be different, leading to varying lengths in treatment time.
Another factor is whether or not you’ve already received early intervention treatment. In some cases, an orthodontist will recommend two-phase treatment in order to best help a patient’s smile. In some cases, this treatment can better prepare the mouth to react to later orthodontic treatment.
But perhaps the most important factor that can determine the length of your treatment is you. It’s important that you take proper care of your braces and follow all instructions given to you by your orthodontist. That means you need to keep all appointments, follow all food recommendations and brush and floss twice a day.
If your oral health suffers during treatment, it can extend the length of time your braces are on. Inflammation, gum disease and poor oral health can interfere with your orthodontic treatment.
The average length of time patients are in braces is typically 24 months, but it can be as little as six months, and in very severe cases can take more than two years. Full braces will not be applied until all permanent teeth have erupted. However, younger patients will typically experience faster treatment times than adults. That is because their mouths, and the tissues and bones that support the teeth, are still growing and are able to adapt to the changes occurring in their mouths better.
Orthodontic treatment is essential to a healthy mouth, so no matter the length of time you’re in braces, it’s important work to ensure you won’t encounter more serious problems in the future.
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