How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take?

Many patients looking at their teeth straightening options ask, “how long does orthodontic treatment take?”

Especially those who’s decision will be swayed by the estimated treatment time provided by the orthodontist.

Orthodontic treatment is not a decision to enter into lightly. Not only does treatment aim to improve aesthetics, but it will also aid in correcting a long list of oral issues.

Orthodontic treatment times vary based on the extent of your issues, but the average time is between 18 – 24 months. The actual treatment time may be affected by several factors, including biology, completeness of treatment, and of course, treatment type.

Factors Affecting Orthodontic Treatment Time

Your Biology

Teeth require just a small amount of constant force to continue moving. Even under the lightest force, your teeth can move at a rate of about less than one millimetre per month. If an orthodontist tries to move the teeth faster by applying greater force, the consequences can be negative, and include loosening of your teeth or damage to the roots and surrounding gums and bones. That’s why slow and steady treatment is the best tactic for your orthodontist to employ. The more unaligned your teeth may be, the longer the treatment is likely to take.

Completeness of Treatment

Another factor in the length of treatment time depends on the completeness of your given treatment. Typically, orthodontic treatment is applied in stages.

The first stage involves straightening your teeth. The second stage involves correcting your bite. Overall, the first stage is relatively quick, whereas the second is more challenging and can take longer. If the goal is only to straighten your teeth without correcting your bite, the treatment will often be rather fast. However, straightening your teeth and neglecting your bite can have several negative consequences, such as:

  • The function of the jaws may be compromised and patients may not be able to bite or chew efficiently
  • Patients are more likely to experience a relapse
  • Poor aesthetics
  • An increase risk of joint problems in the jaw

Type of Treatment

How long orthodontic treatment takes will depend heavily on the kind of orthodontic treatment chosen. Generally, Invisalign and metal braces take a similar length of time. However, lingual braces can take longer due to their specific mechanics.

Other Factors

There are other factors that play a role in how long your orthodontic treatment will take, including your compliance, the orthodontist’s skills and the complexity of your bite. When you hear about a 6-month treatment or ultra-fast braces, be sure to consider the above points. To get the most for your investment, make sure you see an experienced, specialist orthodontist who will offer the best treatment and results for your unique case.

Request an appointment with Dr Geoffrey Wexler to discuss your preferred treatment method, whether is it suitable for you, and how long the orthodontic treatment might take.