One of the questions we hear most often here at Coppe + Sears is, “how long will my orthodontic treatment take?” It is entirely normal to be excited about beginning a brand new smile journey while still feeling impatient to see the final results, but there is no ”one size fits all” answer to how long a patient will need braces or clear aligners. Dr. Sears will offer an estimate before treatment begins, but the total time will depend on many different factors. We will outline some of the most common factors below to give readers a better understanding of what to expect from the orthodontic process!
The issues Dr. Sears is treating
Every smile is unique, but there are still some generalizations we can make where treatment times are concerned. For example, a complex case is more likely to require more comprehensive care than a less difficult one. Someone with a relatively healthy bite who has only minor orthodontic issues will probably need braces or aligners for less time than a patient with severely displaced teeth or a seriously misaligned bite.
The age of the patient
How old a patient is when they begin treatment can play a part in determining the total time required to straighten their smile. As an experienced orthodontist, Dr. Sears can successfully move teeth at almost any age, but it is often easier to treat children and teens while they are growing. This is because they have pliable bones that are still developing, which makes the treatment process faster and offers more control over the bite correction.
Because the jawbones stop growing in our late teens and sometimes even into the early twenties, orthodontic treatment that is initiated after that point may require more time and effort to complete. We can still successfully improve adult smiles, though! We offer a variety of affordable treatment options to straighten teeth, address bad bites, and improve the overall function of the mouth. There is no such thing as being too old to benefit from orthodontics!
While Dr. Sears is in charge of guiding each patient’s teeth into their new positions, their compliance also plays an important role in how successful the treatment process is. Following the guidelines that Dr. Sears sets for treatment is a key factor in achieving the best results in the shortest amount of time possible. One such guideline is maintaining a solid oral hygiene routine, as dental health issues can sometimes slow treatment down. Brushing thoroughly three times per day for two minutes each time and flossing every night before bed will help keep teeth and gums in good shape throughout a patient’s orthodontic journey. We also recommend using the provided waterpick and a fluoride rinse daily.
Follow-up visits are another essential part of the treatment process. These appointments allow Dr. Sears to assess how the teeth are moving and make any necessary adjustments. While we understand canceling or rescheduling an appointment may be necessary from time to time, sticking to the schedule as closely as possible will help ensure the treatment plan stays on track.
Not caring for their braces or clear aligners can also push the treatment schedule back for patients. This tends to be more of an issue with braces, but aligners can break and crack, too. Avoiding crunchy or sticky foods can weaken the bond strength of the brackets for patients in braces, limiting their efficiency. Although it is not considered an emergency if a bracket breaks or comes loose, Dr. Sears will want to rebond it as soon as possible. Active tooth movement cannot happen when a bracket is inadequately bonded to the teeth, so patients should contact our office as soon as possible if they experience any damage to their appliance.
How the body responds to treatment
Even with similar cases, no two patients will have an identical response to the treatment process. This is because there are many factors that can impact the way someone responds to treatment, from bone density to chewing patterns and many other considerations in between. Oral habits such as clenching or grinding the teeth can also affect the process. This is why we recommend always working with an orthodontic expert like Dr. Sears! Patients who choose our practice can trust our team to provide a rewarding experience and customized treatment plans based on their specific needs, lifestyle, and goals.
Remember: treatment is only temporary
We encourage patients to remember that nothing lasts forever, including orthodontic treatment (even if it feels like it!) The braces will come off eventually or the last aligner will be used and a beautiful new smile will be revealed. Coppe + Sears is proud to help patients get started with a range of affordable treatment options to move teeth quickly, comfortably, and efficiently. We may not have an exact date for when treatment will finish up when starting the orthodontic journey, but Dr. Sears provides patients with an estimated timeframe before beginning. This will vary depending on the particular issues being treated, but in general, the average treatment time for braces can be anywhere from 12-36 months. Clear aligner systems like Invisalign may take slightly less time to achieve the desired results.
Achieve a confident smile from Coppe + Sears
Even patients who are unsure when the active phase of treatment will be complete can count on one thing at Coppe + Sears—exceptional care and highly personalized results that will be enjoyed for years to come! Patience may be a virtue, but when it comes to orthodontics, there is no reason to wait for a healthier, happier smile. Get in touch today to schedule a FREE consultation with Dr. Sears to get started!