Here at Gleason Orthodontics, we hear one question more frequently than any other: how long will my treatment take? If you’re about to begin your orthodontic journey, you’re probably anxious to get to the big reveal of your brand new smile! Unfortunately, there’s no “one size fits all” answer to this particular question. Your smile is unique, and many factors go into determining how long you’ll need to wear braces or aligners. Let’s take a closer look at some of them to give you a better idea of what you can expect from the treatment process!
What are you being treated for?
While every patient is different, there are some generalizations we can make. For instance, if you have a complex case that requires comprehensive care, your treatment time will likely be longer than someone who has a reasonably healthy bite with only mild issues. Severely displaced teeth or a significant bite discrepancy often require more time to correct than simple spacing or crowding issues.
How does your body respond to treatment?
Even with similar cases, no two patients will have an identical response to treatment. Bone density, gum tissue thickness, and chewing patterns vary from person to person, and oral habits such as clenching or grinding the teeth can also affect treatment. This is why Dr. Gleason takes a personalized approach with every patient! He’ll build a custom treatment plan based on your specific needs and goals for the best results.
How compliant are you during treatment?
While Dr. Gleason handles the hard work of putting your braces on or prescribing the tooth movements associated with clear aligners, you have an important role, too! Your compliance with our guidelines will determine how successful the treatment plan is. It’s also a key factor in completing treatment within the estimated time frame.
When we talk about compliance, it includes maintaining an excellent dental hygiene routine. Failure to take good care of your teeth and gums can slow treatment down. In some cases, it may even need to be paused while dental work is completed. You should also wear your elastics as directed by Dr. Gleason if you’re in braces and keep all your scheduled appointments with us.
Being vigilant about your oral health and following our recommendations can sometimes decrease the total treatment time. The same goes for keeping up with your regular visits, which are an essential part of the treatment plan. They allow us to assess how your teeth are moving and ensure your treatment plan is on track. We understand that you may need to cancel or reschedule an appointment from time to time, but you should stick to the schedule as closely as possible for the best results.
It’s important to treat your braces or aligners with care since breaks and cracks can also push your treatment schedule back. You can do your part by avoiding any crunchy or sticky foods if you’re in braces, as these can weaken the bond strength of the brackets. We don’t consider it an emergency if a bracket breaks or comes loose, but we will 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 will you be during the treatment process?
You may be surprised to learn that your age can play a part in how long treatment takes! While we can successfully move teeth at almost any age, children and teens have more pliable bones because they’re still growing and not yet fully developed. This can make treatment faster, easier, and more effective. It also allows Dr. Gleason more control over the bite correction. On the other hand, the jawbone stops growing by our early twenties. Successfully treating orthodontic issues after that point may require more time and effort.
Remember: nothing lasts forever!
Patience and perspective are key throughout the orthodontic process. Even if it feels like it sometimes, you won’t be in braces or aligners forever! Treatment options have advanced so much in recent years that they work faster than ever before. Before you know, we’ll be revealing your beautiful new smile! All your hard work will be worth it in that moment.
We offer a range of affordable treatment options to move your teeth comfortably, efficiently, and as quickly as possible. You may not have an exact date for treatment to be completed going into your orthodontic journey, but we’ll give you an estimated time before you begin.
While it varies from case to case, the average time in braces tends to be anywhere from 12-36 months. Treatment with a clear aligner system like Invisalign can take slightly less time.
As noted above, your treatment may last slightly longer or shorter than our given estimate. There’s one thing you can count on, though—by working with our expert team and following Dr. Gleason’s recommendations, you’ll be seeing finishing treatment before you know it!