According to the Pennsylvania Dental Association, around 4 million individuals in the United States wear braces.
These corrective devices help in aligning teeth and addressing jaw issues.
But, how long should one wear braces?
In this article, we will have an overview of this treatment, factors affecting the duration of the treatment, and other tips individuals with braces can follow to speed up their treatment.
Dental Braces Treatment Overview
To start, we should learn what dental brace treatment is.
Many people believe that wearing braces is used to align teeth, and that is true.
However, it is not limited to teeth alignment.
Aside from aesthetic purposes and improving your confidence, dental braces offer many benefits such as the following:
- Improves your smile and bite
- Allows you to chew and swallow properly
- For individuals with flared front teeth, dental braces can prevent trauma to the front teeth
- Reduces the risk of developing tooth cavities, gum diseases, and jaw problems such as temporomandibular disorders or TMD
- Improves speech impediments that are caused by misalignment of teeth and incorrect bite
Generally, getting braces treatment will be decided by a dentist. Some people take them for cosmetic purposes but this is not advised.
Factors Affecting Braces Treatment Duration
According to a study from Brazil, the general average treatment time for dental braces is around 19.9 months.
However, this may change depending on different factors which will be discussed in this section.
1) Condition of Teeth
The main factor that prolongs your dental braces treatment duration is your teeth condition or how crooked your teeth are.
People wearing braces have these corrective devices because their teeth may be crowded, stick out, or spaced apart.
Additionally, these teeth conditions may increase the risk of tooth cavities, gum diseases, and enamel decay.
Furthermore, the length of time you wear braces also depends on undergoing other dental procedures before having these devices installed.
For example, aligning your teeth may require root canals or teeth extractions to make room for other teeth to come out properly.
As we all know, these procedures require healing time before going for another dental procedure.
2) Bite Condition
Apart from how crooked your teeth are, your bite also affects the duration of your treatment.
Dentists do not just focus on aligning your teeth but also focus on aligning your bite.
Some of the common bite problems include:
- Open bite – this condition happens when your upper and lower teeth do not touch each other when you bite. Usually, it will take 12-24 months to treat an open bite with braces.
- Deep bite – this condition occurs when your top front teeth overlap your bottom teeth. Usually, it will take 12-36 months to treat a deep bite with braces.
- Underbite – this dental condition occurs when your lower teeth sit farther than your upper teeth. For minor cases, it will take up to 4 months to treat underbite while for severe cases, it will take up to 15 months.
- Crossbite – this condition occurs when your upper teeth fit with your lower teeth. Usually, it will take 6-24 months to fix this issue.
Understand that treating any of these bite disorders can take longer than aligning your teeth with braces.
3) Type of Braces Used
There are different types of braces and each of these can affect the duration of your treatment.
To understand more, take a look at the information below:
- Metal braces – these braces are those that use brackets and wires to align your teeth. Generally, they are used to treat serious teeth misalignment, and using them requires around 24-60 months.
- Ceramic braces – these work like metal ones but they are made from ceramic. Usually, correcting your bite and teeth misalignment requires you around 18-36 months to use them.
- Invisible aligners – these are removable plastic aligners that mold into your teeth and bite. The duration of treatment while using these aligners is around 6-24 months. However, you should wear these regularly because failure to do so can prolong your treatment.
- Lingual braces – these are braces installed behind your teeth. Most people use them for up to 24 months.
4) Additional Dental Aids
Dental aids can also affect the duration of your treatment. Some of these orthodontic aids will be discussed below:
- Rubber bands – Dentists attach these rubber bands to your braces to fix your jaw alignment.
- Orthodontic expanders – Generally, these expanders are used in children to avoid braces or to lessen the time required to use braces. Also known as palate expanders, they work by widening your jaw.
- Headgear – This orthodontic device is usually worn over your head at night. It is typically used for complex jaw problems.
5) Diet and Lifestyle
Lastly, diet and lifestyle can prolong or shorten the length of time required for you to wear braces. For example, eating foods that can damage your brackets and wires can delay your treatment.
Tips to Speed Up The Treatment
Your input is important in reducing the time for your treatment.
Some of the tips you can consider in speeding the use of braces include the following:
- Visit your dentist regularly and avoid missing your adjustments
- Follow the instructions for invisible aligners and other dental aids
- Brush and floss your teeth regularly
If you do sports, a dentist may offer a mouthguard to protect your braces from any damage.
Indeed, many people who are wearing braces wish to speed up their duration of treatment.
However, many factors can affect this duration and the patient’s input is also vital.
To shorten your dental braces treatment, always follow the advice of your dentist and avoid damaging your braces as much as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can braces work in 5 months?
Yes, braces can even work as early as 3 months as long as the condition of teeth is minor and the patient is compliant.
What brace type can speed up the alignment of my teeth?
Invisible aligners are popular nowadays as they can align your teeth as soon as 3 months. However, your input is still important when using these braces.
What is the shortest time for wearing braces?
For minor teeth conditions, the average time is around 6 months. For severe teeth conditions, the average time of wearing braces may take up to 5 years.