How much time does it take to straighten teeth?
One of the first questions a patient asks when they go to an orthodontist is ‘how long will it take to straighten my teeth?’. Treatment duration varies on a case-by-case basis, but there are guidelines that can be used as a general indication.
Your different orthodontic treatment options
Orthodontics has come a long way in the past few decades. There are now several treatment options available. In addition to traditional metal braces, you can choose from clear aligners, ceramic braces, and lingual (inside) braces. These different options provide effective ways to straighten teeth, however not all options may be suitable for your smile.
Treatment duration guidelines
When you choose to start orthodontic treatment, you may be looking at a time frame anywhere between 1 year and 3 years. The type of braces/aligners you choose doesn’t necessarily dictate the length of time it will take to achieve straight teeth. Rather, treatment duration is dependent on:
- How quickly your teeth move (average is 1mm per month, but everyone’s teeth are different)
- How much movement of your teeth is required to achieve straight teeth
- Whether there are any underlying bite or jaw issues that need to be corrected
Some people opt for quick braces like ‘six front teeth’ braces which are aimed at changing aesthetics rather than providing therapeutic treatment. In these cases, treatment may only take six months to a year. However, these braces do not ‘fix’ any issues. Instead, they just make your teeth look straighter. If you opt for this type of treatment without correcting underlying problems (such as misaligned jaws), you may experience an increased risk of jaw pain, bite problems and relapse down the track.
Treatment duration is different for everyone, so to find out a more precise idea of how long it will take for you to get straight teeth, it is best to consult your orthodontist.
Other factors to consider
If you need to get teeth removed or have any other surgery (e.g. jaw surgery or wisdom teeth removed), you may need to factor in longer time frames due to healing and more involved treatment.
Who benefits from braces?
It’s a myth that only children benefit from braces. Braces are for anyone who may be:
- Suffering from jaw pain
- Experiencing difficulty chewing because of misaligned teeth
- Looking to straighten their teeth for a better smile
- Experiencing sleep apnoea as a result of a misaligned jaw
What to expect from orthodontic treatment
If you’ve decided to get braces, you may be wondering what the process will be like and other factors you may need to consider. The cost of braces may vary depending on the treatment you require and the fees your orthodontist charges, but the overall process is quite similar.
After booking an initial appointment with an orthodontist, he or she will complete an examination and provide you with recommendations, treatment options, and prices. After getting your braces put on, you’ll need to have them adjusted every 4 to 8 weeks for the duration of your treatment.
After your braces are removed
Once your braces have been removed, you will need to wear a retainer and visit your orthodontist at set intervals to check the alignment of your teeth for up to two years after removal. This is to protect your new smile against relapse.
Find a specialist orthodontist near you
If you’re thinking about braces, you can use our new tool to find an orthodontist near you and book your initial consultation