Orthodontic treatment involves the physiological process of moving teeth. All treatments apply gradual force to your teeth to guide them into the ideal alignment, and this can rarely be accomplished quickly.
Orthodontic treatment has evolved exponentially over the last few decades, and advances in technology have helped standardized treatment time across almost all of the methods. The average treatment time is about 22 months, although this can vary from patient to patient. Factors that can affect the duration of treatment include:
Poor oral hygiene can result in cavities, gingivitis, or tooth decay that impedes your orthodontic treatment. Similarly, not following your orthodontist’s recommendations on foods you should avoid can cause damage to orthodontic appliances, slowing your progress.
These appointments are critical for evaluating the progress of your treatment and monitoring the health of your teeth and gums. This is also when adjustments will be made to continue forcing the teeth to move. Adjustments may include tightening brackets, replacing rubber bands, or bending wires. Without these adjustments, your teeth will stop moving, extending treatment time.
While there is no age limit to orthodontic treatment, adult teeth are denser and will take longer to move. Additionally, children’s teeth are still emerging and moving into growing jaws and facial structures, so they are a little more malleable.
The treatment approach for children can depend on the extent of their misalignment, the eruption of adult teeth, or their age when they begin treatment. Adults may have fillings, missing or misshapen teeth, or other dental conditions that can slow down the treatment process.
Patience is imperative for the best results. Realigning teeth takes precise adjustments, around which the bone must harden, and this takes time. Moreover, every orthodontic patient is different, and your treatment is tailored to your specific dental needs. Trying to accelerate your treatment on your own—either by exceeding the wear recommendations for appliances, rubber bands, or other devices—can result in overcorrection, further misalignment, or long-term damage to your jaw, teeth, and gums.
Post-treatment care and maintenance are equally important to ensure the stability and durability of your results. Be sure to follow your orthodontist’s guidance for retainer wear and follow-up appointments. These professionals have the level of training and experience in orthodontic treatment that you need to achieve your best smile.
More important than the type or duration of your treatment is the selection of your orthodontic provider. Some doctors may practice orthodontics, but not all doctors are orthodontists. Orthodontists must have graduated dental school and completed 2-3 additional years of an accredited orthodontic residency program. To avoid costly errors or mistakes, be sure your orthodontist is trained and experienced in your treatment options and is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).
The 18-24 months typically required of orthodontic treatment may seem like a daunting commitment, but it is a relatively small investment for a beautiful, healthy smile that will last a lifetime. Don’t wait another day for the confidence of a healthy smile. In addition to our routine dental care and cleaning services, Dental Depot provides a dedicated AAO-certified orthodontist at our Oklahoma City metro orthodontic locations. This means you receive the same quality of care from the same committed team no matter what your oral health needs may be.
For more information on your orthodontic treatment options, or to schedule a complimentary consultation with one of our orthodontists, visit our website at dentaldepot.net/find-location to find an office near you.