How long does an orthodontic treatment take?
The million dollar question among patients at our clinics: how long does an orthodontic treatment take? We know that this is one of the aspects that influences the decision to start orthodontic treatment, but there are many factors that affect how long you should have braces and other orthodontics on for, so we can only give an estimated time, which always depends on the individual’s case.
In this article we will explain the different factors that can determine how long orthodontic treatment takes, as well as define the average time period depending on whether it involves clear aligners or braces.
The factors that affect the average orthodontic treatment time
The average orthodontic treatment time depends on many factors, both internal and external to the patient. Below, we will look at the most relevant when determining how long an orthodontic treatment takes, whether it be with braces or clear aligners:
The complexity of the case
This is the most important factor in determining how long braces and other orthodontics will last. Orthodontics, whether with braces or aligners, can correct malocclusion problems, such as an open bite, crossbite or overbite, and dental malposition issues, such as crooked teeth, crowding or gapped teeth.
Normally, cases that involve correcting bite problems require more treatment time than those that only seek to correct dental malposition, as they involve a more complex treatment (up to 24 months). In milder cases of dental malposition, the minimum orthodontic treatment time is usually 4-6 months.
Type of orthodontics used
Opting for one type of orthodontic treatment over another also determines how long it takes to straighten teeth. Nowadays, braces and clear aligners are the most common options that orthodontists offer patients. Both treatments are equally as effective when it comes to correcting malocclusion and malposition problems. However, when it comes to how long orthodontics takes with braces and clear aligners, the treatments with the latter are shorter, as the movements can be designed in advance and are therefore quicker and more predictable. For complex movements that require greater strength, the teeth respond quicker to braces. That’s why, in some instances, a first phase with braces is combined with a second phase with aligners.
Patient’s age and developmental stage
The estimate for how long braces and other orthodontic treatments take to straighten teeth also depends on the patient’s age and stage of development.
How long do braces and other types of orthodontic treatments take in adults?
How long adults typically wear braces and other orthodontics varies. However, on average, adult patients require more time for orthodontic treatment, as their bone structure and teeth are fully developed, and are thus more complicated to modify.
There are some cases of malocclusion in adults that cannot be corrected with orthodontics at all, as it is no longer possible to mould the bone structure, and the patient must therefore undergo surgery to correct it.
When it comes to fixing dental malposition problems, how long adults typically wear braces or other orthodontics is more than in children, but in this case the problem can be completely corrected with these types of treatments.
How long orthodontic treatments take in children
At an early age, especially between 6 and 12 years old, correcting the bone structure and teeth is easier than in adulthood. This is because the child is in the growth phase and the bones are more malleable so can be corrected with interceptive orthodontics.
The same happens with dental malposition problems, which are much easier and quicker to correct in children, resulting in shorter orthodontic treatment times than in the average adult.
The patient’s collaboration is key in determining how long orthodontic treatment takes
The patient’s cooperation throughout the treatment is key to its success and determining how long they will have the braces or other orthodontics on for. The patient is responsible for following the instructions of the professionals regarding the maintenance, care and hygiene of their orthodontic treatment, whether it’s with braces or clear aligners.
If these guidelines are followed, treatment is more likely to last as long as predicted by practitioners during the initial assessment. On the other hand, if they are not followed, the length of the treatment could be extended.
Harmful habits: another factor affecting orthodontic treatment time
There are some harmful habits that can counteract the effect of orthodontics, such as thumb sucking, nail biting or tongue thrusting at all ages. These habits should be broken in order to improve the effectiveness of orthodontic treatment and reduce how long it takes.
How long does orthodontic treatment take depending on the type of appliance?
After discussing the most important factors that influence how long braces and other orthodontic treatments last, we can safely say that there is no stipulated time period. Rather, the time that can be defined will be an estimate, as there are many factors that will affect and determine the success of the treatment.
How long do braces or other orthodontics take to straighten teeth?
How long you need to have braces on to straighten your teeth will depend on the type of problem you want to correct, as well as the other factors mentioned above. The estimated time it takes for braces and other orthodontic treatments, like clear aligners, to work will depend on the complexity of the case and the type of problem to be solved. This means it can last from 3 months in milder cases to more than 2 years in more complex cases.
How long do clear aligners take to work?
As with braces, how long you have to wear clear aligners is estimated by the orthodontist. But broadly speaking, and based on our extensive experience in this type of treatment, we can say that the following time periods are on average how long it takes with clear aligners:
- Very mild cases, with the Impress Super Light treatment, can be corrected in a maximum of 3 months.
- Mild cases can be corrected with an Impress treatment of up to 6 months.
- For cases with moderate complexity, the duration of the Impress Plus treatment can be up to 12 months.
- More complex cases can be corrected with the Impress Advanced treatment from 12 to 18 months.
It should be noted that these are estimated time periods using aligners, as the duration of orthodontic treatment will differ in each case, depending on all the factors mentioned above.
In conclusion, what are the minimum and maximum time periods that an orthodontic treatment can take?
On average, the estimated minimum orthodontic treatment time is approximately 3 to 6 months for mild cases, while the maximum can be up to 36 months or more for very complex cases.
When do you start to see results during orthodontic treatment?
The answer as to when you will see results from orthodontics depends on how long your orthodontist has determined your treatment will last.
Some patients will notice changes in their smile in as little as one month of treatment, while in others it will take longer. There are cases in which the first dental movements that have to be made are in non-visible areas, such as displacing the molars to gain space. The results will therefore not be visible immediately, but this does not mean that the treatment is not effective.
Additionally, it should also be said that patients who undergo treatment with aligners will see the results in their smile more easily, as they are removable so it is easier to identify the progress made.
Impress clear orthodontic treatments, at the service of your smile
If you want to improve your smile and are considering undergoing an orthodontic treatment, at Impress we have a team of professionals with more than 15 years of experience and the latest technology to design a personalised treatment plan just for you. With Impress treatments you can show off a healthy and aligned smile.
At Impress, we offer various types of treatments according to your needs and the complexity of your case, with fixed prices and no surprises. We also have financing options if you prefer to pay for your orthodontic treatment in installments.
Visit your nearest Impress clinic and during your first appointment we will assess your dental health and design your personalised treatment plan so that you can achieve the smile of your dreams. Make an appointment online or by phone at +44 20 3808 1072, on WhatsApp or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.