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How long do orthodontic treatments take?

04 February · 6 minutes

Orthodontics is a medical treatment that must be performed by experienced specialists so that they can find the best option for each patient.

Our mouths are totally different, which makes this question difficult to answer. It is, thus, important to look at every case individually and evaluate its complexity, to establish the time needed for the treatment and to achieve optimal results. 

Factors that influence the total duration of treatment

Complexity

One of the biggest factors to consider while trying to establish the total orthodontic treatment time is the degree of difficulty presented by the patient. If the patient's case is simple, it will always be much faster to achieve the final results than in a more complex one.

Age

It is important to mention that age is closely linked to the duration of treatment.

Children's bones are not fully developed, meaning it’s easier to correct malocclusion, as their teeth are more susceptible to movement. That’s why there are times when correcting a child’s bite is easier than in adults, always taking into account the degree of complexity of each case. Of course, if it’s more complicated, the treatment will take longer.

As for adults who have reached dental maturity, it’s more difficult to correct alignment, as the bones are already fixed in their initial position and do not move as easily.

There is, however, the advantage of using aligners as an adult: the level of cooperation of the patient, their dental hygiene and general care towards their oral health is more optimal for the success of the treatment.

At Impress, we treat patients of all ages, from children to adults. Our oldest patient is 75 years old. We do not have an age limit when it comes to treating patients with invisible aligners, but it’s important that the patient has adult teeth and a healthy mouth to be able to go ahead with it. 

We always recommend a visit with our orthodontists, without any obligation, to evaluate each case.

Types of orthodontics and treatment time

These processes help to align the teeth and solve problems such as an incorrect bite. However, it’s necessary to establish the type that is right for each patient. 

In previous articles, we have discussed different options, such as traditional metal braces, lingual brackets, sapphire brackets and invisible orthodontics with transparent aligners

Without a doubt, invisible orthodontics is the fastest method, which is made possible due to the latest advances in technology, allowing treatment to be much more effective than traditional options. Above all, this is a result of the digital moulding that is used to create the aligners, as well as the fact that the process is carefully monitored by a specialist doctor. Each stage has its purpose, and technology helps to perform these exact steps to achieve a perfect smile.

Collaboration of the patient

It’s essential that the patient follows all the orthodontists’ advice for optimal results. Although we know that it requires time, the patient’s collaboration very much correlates to the total duration. It requires perseverance and dedication, in addition to dental hygiene, which we’ll talk about later since it’s a factor worth noting separately.

Hygiene

Hygiene is undoubtedly a must in any dental treatment, especially in orthodontics. A hygienic mouth is required to achieve the best progress and results, whereas the lack of it can prolong treatment, make it more complicated, and even dangerous. 

Dental hygiene is vital so that our mouths and gums do not suffer any damage. Orthodontics moves the teeth and gives them a new life. We, thus, have to help our gums adapt to this new situation in a healthy and balanced way.

If good oral hygiene is not carried out, it can lead to future problems such as gingivitis or periodontitis.  

Oral hygiene tips for the smile of your dreams. 

·        Good brushing technique: It’s essential to brush teeth correctly, in a way that doesn't damage the enamel or gums and allows removal of all the bacteria and food that accumulates over the course of the day. 

·         Flossing: Many people still haven’t incorporated flossing into their daily routines, even though it is one of the main tools to prevent gum problems. Between our teeth, there are always spaces, which makes it very easy for bacteria and food to remain in those hard-to-reach gaps. That’s why flossing gives us the option to get to areas that a simple toothbrush cannot reach. 

·         Using mouthwash: Fresh breath is often a reason why people use mouthwash, but the truth is that it can also prevent problems and provide much more protection than we think. Rinses often contain vitamins and other components that act as protective layers on our teeth.

Conclusion: What is the maximum and minimum time that orthodontics takes? 

As mentioned, each mouth is different and each case is unique. Some people only need 3 months for the desired change to take place, as only a couple of details need amending.

Others can take much longer, as there are times when different techniques have to be used to achieve the best results. 

Some cases can last two or three years due to different factors. This will depend on the complexity of the case, the mouth’s predisposition to change, patient collaboration, hygiene, and oral health, such as the gums.

Impress invisible orthodontics: the fastest there is

At Impress we have different types of treatments depending on the complexity of each case. 80% of our patients have had their smiles aligned in 6-7 months, and why so quickly? Simple.

At Impress we are experts in one single product, which allows us to have specialist knowledge. We know how that this type of orthodontics works, not only because we’ve studied it, but because we perform hundreds of diagnoses and treatments every month. That’s what makes us experts, the best in the field, and helps us achieve results in record times.

The importance of correct retainer use

What’s more significant than the treatment itself? Maintaining our perfect smile forever.

A lot of people come to us with the same scenario. As a child, they wore orthodontics, and then later, traditional braces. Once finished, they left with perfectly aligned teeth, but these gradually shifted. The mistake? Not using the retainers correctly in order to maintain the smile.

Types of retainers

Fixed retainers

This is a retainer made of metal, or white gold, that’s positioned as a horizontal strip on the inside of the mouth, making it almost undetectable unless looking specifically in that direction. 

The benefit of these retainers is that you don't have to keep removing and putting them back in every day, but they do have disadvantages.

These types of retainers lose their effectiveness after a while, due to the teeth’s ability to exert pressure and modify their own positioning.

Furthermore, maintaining good oral hygiene with them on is difficult, since it’s hard to reach this area of our mouths, meaning bacteria can get trapped there along with food debris. 

Impress removable retainers 

At Impress, we offer the possibility of wearing retainers that are very similar to the clear aligners used. These retainers are removable and transparent, made of a stronger material than the aligners, in case patients have sleep bruxism (the grinding or clenching of teeth). These retainers should be worn every night.

We recommend having the aligners reproduced every 6-9 months, to prevent a loss in their effectiveness and ensure they continue to work by keeping our perfect smile in place.

Even if a patient hasn’t undergone treatment with us, it’s still possible to order retainers from our clinics. These retainers will be produced using a 3D scan to create a digital mould of the teeth.

How long do retainers have to be worn?

Our teeth move all our lives, and that is something that even orthodontists cannot stop. That’s why, after treatment has finished, it’s so important to wear retainers that prevent them from moving. 

It must be emphasised that retainers have to be changed, as over time they lose their effectiveness, and we cannot risk our teeth shifting again and misaligning the smile we worked so hard to achieve. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

How long does orthodontics take in children?

As you’ve read, there are many factors to consider with regards to the time involved in aligning a smile. Children usually don’t take as much care with their oral hygiene and may not wear their aligners correctly. There’s also a chance they could lose or break them, resulting in the treatment being prolonged.

Nevertheless, children’s mouths are easier to shape with braces because their teeth and bones are softer and less solid, enabling us to move them successfully. 

How long does orthodontics take in adults?

Although it can sometimes be more difficult because the teeth have already become accustomed to a certain position and the bones are harder to correct, adults tend to pay more attention to their oral care when it comes to this type of treatment.

What happens if I lose an aligner?

It’s normal for patients to lose their aligners from time to time. Depending on your condition and the stage of the process that you’re at, you may be able to move on to the next aligner. However, each case is different and there are times when extra aligners must be reproduced to follow the proper procedure. It’s essential to go to the clinic immediately or contact the doctor through the app to find out the best solution for you. 

Is it as effective for children as it is for adults?

Invisible orthodontics is just as effective, regardless of the age of the patient. The most important thing is to keep track of wearing the aligners, have good oral hygiene and follow the doctors’ instructions.

From what age can children wear aligners?

It takes a while for a child to reach dental maturity, but from the age of 6, you can consult the dentist to see if the child needs orthodontics or not.

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