girl smiling with braces

How Long Do Braces Take to Straighten Teeth?

If you’re about to invest in braces (or orthodontic aligners) for the first time, one of the first questions you’ll probably want to ask is about the length of the treatment process. That way you know how much of a time commitment you’re looking at, how many months your orthodontic treatment will be scheduled over, about how many appointments you’ll need — and most importantly — how long you’ll have to wear braces!

How Long do Braces Take to Start Working?

Orthodontic appliances such as traditional braces or aligners begin to work immediately. Although you may not be able to visibly see the impact of your braces, small amounts of pressure will instantly begin to guide your teeth into the desired position.

Some people say that — depending on their bite and the type of braces they’re wearing — they can see a difference in their tooth alignment within just three months. Of course, visible improvement will depend on which teeth are being moved first and whether or not they’re in your “smile zone.” Since teeth have to be moved in a particular order, such as shifting one tooth over to make room for another. As such, certain teeth may move earlier or later in the course of your orthodontic treatment. But in reality, braces begin working immediately.

How Long Do You Have to Wear Braces for Crooked Teeth?

Malocclusion — the term we use to describe misaligned teeth — often includes crooked, rotated, and teeth tilted out of place. Sometimes there is crowding because of limited space. Other times, teeth are crooked because their neighbour was extracted years prior.

Generally speaking, most people get braces because they want to correct crooked teeth. So in an average case, you’re still looking at a typical treatment time in braces or clear aligners like Invisalign. More severe misalignment or crowding takes longer to correct than those with only minor malocclusion.

The overall length of your time in braces can range by several months, depending on your unique physical characteristics. That’s why it’s so difficult (or impossible, rather) to say exactly how long it takes to straighten your teeth before our Barrhaven orthodontist can see them in person.

One person may only need 6 months for extremely limited tooth movement or fixing one crooked tooth, while a more complex scenario requires 24 months to complete. If your dentist has told you that you’re probably an “average” case, you can likely expect somewhere around 18 months to complete your orthodontic treatment.

Ideally, the best way to get an estimated timeframe for your specific treatment length is to request a consultation with Dr. Charles Cohen. During your visit, we’ll assess your bite alignment and skeletal anatomy. From there, we can estimate approximately how long it will take to complete the teeth straightening process. Complying with your home care instructions — such as wearing elastics or trays as prescribed — will help prevent any delay in your results.

How Long do Braces Take to Close a Gap?

Gaps between teeth are one of the easiest things to address with braces. If you have a gap between your two front teeth (called a “diastema”) and it’s caused by a muscle between them, it might also be necessary to gently thin that tissue out before closing your two teeth together. Otherwise, even if space is closed with braces, the tissue could press the teeth apart again.

When you’re closing a gap with braces, you’ll typically start to see results within a matter of several weeks. Rushing tooth movement too quickly can be hazardous to the health of your teeth. But performed properly, correcting a gap between teeth can be done safely and predictably within a fairly short time. That being said, the overall treatment will still require a bit longer to complete, since moving just a couple of teeth impacts the overall biting relationship throughout your entire mouth; other teeth must also be aligned for the results to be optimal.

How Long Does It Take to Straighten Teeth with Invisalign?

Depending on the situation, Invisalign can take the same amount of time or less time to straighten teeth than regular braces. Of course, there are always exceptions. If your case is quite severe or you’re not wearing your aligners as prescribed, the overall treatment could take longer than expected.

But for simplicity’s sake, let’s say you have mild to moderate treatment needs and you’re 100% committed to wearing your Invisalign trays as prescribed. On average, most Invisalign patients will complete their treatment in about 18 months, give or take. Some people can complete their treatment more quickly while others may need a few months longer.

Even though this overall treatment time is based on aligning your full mouth, that doesn’t mean you won’t start to see the results of Invisalign until that time. It’s still common to see noticeable changes in your bite within just a few months.

Word of Caution: The Longer You Wait, the Longer it Takes.

Act now. Your teeth naturally drift over time. So whatever minor tooth misalignment you may have today can be much more noticeable 3 – 5 years from now. By correcting the alignment of your teeth in a more minor state, the length of your orthodontic treatment is naturally reduced!

Younger patients respond quite well to orthodontic therapy because their mouths are still growing and developing. In some cases, teeth are still erupting. If you’re an adult, you can still choose to straighten your teeth. But the “window” of tooth movement compared to your skeletal anatomy will be more limited than someone much younger.

The great thing is that getting braces as an adult can still help you to enjoy better oral health for the years to come!

When you come for your visit, we’ll provide you with a customized treatment plan that outlines the overall length (and cost) of your orthodontic therapy. But you’ll never know exactly how long your unique bite will take to treat until you’ve seen a specialist.

Contact Braces Haven today to reserve a zero-pressure orthodontic evaluation. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have!

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