Congratulations, you’ve got your braces on! You’ve started your journey towards a brighter, healthier smile. Now there’s one question: How long do I keep them on? There’s a lot of anticipation building up to the day you get your smile, and everyone has a different treatment experience. There are a few things to consider when planning the length of your treatment. At Windy City Orthodontics, we want to guide you on your smile journey every step of the way. Let’s look at a few things that could determine the length of your treatment.
What Is Your Treatment?
Every patient is unique. However, there is a general rule of thumb we can rely on for the majority of our patients: If you have a more complex case, your treatment time will likely be longer than someone who has only mild issues. Severely displaced teeth or significant bite problems require more time for correction than simple crowding or spacing issues. The more work that’s needed, the more time it will take for the treatment to finish.
How Does Your Body Respond?
Every patient responds to treatment differently, because every patient is different! Patients with similar cases will rarely have the same exact response to the same treatment. Gum tissue thickness, bone density, and chewing patterns vary between people, and oral habits such as clenching or grinding the teeth can affect treatment. That’s why it’s essential to have an orthodontist who knows your unique needs. Dr. Pakravan takes a customized approach to every visitor that stops by our office!
How Old Are You?
Here’s a fun fact: Your age can play a role in the length of your treatment too! Children and teens can move their teeth more easily because their bones are more pliable since they’re not fully developed. This is why braces tend to be more common in childhood and the teenage years. It allows for Dr. Pakravan to have more control over your bite correction. However, patients can successfully move their teeth at any age! For older patients, treatment can take longer with more developed teeth. The jaw bones stop growing by our late teens or early twenties. Successfully treating orthodontic issues after that point may require more time and effort.
Our team has a variety of treatments to move your teeth as comfortably and quickly as possible. While there will not be an exact date your treatment will finish, the average time in braces can be anywhere from twelve to thirty-six months. For more minor cases, treatment with a clear aligner system like Spark or Invisalign can be shorter.
How Compliant Are You?
Orthodontic treatment should be a collaborative process between the patient and the orthodontist. Dr. Pakravan will design your braces and plan the tooth movements associated with clear aligners. However, it’s important to remember that you’re an important part of the process too! Your compliance with treatment instructions can determine how long and how successful your treatment is.
A tip for remaining compliant with your treatment is to maintain a rigorous oral hygiene routine. Your braces can’t improve your teeth if you are not keeping them clean and healthy. Neglecting to take care of your teeth and gums can slow your treatment down. Orthodontic treatment may need to be paused if dental work needs to be done. If you maintain strong oral health habits and follow the instructions of your orthodontist, you can keep your treatment on track.
Another part of the process is meeting with our orthodontic team. Dr. Pakravan will check the movement of your teeth and make sure everything is going according to plan. If you need to cancel or reschedule an appointment, let us know and we can adjust to your busy schedule! If you want to keep your treatment fast and on track, try to stick to the schedule as close as possible and make up for any missed appointments later. This means staying on top of your scheduled appointments with us. We want to be there for you so you can get the most from your treatment time!
Similar to keeping your appointments on time, it is critical to follow the instructions given for treatment when you are away from the office. Patients who do an excellent job wearing their rubber bands or wearing and monitoring the fit of their clear aligners will often progress through treatment faster than those who struggle or only do an OK job.
Braces and aligners are important tools for creating and maintaining your best smile. However, they are susceptible to damage. Any breaks, cracks, or snaps in your braces require fixing, and this can push your treatment schedule back. If you’re wearing braces, it’s best to avoid any crunchy or sticky foods. These can overwhelm the bond strength of brackets or snap wires. A broken or loosened bracket is not considered an emergency, and may not need immediate attention. However, we do want to rebond it as soon as possible. When a bracket isn’t properly bonded to your teeth, no active tooth movement occurs. This can lengthen your treatment process, so be sure to contact our office if there’s any damage to your appliance.
There are many factors that can affect the length of your treatment, and not just the ones we’ve discussed above. No matter how long your treatment takes, we can promise one thing: Our team of orthodontic experts will be there the whole time so your final smile is the one you want.
Get your best smile at Windy City Orthodontics
Your smile needs the right team to back it up, and we want to be there for you. Whether you’re just getting started on your orthodontic journey or looking for a new office to visit, Windy City Orthodontics is your home for orthodontic treatment. Patients across the Chicago area have improved their oral health and overall confidence thanks to our treatment. With extensive education and training, and experience as a former clinical instructor at the University of Illinois, Dr. Pakravan is up-to-date on the latest in orthodontic treatment and technology. If you are wondering if this might be the best path to your brightest smile, get in touch today to schedule your FREE consultation.