Do you have misaligned teeth or unappealing gaps between your teeth, or are you unhappy with your smile's appearance?

If yes, do not fret because orthodontic treatment could solve your problem and give you the attractive smile you deserve. While many know that wearing braces can improve teeth alignment, that is not the only benefit of this orthodontic treatment option.

Wearing braces can also prevent other dental problems, like cavities, down the road. However, achieving a well-aligned and appealing smile does not happen gradually. If you are considering wearing braces to correct or prevent orthodontic issues, you may wonder how long you will have to stay with the wires on your teeth.

Dental braces straighten your smile by applying constant pressure to your teeth and jaws to move them into their ideal position over time. How long it will take them to come off and see your new smile depends on various factors because every patient's problem is unique. Read on to learn what to expect during this orthodontic treatment.

Factors That Can Impact the Duration You Need to Wear Braces

On average, completing an orthodontic treatment could take about two (2) years. However, other people take around one (1) year to see the desired results, and others take three years to achieve their desired smile.

Generally speaking, every patient's orthodontic problem is unique, and how long it will take to see the desired results once you start wearing braces will depend on the following factors:

How Crowded Your Teeth Are

One of the reasons you need to start wearing braces is crowded teeth. Teeth crowding occurs if you have insufficient space on your jawline to accommodate erupting teeth, making them displaced or twisted. Aside from being an aesthetic issue, crowded teeth can make it challenging to maintain top-notch oral health, exposing you to other health problems like gum disease.

Fortunately, this problem is treatable by wearing braces. How long you will wear braces to fix your crooked teeth depends on the severity of the condition. For instance, straightening your teeth could require the extraction of some teeth to create sufficient space for the erupting teeth.

The Type of Bite Issue You Have

Wearing braces can also help correct bite problems. Typically, your teeth in the upper and lower jaws should align when your mouth is at rest. If your bite does not align as it should, you could need orthodontic treatment for any of the following types of malocclusions or bite problems:

  • Crossbite – If your dentist has just informed you that you have a crossbite, it means the teeth in your upper jaw fit behind the teeth in your lower jaw when your mouth is at rest or closed.
  • Open bite – If you have an open bite, it means your bottom teeth and top teeth do not align or touch when your mouth is at rest.
  • Deep bite – Also known as an overbite, you have a deep bite if your front teeth in the upper jaw overlap teeth in your lower jaw when your mouth is at rest.
  • Underbite – If you have an underbite, it means teeth in your lower jaw protrude outward more than the teeth in your upper jaw.

While some people can live with these bite problems, severe cases could cause oral and dental problems, including:

  • Challenges with speaking.
  • Difficulty chewing and biting food.
  • Face or mouth pain.

In most cases, an orthodontist will likely recommend wearing braces to slowly move your teeth into proper alignment for an improved smile. Unlike straightening misaligned teeth, correcting a bite problem with braces could take longer. The specific type of bite problem you want to correct will also impact the length of time you will have to wear braces.

The Types of Dental Braces You Choose

There are several options for patients who need orthodontic treatment for whatever reason. The type of braces your dentist will recommend for your unique dental condition will impact the length of your orthodontic treatment. Common types of braces your orthodontist or dentist could recommend include:

  1. Metal Braces

Metal braces are undoubtedly what most people think of when they hear anyone talk about dental braces. If you have a severe orthodontic issue, your dentist will recommend wearing metal braces. Metal braces consist of wires and stainless steel brackets that the dentist attaches to the surface of your teeth using glue and elastic bands to help shift your misaligned or crooked teeth to their ideal position over time.

After receiving your braces, the dentist could require you to schedule an appointment every three to eight weeks to tighten and adjust these wires for proper teeth alignment.

  1. Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are typically similar to metal braces, but the dentist will attach them to the back surfaces of your improperly aligned teeth. Most patients opt for lingual braces because they do not want others to notice they are undergoing orthodontic treatment.

  1. Clear Braces

If you do not want fixed metal or lingual braces, your dentist will likely recommend wearing clear braces to solve your unique orthodontic problem. That is true, especially if your orthodontic problem is non-severe. Also known as invisible aligners, clear aligners are plastic, transparent, or clear trays that you wear over your teeth to help them shift into the proper position over time.

You can take them out whenever you want to brush your teeth or eat, but you have to wear them daily, including at night, to achieve the desired straight smile. Your dentist will give you instructions on how to wear your clear aligners and how to clean them. Clear braces are not an ideal orthodontic treatment for you if you want to close tooth extraction gaps or are likely to forget to wear them.

According to a 2019 study, patients with invisible or clear aligners are likely to wear them for a shorter period than those with metal or lingual braces. However, those wearing invisible aligners had non-severe teeth alignment problems than those with traditional metal braces.

Your Diet

Failing to follow your dentist's advice on the types of meals you should take during your treatment period could impact how long you will have to wear braces. Chewing sticky, crunchy, or hard foods like popcorn and candy could break some parts of your braces, necessitating an emergency appointment with your dentist and lengthening your treatment period.

Additional Orthodontic Tools

Sometimes, orthodontic treatment could require more than just wearing braces to straighten your teeth, which could lengthen your treatment period. Other orthodontic tools your dentist could find necessary for your unique dental condition include:

  1. Palatal Expanders

As the name suggests, palatal expanders are devices that fit on the roof of your mouth or palate, and your dentist could find it necessary to widen your jaws and help you achieve your desired smile and facial appearance.

In most cases, dentists will recommend the placement of palatal expanders on children because they are still growing. Aside from helping prevent orthodontic problems down the road, palatal expanders could shorten the period you or your child need to stay with braces.

  1. Head  Gear

Headgear is an orthodontic tool you wear on your face or over your head, mostly at night, to help correct a bite problem and support ideal jaw alignment and growth. Headgear is an additional orthodontic treatment tool a dentist could find necessary, especially for children whose jaws are still growing.

  1. Rubber Bands

Also known as elastic bands, your dentist will attach rubber bands to your braces' brackets to help increase the force exerted on certain parts of your mouth to achieve your desired smile.

Failing or ignoring your dentist's instructions could increase the time you need to wear dental braces to fix your orthodontic problem.

Your Input and Compliance With Your Dentist's Instructions

How compliant you are with your treatment plan can influence how long you will need to wear braces. Your compliance with the recommended guidelines by your dentist is key to aligning your teeth and achieving your desired smile within the shortest time possible.

While sometimes your teeth could appear fixed with time, several less noticeable aspects of this orthodontic treatment could require more time. For instance, it could take longer for your bone to shift into the proper position during this treatment than your teeth, and removing the braces before the end of your treatment could undo the progress of the alignment.

Complying with your dentist's instructions, including scheduling routine dental check-ups, practicing healthy dental habits, and keeping your clear aligner on your teeth as required, could reduce the time you need to wear your braces.

Your Lifestyle

If your dentist recommends wearing braces to fix your orthodontic problem, you should be ready to play an active role in your unique treatment plan by altering your lifestyle to speed up the treatment period. You can prevent the need to wear braces for a prolonged period by:

  • Visiting your dentist after every six months for routine check-ups and cleanings.
  • Scheduling regular appointments with your dentist for adjustments.
  • Following your dentist's guidelines and instructions for wearing clear or invisible aligners and other dental appliances.              

If you are an athlete, remember to speak with your dentist about the appropriate mouthguard or night guard to wear when playing sports or exercising to prevent injuries or breaking your braces.

Your Age

Generally speaking, young patients (children and teens) achieve the desired results faster because their jaw bones are still growing, making it easy to shift teeth into proper alignment. However, this does not mean adults must wear braces for more than two years to achieve their desired smile.

Other factors explained above could impact the length of your orthodontic treatment with dental braces.

Tips to Help You Achieve the Desired Results When Wearing Braces

If your goal is to have the best smile appearance within the shortest time possible, you must follow your dentist's home care tips strictly, including:

Brush and Floss Your Teeth Thoroughly After Every Meal

Once you receive braces, you must adopt intensive and thorough teeth brushing and flossing habits. Although brushing your teeth twice daily is enough to keep them clean, once you receive braces, your dentist could require you to brush and floss your teeth after every snack or meal to prevent bacteria buildup.

If you have braces on, your dentist could also require you to brush your teeth when you drink anything other than water. Maintaining a strict and healthy dental care routine can prevent bacterial attacks and help you achieve the desired smile appearance before the dentist takes your braces off.

Use the Recommended Tools for Cleaning Your Braces

If you are straightening or aligning your teeth with braces, your dentist will require you to stick to a consistent flossing and brushing plan. However, brushing and flossing your teeth can be challenging for some if you have metal braces, but your dentist will recommend helpful tools to help you stay on top of your oral hygiene.

A floss threader is a great and helpful tool that will help you clean between your teeth and brackets. You can also use an interdental toothbrush to help you clean between your teeth and braces. Using these tools can help you save time and maintain your oral hygiene.

Monitor What You Eat

As previously mentioned, chewing hard or sticky foods can break your braces, necessitating an emergency appointment to repair them and lengthening your teeth straightening journey. Once your braces are in place, your dentist will let you know what you can eat and not eat. Sticking to your dentist's dietary restrictions is key to achieving your desired results as soon as possible.

Benefits of Wearing Braces

If you are wondering whether you or a loved one would be an excellent candidate for braces, it will help to consult with a dentist to examine your dental health. Your dentist will listen to your family dental health history and take X-ray pictures of your mouth to determine whether you would benefit from wearing braces. Below are some of the benefits of wearing braces:

  1. They Can Help You Avoid Teeth Injury or Trauma if You Have Flared Front Teeth

People with underbite or overbite problems are more prone to dental injuries than those with straight, well-aligned bites. Wearing braces can help you shift your teeth back into proper alignment if you have protruding teeth to avoid injuries.

  1. They Can Help Improve Your Appearance

Misaligned or crowded teeth could make you self-conscious about your smile's appearance, affecting your self-esteem and confidence, but once you receive braces, this issue will not be a concern. Braces can help move your teeth into ideal alignment, giving you the appealing smile and appearance you deserve to smile confidently in a crowd.

  1. They Can Help Improve Your Digestion

A critical function of the teeth is to bite and chew food, which is the first step in digestion. If you have misaligned teeth, breaking down food into small particles could be challenging for easy digestion. Fortunately, you can improve your digestion by wearing braces to push your teeth back into proper alignment.

  1. They Can Help Prevent Gum Diseases and Cavities

If you have crooked or misaligned teeth, it can be challenging to maintain top-notch oral hygiene, causing gum disease and cavities, but you can prevent this by wearing braces. Straightening your teeth with braces allows you to brush your teeth effectively to prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque on the surface of your teeth.

  1. They Can Help Improve Your Speech

Braces can help improve speech issues by eliminating gaps or spaces caused by improper jaw or tooth alignment to allow your tongue to touch the palate and pronounce words correctly.

  1. They Can Help Prevent Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

If you have a bite issue like a crossbite or open bite that exerts too much pressure on your TMJs, aligning and straightening your teeth using braces could be beneficial. Once your teeth are well-aligned, the bothersome symptoms of this condition, including headaches and pain, will subside.

When Should I Schedule a Consultation With a Dentist After Receiving Braces?

Stay in touch with your dentist throughout your orthodontic treatment, especially if you are experiencing discomfort, pain, or have any problems with your metal braces. You will experience discomfort when your dentist tightens the braces, but it will fade away within a few hours.

If the pain persists or becomes severe days after the tightening, you should speak with your dentist or orthodontist. Also, talk to your orthodontist if you detect any abnormalities in your jaw area, teeth, or any part of your mouth during the orthodontic treatment.

Find an Orthodontist Near Me

Even though everyone wants to straighten their teeth with a single appointment, achieving your desired smile with braces could take time. Our dentists at Ganji Dental are ready to walk you through this journey to achieve your desired smile within the shortest time possible.

We invite you to call us at 310-643-8045 to schedule your initial, obligation-free consultation with our reliable and courteous orthodontists, wherever you are in Hawthorne.