If you have braces, you’re probably wondering how long you have to have them on and when you’ll be able to get them off. This is a common question that patients have for their orthodontist. Having braces is sometimes uncomfortable, and most people who have them are looking forward to the day when they can finally have them taken off. They sometimes get in the way of your regular eating habits, and they can even cause stress in your day to day life. Knowing when you won’t have to wear them anymore can give you a goal to wait for and make the treatment until then easier to deal with. Though your orthodontist may not be able to tell you the exact day you’ll have them taken off, they can probably give you a ballpark estimate, based on a few different factors.
The complexity of the Original Issue
The number of problems that were determined at the start of treatment, and the complexity of those issues, will play a role in how long you’ll need to be in treatment. Some problems are not fast to correct, which will extend the duration of the treatment. Difficult issues include teeth that are facing the wrong way in their socket; crowding that isn’t reacting well to spacers; and large gaps in the teeth. On the other hand, something more simple, like moving a couple of teeth around, can be a much quicker process, which means you’ll be in treatment for a short amount of time, assuming your teeth respond as they should to the treatment.
Additional Issues That Arise
Sometimes you go in for one type of treatment, but another type of treatment is needed to fix an issue you didn’t realize you had. Or, it’s possible that there isn’t an additional issue, just that the original treatment plan isn’t working and another process has to be used. Even if you do have multiple issues to address, it’s much better to discover them while you’re already undergoing treatment than to have treatment end and then have to start it again in the future.
Make Sure to Follow Instructions
In order to have the braces taken off as soon as possible, it’s necessary to follow directions as perfectly as you can. Not following the instructions can potentially slow down the entire process. Make sure to always clean your teeth thoroughly. Additionally, you’ll be given instructions on how to care for your teeth, even if you have a more modern treatment like Invisalign. The more involved you are and the better you adhere to the directions, the more likely it is that your treatment will remain on schedule.
While some treatment plans require basic mouth and teeth care, other issues require more input from the patient. For example, if you have a bridge, which will widen your bite, you may need to adjust it every day. If you don’t do this, it will take a lot more time to widen your upper or lower bite than necessary. Other treatments, like ones that require rubber bands (also called elastics) or headgear needs input and participation from the patient in order for treatment to proceed as it should.
Your Teeth and Treatment
Another factor in how often you can have your teeth back to normal is how they’re responding to the treatment. Sometimes, your teeth just do not do what they’re supposed to do. Invisalign can be used for a variety of teeth issues, but some teeth may just adjust more slowly than expected. If your teeth don’t respond to the treatment as well or as quickly as expected, it’s possible you’ll need to continue the treatment for longer than expected.
Here are a few considerations before treatment can end:
Are your teeth straight enough?
Sometimes the patient doesn’t like the alignment of their teeth and they want them to be straighter before finalizing treatment. A few extra months may be necessary to get the results you want.
Are the gaps closed well enough?
If gaps aren’t closed, plaque and food can build up there, which can lead to various problems, like bone decay. Sometimes it takes a few extra weeks to finish closing the gaps.
Is the bite aligned as it should be?
Even if your teeth are straight and the gaps are closed, your bite may not be exactly what it should be. This is one of the main things that will be looked at to determine whether or not you’ve completed the treatment. Your upper bite and lower bite have to line up so there’s the correct amount of overlap.
Preparing for Special Events
If you’re nearing the end of treatment and you have a special event approaching, like your wedding day or starting a new job, it’s possible that you can be back to normal in time for the special day. You may get lucky and have the treatment sped up by a week or two so that you can have the gear removed in time for the event. Make this clear as early as possible so the removal date can be scheduled a week or two in advance of the event.
Schedule an Appointment with Tisseront Orthodontics
At Tisseront Orthodontics in Reston, Va., you can receive a free consultation with Dr. Stephan Tisseront to learn more about your orthodontic options. Our orthodontist takes care of children, teenagers and adults at our top-of-the-line office, and he offers these treatments:
• Lingual braces – worn on the backs of teeth
• Invisalign – aligners for teenagers or adults
• Ceramic orthodontia – made with clear wires and color-matching brackets
It is also possible to reduce your orthodontic treatment time by using a small device from AcceleDent Aura that helps to accelerate the movement of your teeth into the correct positions.
Call us today at 703-773-1200 to schedule an examination with Dr. Tisseront in our state-of-the-art orthodontic facility.
11720 Plaza America Drive, Ste. 110 Reston VA 20190-4762