Braces are the traditional method of shifting teeth into their correct alignment when it’s teeth straightening time. But how long do braces take to straighten teeth?
No one wants a mouth full of metal for longer than necessary. Thankfully, various braces exist for very simple to extremely complex cases, some made of transparent, ceramic material.
As you may have guessed, the answer to “How long does it take for braces to straighten teeth” varies. The two most significant variables are (1) the severity of a patient’s case and (2) patient compliance. The first variable an orthodontist can handle, but the second is up to you.
Now, let’s answer the FAQ: “How long does it take for braces to work?”
How Do Braces Work?
How do braces work in the first place? Most people are familiar with braces and know what they look like, but here’s your crash course on how braces straighten your smile.
Braces are metal or ceramic brackets that are adhered to individual teeth. Each bracket has a slot in the middle, allowing an orthodontist to thread a thin metal wire through them. The metal wire is then connected to each brace by tiny rubber bands.
Children love colorful rubber bands because they can change periodically at follow-up appointments. However, most adults opt for the translucent kind.
At follow-up appointments, an orthodontist will change the wire for a larger one that puts more pressure on the teeth, gradually moving them into alignment.
Now, getting back to our original question: how long do braces take to straighten teeth?
How Long Do Braces Take for Crowded Teeth? 5 Variables to Consider.
So, now that you know how braces work, how quickly can braces work?
- Mild cases: Very mild crowding or spacing without bite problems can take 6 to 9 months with follow-up appointments every 4 to 6 weeks.
- Moderate cases: Moderate issues such as over/underbites, crowding, or protruding teeth can take 14 to 18 months, seeing an orthodontist every 6 weeks on average.
- Severe cases: If the degree of crowding is severe, accompanied by significant bite and jaw alignment problems, treatment can take upwards of 18 to 24 months.
These estimates above aren’t set in stone—treatment times vary from patient to patient.
Here are some variables to consider when asking, “How long does it take for braces to work?”
1. Adults vs. Adolescence
The age you get braces can significantly impact treatment time.
For adults, their jaws have finished growing and changing, which means their teeth are more permanently set in place. However, children’s and teens’ jaws and teeth are still developing, so their treatment time will likely be shorter than an adult’s.
Regardless of age, your biology also affects how long braces can take. For example, some people’s teeth naturally move faster (or slower) than others. Remember, everyone responds differently to teeth straightening treatments.
How long does metal braces take to straighten teeth?
Whether you choose traditional metal braces or ceramic (clear) braces, both achieve the same result: straight teeth. Therefore, you won’t experience a difference in your treatment length simply because you chose the less noticeable option.
On the other hand, lingual braces are nearly invisible because they’re attached to the inside of your teeth. However, this treatment option tends to require more adjustments and appointments compared to traditional braces, increasing your treatment time.
Your treatment time relies on your compliance at the end of the day.
Some patients ignore braces restrictions and eat the wrong foods, causing their braces to loosen or break. Hard and sticky foods are usually the culprits. Or, they don’t consistently wear their appliances, such as expanders, elastics, spacers, headgears, etc.
If your braces aren’t working properly because of your lack of compliance, it will inevitably increase your treatment time. If you want to decrease the length of time you have braces, follow your orthodontist’s instructions to stay on schedule!
The severity of a person’s case is the number one factor in answering the question, how long can braces take? Severe cases include moving the jaw, bite correcting, and crowding. For instance, jaw surgery may be necessary in extreme cases, extending the treatment time.
However, generally speaking, the less complicated an orthodontic case, the less time is spent wearing braces.
So, how long do braces take to straighten teeth? It depends—but now you know what variables impact treatment times.
Looking for the Fastest Braces Option? Meet Lightforce
Most people want to decrease treatment time as much as possible, which is why we offer Lightforce custom braces at Bates Orthodontics.
Lightforce’s 3D technology enables Dr. Bates to create a fully-customized bracket – from the slot (where the wire fits in) to the base (the area that bonds to the tooth) – using 3D printing. With this option, you get the power of traditional braces without the wait.
Plus, the brackets are clear, making this innovation in orthodontics ideal for adults!
How long does it take to fix crooked teeth? Since results partially rely on you, we can’t say exactly how much time Lightforce will save. However, we can confidently claim that it decreases overall treatment time compared to regular braces.
At Bates Orthodontics, we set realistic expectations, so you will know how long your treatment will likely take. It’s not about finding the fastest braces treatment; it’s about uncovering which type of braces will be most effective for your unique situation.
We believe, above all, you need to find an orthodontic office where you feel comfortable. When you trust Bates Orthodontics with your smile, you can expect:
- CUSTOMIZED TREATMENT PLANS
We have treated patients ranging from age 7 to 82.
- AMAZING CUSTOMER SERVICE
When you become a patient at Bates Orthodontics, you become part of our family.
- NO PRESSURE
We will give you all the information you need to make the best decision.
Schedule a free consultation to speak with our orthodontic team about what a straighter smile could look like for you.