How Long Does Treatment Last?
Typically active treatment ranges from 6 months to 2 years but some can fall outside this range.
The length of any treatment depends upon certain factors such as:
- The growth of the patient’s mouth, jaws and face. This is both speed of growth and extent of growth.
- The individual biological response to any orthodontic treatment. Some patients may respond slowly whilst other people’s teeth move quickly with treatment.
- The severity of the initial condition and the type of treatment. More complex cases can take slightly longer than simple cases.
- The cooperation of the patient when following guiding instructions. Following your orthodontist’s advice contributes to completing treatment on time or even earlier than planned.
- How well a brace is worn especially when it comes to removable appliances or elastics with fixed braces. If removable appliances are left out of the mouth then no tooth movement will occur during that time, and this can slow down progress.
- The type of treatment options suggested. Sometimes treatments like clear aligners may take longer to work than bracket and wire systems. It just depends upon the type of pressure or forces required to bring about the tooth movements.
Following your orthodontist’s advice and instructions contributes to completing treatment on time as planned.
To prevent any relapse of orthodontic treatment, you will be advised and fitted with Retainers. These will need to be worn after any active treatment.
Retainers can be fixed and/or removable depending upon your situation. Retainers help teeth to remain in the ideal and corrected position, so that the jawbone and gum surrounding the teeth have an opportunity to adapt to the treatment changes. This helps the teeth to “solidify” in the required alignment.
Removable retainers are worn full-time for the first few months. They are then worn only at nights for the next few months, phasing down to every other night for a few months, and eventually 1 or 2 nights a week. You should then keep wearing your removable retainers 1-2 nights a week for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight! This is called ‘long-term retention’. With fixed or bonded retainers, again you should expect ‘long-term retention’. Wearing retainers for as long as possible will help to prevent relapse of treatment.
While orthodontic treatment requires some commitment, patients are rewarded with healthy straight teeth, proper jaw alignment and a beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime. If left untreated, crooked teeth or misaligned teeth, could lead to an improper bite, tooth wear, tooth injury and even tooth decay and gum disease. Crooked teeth can also lead to a decrease in one’s personal self-confidence. Treatment by a specialist orthodontist such as Dr Pourghadiri or Dr Sarah Good to correct the original problem is often less costly and time-consuming than the additional dental care required to treat more serious problems that can develop in later years.