A Closer Look at the Braces Timeline

A Closer Look at the Braces Timeline

When an orthodontist tells a patient that they need braces, the first question they usually ask is this: “How long will I be in them?”

If you’re considering braces, you probably have the same question! However, because everyone’s situation is different, you won’t get a firm answer until your orthodontist examines your mouth. But, in general, most patients usually wear braces for 18-24 months.

Let’s take a closer look at how the braces timeline normally plays out, courtesy of Howard Spector, DDS, and the expert team at Millennium Park Orthodontics in Chicago.

Initial consultation

Everyone who gets braces begins the process with an initial evaluation. Your orthodontist will assess your entire mouth, including the alignment of your teeth and your bite. Depending on your situation, they may recommend you undergo preliminary treatments — such as removing tooth decay if you have cavities or getting teeth removed if there’s crowding — before you get braces.

After your assessment, your orthodontist should be able to give you a good estimate of the length of treatment. The more severe your issues are, the longer your treatment will likely take. 

One factor that can make a difference in treatment time is the age of the patient. The mouths of kids and teens are still developing, so they usually see faster results than adults, whose facial structures have solidified over time. Kids ages 7-12 may be able to finish treatment in about a year, especially if they’ve had early orthodontic care.

Traditional braces typically take 1-3 years. Clear plastic aligners, such as Invisalign®, usually take 12-24 months.

Placement of braces and follow-up appointments

The next step is to take molds or images of your teeth to know how to place your braces. Then, your provider places your braces.

Your provider will place the brackets and wires and give you specific directions on how to care for your braces, including how to brush and floss.

You’ll return to the office every few weeks, so your provider can adjust your braces, check on your progress, and address any issues.

The most important thing you can do to stay on schedule is take care of your teeth and braces as recommended. If you don’t do so, this could cause problems to develop, which could hinder your progress.

Removal and retainer

When your teeth have reached their correct positions, your provider will set up an appointment to remove your braces. Your provider will also give you a retainer to ensure that your teeth don’t shift back to their original positions over time. Most patients eventually get to the point where they can just wear their retainer at night while they’re sleeping.

Depending on your case, your provider may ask you to return to the office a time or two after your braces are off to make sure everything is staying on track.

If you want the straight teeth of your dreams, the expert team at Millennium Park Orthodontics can help you. To set up an initial consultation, call 312-726-9528 to book an appointment today.

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