The length of every orthodontic treatment is different, as it is determined by the specific patient and what sorts of problems they have in their mouth. After examining the issues with the patients’ teeth/mouth, the
orthodontist will decide what is the proper course of action from there in terms of treatment and technique. This is what ultimately determines the length of treatment for each patient. However, there are several other factors that play into the length of treatment.
Length of treatment depends upon treatment goals
While there are many general dental practices that have orthodontists; however, many times these orthodontists or dentists provide their patients with a quick fix here and there. For example, they may straighten up the teeth in the front but don’t go further into any detail or perfection. On the other hand, if you choose to see an orthodontic specialist in their own practice, they will offer you a treatment in place to leave you with your best smile and bite. Essentially that is the orthodontist’s goal before the braces come off, while general dentists may only be engaging in “short-term orthodontics.´ This short-term treatment can sound appealing to many as a form of “faster treatment for less money´ but actually misleading. General dentists may not be concerned with aligning the bite or finishing the treatment all the way through.
Simple treatments usually require a year or less
There are times that patients go to see orthodontists with a normal bite, all permanent teeth in and no primary remaining, and no extractions are required, these patients usually only require a year or less of treatment.
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Most common orthodontic problems require about 18 months
In the case that the patient does not require a prescription for any extractions and is only dealing with severe crowding (possibly requiring the use of a palatal expander as an example), bite issues are only mild to moderate, or a posterior crossbite, the treatment would generally take between 12 to 18 months. The other case that can usually be done within this time period is if the patient has relatively straight teeth but a bad bite. All of these problems are examples of routine cases for an orthodontist.
Bigger overbites or severe crowding may take up to 2 years
For patients that have moderate to severe crowding in the mouth, the bite is more than half a tooth off, or if the patient requires a prescription for the extraction of permanent teeth, the orthodontic treatment will generally take between 18 to 24 months. These are several examples of cases where every single tooth in the mouth needs to be shifted to adjust the bite, compensate for any other problems with the discrepancy of the jaw-size, or even close the spaces post-extraction. Typically, orthodontists view these cases and orthodontic problems as moderately severe.
Difficult problems take longer, usually over 24 months
Many of the factors spoke of above can contribute to lengthening the time of the treatment; however, there are additional factors that can cause complications. If the patient is facing severe jaw-size discrepancies, they may require jaw surgery or supplemental anchorage. There are several factors that play part in the length of the treatment such as how the patient¶s mouth responds to the treatment. Additionally, these cases along with all adult extraction cases can take up to 30 months or more to treat.
All dentists and orthodontists must play by the same biological rules
Not every patient¶s treatment time is the same, but these estimates are average and very general. Orthodontic treatments do take months and sometimes years to accomplish the best smile there is no shortcut to it. Although the patient’s treatment times can all vary, there is no special tool, technique, or technology that can alter the length of treatment significantly. There have been many studies performed to see if any new technologies released actually worked “their magic´ but they only cut the length of treatment by a very small percentage. These technologies are most definitely not worth the trouble or money. Orthodontic treatment takes a while if done right and you cannot change the rules of human biology.