How Long Do Braces Take To Straighten Teeth?

How long do braces take to straighten teeth? This is a popular question for teenagers and adults who are considering getting braces to fix teeth misalignments, overbites, underbites, and other dental issues. Each situation is unique, so the length of time it takes to achieve the desired correction can vary considerably.

Are Braces the Fastest Way To Straighten Teeth?

In many situations, braces are the fastest way to straighten teeth. However, this is not always the case.

Braces have been around for a long time as an effective option for treating all types of orthodontic issues. For fixing minor issues, clear aligners may work faster. However, standard braces are generally the best and fastest way to straighten teeth in more complex situations, such as severe overcrowding or biting issues.

How Quickly Do Teeth Move With Braces?

how long do braces take

On average, it takes between one and three years to completely straighten teeth with braces. At Peterson Family Orthodontics, the average treatment time for a full, comprehensive case is 19 months.

Braces move the teeth by applying pressure from various angles, which is by necessity a gradual process. It often takes around 24 months to move teeth into the desired position, but this varies greatly. In certain situations, teeth move faster, and you will achieve results sooner. However, it can take even longer if your dental issues are complex.

Can Braces Straighten Teeth in 3 Months?

While over a year of treatment is standard, it is possible in some cases for braces to straighten teeth in a shorter period of time, such as three months.

If your situation is not severe and you only have minor alignment issues, you may be able to achieve the desired results in only three months. However, orthodontic care is generally a longer process.

What Are the Factors Involved in How Long Straightening Takes?

When asking how long do braces take to straighten teeth, keep in mind the variety of factors involved.

Age of Patient

In general, teeth-straightening takes longer for older patients, as it is more difficult to move the teeth in a fully formed jaw. Adults tend to have a denser jawbone, which calls for a slower and gentler straightening technique. 

Type of Braces

There are various types of braces you can choose from, and some may take longer to straighten teeth than others. Metal braces are what most people think of when it comes to traditional braces. These involve attaching metal brackets to the front of each tooth and connecting them together with wire. The orthodontist periodically tightens this wire to gradually move the teeth where they should be. At Peterson Family Orthodontics, we use self-ligating braces, which tend to have faster results.

Ceramic braces are another option. They work similarly to metal braces, but the brackets are clear and less obvious. The potential issue with these braces is that the brackets are more fragile and can break if not properly taken care of. The need for repair can increase the overall length of time they are on.

A third, less common type of braces is lingual. The brackets are made of titanium or stainless steel, but the orthodontist attaches them to the back of each tooth, where they are less visible. Although it takes longer to attach and adjust lingual braces, this does not generally affect the overall length of time needed for straightening.

Severity of the Dental Issue

The complexity of the orthodontic issue affects the overall straightening time. Larger gaps or severely misaligned teeth take longer than minor misalignments. Bite issues also increase the complexity level, so braces for open-, cross-, deep-, and underbites tend to take longer to straighten the teeth. 

Additional Tools Required

Your orthodontist may recommend additional equipment or tools to accompany your braces, and these may increase or decrease your treatment time. For example, the orthodontist may recommend palate expanders for younger patients to wear before getting braces. Expanding the jaw may decrease the time the child needs to wear braces.

If jaw issues are complex, headgear may be necessary. This may increase the straightening time, especially if the patient does not wear the equipment as instructed.

Compliance With the Treatment Plan

Sitting in the orthodontist chair for braces attachment and adjustments is only part of the overall treatment. Your total straightening time also depends on whether you follow the recommendations for the most effective treatment.

If you don’t follow the instructions related to food limitations and restrictions, there is a chance you will damage one or more of the brackets or wires. The repair time increases the overall treatment period.

If you play sports, your orthodontist may ask you to wear a mouth guard to protect your braces from impact. Proper dental hygiene is also important.

You will receive a schedule for regular wire adjustments. If you do not follow the specific schedule, or you miss some of the appointments, this will likely increase the straightening time.

Wearing braces is not the final step of the straightening process. After their removal, your orthodontist will likely fit you for a retainer that you’ll need to wear for a certain period of time, usually months or even years. Because a retainer is removable, there is a greater chance that you could lose it or forget to put it back in. Not wearing it when you should further lengthens the total correction period.

How Does the Straightening Timeline Affect the Overall Cost?

How Does the Straightening Timeline Affect the Overall Cost of braces?

A longer process generally increases the overall cost of having braces.

You will have scheduled visits about every four to six weeks so the orthodontist can make adjustments to the wires to keep moving the teeth. If your dental issues are more severe, you will need more visits over the course of the treatment plan, which costs more money. Depending on your situation, braces may cost anywhere from $3,000-$6,500.

Who Can You Talk to About How Long Braces Take To Straighten Teeth?

If you’re wondering how long it may take braces to straighten your teeth, make an appointment with us at Peterson Family Orthodontics. Located in San Tan Valley, we provide orthodontic services to clients of all ages. Contact us to schedule your free consultation.