Your dentist has recommended that you wear braces to correct your bite problem. That entails a few lifestyle modifications, including those related to your diet. Additionally, it may take some time to get accustomed to how your smile looks. Now, you are wondering how long you need to wear them.
There is no definitive answer to the question and the length of the treatment time will vary from one person to another. On average, braces are worn anywhere between 18 months to two years. Depending on a few factors, that time can be shortened or lengthened.
What are the factors that affect the length of treatment time?
When you visit your dentist for a consultation, he can provide you with an overview of the treatment, including the time required to complete it fully.
Among the factors that need to be considered are your age, the type of orthodontic issue you have, and your goals for the orthodontic treatment. Apart from that, you might have other problems that can impact the length of the procedure. In some cases, patients need to first undergo minor or major adjustments.
When you come in for your initial consultation, your dentist will perform a thorough examination and assessment of the current condition of your oral health as well as the issue that needs orthodontic intervention. He may use a diverse array of tools for the evaluation, including X-rays, facial photographs, and CBCT scans.
For your next appointment, your dentist will explain to you the results of the evaluation as well as lay down a treatment program for you. This is the time where he will tell you about the possible treatments that you can take. For patients, this is the perfect time to ask questions relevant to the procedure.
What are the average treatment times?
Typically, patients need to wear braces anywhere between 18 months to two years. However, it is not unusual for some patients to wear their braces for more extended periods.
What may seem like a minor issue for a patient may not be necessarily so. Dentists need to take into account every facet of the dental issue that needs to be remedied, including potential problems that may arise.
Age is also an important consideration. Compared to teens or children, the length of time that adult patients need to wear braces is considerably longer because all of their teeth have emerged. This means that it takes more pressure and time to move the teeth. Some adults need to wear braces for as long as three years.
In children and teens, treatment time can be extended due to different issues that may arise. Unlike adults with complete teeth, children undergoing orthodontic treatment may see new teeth erupt during that period. In some instances, the dentist may need to extract a tooth or simply wait for other teeth to erupt.
Is it possible to shorten the treatment time?
It is possible. Remember, every time the brackets break off or get lost, or if you do not follow your dentist’s recommendations about the use of removable appliances, you are unknowingly lengthening the treatment time. And conversely, if you observe carefully your dentist’s instructions and suggestions, you can shorten the treatment time.
Here are a few helpful tips that will help you get the most out of your treatment
Practice good oral hygiene
If you are not brushing and flossing your teeth properly, now is the time to double up on your efforts. Good oral hygiene is important to keep your teeth and gums healthy. But it becomes more crucial while you are undergoing treatment because it can prevent bracket stains which is a result of plaque build-up. Do not attempt to use whitening products while you are still wearing braces. Once your braces are removed, your teeth may have an uneven glow.
Consider putting together a travel kit consisting of a toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss so you can brush your teeth at work or at school. You might also want to keep a small mirror handy to help you check the brackets of your braces.
Modify your diet
While you are undergoing treatment, you will need to make a few sacrifices, especially in terms of your diet. The basic rule of thumb is to avoid hard and sticky foods.
Hard foods like candies and nuts can break the brackets of your braces. Sticky foods, on the other hand, can loosen the orthodontic bands and stick to your teeth and the brackets.
Don’t skip your appointments
During your treatment, your dentist will ask to come in for appointments on a regular basis, usually every four to eight weeks. Your dentist will make minor adjustments that will help move your teeth into the desired position. And if you skip your appointments, the treatment time can be extended. If it is not possible for you to come into the dental clinic on the appointed date and time, reschedule your visit, ideally close to the original date you were scheduled.
Should a wire or bracket become loose, you can try replacing either into the original position. You can use dental wax to cover the bracket or wire as a temporary solution. However, you need to come into the dental office to get the bracket or wire fixed.
Protect your mouth
If you play sports where there is a high possibility that your mouth will get hit, invest in a mouthguard. You can buy one from your local sports store, or you can ask your dentist to customize one for you.
Eyes on the prize
At the onset, the changes that you need to implement can be downright frustrating – you can’t eat your favorite foods, you have to set aside time to visit the dentist, your smile may seem awkward. These changes are part and parcel of the treatment. If things seem difficult for you, you have to trust the process and keep in mind what your end goal is – a better smile. Before you realize it, you have achieved the goal you have set for yourself.
Dr. Zul Paliwalla is the General and Cosmetic British Dentist at NOA Dental Clinic, specializing in smile-related concerns. With over 33 years of experience in the UK, Dr. Zul has successfully worked on and improved many internationally recognized smiles. He is a certified Invisalign® GOLD provider as well and has brought his elite expertise to Dubai not only to enjoy the sun, sea and sand, but also to offer his brand of personalized smile makeovers.