How Long Does It Take To Straighten Teeth With Braces?
Having crooked crowded or misaligned teeth can not only affect people’s confidence but also the way their teeth function, their oral health and it can make cleaning their teeth properly very difficult.
There is no ‘best option’ when it comes to teeth straightening as that is fully dependant on the individual patient, their teeth and personal preferences. There are several choices for braces which can be discussed with a specialist orthodontist who can help recommend the best course of treatment.
- Orthodontic Metal Braces
The traditional braces known by most people as ‘train tracks’ involve metal or ceramic brackets that are used to straighten both upper and lower teeth. Small individual ‘brackets’ are cemented onto the front of the teeth and linked with metal wires which are gradually tightened over time – this gentle pressure causes the teeth to move slowly into the desired position.
- Orthodontic Clear Braces
Working the same way as the metal braces these offer patients a less obvious, more discreet option that gives them straighter teeth without the noticeable appearance. Providing all of the benefits of wire braces, this type uses clear brackets and tooth coloured wire – making them extremely subtle and barely visible.
This method has become increasingly popular over the years for its discreet, straight forward and minimally invasive treatment. Invisalign involves a series of tailor made clear aligners (retainers) that are made from bite impressions or 3D scans of the mouth and teeth. The aligners are worn and regular check-ups are needed every 6 weeks or so to check progress and move onto the next stage of aligners when necessary. Invisalign braces Essex provides patients with an effective teeth straightening option that isn’t permanently affixed to the teeth.
- Lingual Braces
These specially designed braces aren’t suitable for all orthodontic cases but can offer a discreet alternative for straightening teeth. The tailor made braces attach to the back of the teeth as opposed to the front and if suitable can prove a more favourable method for some cases – such as those who play sports.
How do Braces Work?
It doesn’t matter if it’s metal, clear or Invisalign braces, all of them are designed to achieve the same end result of straighter teeth by gradually moving them into the right alignment and position.
There are pros and cons to all types of braces and some patients may not be suitable candidates for all of them which is something that can be discussed with an orthodontic specialist.
With traditional wire braces for example the results can be very effective but they are fixed to the teeth and can make eating and cleaning a tricky task.
With retainer style braces such as Invisalign the aligner trays can be taken out whilst eating and brushing teeth as they are not bonded to the teeth like traditional dental braces brackets.
Here’s what can be expected throughout the teeth straightening process:
- Initial assessment with orthodontist to assess teeth, oral health and alignment etc. Discuss options of best course of treatment based on the patient.
- If there is an issue with overcrowding there might be a need for some teeth extractions prior to braces being fitted.
- If you are choosing clear / Invisalign braces then moulds will be taken so that the custom trays can be made.
- At the orthodontist the braces will be fitted and instructions on how to maintain, clean and manage oral hygiene with the braces will be explained.
- Regular follow up appointments are needed to allow for adjustments and to check on progress.
- Once teeth are straight and the treatment is complete braces are removed.
- A retainer is usually advised to be worn at night for several months or even permanently after to keep the teeth straight.
How long will it take to straighten my teeth?
Timing is something that varies significantly between patients and can depend on age, spacing, bite, overcrowding and the type of braces used.
Teeth straightening is a gradual process that cannot be rushed and it takes time to shift the teeth that are set in the jawbone and gently move them to their correct placement. Doing this slowly over time means minimal discomfort for the patient and protects the teeth from potential damage.
Most patients wearing dental braces will likely be looking at 6 months to 2 years – but this is something that can be discussed in full with the orthodontist who will be able to give a more accurate estimate based on the individual case.