How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take According to a Patient’s Age?

Your treatment length will depend on many things.

Most people will have to go through some kind of orthodontic treatment in their lifetime. Generally speaking, this happens during our teen years and can sometimes carry on into adulthood. However, taking your children early to an orthodontist will have great benefits for them later on in their life. Early treatment could result in simpler and faster treatment for your child, and they even avoid braces altogether.

The simple answer is it depends on the specific case. There is no exact way to determine how long orthodontic treatment will take according to a patient’s age alone. While it is true that orthodontic treatment for kids tends to be faster, no orthodontist can give you an estimated time for your treatment without knowing what treatment they will put you through, what appliances you’ll have to use, and what specific problems they are trying to fix.

If you would like to know a rough approximation, Healthline states that patients wear braces for an average of 1 to 3 years, with adults being closer to the 3-year mark. Because the dental structures of an adult are already set and hardened, the appliances need more time and strength to move the teeth and jaws to the desired location. On the other hand, given that kids’ teeth are still developing, they are much more malleable, allowing for more straightforward and quicker treatment. Remember, we are using a situation where both the kid and the adult have a similar orthodontic issue. Depending on a patient’s dental problem, their treatment can be over or under the average, regardless of age.

Phase 1

The advantages of patients going through orthodontic treatment while their dental structures are still developing don’t end with just quicker treatments compared to adults. Phase 1 orthodontic treatment, or interceptive treatment, refers to any treatment done to a child whose permanent teeth are still developing. Intervention at this age aims to treat or prevent orthodontic problems that are already developing before they become more severe and need more complicated treatment. Phase 1 orthodontics will significantly simplify phase 2 treatment if it doesn’t eliminate the need for it altogether. Simpler treatment will result in less treatment time, a huge benefit for everyone.

Phase 1 orthodontic treatment usually lasts between 6 to 18 months, after which the orthodontist will recommend that the patient have regular checkups to determine whether they are ready for phase 2 treatment. The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that children should have their first checkup with an orthodontist at age seven at the latest. It’s here where orthodontists will begin planning your child’s future orthodontic treatments.

Phase 2

According to the AAO, patients undergo phase 2 orthodontics once most of their permanent teeth erupt. Here is where orthodontists recommend orthodontic treatment involving traditional braces, clear alternatives, or even Invisalign. The purpose of phase 2 is to ensure that the teeth and jaw positioning won’t cause pain or unnecessary wear to the patient’s mouth in the long term while simultaneously looking aesthetically pleasing. Most procedures last from 12 to 20 months, but as mentioned previously, your specific case may vary significantly.

How to Reduce Braces Treatment Time?

The best way to reduce braces treatment time is to follow your orthodontist’s instructions as strictly as possible. Your treatment will last around a year at best; the last thing you want to do is damage your appliance or ignore its use instructions, as it will most likely increase your time remaining with them.

If you are planning to or are currently wearing braces, don’t break your diet. Orthodontists give you a strict diet to prevent damage to your braces and to make the cleaning process easier for you. If your appliance breaks many times throughout your treatment, you’ll be halting the process and delaying results. Similarly, if you don’t maintain proper oral health, you could develop issues severe enough to pause your braces treatment for some time.

For patients using clear aligners, consistency is key. You won’t have to worry as much regarding proper cleaning, given that you can brush as you always have, but you will have to use your appliance for around 22 hours daily. If, for any reason, you stop using your aligners for some time, you run the risk of your teeth reverting to their previous position, wasting weeks, if not months, of progress.

Avoiding pauses and dental emergencies throughout your orthodontic treatment could result in you obtaining the results you were looking for in less time than expected.

Considering When to Get Braces?

The best time to get the Ann Arbor orthodontic treatment you need is now! Children can take advantage of their still-developing dental structure and have simpler treatment, while adults can solve any orthodontic issues they may have before they get worse. Schedule an appointment with us at SBK Orthodontics to get the best treatment available for you.