What Affects the Timeline of Orthodontic Treatment?

When looking into getting braces or other orthodontic treatment, the first question people often ask is, “How long will it take to improve my smile?”.  It is a simple question, but it takes a thorough examination and a lot of experience to be able to get a good answer.

In order to get an accurate estimate of how long orthodontic treatment will take, you will need to have an orthodontist evaluate you. During the evaluation, your orthodontist will take a number of factors into consideration that will determine the likely duration of your orthodontic treatment.

Do you wonder what factors an orthodontist uses to create an estimate for treatment? Here is a look some of the things that are assessed and evaluated when trying to create a timeline for treatment.

The Adjustments That Need to be Made to Your Current Smile

The current shape, structure, and placement of your teeth, facial bones, and jaw play the biggest role in determining how long your orthodontic treatment will last. If your current smile only needs to have minor adjustments, such as slightly shifting the teeth to a new position, you will likely be given a shorter quote for treatment time.

Unfortunately, if there are major adjustments that need to be made, your treatment will last longer. For example, if you have teeth that need to be shifted into completely different positions or you need the teeth to move to create more space, your treatment will last longer.

Another adjustment that can add time to your treatment time is the correction of bite. If you suffer from a cross-bite or overbite, it could take considerable time to correct these problems which will make your treatment last longer.  Generally speaking bite corrections take longer than straightening the teeth.

Your Current Age

There is a reason why so many teenagers get braces. It is because the teeth and bones tend to be easier to move and adjust in the teenage years. There are some treatment options that are available to young people that just don’t work for adults.

Adults can still undergo orthodontic treatment to correct their smile, but because the tissues and bones are fully matured, there may be fewer treatment options or treatment may take longer.

Current Medications That You are Taking

It may be surprising, but the types of medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, can increase or decrease the length of time for your orthodontic treatment. For example, taking some types of certain osteoporosis medications can slow down tooth movement.

Since medication does play a role in treatment time, it is important that you make sure your orthodontist is aware of all prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, and supplements that you are taking.

Knowing all the medications you are taking will help your orthodontist create an accurate timeline for your orthodontic treatment.

Following the Instructions for Oral Hygiene and Orthodontic Care

The estimate that your orthodontist gives you is made based on the assumption that you will follow all orthodontic care instructions and practice good oral hygiene. If you do not practice good oral hygiene, you don’t cooperate with elastic wear as instructed, or you neglect to follow through with scheduled orthodontic care appointments, your treatment will last longer.

Some things that will impact your treatment time include:

  • Brushing your teeth after every meal – it is time-consuming but you will want to brush your teeth after every meal in order to keep the gums healthy.
  • Flossing at least once a day – try to floss at least once a day to remove food particles and bacteria from around your wires and brackets.
  • Practicing proper brushing and flossing techniques.
  • Cooperate with rubber band wear as instructed by your orthodontist.
  • Keeping regularly scheduled appointments with your orthodontist for adjustments or assessments.
  • Avoiding foods which could damage your braces or orthodontic appliances.
  • Scheduling appointments to have braces and orthodontic appliances fixed if they become damaged.

Thinking of getting braces? Schedule an appointment at Melbourne Orthodontics for an orthodontic assessment. Our orthodontist will be able to provide you with an idea of what type of orthodontic treatment will help you get the smile you have always wanted and how long treatment will last. Call us today to schedule an appointment!