Factors That Determine How Long You Will Require Orthodontic Treatment

When you are told by your orthodontist that you require braces, one of the first questions you probably want the answer to is how long you will need to wear them. As a general rule, people undergo orthodontic treatment for anywhere between one and three years. However, every individual case is different, and there are several different factors that play a role in determining the length of your orthodontic treatment. Keep reading to learn five factors that will determine the length of your treatment.

Your Age

Normally, younger individuals will wear braces for less time than older individuals. Due to the fact that adolescents are still in development, it is easier for their teeth to shift into alignment. However, thanks to the various advancements in orthodontia, there is constantly a decrease in the time difference between adolescents and adults. Of course, age should still be a factor that is taken into consideration.

Brace Type

While a number of individuals would prefer to use braces that are less noticeable, choosing to go with clear or ceramic plastic brackets/wires can result in the straightening period lasting longer. Traditional metal brackets/wires continue to be the strongest, and because of this, they work the quickest to straighten the teeth.

Current State of the Smile

A significant factor that plays a role in how long your orthodontic treatment will last is how much correction needs to be performed to your smile. The more your teeth require shifting, the longer the treatment will take overall.

Other Necessary Treatments

There are some instances in which treatments other than braces will be needed to straighten your smile. For example, your orthodontist may suggest a palatal expander to aid in the correction of your bite or create space for your permanent teeth prior to beginning the orthodontic treatment itself, which could take as long as nine months. If teeth need to be pulled, cavities need to be treated, or any other kind of dental work needs to be done prior to having braces put on, this can extend the overall time for orthodontic treatment.


There are certain medications that could make the process of teeth shifting more difficult. For instance, anti-inflammatory medications like acetaminophen or ibuprofen can reduce the overall movement of teeth when they are used regularly. In addition, certain medications like immunosuppressants and vitamin D can speed up the movement of your teeth. Therefore, it is imperative that your orthodontist is familiar with all medications that you are currently taking before orthodontic treatment begins.

For more information, consult with your orthodontist.