In my nearly twenty years of practice as an orthodontist, I have seen a great change in patients’ attitude towards braces. Whereas at the beginning of my career, patients were more reluctant to get braces, these days, I find that they can’t wait to get started with their treatment. One thing however never fails: within 6-12 months of starting treatment, patients want to know when they will be done!
Treatment length can vary greatly from person to person and can range from anywhere between a few months to a few years. Of course, the single most important factor that affects length of treatment is the complexity of the problem. It is easy to see that a situation that involves minor alignment issues will be much quicker to correct than one where teeth need to be extracted due to severe crowding.
The next factor is patient cooperation. Most patients who undergo orthodontic treatment will need additional tools to help achieve the desired results for their teeth. The most common such tool would be elastic rubber bands. These are normally used to move teeth or more commonly to align the upper and lower jaws properly together. When patients wear their elastics as instructed, treatment generally proceeds as expected and at times even more quickly than expected. On the other hand, when patients fail to comply, this leads to extended treatment times.
Many other factors such as size and shape of teeth, bone density and age can also make a difference in treatment time. During your initial complimentary consultation at Palermo Orthodontics, the orthodontist will examine you and give you an educated estimate of treatment time for your particular condition.
Orthodontists and researchers continually strive to reduce treatment time for patients by developing various tools and aids. One example is the type of wires used. Whereas stainless steel wires were commonplace in the 70’s and 80’s, most orthodontists these days use different types of Nickel-Titanium alloys that provide a steady force on teeth over a longer period of time. Possibly the most exciting advance in reducing orthodontic treatment length is a product called Acceledent. This appliance is based on widely accepted bone remodeling research. Bone remodeling is the process that helps broken bones heal and is actually a very similar process to what happens during tooth movement. Briefly, by sending micro-vibration to the bone surrounding your teeth, we can accelerate tooth movement and speed up your treatment. This product seems to be particularly effective for Invisalign users. Whether you are wearing braces or Invisalign, be sure to ask us if this treatment option is right for you!
Finally, try and enjoy your time in braces and Invisalign. After all, in the grand scheme of things, your wonderful new smile is not too far away!