Braces and retainers are devices which are used to help straighten teeth that are crooked or misaligned. Many general dentists have expanded their ability to straighten teeth, but for more complex challenges and advanced treatment options an orthodontist is still the specialist you will need to see. Braces, once seen as a metal-mouthed nightmare, have grown and changed with adaptive technological advances. Today braces come in a number of forms, shapes, and in varying degrees on invisibility which enhances their look and makes them much easier to wear. So too has the technology improved the effect of braces, giving us the ability to straighten your teeth and give you the perfect smile that you have always wanted.
Often, braces can be a daunting proposal. While most people would love to have straighter teeth, and all parents want their children to have that winning smile, the prospect of getting braces definitely throws off some people. The reality is that braces are no longer involve years of having a metallic smile. Naturally how the treatment is structured, the length of time you may need braces, and the frequency of visits to the orthodontist depends firmly on the treatment you need. During your consultation, we will create an individualized treatment plan and discuss your options with you.
How long do braces typically take to straighten teeth?
The proper answer to this question is that it varies. There are a number of factors that have to be taken into consideration when drawing up a timeline for braces. They typically take anywhere from one to three years, on average, to correct the misalignment in most people’s teeth. We will need to consider how far the teeth need to move, the health of the teeth and gums, the condition of the supporting bones, and any number of other factors before giving you a definitive timeline. Another important element is you, the patient. Following our instructions perfectly will help to reduce the amount of time it takes to get your teeth straight, and your braces removed.
What happens when braces come off?
Your teeth should appear perfectly straight. After your braces are removed, you will need to wear a retainer to ensure that your teeth do not slip back into old positions. For most patients, a retainer needs to be worn all of the time for a minimum of six months after the braces have been removed. Usually clear, this will not cause additional discomfort and is merely in place to ensure the teeth remain in position. After the continuous retainer has finished its course, you will be wearing a night retainer for many years to come. Since teeth tend to shift during the night, and with habits like grinding exasperated during sleep, many dentists advise wearing a night retainer for the rest of your life.
One of the reasons why braces are more common with children is their adaptability and acceptance of the length of treatment. For adults, understanding that shifting your teeth with braces is a lengthy process should be part of the decision-making equation. We can go over all of your options in our office so that you can select the treatment that works best for you and your schedule.