You’ve taken several brave steps to get to this part of your oral health journey. Maybe you began with a free consultation. You spoke to Thacker Orthodontics teammates at either our Cincinnati or Hillsboro offices. Then, you received an assessment from Dr. MaryEvan or Dr. Jim. After that, you heard the recommendations. You chose braces as your course of treatment. On the day of the appointment, you came into the office. You laid back and – BAM! – you had braces. Braces can take some getting used to. And you know you’re going to be in them for a while. But…how long of a time exactly? Now that you have them, when do you get your braces off?
It goes without saying that teeth definitely do not straighten overnight. Setting the teeth in the best position takes a consistent amount of pressure. Since repositioning our teeth is intended to be permanent, this pressure must be exerted over an extended duration. But your mouth is more than just your teeth. The gums have to have a chance to change and grow around the movement of the teeth.
Consequently, most patients will likely wear braces, on average, for 1 to 3 years. In more severe instances, the time frame might extend to the entire three years. The bottom line is that the exact timeline for braces depends on a few factors.
Factors in Your Control
Some of the things that affect when you get your braces off are in your control. That’s right. When wearing braces, your lifestyle choices and decisions can affect when you get them off. At the time of your treatment, Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEven will give you a list of guidelines. The list might include foods you should avoid and drinks you should abstain from.
As with any medical or orthodontic treatment, you must include your treatment protocol in all your decisions. Following our team’s guidelines, you shouldn’t have too many issues. But violating the doctor’s recommendations could result in extending your time in braces.
What Kinds of Things Can I Do (Or Not Do) With Braces?
While there may not be much you can do to get out of braces faster, keeping in step with the doctor’s orders can prevent you from having to wear them longer. After getting your braces on, Dr. MaryEvan or Dr. Jim might give you a few new responsibilities.
For example, with braces, it’s a good idea to steer clear of carbonated beverages. So if you’re an avid Pepsi or Dr. Pepper drinker, you’d better learn to love water. Soft, chewy candies, especially caramel, should be on the back burner. It’s also wise to keep gum at arm’s length. Are you going to the movies with your friends? Go ahead and pass on the popcorn. Foods like these can damage your braces’ wires or brackets. If you’re enjoying dinner, be mindful to slice your food into smaller pieces than you usually would. Remember to chew slowly. Never eat in haste. Practicing this will help you keep your brackets and wires intact.
Wearing braces also influences your dental hygiene practices. You’ll continue your regular teeth cleaning routine. As you brush your teeth, pay close attention to the flow of your brush. Take your time. Hurrying is not your friend. When you floss, go easy on your teeth. Gently work the floss around your wires and brackets. Also, don’t skip on the mouthwash. While braces can make brushing and flossing feel more complicated, keeping your teeth clean can mean months off your treatment.
Factors Outside Your Control
Those are a few of the things you can use to contribute to getting your braces off early. But some things are outside your scope of influence. To speed up your treatment, remember what you can control and what you can’t. For the most part, you can choose what you do or don’t put in your mouth. But, there are other factors at play. And some of these might shorten or lengthen your time wearing braces.
Just like you didn’t choose the shape of your teeth, you also didn’t pick when you were born. Nobody got to determine their birthday. Therefore, you should consider your age something outside your control. As a general principle, younger patients will probably have shorter treatment time frames than adult patients. This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule that’s set in stone. But from our team’s experience, kids, teens, and young adults will be out of braces closer to the 1-year mark. Keep in mind that this is just a rule of thumb. And it has exceptions.
Braces can indeed fix a litany of dental problems. Most often, they are used to rectify what Dr. Jim and Dr. MaryEvan call “malocclusions.” Malocclusions are bad bites. And like any problem with the body, some cases are worse than others. There is a spectrum with bad bites. And each must be addressed on a case-by-case basis. Some examples of malocclusions are:
- Open bite: when you close your mouth, your teeth remain open
- Crowded teeth: the teeth don’t have enough space between them or don’t have room to erupt
- Overbite: the top teeth reach too far beneath the bottom teeth
- Underbite: when you close your mouth, the lower teeth sets in front of the upper teeth
- Crossbite: parts of the upper and lower teeth intersect and/or overlap
At the time of your appointment, the state of your teeth is out of your control. But, because you chose to get braces, you made the correct choice.
Sold! I’m Ready for Braces at Thacker Orthodontics
We’re delighted that you’ve chosen us to provide your braces. We promise we’ll have you out of them as fast as we can. To get started, click here for a free consultation.