How Long Do Braces Take?

How Long Do Braces Take?


Braces are the most common type of orthodontic treatment. They shift the teeth into proper alignment for optimal dental and oral health. When the teeth are properly aligned they are easier to keep clean, reducing the chances of decay. Proper bite alignment improves chewing capabilities, prevents the teeth from wearing down prematurely, and reduces the risk of developing TMJ disorder. 

If your dentist or orthodontist has recommended braces, you may have some questions before starting your treatment. How long do braces take to straighten your teeth? How do they work? Learn the answers to these questions and more about braces. 

How Do Braces Work?

To understand how long the process takes, it helps to understand how braces work. Braces consist of metal or ceramic brackets that are bonded to the front side of each tooth. An archwire connects all of the brackets together, exerting gentle force that pushes and pulls the teeth into proper alignment. Additional parts may be used to increase the force on the teeth when necessary, such as springs and rubber bands. Teeth may be moved forward or backward, left or right, up or down, or even turned. 

When braces treatment is complete, the teeth will be in proper alignment and the top and bottom rows of teeth will meet together as they should. Once the braces are removed, retainers will need to be worn to hold the teeth in the ideal position until they settle into place. 

Average Length of Braces Treatment 

Braces treatment typically takes anywhere from 1-2 years. Some patients may need to wear braces for more than 2 years if there are complex corrections that need to be made to the position of the teeth. Your total time in braces will depend on a variety of factors. 

Factors That Affect the Length of Braces Treatment 

There are a number of factors that have an impact on the length of your individual braces treatment: 

  • Your orthodontic needs. Each patient will have unique orthodontic needs that are being addressed by braces treatment. The more movements your teeth require to be properly aligned, the longer your treatment may take. Orthodontic treatment is a gradual process to move the teeth gently and safely. 
  • Your age. Age can affect the length of your braces treatment. Children and teens are still growing, which means your teeth are more easily shifted. Growth hormones make your bones more malleable, including your jaw and the support structures for your teeth.  Adults may require longer treatment because your teeth are more set in place and not as easily moved. 
  • How many baby teeth you have left. Some children will need braces while there are still baby teeth in place. This may mean that you’ll need to wear braces until the permanent teeth have all come in, which could take a few years. 
  • Going to appointments. Throughout your treatment you’ll have periodic appointments to monitor your progress and make adjustments to your braces. If you miss appointments you could delay your progress and make your overall treatment time longer. 
  • Oral hygiene habits. It is important to keep your teeth clean and free of plaque. Braces increase the risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. If your oral health is being negatively impacted by braces, it may delay your treatment. 

Where Should I Go For Braces Treatment?

The best place to start looking into orthodontic treatment is with your general dentist. Many dental practices also offer orthodontic services, including braces. Total Dental Care provides a full range of orthodontics in addition to our standard dental services. While many dental practices only offer clear aligners, we also offer traditional metal braces and clear brackets. Your dental and orthodontic needs can be met in one convenient location. 

Call Total Dental Care at 240-813-9111 or contact us today to learn more and schedule an appointment.