When it comes to orthodontic treatment, one of the most common questions we hear is, “How long does it take to get braces?” It’s important to understand that the answer to this question varies depending on a number of factors, including the patient’s specific orthodontic requirements, such as the type of misalignment. It also depends on the type of braces they choose, whether it’s traditional metal braces, subtle ceramic orthodontics, or the two most discreet options of them all, Invisalign and hidden lingual braces).
We’ve broken down a typical brace timeline to give you a better understanding of what to expect when starting your journey to a straighter smile:
Step 1: Book Your Consultation
The journey to getting braces begins with an initial consultation with an orthodontist. During your appointment, the orthodontist will examine your teeth, take x-rays and 3D impressions, and discuss your dental requirements. This assessment is crucial for determining whether you are a suitable candidate for braces and if so, what type of brace would work for you. Remember, there is no ‘’one size fits all’’ when it comes to orthodontics.
With Orthodontics For You, consultation appointments are complimentary for new patients and there is no obligation to proceed with treatment if you have a change of heart. The appointment should take approximately one hour, and all patients will have their bespoke treatment plan detailing their brace timeline.
Step 2: Options and Considerations
After assessing your teeth at your consultation appointment, your orthodontist will recommend which brace types suit your dental requirements (metal, ceramic, Invisalign, hidden lingual or SureSmile). Based on your orthodontist’s recommendations, it’s then down to you to choose the brace you want.
Each orthodontic option comes with its own set of advantages and considerations:
- Traditional Metal Braces: These are the classic stainless-steel brackets and wires that most people are familiar with. They are highly effective and the most affordable option, but they are also the most visible.
- Ceramic Braces: These work similarly to metal braces, but consist of clear or tooth-coloured brackets, making them less noticeable – perfect if you feel self-conscious about your smile.
- Hidden Lingual Braces: Also known as Incognito orthodontics, they attach to the backs of the teeth (on the tongue side of the mouth). Because of their unique positioning, they are virtually invisible from the front and are a great solution for patients looking to straighten their teeth without anyone else knowing. That said, they are the most expensive orthodontic option. Nevertheless, Orthodontics For You have monthly direct debit options available.
- Invisalign: Invisalign consists of clear, removable aligners as opposed to a fixed brace. They work in the same way as traditional orthodontics by gradually shifting your teeth into their new positions. But because they are removable, they require discipline (just because you can remove them, doesn’t mean you should).
Your orthodontist will design and create your custom-made brace before inviting you back into the practice to have your brace fitted during a separate appointment. On average, this phase of your smile straightening journey can take around six to eight weeks (from consultation to fitting the brace).
Step 3: Getting Your Brace Fitted
Fitting your new metal or ceramic brace will take approximately one hour (half an hour for each row of teeth). Hidden lingual braces, however, will take a little longer to affix to the backs of your teeth. Click here to learn about the Invisalign process as this is a little different.
During your fitting appointment, your orthodontist will advise on best practices for oral hygiene as well as dietary restrictions and how to care for your new brace.
Step 4: Adjustments
Once your brace is fitted, the journey to a straighter smile continues with regular appointments for adjustments. These appointments will take place at your orthodontist’s practice typically every six to eight weeks, and they are vital for fine-tuning your treatment.
During these adjustment appointments, your orthodontist will assess the condition and effectiveness of your brace to ensure it continues to exert the right amount of pressure and move your teeth to their desired positions.
Patients with metal or ceramic braces will likely require more frequent appointments compared to those with Invisalign aligners. However, the appointments themselves should only take around half an hour.
Step 5: How Long Does It Take to Get Braces?
If your teeth have mild to moderate crowding or spacing issues, you can expect to wear your brace for approximately 12-18 months. Correcting overbites and underbites typically takes an average of 18-24 months, although more severe cases can extend this timeline. On the other hand, severe misalignments or complex orthodontic issues will take longer with patients wearing their brace for up to three years.
It’s important to remember these timeframes are only a guide, and every individual patient is different as no two smiles are the same. Compliance with your orthodontist’s instructions and an effective oral hygiene routine can also significantly impact the duration of your treatment.
Step 6: Removing Your Brace
You’ll be pleased to know the removal process is quick and painless, taking around 15 minutes for metal and ceramic braces, leaving you with a beautifully straight smile.
Once your braces are off, you may have a retainer fitted to help maintain the new position of your teeth. Regular use of your retainer and follow-up appointments with your orthodontist are essential. As time goes on, your retainer use may decrease, but it’s crucial to continue wearing it as prescribed. Otherwise, your teeth may shift back to their original positions.
We all know what it feels like to want a straighter smile. It builds confidence and makes us feel happier in ourselves. At Orthodontics For You, our friendly team of specialists are on hand to help you feel as comfortable and as confident as possible, one smile at a time! So, when it comes to the question, ‘‘How long does it take to get braces?’’ Our advice is to embrace the process, take care of your braces and, before you know it, you’ll be flashing your new straight teeth with confidence.