One of the first questions people ask when their dentist tells them they need braces is: “How long will I have to wear them?”. They understand the importance of straightening their smile and fixing their teeth, but no one wants to wear uncomfortable brackets and wires on their teeth for a long time. Unfortunately, the average length of time for braces to be worn is about 1-2 years.
Now, it’s not going to be the same for everyone. How long you have to wear braces will depend on a few factors, but primarily it depends on how severe your case is. If you have a lot of teeth that are far from where they should be, you are probably looking at two years or a little more. If you just have a tooth or two that needs correcting and the corrections aren’t extreme, then you could only have to wear the braces for about six months.
You’ll have to talk to an orthodontist before you can know for sure how long you will need to wear the braces. Just keep in mind that the estimate can change mid-process. If something happens to your braces and they become damaged, then you may have to wear them for a bit longer as repairs are made. If your teeth are not cooperating with the process, then the orthodontist may have to make some adjustments and give you a new estimate for when you will be able to take the braces off. There may even be times when your teeth move faster than anticipated, and the braces can come off sooner than you thought.
If you want to be sure that there are no problems and that nothing stops your braces from doing their job, then you need to make sure you are taking care of your teeth and braces. That means you have to follow your dentist’s and orthodontist’s instructions carefully. They will tell you not to eat very hard or crunchy foods and to avoid sticky and overly sweet foods. You also need to floss and brush your teeth regularly to make sure your teeth don’t stain while wearing braces and to keep your braces clean from substances that can cause them to deteriorate.
Even when your braces come off, the process of giving you the smile you want won’t be complete. You will likely have to wear a retainer for a while afterwards, as that will help the teeth stay where they are supposed to until the bone and tissue around the teeth solidify. Even once the teeth are in position, the braces still have to stay on for a short while because of the way the surrounding tissue and bone can behave. They become softer while the teeth are moving into position, so the braces keep the teeth from shifting around while your body sets them in place permanently.