What factors affect when braces will be removed?
While the orthodontist is the engineer of your treatment, with either braces or Invisalign the reality is that the vast majority of tooth movement occurs under your watch. This means that you have a big part to play in determining how long your treatment takes. There are two types of factors that affect treatment time:
- Those outside of your control
- Those within your control
Factors Outside Of Your Control
- Complexity of your bite issues and treatment
- If you are a child or teen, growth rate and direction
- Bone physiology–teeth go along for the ride; it’s the bone that determines the rate of tooth movement
Factors Within Your Control
- Keeping your scheduled appointments. The orthodontist schedules you in a way that keeps your treatment progressing in the most efficient manner. Missing appointments often stops and sometimes
reverses progress. Most orthodontists offer automated appointment reminders, but in reality, the best way to keep your appointments is to enter them into your phone’s calendar and turn on alerts.
- Using the tools you are given. Elastics, headgear, and other removable devices are indispensable in certain type of tooth movement. Not wearing them prevents that movement from occurring and therefore causes extended treatment time.
- Being on time for your appointments. If the orthodontist scheduled 30 minutes to make adjustments and move your treatment forward optimally, and you are 10 or 15 minutes late, some of your needed adjustment will be put off until the next monthly visit.
- Breakage. When braces (or brackets) are broken free the teeth are set free and tend to drift in undesirable directions. Prevention is the best scenario, so please keep to a braces-friendly diet. If breakage does occur it is best to have the repair done as soon as possible This minimizes unwanted tooth movement. It’s best to take a look at your braces on a daily basis. If a bracket slides along the wire, appears off of the tooth, or if a tooth appears to be moving in an undesirable direction, call your orthodontist right away.
In reality orthodontics is a team sport in which all the participants want quality treatment done in the least amount of time. Working together is the best way to assure that the braces come off as soon as possible. The patient and parents serve as the orthodontist’s eyes when the patient is not in the office. We rely upon you to make sure that treatment is progressing as planned. To that end we welcome your calls and emails if ever you have a question or concern.