How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take?

This question is a very common one, but the answer can be highly variable. Since our Experts in the Art of Orthodontics approach each case individually, we offer treatment estimates based on each patient’s particular needs. This estimated time frame depends on several factors, such as the complexity of the case. For instance, a patient with only a few teeth out of alignment may finish treatment relatively quickly, while one who has severe crowding or bite correction issues will take longer.

You will hear advertisements claiming to complete orthodontic treatment at super speed. It is worth asking if those treatments are truly comprehensive. Tooth movement is a biologic process, and does take some time. Teeth need slow, steady pressure to move, and rushing the process can compromise the result. We certainly value efficiency, but also take time for the details.


Variables that Affect Treatment Times

There are several factors that affect your time in braces, such as:

Your Age

Teeth retain their capacity for movement throughout life. However, children and adolescents have mouths and bones that are still growing, so their treatment is often faster than it is for adults. Some orthodontic problems can be minimized by early detection and intervention, which is why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children have their first orthodontic consultation around age 7.

Bite Coordination Needed

If you have an underbite, overbite or crossbite, your treatment will include measures to correct your bite in addition to straightening your teeth. Your plan may require wearing rubber bands or other auxiliaries to move your teeth as a group and match up your upper and lower arches.

Type of Orthodontic Appliances

Lingual braces are nice because they are hidden behind the teeth, but they usually require more adjustments than traditional braces do. Likewise, clear aligners may slow down or speed up treatment depending on the individual and their treatment needs.


Following instructions with rubber band wear, oral hygiene, and aligner wear will ensure that your treatment progresses as quickly as possible. Likewise, non-compliance can result in big delays.


Despite warnings about sticky, hard or chewy foods, some patients experience breakages while wearing braces. Broken wires or brackets can result in longer treatment times. Take good care of your braces and report any breakages right away. Although it usually isn’t an emergency, we should see you soon for a repair to get you back on track.

Experience of the Orthodontist

This is a big one. Some providers may promise to get you the fastest treatment, but that doesn’t always mean you’re getting the best care. A skilled, expertly trained and experienced orthodontist will consider every avenue of treatment and determine which method will provide lasting results.


At Bankhead, our Experts in the Art of Orthodontics always strive to develop a realistic treatment timeline for each case, and then deliver honest answers to our patients. We’re not just aiming to get you in and out…we’re aiming to gain your family’s trust for years to come!


If you or your child need orthodontic treatment, work with the experts at Bankhead Orthodontic Specialists. Serving the St. Louis, MO, Metro area as well as southeastern Illinois via six convenient locations, these trained specialists offer traditional, lingual and clear braces as well as Invisalign® to provide patients with highly customized solutions. Call (636) 978-8848 today to schedule a consultation, and visit the website for more information.

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