While braces are commonly considered a rite of passage for adolescents, they’re becoming more common for adults. Around 25% of patients who get braces are adults. It’s never too late to straighten your teeth and achieve a beautiful, flawless smile. 

Whether you need braces for yourself or your child, you might be wondering, “how long do you wear braces?” The length of time you wear braces varies depending upon a variety of factors. 

This guide will go over the behaviors that can affect how long you have to wear first-time braces and ways you can avoid not having to wear them for longer. 

How Long Do You Wear Braces?

The short answer for “how long do braces take?” is that it depends. The factors that help determine how long you have to wear braces include:

  • Type of treatment 
  • Age
  • Individual issues or needs, such as jaw alignment 

The average length of time a person has to wear braces falls between one and three years. The time can be lengthened or shortened depending upon the above factors. 

Your Bite

How your bottom and top teeth align is known as your bite. Sometimes, your bite won’t line up how it should. You might need dental treatment for one of the below bite types:

  • Crossbite
  • Underbite
  • Open bite
  • Deep bite

Treating a patient with a bite issue might take longer than treating a patient who has misaligned teeth. 

Your Teeth’s Level of Crookedness

A person wears braces because their teeth are spaced far apart, stick out, or have crowded teeth. It’s important to seek treatment for all of those issues to avoid enamel erosion, gum disease, and cavities. 

The severity of the above issues will determine how long you have to wear braces. For example, getting your teeth into alignment might require removing some of your teeth, so you have more space in your mouth. 

The Types of Braces You Wear

There are a variety of orthodontic treatments available for patients. The type that’s recommended to you can affect how long your treatment lasts. 

Metal braces are brackets that get attached to your teeth. They’re then threaded and connected with metal wires.

The metal wires are tightened by your orthodontist every couple of weeks to align your teeth slowly. This form of orthodontic treatment is recommended for patients who have major alignment issues. 

Another option is clear, removable trays that are swapped out every three weeks as your teeth move. The plastic-like trays can get removed so patients can clean their teeth. However, they need to be worn for almost the entire day. 

It can be difficult getting used to braces and the clear aligners, but failing to follow your orthodontist’s treatment plan will increase how long you have to wear the aligners. Clear aligners aren’t recommended for closing large spaces for tooth extraction. 

Lingual braces are a type of braces that are glued to the back of your teeth. They’re as, if not more, effective as clear aligners or metal braces. Lingual braces are an aesthetic form of orthodontic care since they adhere to behind your teeth and aren’t as visible as other options.  

Other Orthodontic Tools 

Your comprehensive orthodontic plan might include more tools than just braces. Those tools could affect how long your treatment plan is. 

You might be required to wear rubber bands. The bands attach to your braces to help treat a patient’s jaw alignment. 

Another commonly used orthodontic tool is a palatal expander. They fit into the roof of your mouth. A palatal expander gently uses force to widen a patient’s jaw. 

Palatal expanders are typically used with children who have softer palates and are still growing. They could help a child avoid needing braces entirely or shorten how long they’ll need them. 

Another device used by orthodontists is headgear. Patients wear it over their heads or on their faces, usually at night. The device connects to their braces, helping address complex jaw alignment problems. 

Your orthodontist will recommend if they believe any of the above tools will help you or your child’s treatment plan. 

What You Eat

Still wondering, “how long do you have to wear braces?” Another factor that plays a part in what you eat while wearing braces. If you don’t follow the instructions given to you by your orthodontist about what you can’t eat, it could affect the length of your treatment. 

Eating crunchy, hard, and sticky foods can damage your braces. This isn’t limited to just gum and candy. It also applies to popcorn and vegetables. 

If part of your braces gets broken, it might affect how long you have to wear them. You also might have to contact your orthodontist for an emergency dental appointment. 

Your Lifestyle

Being proactive in your orthodontist treatment plan can help prevent an extended treatment plan for your braces. Ensure that you see your orthodontist regularly for adjustments on your braces. 

Follow all the instructions they give you for taking care of your braces or clear aligners during your treatment. Additionally, make an appointment every six months with your dentist for routine cleaning. 

If you play sports or exercise, speak with your orthodontists about if they think you need a mouthguard to protect your braces. A mouthguard can also help prevent mouth injuries if you get hit in the face. 

Do’s and Don’ts for Orthodontic Treatment 

If you follow the instructions of your orthodontist, you can make your overall treatment as efficient and smooth as possible. 

Below are some “do’s” for when you’re wearing braces:

  • Floss daily
  • Bruse twice a day
  • Rinse your teeth to remove debris from food
  • Follow instructions

While there are actions you can to keep your treatment running smoothly, there are some things you shouldn’t do. They are:

  • Don’t attempt fixing your braces yourself
  • Don’t drink carbonated or sugary beverages

Schedule a Consultation Appointment Today

Hopefully, we’ve answered the burning question of “how long do you wear braces?” While various factors can determine the length of your treatment, the best way to accurately assess how long you need braces is to make an appointment with a qualified orthodontist. 

Contact us today to find a location near you.