How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take?

Waiting for the end of orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic treatment can be quite difficult: there are a bunch of delicious foods on the ban list, activation sessions may make your mouth feel sore, you have a heightened risk of tooth decay, and kissing is now a really difficult and awkward thing. It is of little wonder why so many patients can’t wait for orthodontic treatment to be over, and to start wearing their retainers already. But determining the length of orthodontic treatment can be tricky business, as there are many factors that can influence it, and it also depends greatly on what kind of malocclusion we are trying to fix.

Average length of orthodontic treatment

According to a 2013 study in the Dental Press Journal of Orthodontics, the average length of orthodontic treatment is 32.2 months, which is a little over 2 years. This study excluded all people under 18 years of age, so it was mostly for adult orthodontics, which always last longer, because the bones are harder and more difficult to work with. This does not mean that your treatment will last this long, as this is taking all procedures into account, including the kind that last for years. If you are trying to rectify a not so severe malocclusion, the average length of adult orthodontic treatment drops to around six months.

Metal fixers on the teeth


Besides the type of malocclusion you are treating, and the necessary age factor, there are other factors that can influence how long your treatment time is, the omst important being how many appointments you have missed.

Missed appointments

After controlling for a number of problems, researchers in several universities in this study found that two variables had the most significant effect on treatment time: number of appointments missed and number of issues with the appliance. Every time you miss an activation session, you are contributing significantly to your treatment time, and obviously, if there are problems with the device, you will need to fix them before you continue with treatment. Other factors that were controlled for included type of bracket used, number of extractions, distance between canines, facial pattern, and the above mentioned age, sex and severity of malocclusions, but the first two were the most important.
It is so very important to keep your appointment and not miss them, because the treatment time will significantly lengthen. In the study, the average patient had about 3 months’ worth of missed appointments.     


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