Did you know that around 4 million people in the US wear braces every year? The braces process can seem long and complicated, but it’s an important journey to achieve a beautiful, healthy smile. 

In this article, we’ll explore why braces take a longer time to work and dive deep into the process, covering everything from orthodontics basics to tips for accelerating the treatment. By understanding the timeline associated with braces, you can better prepare yourself for this important dental health journey.

Basics of Orthodontics

Orthodontics is a part of dentistry that focuses on fixing problems with how our teeth are aligned. Teeth alignment is important for dental health and a nice smile. When teeth are crooked or crowded, it can be harder to keep them clean and it might cause discomfort when chewing.

Many people face issues with their teeth that need orthodontic treatment. Some common problems are overbites, underbites, crossbites, and gaps between teeth. To fix these issues, people often get braces, which are special devices that help move teeth into the right position over time.

Different Types of Braces

There are several kinds of braces available, and each has its own way of working to align teeth. Let’s look at the main types of braces:

Traditional Metal Braces

Metal braces are the most common and well-known type. They have small metal brackets attached to each tooth and a wire connecting them. The wire is tightened gradually, applying pressure to move teeth into the correct position.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces work the same way as metal braces but are less noticeable. The brackets are made of a ceramic material that matches the color of teeth, making them blend in more. People who are worried about how braces look might prefer ceramic braces.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are similar to traditional metal braces, but they are placed on the backside of teeth, making them hidden from view. They work just like metal braces, but they might take longer to adjust to and can be harder to clean.


Invisalign is a newer option that uses clear plastic aligners instead of brackets and wires. The aligners are custom-made to fit each person’s teeth and are replaced with new ones every few weeks. They can be removed for eating and cleaning, making them a popular choice for many people.

Factors Influencing Treatment Duration

Braces can take a long time to work, and the exact length of time varies for each person. There are several factors that can affect how long the process takes:

Severity of Dental Issues

The more severe the problem with a person’s teeth, the longer it will take to fix. For example, if someone has only a small gap between their teeth, it might take less time to correct than a severe overbite.

Age and Growth of the Patient

Younger people usually have faster results with braces because their jaws and teeth are still growing. As we get older, our bones become more set, and it takes more time to move our teeth. So, adults might need to wear braces for a longer time than children or teenagers.

Type of Braces Used

The type of braces a person chooses can also affect the treatment time. Some options, like Invisalign, might take longer to achieve the desired results compared to traditional metal braces.

Compliance with Treatment Recommendations

Following the orthodontist’s instructions is very important for the success of braces treatment. This includes keeping appointments, maintaining good oral hygiene, and wearing any additional devices as directed, like rubber bands or headgear. When people don’t follow the recommendations, the process can take much longer.

The Braces Timeline

The journey of getting braces involves several steps. Understanding the braces timeline helps people know what to expect during the treatment.

Consultation and Diagnosis

The first step is meeting with an orthodontist to discuss the dental issues and what type of braces might be the best fit. The orthodontist will examine the teeth, take X-rays, and create a treatment plan.

Installation of Braces

Once the treatment plan is ready, the braces will be installed. The orthodontist attaches brackets to the teeth and connects them with a wire. This process can take a few hours, but it’s not painful.

Adjustment Period

After getting braces, there’s an adjustment period where people need to get used to wearing them. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but after a few weeks, most people don’t notice them as much. During this time, it’s important to follow dental care instructions to keep teeth and braces clean.

Monitoring Progress and Making Adjustments

Throughout the treatment, the orthodontist will check the progress and make adjustments to the braces. This usually involves tightening the wire or changing the aligners in the case of Invisalign. Regular appointments are important for ensuring the teeth move as planned.

Final Removal and Retention

When the teeth have reached the desired position, the braces are removed. To keep the teeth in their new positions, a retainer is often used. Retainers can be removable or fixed and are worn for a certain period to prevent teeth from shifting back.

How Braces Work: A Closer Look

Braces work by applying steady pressure on teeth to move them into the correct position. Let’s explore the process in more detail.

When braces apply pressure on teeth, the bone around the tooth changes. The pressure causes the bone on one side to break down, while new bone forms on the opposite side. This is how teeth gradually move into their new positions.

The pressure from braces needs to be gentle and steady. If too much pressure is applied, it can damage the teeth or roots. That’s why braces take a long time to work – it’s important for the process to be slow and safe.

Orthodontists play a crucial role in the braces treatment. They create a custom treatment plan for each person and monitor the progress closely. They adjust the braces as needed to ensure the teeth move in the right direction.

Tips for Accelerating the Braces Process

There are some ways to help speed up the braces timeline and achieve the desired results faster.

Regular Dental Check-ups

Seeing the orthodontist regularly helps keep the treatment on track. They can make adjustments and catch any issues early.

Proper Oral Hygiene

Keeping teeth and braces clean is important for preventing issues that could slow down the treatment. Brushing and flossing regularly help maintain good dental health.

Following Orthodontist’s Instructions

The orthodontist might recommend wearing additional devices, like rubber bands or headgear. Following their instructions can help the treatment be more effective.

Healthy Diet and Habits

Eating a balanced diet and avoiding hard or sticky foods that could damage braces helps keep the treatment on track. Taking care of teeth and braces is essential for a successful outcome.

Embracing the Braces Journey

The braces process is a gradual but essential journey towards a healthier, more confident smile. Remember, patience and perseverance are key when it comes to achieving the best results. 

For all your dental needs, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help you every step of the way!