young girl in pool with goggles on wearing braces

How Long Do You Have to Wear Braces?

Before getting braces, there is almost always the question - how long will I have to wear them? And, while it is certainly logical to want to know just how long your mouth - and your life - will be impacted by your decision to get braces, the answer to the question is not so easy. 

On average, most people have to wear braces anywhere from one to three years. Though it is important to note that the timeframe for wearing braces will be determined greatly on a few key details about your teeth. 

Time’s Determining Factors

It is impossible to determine the exact amount of time one will be wearing braces. Many factors will play a role in your orthodontist’s timeline that is part of your treatment plan.  

How Crowded and Crooked Your Teeth Are

One of the main reasons people get braces is to correct issues with spacing (whether too much space or too crowded) or teeth that stick out. After all, having a mouth with teeth that are not properly spaced and aligned can lead to issues like cavities, gum disease, enamel erosion, and more. 

Your teeth may be a little crowded, or they can be a lot crowded. Your teeth may stick out a lot, or they may stick out a little. You could have small gaps that need to be addressed or you could have large gaps. All of these things will determine the length of time you will need to wear braces. The less severe the symptom, the less amount of time you will likely have to wear them. 

How Aligned Your Bite is

Your bite is what tells your orthodontist just how well your top and bottom teeth align. If the alignment is off, you may have an open bite, an overbite, an underbite, a crossbite, or a deep bite. 

If an adjustment needs to be done to align your bite, then you may have to wear your braces longer to accommodate this phase.  

Types of Braces and Other Tools

Finally, the type of braces you wear and the additional tools your orthodontist suggests (such as headgear or expanders) could affect the time you will be wearing braces. Be open with your orthodontist and discuss your concerns so that the best approach can be used to treat your teeth - before the braces are on. For instance, opting for specific types of braces, such as Invisalign, may fit your life more than metal braces. The more you communicate - and care for your teeth - the better experience you will have.

Tips for Successfully Wearing and Caring for Your Braces

How long you must wear braces will be based on your need. While your orthodontist will follow your progress along the way, you can do your part to make sure you are getting the most out of your braces -- and helping them help your teeth along the way. 

Things you should do 

When wearing braces, you should always:

  • Visit your orthodontist regularly - don’t skip appointments
  • Visit your dentist for regular cleanings every 6 months
  • Brush after eating - or at least twice a day
  • Rinse your mouth with water after you eat when brushing is not an option
  • Floss daily
  • Adhere to your orthodontist’s guidelines for caring for additions line rubber bands, expanders, or headgear. 

Things to avoid

To keep your mouth healthy,  you should avoid doing the following: 

  • Stay away from candy and foods that are chewy, sugary, or sticky. 
  • Minimize your consumption of hard or crunchy foods. 
  • Avoid chewing gum. 
  • Do not try to alter or fix your braces at any time. If something doesn’t feel right or if they break, contact your orthodontist immediately.

Follow the guidance of your orthodontist and keep healthy habits in place while you are wearing your braces. The more you do this, the more effective the treatment is. And, the less chance you will have to wear the braces longer than anticipated. 

Let Lake Minnetonka Orthodontics Answer All Your Braces Questions

At Lake Minnetonka Orthodontics, we strive to provide you with the best care and the most detailed individual treatment plan. If you have questions about how long you will need to wear braces, schedule a consultation at any one of our convenient locations and we can discuss the specifics of straightening your teeth. 

Or just give us a call and we can help answer your questions.