There is nothing like the anticipation of getting your braces off to put a smile on your face. After all your hard work, you’re probably ready to reveal your beautiful new smile, and we are just as excited as you are to see the transformation! As prepared as you may be to finally get your braces taken off, is your mouth ready for your braces to come off?
If there’s one thing we can say about our teeth, it’s that they are incredibly stubborn! It requires an enormous amount of pressure to move them into the optimal position and allow for the gums to grow around that movement to support the changes. For most people, the timeline for wearing braces and making those stubborn movements is about 1-3 years. There are some cases that can lengthen this process closer to the 36-month mark, but the only way to get to the perfectly aligned smile that lasts a lifetime is to give your whole mouth the proper time it needs to adjust.
We understand that choosing to get your teeth straightened with orthodontics is a big decision. After all, your smile is the window to your personality. While we may not be able to magically speed up your treatment timeline, Dr. Mark Humphrey here at Humphrey Orthodontics can shed some light on what takes so much time and how to lessen the time you spend in braces.
It’s just about straight teeth, right?
It won’t take long for your teeth to move enough for you to notice a difference. Most patients can actually see a change in their smile within about six months of getting their braces placed. But this is only the first stage of the process to a lifetime of good oral health, so don’t get too excited just yet. So far, you have only uncrowded teeth or closed gaps on the aesthetic level. If your braces are removed too soon, they will just slip back into their original position.
Next, the focus is on your bite, or how your upper teeth meet your lower teeth. This is extremely important for chewing, and having proper alignment can reduce the wear and damage on your teeth and jaw. Ideally, your braces will also align your teeth for the appropriate overbite during this stage which helps keep your front teeth from wearing down over time. In some cases, correcting bite alignment can actually create a gap in your front teeth during the initial movement. This gap is standard and will be rectified before your braces come off. Removing your braces too soon after closing this gap can cause the gap to return, sometimes years after getting your braces removed.
But things get even more profound. If your teeth need to be straightened, it only makes sense that the roots below will need to be straightened, too. Without ensuring that the roots become parallel with the adjustments of the teeth, the teeth are likely to return to the previous position. This is why taking the time even after your teeth appear straight is essential. So much of this final movement is not visible but is undoubtedly vital to an effective treatment.
What other factors affect when my braces come off?
Your perfect smile is personalized to you, so we make sure to take the time from the initial consultation through every appointment to make sure that your care is custom-tailored to your needs, lifestyle, and smile goals.
Many factors beyond our control may contribute to the time you spend in braces. The severity of your jaw and bite when you get started, the rate your teeth move, your age, and even your participation in your dental treatment can affect your timeline. Make sure you wear your rubber bands as instructed by your orthodontist and make it to all of your appointments to have the best chance at a timely experience.
While there is much we may not be able to control, the best thing you can do to stay on track is to closely follow your orthodontist’s instructions during your braces journey. There are no magical tips for accelerating your treatment, but you can do a lot to ensure your treatment does not face any slowdowns. Here are a few tips to properly care for your braces and ensure they come off as timely as you expected:
- Avoid carbonated drinks like soda and sticky or gooey foods like gum, caramel, and other chewy candies, as well as popcorn. Constant chewing can compromise the integrity of your braces’ hardware.
- Chop your food into smaller pieces and take time to chew slowly. This will help you avoid pain when chewing and helps prevent brackets and wire from breaking.
- Brush and floss meticulously. You are more likely to avoid setbacks with healthy teeth and gums.
Trust your smile to Humphrey Orthodontics!
Just as unique as you are, your treatment plan will vary based on your unique situation. Working with an experienced orthodontist like Dr. Humphrey guarantees you’ll receive the best care for your individual needs. A successful orthodontic treatment experience isn’t just about receiving professional and gentle care. You also need to trust that your doctor and orthodontic team have your best interest at heart. At Humphrey Orthodontics, this is what we strive for each and every day so that you have an enjoyable treatment at our practice.
There is nothing typical about your treatment plan, so our expert team builds your individualized plan based on your specific needs, current lifestyle, and individual smile goals. Our goal is to give you a stress-free, successful experience from your first visit to your final retainer checkup. We’re here to walk you through the process, step-by-step, working alongside your family through the treatment, logistics, and finances until we reach a perfect result!
At Humphrey Orthodontics, our Wentzville and St. Peters offices offer clean, modern, and relaxing environments for our patients to enjoy. We proudly utilize the latest technology while providing various safe and gentle treatment options to give you the customized, individual care you or your child deserve. Reach out to schedule your FREE consultation today to get started! We take pride in making the process of straightening your teeth as comfortable as possible.