Factors That Impact How Long You’ll Wear Braces

So you’ve been told that you need braces to straighten your teeth. The idea of having a straighter smile that is properly aligned is attractive. The prospect of actually wearing braces for months and months is less so. Not everyone wears braces for the same amount of time though. That’s because different factors impact how long the braces are necessary.

Case Complexity

Braces do more than just straighten teeth. They also pull teeth into their proper alignment and make sure they’re spaced appropriately. The severity, complexity, and quantity of the problems that need to be treated will impact how long you’ll have to have your braces. More complex cases will take longer to fix, sometimes as many as 36 months. The simplest cases could take as little as a few months.

Type of Braces

You aren’t stuck with just traditional metal braces these days. There are a bunch of different types of braces now. There are lingual braces, ceramic braces, and self-ligating braces. Clear aligners aren’t technically braces, but plenty of people use them to straighten their teeth. While all of these options are effective (provided you’re a good candidate for them), they aren’t all equally efficient for all types of treatments. The results should be comparable across the type of braces, but the type you choose may impact how long it takes you to get there.


As long as your teeth are healthy, there isn’t really any such thing as being too old for braces. That said, the older you are, the longer your treatment is likely to take. In children and teens, the jaw is still growing and the teeth are still moving. That makes treating them tend to go a little faster. Adult teeth take longer to move by comparison. The difference isn’t usually significant, assuming all other factors are the same, but age can still impact the duration of treatment.

It’s often helpful to know what you’re getting into when it comes to things like braces. That’s especially true regarding how long you’ll have to wear them. The average is around 2 years, but the amount of time can range from less than 1 year to 3 years. Talk to your orthodontist during your initial consultation about how long they anticipate your braces treatment will take so you know what to expect.

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