One of the most common sentiments an orthodontist hears daily is “I want to straighten my teeth as quick as possible”.
Answering the above question can be very tricky since there are many variables to consider, and everyone’s mouth is unique.
It is understandable for most of the people, the potential length of orthodontic treatment to be a little concerning.
Before we discuss how we can make the treatment duration shorter, we should have a better understanding on how the teeth move inside the bone.
How do teeth move inside the bone?
The way the body produces tooth movement is quite an amazing and complicated process. It involves many different tissues, cells, and cell signaling substances. When a force is applied to the roots of the teeth through the braces and the wire, or from aligners, the cells in the bone and tissues surrounding the root are stimulated to act. All these biological changes take time to take place and they can vary from patient to patient.
Pushing and accelerating tooth movements could end up with an adverse effect where the teeth stop moving completely. This can even lead to severe damaging of the roots and surrounding tissues.
All the adequately trained orthodontists are aware of these biological processes and they always design and plan their individualized treatment plans keeping this in mind.
Recently, many companies have tried to promote devices that can accelerate tooth movement. These involve bone stimulation, devices that apply pulsating pressure, or the surgical removal of bone tissue to speed up tooth movement. Accelerated orthodontics is a new concept, and so far, the studies have proven that are associated with elevated risks and higher probability regression after treatment and are not widely accepted by the community of orthodontist, including myself.
You and your orthodontic treatment
The most important variable though, regarding treatment duration of orthodontic treatment is the patient.
YOU have the power to affect your treatment time.
Your orthodontist may have the perfect diagnosis and treatment plan, but he or she cannot succeed and complete the treatment on time without your cooperation.
Here are some things that could sabotage your own treatment time.
- Missing, changing, or spreading out your appointments
- Arriving late to appointments so your doctor does not have sufficient time to perform all planned procedures.
- Not getting other necessary procedures done in a timely manner (surgeries, extractions, restorative, etc.)
- Breaking or bending your wires or brackets between visits. Eating hard foods on the no-no list which damage the braces and adds time to your treatment. If the wires are bent, the teeth won’t move. Having to constantly replace damaged braces adds months and sometime years to treatment.
- Not following instructions regarding rubber bands, aligners. These simple devices are what produce the force to move the teeth and change the facial features. It is what makes the teeth move. If you wear them, something is going to move. If you only wear them the day you come to the office, then nothing will happen except you are going to be wearing braces a lot longer than necessary.
- Not keeping your teeth and gums healthy due to lack of good oral hygiene will slow down treatment. Poor oral hygiene slows down the movement of the teeth due to infection. Plus, the swollen gum tissue hinders our ability to work on you.
If you are in treatment now and are concerned by your prolonged treatment time, consider these factors and ask yourself: Are you really doing your part?
Doing your part will not only help keep your treatment on schedule, it will give you the best final results too.