One of the first questions we are asked at Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics, is How long do I have to wear braces?   That is a great question.  Many factors go into answering that question.  A general rule of thumb is that a patient will be wearing their braces about eighteen to twenty-four months if it is a straightforward orthodontic braces case. However, if patients have a more severe overbite, underbite, or crossbite then a longer correction could be needed.  At Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics, the orthodontists want each patient to have a beautiful Hollywood smile, so they monitor each patient carefully to be sure they are in braces the correct amount of time.  Every patient’s teeth are different and move at different rates of speed.  So, there is not an exact set amount of time when asking How long Do I have to wear braces? 

Some patients will ask what is the minimum time for braces?  Every once in a while, a patient may just need a small amount of correction done.  In this case, the patient may only be in braces for ten to twelve months.  This does not happen a lot, but every patient with braces is different. However, our orthodontists do not want patients to be in braces longer than needed because this can eventually lead to gum recession and staining on the patient’s teeth if left on too long.  

Often when adult patients ask how long do I have to wear braces, they also ask if seventy is too old to start braces?  A patient is never too old to start braces as long as they are in good health and their gums are in good condition with little recession. Many adult patients did not have the opportunity or funds to have braces when they were younger, and it has been a life- long goal of theirs to have straight teeth and a beautiful smile.  At Smiles Hollywood orthodontics, over twenty percent of our patients are adults. Some of these are doing active aligner treatment and some are doing braces to straighten their teeth.  Adults do tend to take a little bit longer in braces than younger children do because adults have stronger and more corticated bones that the teeth must move through.  Adult teeth have been set in bone for longer than children’s teeth, and therefore, the teeth are not as adaptable to movement, therefore tooth movement does take a little longer in adults. Adults, however, make great braces patients because they are usually great at brushing and flossing their teeth! 

When a patient asks how long do I have to wear braces, they are also asking what foods cannot be eaten with braces?   When a patient is wearing braces, there are several foods that should not be eaten.  These foods include anything that is sticky, chewy, or gooey, such as taffy, caramels, gummy worms, or gummy bears.  Also, a patient should not chew on anything hard, such as cubes of ice, hard candy or lollipops. Also, anything that is really hard such as hard nuts, or beef jerky or chewy bagels should be avoided.  Another thing a patient needs to not eat when wearing braces is popcorn.  The kernels in the popcorn can get in between the wires and the patient’s gum and cause a lot of problems.  The patient can eat popcorn without kernels that can be bought in most grocery stores in the chip aisle. When wearing braces, the patient should not bite into anything hard with their front teeth, such as an apple.  The patient can still eat apples, but they just need to slice them up and eat them from the side, so they don’t loosen the brackets on their front teeth.  

When a patient asks how long do I have to wear braces, they also will ask how painful are braces?  That is a valid question and one that is very important. Braces are not painful, however, at first your teeth will be a little sore for a few days. The way braces work is through pressure on the teeth.  The orthodontist places the bands and wires and adjusts them every six to ten weeks to push the teeth in the direction to make them straight. So, they are not painful, but during the first few days, the patient will feel pressure on the teeth. So, for this initial time period, a patient can take any pain reliever, like Advil or Tylenol, to help alleviate this pressure.  Each time the patient comes in for an adjustment, their teeth will be sore for a couple of days afterwards since a new wire or “push” is being created by the orthodontist.  

Are braces worth it? Braces not only give the patient a nice, beautiful smile, but they help make sure the patient’s bite is corrected. Having a good bite is so important, especially as a patient gets older.  Having an improper bite can cause gum recession, worn teeth, TMJ problems, jaw pain, and even grinding habits. Also, having straight teeth makes brushing and flossing your teeth so much easier.  Therefore, the patient is less likely to have cavities, since brushing and flossing are easier with straight teeth.  Overall oral hygiene is better with straight teeth. So, yes, it is definitely worth wearing braces to avoid all the above things that can happen if a patient has crooked teeth.  The amount that is paid for braces is far less than all the oral hygiene problems and gum recession that may take place, if braces are not worn to correct overbites, and underbites and teeth crowding.  Braces are definitely worth it! 

A similar question to how long do I have to wear braces, is how long will braces take to straighten teeth? Once braces are put on and the patient has had several adjustments, the patient will look at their teeth and think that their teeth look straight. Yes, the teeth will look straight, but that does not mean that it is time to take off the braces, because braces are doing much more than just straightening the teeth.  The orthodontist is also using the braces with rubber bands worn in the back to correct the bite.  Also, they are making sure all the upper teeth are lined up correctly with the lower teeth as well as making sure all the tooth roots are properly aligned and not touching each other. So, just because your teeth look straight does not mean the braces are ready to come off.  It does mean you’re getting close, though!  

Smiles Hollywood Orthodontics offers complimentary comprehensive exams.  Please call us at 972-529-9700 to schedule your exam today. We would love to see you soon!