How Long Should Orthodontic Treatment Last?

Length of orthodontic treatment

What is the ideal length of orthodontic treatment?

Treatment Length

One common question we get from patients at Orthodonitc Specialists is “how long should orthodontic treatment last?” Most patients should not be in orthodontic treatment for more than 6 to 18 months total! This is accomplished by optimal timing of treatment initiation. This means starting patients only during their optimal growth spurts and not any sooner, except for occasional interceptive treatment for crossbites or severe crowding.

Beware of “Early” Treatment

Here at Orthodontic Specialists we believe that “early” treatment can get out of hand when many children are in “Phase I” for years. This ends up being excessively drawn out, costly, and is often unnecessary. Furthermore, cases should not be finished without the second molars being banded and in proper occlusion. Second molars are the most common cause of most occlusal inteferences and TMJ problems. This is why we do no start patients until their second molars have erupted.

Why we band molars

Although it can be difficult for patient and orthodontist, banding the first and second molars leads to 25-30% faster treatment time. Although we have tried all of the latest supposed super bonding adhesives, kids often chew and break the molar brackets off. This sets treatment way back. Therefore, we still fit bands, which are more durable, on each of the molars so as to allow very efficient treatment progression.


The length of treatment frequently depends on the cooperation of the patient. When patients fail to follow certain dietary restrictions, braces can break and set treatment back months. Cooperation is also extremely important when it comes to the use of appliances or functional elastics. Orthodontic treatment can often only progress if the patient is wearing their appliance or elastics as prescribed by their orthodontist.


Contact us today for a complimentary exam to learn how long your orthodontic treatment may last. From traditional metal braces to Invisalign we have affordable orthodontic treatment options for every case.

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