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How long do braces take?

How long do braces take

Teeth straightening is a marathon, not a sprint. We can’t move teeth instantly, but we can promise you results that are worth the wait.

Orthodontic treatment moves teeth by applying gentle pressure using fixed braces or removable aligners. Below your gumline your bone remodels around your teeth as they move, securing them in
their new positions.

Teeth respond best to light forces, so the harder you push, the more they’ll resist. You’ll also find your treatment considerably less comfortable if we try to move your teeth too quickly.

How to straighten teeth quickly

It can take 12–18 months to align teeth, but some patients are suitable for ‘short-term orthodontic treatment’, which can take as little as 4–6 months.

Short-term treatment uses the same braces and techniques to move teeth. It’s speedier than comprehensive orthodontic treatment because it only focuses on straightening your front teeth.

If you’re happy with the way your back teeth bite together, you could be sporting a new smile in less than six months.

Short-term treatment can be ideal if you’ve worn braces before and your teeth have relapsed. Using hidden lingual braces (pictured below) or clear Invisalign aligners, we can restore your smile to its former glory.

How much are lingual braces

How long will your treatment take?

We’ll be able to accurately tell you how long your treatment will take at your free consultation. Sometimes choosing a particular brace can shorten your treatment. No appliance is consistently quicker, but Invisalign, for example, is usually swifter at closing open bites than fixed braces.

Invisalign recently halved the time you need to wear each set of aligners for, which could shave months off your journey.

If you opt for Invisalign, your treatment will include a 3D treatment plan, which will show you each stage of your treatment and how long it will take. It’s exciting to see how quickly you’ll see an improvement in your smile.

How to avoid delays to your treatment

Our time estimates are usually very accurate, but some factors aren’t within our control.

Here are some tips to avoid prolonging your treatment:

  • Don’t miss your orthodontic check-ups
  • Keep your teeth clean and healthy
  • Avoid anything that could break your braces
  • Wear your aligners for at least 20 hours a day
  • Wear your elastics or attachments as instructed

If your treatment does take longer than planned, it’s because we want you to have the very best outcome. Those last few tweaks are worth the wait.

Techniques to move teeth faster

Several methods promise to speed up teeth straightening but approach with caution.

Vibrational forces

Micropulse devices claim to move teeth faster by stimulating bone remodelling. However, this is widely disputed, and the research into their effectiveness is lacking.


PBM uses LED light pulses to increase blood flow, which allegedly speeds up tooth movement. Currently, there isn’t enough credible evidence to support this treatment.

Localised trauma

Surgical treatments such as corticotomy and piezocision involve making small cuts to the bone surrounding your teeth to accelerate tooth movement. If the technique isn’t enough to put you off, the inconclusive results should be.

If you have a deadline for your new smile, visit us for a free consultation – you may be surprised by what we can achieve in a short space of time.

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