How long does it take to see changes in your teeth during an orthodontic braces treatment?

Exciting changes in tooth movement can be seen as early as 4-6 weeks. Of course, the speed of tooth movement varies from person to person. Factors such as age, amount of crowding, clenching or bruxism (teeth grinding), certain medications, density of bone, and the patient’s metabolic rate can affect speed of tooth movement. Before orthodontic braces treatment in Tucson ask Dr. Leo Toureno if certain medications you’re taking can affect rate of tooth movement or if you might have bruxism.

In addition, patient compliance factors such as wearing rubber bands as directed, keeping good oral hygiene and not breaking or loosening any brackets during treatment have major roles in getting teeth moved in the right direction and on time.

Age: Younger patients tend to have “softer” bones and higher metabolic rates especially in their rapid pubertal growth phase. As such, their teeth tend to move quicker relative to an adult who typically has denser bones and lower metabolic rate. Thus, it is advantageous to start orthodontic treatment sooner. The ideal time to start braces is when the last of the “baby” or primary teeth start to feel loose which roughly translates to 10-12 year olds. Girls tend to enter the growth spurt earlier and may start orthodontic treatment before boys of the same age. Please bear in mind that there are times when it may be prudent to do an Early Phase I orthodontic treatment if severe problems such as crossbites, underbites, and openbites are noted between 7 to 9 years of age. Fortunately, these issues that warrant Early Orthodontics treatment are the minority.

Crowding: the more crowding there is, the more time it takes to straighten and align them. In addition, crowded teeth needs to overcome much more friction between teeth to “free” themselves.

Clenching or bruxism can delay tooth movement due to the forces that “pins” the teeth to stay in their positions.

Medications: certain medicines can slow or inhibit tooth movement such as those for bone treatments.

A common misconception is that people think heavier forces mean faster tooth movement. Nothing could be further from the truth-research has shown that extremely heavy forces could have the opposite effect of rapid tooth movement. In general, Dr. Leo Toureno uses light forces to move teeth. For example, 2 oz. elastics are usually used instead of the traditional 4-6 oz. used by others.

Dr. Leo Toureno uses a special type of braces that allow natural tooth movement thereby decreasing the amount of force necessary to “drag” the teeth into position. This is yet another reason not all orthodontic braces treatments are the same. Come see us for your complimentary consultation to discuss your best treatment options for your new smile!