How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Written by: Top Doctors®
Published: | Updated: 25/01/2019
Edited by: Top Doctors®

One of the most common questions that patients ask is how long an orthodontic procedure will take, but unfortunately the answer is not that simple. There are many factors that impact the length of the treatment such as the type of malocclusion (poor bite), whether or not teeth are removed, and what type of appliance is used.


What are the most common orthodontic procedures?

Modern treatments mean people do not have to wear braces for four or five years unlike in the past. Moreover, many adult patients who wore braces during their teens now ask for Invisalign® or other invisible orthodontic treatments, such as lingual braces, thanks to relapses they may have experienced through not using a retainer, or not using the correct aftercare.  

Nowadays, orthodontic treatments, in the hands of a good orthodontist, can be performed more quickly than they were a few years ago thanks to micro-screws, self-ligating brackets, modern wires, and many other advances. For an orthodontic treatment to happen quickly and without delays the patient has to plan each step in the treatment and know what will be done at each stage. Dental hygiene is also incredibly important, and cleaning procedures or aftercare advised by the orthodontist should be followed closely to maximise chances of success.

How long should orthodontic treatment take?

A good orthodontic treatment can last between 12 months (for simple cases) and 30 months (for more complex cases), depending on the individual. For a patient with:

  • Slight crowding - a few months
  • Malocclusion class II - may take up for 24 months for a successful solution
  • Extractions – 18-24 months, usually closer to 24 months than 18
  • Impacted teeth (in the palate) – 24-30 months
  • Invisalign® treatment – 12-24 months depending on the type of malocclusion
  • i7 – invisalign® 7 – usually from two to three months, as this treatment serves for the correction of small movements in the teeth
  • Invisalign® lite – usually takes between seven to 12 months


Is there a 'right' amount of time for orthodontic treatment?


Some patients can go through orthodontic procedures for great lengths of time without ever being told how long their orthodontic treatment will take. It is important that the patient knows the treatment time and should ask if the orthodontist does not offer the information.

Of course, there are complex cases, which can take years to correct, however in most cases orthodontic treatment can be expected to last between 12 and 24 months.


By Topdoctors
Oral & maxillofacial surgery

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