How Long Should Braces Stay On?

Updated on July 23, 2011
T.R. asks from Richardson, TX
20 answers

hello moms,
I was wondering if there is a standard time frame for braces or it depends on the individual situation? I am asking because my daughter and my friends daughter had them put on about the same time, it seem like her daughter needed more things done than mine and they were given the same lenght of time, 2 years. I think my dd teeth are fine and should have her braces remove now but the dentist says that they need more time.

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So What Happened?

Thank you all for your responses, I didn't think about the age difference and how some people teeth align better than others. I should think more about the end result instead of how long it takes to get there. Thanks again.

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answers from Tyler on

You have to trust that the Orthodonist is looking at the expensive xrays you have paid for and is thinking about not only the teeth that already needing to be straightened but the ones still yet to come in (think wisdom teeth). My oldest just had her braces taken off after 2 years and her teeth are beautiful! I started bugging the ortho after 1 and 1/2 years because my dgtr was miserable with the jaw pain, but we are both very satisfied with the results. They won't even consider putting my 12 yr old in braces until she has a few more permanent teeth, it is a very conservative practice. Trust the professional you are paying to do the job and you will be happy with the final result.



answers from Dallas on

My daughter will be getting her braces off next week after 2 1/2 years. I think it depends on each individual. The ortho office we go to told us up front that it would take between 2-3 years before they would take them off. I was told once we were happy with the results we could request a review and if the dentist agreed everything looked good they would take them off. If the dentist doesn't feel she is ready to have them removed I would just wait, but talk with him and find out what they are still trying to fix exactly. What difference will it make for her if it is perfect or not. Understanding what the dentist is doing helps in being patient. Good Luck!

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answers from Honolulu on

It depends on the individual and their mouth structure/problem.

When I was in Middle School, 7th grade, I got braces. Top and bottom.
I had it on for 3 years.
To correct my bite.
I had a lower bite protrusion.
Most people have their upper teeth, protruding.

Anyway, I hated it.

For my kids, we will only put braces IF they need it, structurally.
Not for cosmetics.

Nowadays, in the USA... braces seems to be a 'have to' no matter what.
For various reasons. AND, they are putting it on kids, even in Elementary school before their teeth even fall out.
Their jaws are still growing as well.
So then, later, they will have to have braces AGAIN... a 2nd phase of it.

BUT... my Dentist, said that the mouth has 'memory' and even after the braces are taken off, a person has to wear their retainers... for life. Because the mouth/teeth will still shift around.
Which is true.
I, even now... HAVE TO wear my retainers, because my teeth still shifts. My teeth, want to go back to where it was.
The teeth, is not static.
And with age and growing, the jaws and teeth, still shift and grow and move. This is per my Dentist as well.
The teeth, are not static.
Retainers... HAS TO be still, used and worn, everyday.
Me, I have to wear mine at night.
And have been doing so, ever since my braces were removed, in High School.

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answers from Charlotte on

Oh yes, it depends on the individual situation.

And it depends on the type of braces.

What is your orthodontist telling you? How old is your child? If you have a teen, can he or she qualify for Invisilign Teen? Does your orthodontist use those braces? How about the Damon System? That's a wonderful system.

I would say that if your orthodontist ONLY uses the older conventional braces, look up both of the above methods online, and find a provider of both these systems in your area. Go in and discuss it with them. Find out if your child qualifies before you pick a system or orthodontist. You should be an informed consumer.

With my older son, I initially chose the Damon system because it causes less pain. My older son is pretty sensitive to pain and I really didn't want to be dealing with that with him. The orthodontist was VERY close to his school, and that was also a plus. But when I took him in, they told me that his teeth qualified for Invisilign Teen which would take less time that the other braces, and also caused less pain. My son was already older, almost 17, and he really listened to the dentist regarding how to take care of his teeth and his trays. It was a very successful system for us.

Now, my younger son? If he needed braces, (which he doesn't), I would not use Invisilign Teen with him because he isn't as responsible. I would get the Damon System for him, though.

Research before you choose.

Good luck,

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answers from Atlanta on

There is a great book called Cure your tooth decay. If you read it and get your kids on a weston a price type of diet their jaws may continue to expand to accommodate their teeth. Kids don't eat are not raised on a Nutrient Dense Diet, therefore their entire facial and skeletal structure is compromised. This is why most kids these days have to have braces. It's the rule not the exception like it was in my parents era when they ate real food.

Check out for optimizing your diet to help improve their facial structure...

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answers from Washington DC on

it all depends upon the individual and what needs to be done to the teeth...

mine were on for 2 years, 2 months, 2 weeks, 2 day and 2 hours (can you tell I wasn't counting??)

My son? 18 months. Will he need a second set? Probably - but he really needed help!!!

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answers from Salt Lake City on

Oh it definitely depends on what needs to be moved/corrected in each individual. I had them for 3 years, but during that time, I also had my jaw widened and pushed out. My brother only had them for 18 months because he didn't need anything else done.

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answers from Dallas on

I got mine as an adult, and they were on 2 years. Just got them off, actually!!

It definitely depends on the situation, but I *think* 18 months-3 years might be the most common duration.

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answers from Dover on

Yep, it's different for everyone. I had mine for right around 2 years, my sister had hers for 3. We don't know yet about my son, but we do know for sure he's going to need them.

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answers from Boston on

My older kids have had orthodontic consults and both are estimated for 18 months. My 7 year old will need hit upper palate expanded and I don't know how long that will be. I had that attempted in high school (many years too late for it to work) and I had all kinds of appliances for 3 years (and jaw surgery).

Anyway...most of my kids' friends with run-of-the-mill crowding or twisted teeth had them for 18-24 months.

Regarding the info from S.H. I respectfully disagree with the retainer for life idea. Two of my siblings and I had braces and none of us has worn a retainer in at least 15 years and our teeth are all straight. I know lots of adults with straight teeth who had braces as kids and haven't worn a retainer in decades. I honestly think that some orthodontists push this to keep patients coming back for more check ups and replacement retainers. I'm sure that some patients do need this, but it's probably pretty rare. And the reason kids get braces in elementary school is precisely BECAUSE the jaw is still growing, so using appliances while they are young can help guide the jaw's growth and correct things like overbites and under bites early. Those cases aren't about straightening teeth, they're about correcting the growth of the jaw.

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answers from Seattle on

All teeth are different. Some only need them for 6 months, others (like me) needed them for 3 years. Accept the advice of the person who probably knows the most about orthodontia and your daughter's teeth, i.e., your orthodontist.

And here is some alternate reading to counter the suggestion to change your diet so you don't need orthodontia(?!), aka the Weston A Price philosophy.

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answers from Biloxi on

My son is 15, his estimated time as a metal head is three years from January 2011. His jaws are being moved, his soft palette reshaped, and his teeth straightened. The jaw and soft palette should be completed in 6 or 7 months, then the braces stay on for about another two years. In his case, the straight teeth and correction of a serious overbite, took a backseat to his jaw and soft palette issues - straight teeth are just a bonus at this point. :)

Just because your daughter's teeth look fine to you, it does not mean they are "set". Moving teeth need to stay help in place until everything, literally, set into place place.

Also, some people's teeth take longer than others. You really can't compare her treatment program to anyone else.

Listen to your orthodontist - after all - it's what you paid them for.

Good Luck

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It depends on the person. One of my girls needs them for an overbite but otherwise her teeth are in pretty good shape so maybe 15 to 18 months. My son may or may not need them and if so, for a short time just to help his teeth along. Helping the teeth would actually be able to help prevent cavities since bad spacing prevents proper cleaning. My other daughter has her father's side of the family's teeth. The eye teeth do not descend properly so are too high. She will most likely need 2 stages of braces and she is NOT happy about it. When they were younger, before all baby teeth were gone, the dentist we saw wanted to put braces on her to stretch her mouth and possibly remove teeth to make room.. I am very glad we did not do that. My nephew just had his braces off after 2 years and had very similar issues. He will use a retainer for a couple years more and then can probably get rid of it. They will see once he has used it for some years if his teeth tend to shift anyway.


answers from Norfolk on

I had them for 7 years but my teeth were all over the place and my teeth were too big to fit in my jaws. (This was before there were expander s to make more room.)
My son had them for 2 years.
It totally depends on the individual.


answers from Washington DC on

when I had mine, I had them for 2 years. My sister, had to have them once for 2 years when she was 12, and then AGAIN for another 2 years when she was 18. I don't know what the usual is, but I would think around 2 years.



answers from Minneapolis on

My older daughter has a real mess to deal with in her mouth. She needed top braces in 4th grade for a severe bite correction. We had 2 opinions, both said she should have this done. Even one said that he hardly ever recommends early intervention, said my daugher should have it done. Those were only on for about 9 months. Was supposed to be slightly longer, but they were satisfied the alignment issue was much improved. She wore a retainer for about 6 months. In spring of 6th grade she got top braces again. Though there is a chance she may have more growing to do, this was the best option for her small mouth to not have perm teeth pulled. We are at this point now. She will need an estimated 2 years of bottom braces, but they aren't going to put those on for awhile because the top will take longer, and this way she can be done with both at the same time. I really think it just varies with each person. 2 years may just be a standard average estimate, could be more, could be less depending on how the individual responds to the braces.



answers from Seattle on

It totally depends on the individual. I had mine on for 2 years, my brother 3 years and some friends had theirs on for 4 years. Usually individuals who require surgery before they have their braces put on wear them longer.



answers from Dallas on

It ultimately is determined on an individual basis but I have noticed the faster you pay for them the faster they come off. For example, if the orthodontist tells you 2 years and you make arrangements to pay it out for two years...don't count on getting them off any sooner if you haven't finished paying.



answers from Dallas on

Depends. And trust the Dentist, unless you also are a dentist and can do it yourself.



answers from Tyler on

You don't say how old your daughter is, or was when the braces went on. The older the child, the longer the braces stay on. Also the more correction, of course, the longer it takes. We put one child in braces at age 13, and she wore them 18 months, but hers was a bite correction and not crooked teeth. Another child got braces at age 10. She had very bucked teeth, so she wore them 2+ years. Both have beautiful teeth today. Go with what your orthodontist advises. He/she is the expert.

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