How Long Will My Child Wear Braces?

child with braces

Your child will go through lots of smiles before they reach adulthood. So if you’re worried about crooked or overcrowded teeth, it might be time to start thinking about orthodontics. But when do kids get braces?

Nearly 4 million kids and teens start orthodontic treatment every year. For most kids, that means braces—usually between the ages of 9 and 14. Getting braces is a rite of passage for kids today! But the fun doesn’t last forever. Eventually, the braces come off, revealing the beautiful adult smile that will help them conquer the world!

How long will my child wear braces?

Every patient is different, and only your orthodontist can tell you for sure how long your child will wear braces. But in most cases, treatment with braces lasts 1-2 years.

What affects how long my child will wear braces?

How long your child wears braces will depend on how much adjusting needs to be done. For kids with only a slight alignment issue, treatment with braces can be relatively quick – sometimes under a year. For more complex cases, where the bite is severely misaligned, the airway doesn’t open properly or the palate itself is malformed, treatment can take much longer.

Is Invisalign faster than braces?

In general, yes, Invisalign treatment moves teeth into their goal position in less time than it takes for traditional braces to do the same thing. This is because of the way Invisalign puts pressure on the teeth to move them.

With traditional braces, each tooth is individually pulled into its correct position, which generally takes 1-2 years. But with Invisalign and other clear aligners, the force that moves the teeth into position is a “pushing” motion, which works more quickly than traditional braces. Invisalign treatment generally takes from 6-18 months to straighten teeth.

Is there anything my child can do to shorten the time they wear braces?

Not really, but there are things your child can do to make sure their treatment doesn’t last longer than it should! Following your orthodontist’s instructions to the letter is the key to finishing treatment on schedule (or even sooner). That means coming in for appointments as scheduled, wearing removable aligners or bands for the full-time prescribed each day, and avoiding sticky/hard/crunchy foods like hard candy or popcorn that can pop brackets off and increase treatment time.

How long does treatment last once braces come off?

Once your child gets their braces off, they’ll need to wear their retainer 24/7 for the first month, any time they are not eating or brushing their teeth. The first month after debonding is when teeth are most likely to shift out of position, so wearing the retainer is crucial during this time!

After that first month, your orthodontist will decide if it’s time for your child to shift into night-only retainer wearing. Once your child is all clear to wear their retainer only at night, that practice is forever! Maintaining the proper tooth alignment is a lifetime commitment because teeth can shift at any time as we age.


Other questions about braces? Explore your options and contact us today to schedule an appointment.