Orthodontic treatment usually takes 18 – 24 months. Some patients may finish treatment earlier and others may take longer to complete. The total treatment time depends on the severity of the malocclusion, the type of treatment carried out, and the co-operation of the patient.
After the completion of the active part of orthodontic treatment, the braces are removed and retainers (retaining appliances) are fitted to hold the teeth steady in their new position. These appliances may be removable plates or wires fitted behind the teeth.
Retainers play an important role in the treatment. If they are not worn according to instructions, the teeth may move back towards their original position.
The retaining appliances are usually worn:
- Just at night for a year
- Full-time for one year
- Phased out for one more years
The orthodontist observes the corrected teeth periodically for about five years after the retainers have been phased out.