OK, so you’re in ortho, and you loved it at first, but now you’re thinking, “I’m really loving the idea of being done with this.” The next appointment comes around, and you ask the big question: “How much longer do I have to go before I’m out of braces?” And then you sit there looking deep into the eyes of the doctor, hanging onto every breath for the answer that you want to hear. He says, “Hmm. That’s a good question! Let’s see what’s left to be done. Mmm hmm. Mmm hmmm! Yep. You’re on track!” Your world starts to go dark. Your hearing gets a bit muffled. You start to feel dizzy. “Will I have to do to PROM with braces on? Will I have to get my DRIVER’S LICENSE with braces on? Will I have to get MARRIED with braces on? Will I DIE with braces on? Good grief! Why can’t they just tell me that my braces can come off TODAY?!”
Here’s the answer: There isn’t a certain time that braces must be on teeth to finish the job. Every single patient is unique in what he or she needs. Every patient’s treatment plan is different in order get the result that he or she wants – that perfect smile to go with every situation imaginable.
Here, we aim for “perfect” – the perfect look, the perfect bite, and a healthy result that will last the rest of your life. Achieving that result takes time and a lot of effort. While we quote estimates of time at your new patient exam, the estimate is just that – an estimate. Your doctors tell every patient that they are planning the perfect smile for him or her, and that is more important than time in braces.
So, we ask you, “How perfect do you want your smile to be in the end?” We are committed to “perfect,” and we are willing to go the distance to reach that very goal. You can help stay on track by doing EVERYTHING that we ask of you as perfectly as possible. We promise to do the same; but, know that our goal is not to be fast, it’s to be perfect.
You’re a giant part of this orthodontic team. Keep your eye on the goal. We’re glad to talk to you about what is left to accomplish and give you an estimate on how much time is left in treatment. In the meantime, stay focused on how you work your braces each day. It will pay off every day for the rest of your life once you get that perfect smile.