Dr. Greg Jorgensen
(505) 891-9440
1401 Barbara Loop SE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124

The Jorgensen Orthodontics Blog

Three Reasons Your Orthodontic Braces Are Still On

Posted by Dr. Jorgensen on March 25th, 2012

Calendar Pages

Getting your braces on is exciting, but getting them off is the best day ever! Your orthodontist most likely gave you an estimated treatment time before your braces went on. If that day has come and gone, you are probably wondering why your braces are still on. There are three things that could cause your braces to stay on longer than expected: your orthodontist, you, or biology.

Your orthodontist has advanced training to help him diagnose your problems and come up with a treatment plan that will best correct them. His experience should not only allow him to produce the best result, it should also help him select an approach that gets you there in a reasonable amount of time. Not all orthodontists are the same however. Some place more emphasis on speed than quality. Some are “hands-on” while others are not as intimately involved. It is a personality difference. Your treatment time will be directly affected by the treatment plan your orthodontist choses and how efficiently he executes it. Some ways he can make your treatment take longer include 1) problems with the original diagnosis, 2) problems with the original treatment plan, 3) changes in the original treatment plan during the process, 4) too much time between appointments, or 5) insufficient attention to your progress. Some problems really do take 30 months to correct, but an experienced doctor should be able to warn you about those up front.

You (the patient) are the second variable that affects your treatment time. Your orthodontist may have the perfect diagnosis and treatment plan, but he cannot succeed without your cooperation. Some things you might be doing to sabotage your own treatment time include 1) missing, changing, or spreading out your appointments, 2) arriving late to appointments so the technicians don’t have sufficient time to perform all planned procedures, 3) not getting other necessary procedures done in a timely manner (surgeries, extractions, restorative, etc.), 4) breaking or bending your wires or brackets between visits, or 5) not following instructions regarding rubber bands, aligners, and oral hygiene. Doing your part will not only help keep your treatment on schedule, it will give you the best final results too.

Even if your orthodontist is brilliant and you are the most compliant patient in history, there is still one other factor that neither of you can control. That factor is your biological response. Estimates of treatment time are based upon the complexity of the problem and the normal response of teeth to typical orthodontic forces. In some patients the teeth move faster than normal. In others they move slower. Some patients may have a condition called ankylosis where some teeth won’t move at all. In these cases it won’t matter what you or your orthodontist do, treatment time will be extended. The take home message is that even if you and your orthodontist are both vigilant in your roles, you’ll still need for your teeth to cooperate to get done on time.

If you are in treatment now and are concerned by your prolonged treatment time, consider these three factors: Are you really doing your part? Have you discussed your treatment progress with your orthodontist to see if anything has changed from his perspective? If you’re confident that both of you are doing your best, it may be that your body’s response to treatment is just slow. If you haven’t started yet, ask around and see if the orthodontist you are considering has a reputation for efficient treatment plans and finishing on time. Not all orthodontists are the same.

NOTE: The author, Dr. Greg Jorgensen, is a board-certified orthodontist who is in the private practice of orthodontics in Rio Rancho, New Mexico (a suburb on the westside of Albuquerque). He was trained at BYU, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Iowa in the United States. Dr. Jorgensen’s 25 years of specialty practice and 10,000 finished cases qualify him an expert in two-phase treatment, extraction and non-extraction therapy, functional orthodontics, clear aligners (Invisalign), and multiple bracket systems (including conventional braces, Damon and other self-ligating brackets, Suresmile, and lingual braces). This blog for informational purposes only and is designed to help consumers understand currently accepted orthodontic concepts. It is not a venue for debating alternative treatment theories. Dr. Jorgensen is licensed to diagnose and treat patients only in the state of New Mexico. He cannot diagnose cases described in comments nor can he select treatment plans for readers. Because he has over 25,000 readers each month, it is impossible for him respond to all questions. Please read all of the comments associated with each article as most of the questions he receives each week have been asked and answered previously. The opinions expressed here are protected by copyright laws and can only be used with written permission from the author.

42 comments so far in response to “Three Reasons Your Orthodontic Braces Are Still On”

  1. Jackie says:

    I got 2 extractions yesterday. Im going to get my top wire next week. I got extractions because I have a K9 that needs to be brought down. How long would it take for my teeth to close again?

    • That is a question for your orthodontist who has your mouth and an x-ray right in front of him. There are too many variables to give an estimate over the Internet.

  2. Wendy says:

    Hi ,I just recently went to my ortho appointment and they took x-Rays. They said I needed two of my teeth removed which I’m afraid ,but my main concern is my wisdom teeth are staring to come out specially the top one. Are they suppose to remove those before putting my braces on or could that be the reason why there telling me two of my teeth have to be removed ? I do have an overbite also.

    • Wisdom teeth are so far back that they rarely affect orthodontic treatment for better or worse. Unless they are causing an issue with the 2nd molars I’m trying to move, I allow my patients to choose the best time for them to be removed (before, during, or after treatment)

  3. Sirjesh says:

    I am having braces from last 8 months.
    . m having issue of underbite n crossbite. to correct it my dentist put ‘stop’ between my jaw so that upper teeths will come out.
    but its 8th month now n still they are not coming out, now my dentist is sayng that ur wisdom teeths are pushing your lower teeths hence uper teeths wil take some time n today they increase the size of tht stop. n told me to drink not to chew or eat anythng..now m so much upset because of schedule I cant go without eating. my question is.. is it ok if try to eat without damaging my wires ..or will it affect my treatment if i try to eat. plz help

    • The wisdom teeth are not pushing your lower teeth and a real orthodontist would not tell you to stop chewing or eating. You need to go to find a real orthodontist who is trained and experienced.

  4. Janice says:

    Can an orthodontist provide effective treatment if they only see a patient once every three months?

    Thank you.

    • Although there are orthodontists that claim they can provide good treatment with three month visit intervals, I cannot. I do not feel that there are many adjustments that would take three months to accomplish and that the extra waiting time in between appointments is just prolonging the total treatment time. Some exceptions to this are 1) reducing overjet with rubberbands, NITI springs, or functional appliances, and 2) initial alignment with very flexible NITI wires. Most tooth movement takes place within 48 hours of your adjustments and bone remodeling takes 3 or 4 weeks, so beyond that you’re probably just in a holding pattern.

  5. Uday says:

    I am having under bite problem My Doc suggested for surgery.. they told that before surgery i need to put braces about one year. Yesterday they kept only ceramic hooks but not steel thread… is that ok….?,but they given support like thing to put inside the upper jaw. they told me that keep the “support thing” for an hour about a month then they will put the steal thread.

    • These are questions you need to ask your own orthodontist. He or she can explain exactly what they are using and why. Please get an appointment to have your treatment explained.

  6. Lindsey says:

    My upper teeth is over lapping my lower teeth. I think that’s called overbite? sorry. I paid for an upper and lower brace. via installment. But i do pay as we have agreed, GOOD. The thing is.. is it really natural or is there any reason why my dentist havent put my lower brace. And its been a month. And not using xray and basing on the clients *Feel* or *hunch* asking whether I feel like this teeth is pulling this one, For the gap ofcourse. she has many clients ofcourse, theres also other clients like me for braces. But… is that really okay?

    • It is common to put on the upper set of braces several visits before the lower (or visa versa). I do it all the time. Sometimes the uppers need to be aligned and moved out of the way before the lower ones can be attached to the teeth. I would discuss your orthodontists time table with him at your next visit.

  7. Gia says:

    So I’ve had braces for 4 years now and was suppose to get them off in November of 2015. I still have them on in Feb. of 2016. Well, then I asked and was suppose to get them off the following month but I went today and my ortho now says 4 more months. This is extremely aggrevating. It’s been blamed on me multiple times, for not wearing my bands (which I do)
    I think it’s because my orthodontists switched in mid December and this new one has no clue.

    Is there any possible way to speed up my treatment time or I just have to keep going through this nonsense?

    Thank You

    • I cannot comment on specific treatments since I don’t have you in my chair (and you don’t live in New Mexico where I am licensed). The best thing to do is to ask exactly what needs to be accomplished before your braces can come off the next time your orthodontist is examining your teeth. That way you’ll have a better idea of what’s holding you back.

  8. Luc says:


    My treatment started with a Carrier appliance and strong elastics in an attempt to correct a class 2 bite on one side. There was no movement after 8 weeks and that treatment was stopped. I have since used moderate elastics for the past 7 month in conjunction with self litigating braces. The teeth alignment is progressing, however, there has been no movement in terms of the bite. My Ortho says to keep using the elastics although admitted that my bone structure is particularly hard. Zero bite movement after 9 month doesn’t sound normal. Continuing with the same elastics doesn’t sound right either, especially after the failed Carrier appliance. Should I be concerned?

    Thank you

    • There are some rare conditions where the teeth can’t moved (i.e. ankylosis), but other than that teeth should move if the forces are in place 24/7. You cannot wear them part time and expect movement. You must keep them on except when you eat or when you brush. That means they are in place pulling all the rest of the day and night.

  9. Meme says:

    Hi, I have been on braces for six months and I haven’t started using the rubber bands on side. Are the rubber bands a requirement for all types of overbite treatment or it varies?

  10. Sydney says:

    Hi I’ve had my braces on for almost 3 years and I had gotten them to fix some spacing in the back and aligning. I recently just moved and I wasn’t done, and if I would’ve stuck with the same ortho, I would’ve gotten them off already. But I keep asking when I will get my braces off and the first time he said two appointments but now he’s saying about four or five. He says I’m in the detailing stage but that should’ve happened probably a year ago. I’m getting really mad because I brush my teeth and I follow all the rules with brushing and eating, but it’s been three years and with just some minor spacing and aligning my jaw, my teeth look soooo good now, so why does he keep pushing back the date?

    • This is a great question for your orthodontist. Usually what it means (and this is just a guess) is that even though the teeth may be straight, there must still be a bite issue. Good luck!

Leave a Comment

Back to Top

Your account login
Your rewards
Schedule an appointment with our talented orthodontist online