The most frequent question I receive in our office is, “When will I get my braces off?” In second place and right behind is, “Dr. Kelley, is there any way to speed up the process?”.

My professional goal for every patient is to create an esthetically pleasing smile with the teeth fitting properly together. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for time to allow both of these things to happen simultaneously. This goal is most often accomplished with traditional or lingual braces in combination with rubber bands. The braces are utilized to place the teeth in the proper alignment. Rubber bands are responsible for fitting the teeth together in the correct position.

Predicting the finish of orthodontic treatment is dependent on the cooperation we have with each one of our patients. Patients who finish treatment early or at the beginning of the estimated treatment time have one main characteristic in common. They are MOTIVATED. Patients who are motivated to get their braces off will come to their appointments on time, maintain excellent oral hygiene, and comply with our instructions for rubber bands. Finishing time for braces is dependent on how well we partner as a team. I love, like really love, taking braces off earlier than expected when patients have trusted us and worked hard to achieve their goal.

The second question, “Is there anyway to speed up the process?” has two answers with a lengthy explanation. From an anatomy/physiology standpoint, orthodontists are currently unable to significantly speed up the process of moving teeth. The bone and gum tissue of the mouth can remodel only so fast.

From a treatment viewpoint, the orthodontic process can be sped up ONLY by performing less treatment. That’s right, less treatment. Less treatment means straightening fewer teeth while often neglecting the most important part of orthodontics, the fit of the teeth. Research and experience show the long term health and stability of a patient’s mouth is greatly affected by how the teeth fit together.

Here lies every American orthodontist’s modern day dilemma. We live in an immediate gratification world. We wait for little. There are companies that will market to this way of thinking. There are several “short-term orthodontic” companies that offer general dentists (not orthodontic specialists) weekend long courses in straightening teeth. I am asked about these products and their results regularly. They entice a large potential patient-base by promising shorter treatment time for less money.

There is nothing special or magical about the products used in short-term orthodontics. Dentists practicing this faster orthodontic plan use exactly the same brackets and wires as those used by orthodontists. BUT the biological rules of the mouth don't change. *The rate at which teeth move is limited by natural processes in the bone and ligaments around the teeth, and in the end, all doctors play by these same rules. So if the rate of tooth movement doesn’t change, how can they get the same orthodontic result in significantly less time?

The bottom line is, they CAN’T. The end result is different. As a board certified orthodontic specialist, *I am trained not only to align the front teeth known as the “social six", but also to correct crowding, protrusion, open bites, deep bites, cross bites, over bites, under bites, impacted teeth, extra teeth, missing teeth, etc. Straightening the six front teeth is generally achievable in the first six months of treatment no matter who provides the braces. It is the attention given to the previously listed bite issues that requires the extra time. The braces are on the teeth a shorter time with short-term orthodontics because the provider merely aligns the front teeth and then takes the braces off without addressing the positioning of the bite. In other words, the process isn’t faster. It is just shorter because it is intentionally terminated before thorough treatment is complete.

I always tell my patients that every smile and orthodontic case is different. There are some patients that can be treated in six months or less and the results are just fine. However, if you have any of the previously mentioned bite issues, simply aligning the front teeth in six months may leave you in a worsen condition than prior to treatment. One key to a great orthodontic experience is choosing a professional with the training and experience to recognize if a case really is “simple” and short-term orthodontics is the best option.

Orthodontists are dental specialists. They receive two to three years of additional training beyond dental school. There are many highly capable and talented orthodontists. We care about our patients, their smiles and their health. Most orthodontists won’t compromise a case to simply achieve a pretty smile. Braces aren’t forever. Isn’t an additional few months of treatment worth it to get your smile and bite right the first time?

In today’s world, there are so few things in which we have to wait. I am thankful that I am part of a profession that teaches patience and the importance of waiting. There are so many rewards to be gained in the process of being still, patiently enduring, and simply waiting.

Grateful to wait with you,
Dr. John Kelley

Visit the following link to find a board certified orthodontists in your area:

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A Few of Our Smiles

What our Patients are Saying

"John Kelley has partnered with us in transforming the H.O.P.E. Farm Boys into men. Kelley Orthodontics has the ability to help our boys develop confidence in their appearances and more importantly their characters. The Kelley Orthodontics team has been an irreplaceable instrument in the success of our program. John Kelley and the Crew… you are the best! "

"Professionalism and efficiency usually don't mix well with warm hospitality, but somehow at Dr. Kelley's office you find it blended comfortably together at every visit. Dr. Kelley not only takes his work seriously but also his relationship with you, the patient. You will not find a more friendly, helpful staff anywhere. "

"When I first found out I was getting braces, I got kind of worried, but Dr. Kelley explained everything to me step by step and made sure I knew how to treat minor pokes or pains in my teeth. They also provided me with toothbrushes and floss just for braces and taught me how to use them. The staff is really friendly and they're really good at accommodating me to where I don't miss anything big at school. Kelley Orthodontist has done a great job helping me with my braces! "

"I personally like it when I go to the orthodontist. When all the other kids at school say, 'I have to go to the orthodontist today,' the usual responses are, 'Hope you come back alive!' or 'That stinks!' But my response is, 'Who do you have?' The reason all the kids hate orthodontics is because they don't have Dr.Kelley! The staff is amazing, they don't put pointy things into your mouth, and they make the appointments quick and fast. Thank you Dr. Kelley for making a place that makes my mouth good as new!"

"We have been so grateful for Dr. Kelley's orthodontic care of our children. His kindness in dealing with our family, thorough medical expertise, and friendly office staff have made this office feel like a second family. Three of our children have been through orthodontics with Dr. Kelley, and not only are their smiles fabulous, but they even enjoy going to the office for visits. We have full confidence in Dr. Kelley's treatment of our children's individual orthodontic needs, and for one of our children in particular have seen significant progress that will likely keep him from surgery down the road. Because orthodontics requires frequent visits and check ups, we are all the more thankful for such a fantastic orthodontist and office staff to spend time with."

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