the waiting game

An article from the desk of Dr. John Kelley

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

“In 1998 when it was time to retire, we prayed and prayed and prayed that God would send someone who would love our practice and love our people... and entered John Kelley. We knew it was a match from the start!”

A Few of Our smiles

What our Patients are Saying

"I couldn’t be happier with the care I received from Dr. Kelley and his amazing staff. I am a dental hygienist and was seeking out the best orthodontist I could find. Dr. Kelley came highly recommended by patients and colleagues. I am so thankful that I chose this office for my orthodontic needs. My smile is perfect and far beyond what I ever thought it could be. Dr. Kelley is outstanding at what he does. He and his staff exceeded my expectations in every way. I am really going to miss coming here!"
"For 10 years, Dr. Kelley has provided excellent orthodontics to our three children, all uniquely tailored to their corrective needs. They have beautiful smiles! Our last child is finishing her set this year and she is so excited to see the final product! Excellent orthodontics aside, I cannot say enough about Dr. Kelley’s manner with kids and parents. He is extremely wise, knowledgeable, kind, and tender hearted and has a special way with patients in the office. We always feel heard and seen here. The staff is also wonderful, always helpful and understanding! This is a family practice and feels like home. Highly recommend!"
"We love Dr. Kelley! As an assistant in a general dentist office, we referred to him for years. When it came to my own daughter’s orthodontic needs, Dr. Kelley was the only one I trusted. His staff is so sweet and amazing. Speaking from a career in dental experience, there is no one else I would recommend!"
"We have nothing but wonderful things to say about Dr Kelley and his staff. He treated both our boys for 2 sets of braces each, and they were so kind, professional and accommodating with every visit! We have and will continue to recommend him to any friends/family looking for an orthodontist in Ft Worth!"
"Dr. Kelley did my ortho when I was a teenager and now he is treating my son. I couldn't have chosen a better Dr. to do it. I work at a Dentist office and Dr. Kelley is the only orthodontist we refer to. He has such a wonderful bedside manner and I love the Christian environment that his office shows. All of his staff is exceptional as well."
"Dr. Kelley and his staff are fantastic! The personalized care provided to our family has been above and beyond. Twice Dr. Kelley has met us after hours and on the weekend to fix a problem that happened to my son while he was away at college. Our daughter had a cleft lip and palate and has complex orthodontic issues. The results of her orthodontic care are amazing. I highly recommend Dr. Kelley!"
"Dr. Kelley and his team exemplify excellence. I don’t typically do reviews, but that office is special. They’ll make you feel like family while helping you achieve the perfect smile. They’re the best!"
"After much researching, we have chosen Dr. Kelley & his team for our orthodontic needs. Dr. Kelley has proven to be a professional who genuinely cares about his patients' needs & reaching their goals. He is always friendly & attentive. He has shown himself to be a servant leader not only in his dental practice but also in the community. We feel blessed to have met a doctor who truly cares for his patients!"
american board of orthodontists american association of orthodontists invisalign the clear alternative to braces three shape TRIOS intraoral scanners

Contact Us

call us today at 8173380771

(817) 338-0771

send us a text message at 8173380771

(817) 338-0771



4901 Bryant Irvinn Rd N #300
Fort Worth, TX 76107