I think we need to clarify this question. Actually, the right question would be: „How many activations do we need to obtain a complete and stable orthodontic treatment?”.
It is often said that an orthodontic treatment lasts on average 24 months. However, this is a completely random number and means NOTHING actually, because, if it does exist something that the orthodontist cannot control, then this is the TIME. Nobody, not even the orthodontist is able to control the time! All he/she can do is to deal with the appointments. Time always depends on a multitude of factors impossible to predict.
Variables may differ from the ”absences” of the patient up to a wide range of complications which cannot be controlled, such as device shifting or damaging, biological limitations, etc.
I, for myself, do inform my patients in relation to the number of meetings related to activation, which involve in fact those services which efficiently contribute to the end of the treatment scheme. A proper cooperation from the patient has a direct effect on the treatment time as, the more the patient adhere to this time schedule, the less activations are needed.
I think it is time to talk less about the treatment time and to concentrate more on the number of activations because it is only then when we may effectively separate the chaff from the wheat or rather the time from consultations we will be able to demonstrate once and for all the effectiveness and reliability of the orthodontic treatment.
Your smile is your superpower!