If you're an adult or teen patient thinking about getting Invisalign to straighten your teeth, you probably have a lot of questions about what you can expect from treatment, and especially about how long it will take. Because there are a few different factors at play, the answer to this question isn’t exactly straightforward! Here's what you need to know about how long Invisalign takes to straighten teeth.
Average Invisalign Treatment Time
Let's begin by discussing the average treatment time with Invisalign. According to information from Invisalign itself, the average treatment time is 12 to 18 months. While this is the typical period of treatment for most patients, there are always exceptions—many people achieve their goals in less than a year, while some cases take longer than 18 months.
One of the main advantages of the Invisalign system over traditional braces is predictability. We can give you a fairly reliable ballpark figure for your treatment time when you come in for your consultation because during this appointment, we determine how many aligners you'll need to straighten your teeth. Since each set of aligners will be worn for about two weeks, multiplying the number of aligners you need by two gives you a rough estimate for how long you’ll wear your aligners.
Your Orthodontic Case
The most significant factor in determining how long you'll need to wear your Invisalign aligners is the severity of your crowding, spacing, and bite concerns.
Patients with only minor issues, such as adults who have experienced orthodontic relapse, may only require a few months of aligner therapy to straighten misaligned teeth. Patients with crowded teeth and a substantial bite issue may need Invisalign for more than 18 months.
When we plan your treatment, these factors are all considered in determining how many aligners you’ll need to correct your orthodontic issues.
Compliance With Invisalign Treatment
While we can predict how long your Invisalign treatment should take depending on the severity of your orthodontic case, we can't predict how well you’ll comply with Invisalign treatment. This is the other major factor in determining how long it will take to get your desired results.
Wearing aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day is recommended by Invisalign, but we recommend that you wear your aligners all the time, except while drinking anything other than water, eating, brushing your teeth, or flossing. Unlike traditional braces, which are bonded to your teeth and work 24 hours a day to straighten them, Invisalign aligners only work while you wear them. This means that wearing your aligners as much as possible each day will help you stay on track with your treatment.
If you take your aligners out frequently and leave them out for long periods of time, your treatment is likely to take longer than we initially predicted during your consultation. When you visit our office for check-ins, we may see that your teeth aren't moving as we'd expect them to, and we may ask you to wear your current set of aligners for longer than two weeks, or even switch to a prior set to ensure you're progressing appropriately through your treatment.
Patients who do not wear their aligners for at least 20 hours per day will find that their treatment takes longer than their consultation suggested. Because Invisalign aligners are clear and comfortable, most people have little issue wearing them all day long, but if you think you (or your teen) might be tempted to take them out often, traditional braces may be a better option for orthodontic treatment.
Learn More About Invisalign
Is Invisalign a fit for you? To learn more, contact us today and schedule an appointment with one of our orthodontists.