How Long Does Invisalign Take to Straighten Your Teeth?
Treatments & Care
28 February 2019
Invisalign is growing in popularity as an orthodontic treatment because people like that the aligners are clear and nearly invisible, and they can take them out to eat.
One of first questions people ask our Orthodontists about Invisalign is:
“How long will it take to straighten my teeth with Invisalign?”
The simple answer is: “It depends.” For simple cases, treatment time with Invisalign aligners can be as short as six months. Typically, Invisalign will take 12 months to 18 months to straighten your teeth.
For more complex cases such as crowded teeth, the treatment time could be 24 months or slightly longer. Some crowding cases are too severe for Invisalign to be effective so the orthodontist may recommend traditional braces or a combination of other orthodontic treatments.
No two people have the same treatment requirements because everyone’s teeth are slightly different which impacts treatment time.
Why Does Invisalign Treatment Length Vary so Much?
Every case is different, so it’s up to your Orthodontist to advise on your specific requirements and estimate how long your Invisalign treatment will take. The main things that affect how much time Invisalign will take include:
- How much your teeth need to move to achieve the desired orthodontic outcome.
- The greater the distance teeth need to move, the longer treatment will take.
- The pace of teeth movement differs from person to person.
- The complexity of your case – the more complex the case the longer your Invisalign treatment will take
- How compliant the patient is with wearing Invisalign for the required 22 hours per day. If you don’t wear the clear aligners for long enough, treatment will take longer and will not be as effective.
At your initial consultation, your orthodontist will give you an idea of how long your Invisalign treatment will take. They will develop a treatment plan that includes estimated treatment time, recommended treatments and the Invisalign cost.
As long as you wear your aligners as directed, your treatment should be close to the Orthodontist’s estimate.
How Long Does Invisalign Take to Close a Gap?
We can use Invisalign for closing gaps between teeth however there are limitations. The maximum gap size of 6mm for Invisalign may take close to 24 months and a small gap will require a shorter treatment time frame. If a single gap or multiple gaps in either the top or bottom row are more than 6mm combined, Invisalign won’t be effective in closing the gap.
How Long Does Invisalign Take For Crowded Teeth?
If the crowding is mild, it could take as little as 6 to 12 months for Invisalign to treat crowding. The more severe the crowded teeth are, the longer the treatment will take. In severe cases of crowding, Invisalign may not be the best treatment option. It’s up to your Orthodontist to give their professional opinion, they may recommend other treatments in conjunction with Invisalign or recommend that you don’t use Invisalign at all.
Does Invisalign Take Longer to Straighten Teeth For Adults?
Many of our adult patients ask us “How long does Invisalign take to straighten teeth for adults?”
Invisalign doesn’t necessarily take longer for adults compared to children or teenagers. Everyone is different and some people’s mouths have teeth that move easily while some people have teeth that take a bit longer to move, age isn’t a determining factor.
Recommended Daily Time for Wearing Invisalign
Many patients considering Invisalign like the idea of being able to remove their retainers. Standard metal braces don’t allow this however what many patients don’t realize is that Invisalign trays must be worn for 22-23 hours per day every day to be effective. This means patients should only remove the retainers to eat, drink and brush their teeth.
Before anyone decides on Invisalign, they should ask themselves ‘am I disciplined enough to wear the retainers for 22 hours a day?’ If they have any doubts about being able to comply, other orthodontics treatments may be a better option.
Other Things to Be Aware of With Clear Aligners
Invisalign is appealing because the clear aligners are virtually invisible. Another person needs to be standing close to see you are wearing aligners and they are virtually undetectable from a distance or in photos.
One of the major advantages of Invisalign is not having to alter your diet. With traditional braces you can’t eat sticky, hard or crunchy foods because they could break a bracket or wire. Invisalign aligners are taken out before eating so you can eat whatever you like. What stays the same however is the need to brush after eating. You risk decay and Invisalign not working as well if food remains in your teeth after putting your aligners back in without first brushing.
It’s best to see an Orthodontist to Get a Personalized treatment plan
What some patients don’t realize is Invisalign may not produce the same final result as braces. It’s a great option for some people but every case is unique so make sure you consider all of the options to get the best treatment for your smile. The only way to find out what Invisalign can and can’t do for your smile is to make an appointment with an experienced orthodontist who can give you all the information you need.