If you’re considering Invisalign to straighten your teeth, you’re probably also wondering how long you can expect it to take. The answer is a little more complicated than you might think because there are a few different factors involved. Here’s what you need to know about how long it takes for Invisalign to straighten teeth.
Average Invisalign Treatment Time
First, let’s talk about the average treatment time for Invisalign. According to the Invisalign website, the typical treatment time for Invisalign is 12 to 18 months. While this is the average length of treatment for most patients, there are always outliers—plenty of people are able to achieve their results in under a year, while there are some rare cases that take longer than 18 months.
Predictability is one of the key benefits of the Invisalign system over traditional braces. When you come in for your consultation, we can offer you a fairly accurate timeline for your treatment because we’ll determine how many aligners are needed to straighten your teeth, and we know that each set of aligners will be worn for around two weeks.
Your Orthodontic Case
The severity of your crowding, spacing, and bite issues is the most important factor in determining how long you’ll need to wear your Invisalign aligners.
Patients who only have minor orthodontic issues—adults who have had orthodontic relapse, for example—may only need a few months of aligner therapy to correct their bite issues and teeth misalignments. Patients with crowded teeth and a significant underbite or overbite could require more than 18 months of Invisalign.
These issues are all taken into account when we’re planning your treatment, and they determine the number of aligners needed to straighten your teeth.
Compliance With Invisalign Treatment
While we can predict your treatment length based on the severity of your orthodontic issues, we can’t predict how we’ll you’ll comply with your Invisalign treatment. This is the other major factor in determining how long it will take to reach your final results.
Invisalign recommends wearing aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, but we encourage you to wear them all the time, except while drinking anything other than water, eating, brushing your teeth, or flossing. Invisalign aligners only work when you have them in, unlike traditional braces, which are permanently affixed to your teeth and work 24/7. Wearing your aligners as much as possible every day will help your treatment stay on schedule.
Your treatment may take longer than you expected if you take your aligners out frequently and leave them out for long periods of time. When you come to our office for check-ins, we might notice that your teeth aren’t moving the way we’d like them to and ask you to wear your current set of aligners for longer than two weeks, or even ask you to move back to a previous set of aligners to make sure you’re progressing through your treatment properly.
Patients who don’t wear their aligners for at least 20 hours each day will find that their treatment takes longer than predicted during their consultation. Most people have no trouble complying with the Invisalign system, though, because aligners are clear and comfortable. There’s simply no reason to take them out!