If you're thinking about getting Invisalign to straighten your teeth, you're probably wondering how long it will take. Because there are a few different factors at play in determining the length of treatment, the answer is a little more complicated than you might expect. Here's all you need to know about how long Invisalign takes to straighten teeth and correct your bite.
Average Invisalign Treatment Time
First, let's talk about the average Invisalign treatment time. The average treatment time for Invisalign is 12 to 18 months, at least according to the Invisalign website. (At our practice, it’s usually closer to the 12-month mark.) While this is the typical amount of treatment time needed for most patients, there are always exceptions—many people achieve their treatment goals in less than a year, while some complex cases take longer than 18 months.
One of the main advantages of the Invisalign system over traditional braces is its predictability. We can give you a fairly accurate time frame for your treatment when you come in for your consultation with Dr. Massiah, since he’ll determine how many aligners you'll need to straighten your teeth during this appointment. We know that each set of aligners will be worn for about two weeks, so the number of aligners times two roughly equals your treatment length.
Your Orthodontic Case
The most important factor in calculating how long you'll need to wear your Invisalign aligners is the severity of your crowding, spacing, and bite concerns.
Patients with only minor orthodontic issues, such as adults who had braces as teens and only need some refinements after orthodontic relapse, may require a few months of aligner therapy to correct their misalignments. Patients who need to correct misalignments and major bite issues may need Invisalign for more than 18 months.
When Dr. Massiah plans your Invisalign treatment, he considers all of these factors, and this determines how many aligners you’ll need.
Compliance With Invisalign Treatment
While we can predict how long your Invisalign treatment will take depending on the severity of your orthodontic case, we can't predict how well you'll comply with your treatment instructions. This is the other major factor at play in determining how long it will take you to get your desired results with Invisalign.
Wearing aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day is recommended by Invisalign, but we recommend that you wear them all the time, except while drinking anything other than water, eating, brushing your teeth, or flossing. Unlike traditional braces, which are permanently affixed to your teeth and work all day long, Invisalign aligners only work when you wear them. Wearing your aligners as much as possible each day can help you stay on track with your treatment.
If you take your aligners out frequently and for long periods of time, your treatment may take longer than predicted during your initial consultation appointment. When you visit our office for check-ins, Dr. Massiah may observe that your teeth aren't moving as quickly as we'd like them to, and he may ask you to wear your current set of aligners for longer than two weeks, or even switch to a previous set to ensure you're progressing appropriately through your treatment.
Patients who do not wear their aligners for at least 20 hours a day will find that their treatment takes longer than they’d like. Luckily, the fact that Invisalign aligners are clear and comfortable means that most of our patients have no problem wearing them as recommended. There’s no reason to take them out when they’re virtually invisible!