Most people are familiar with Invisalign® these days—they see the ads, they have friends who have straightened their teeth with the system, and they understand exactly what it is and how it works. There are, however, some questions that people still have about Invisalign® before the start treatment. One of the most common is, “How long does Invisalign® take?” You may expect a simple answer, but the reality is a bit more complex. Read on to find out why.
Average Invisalign® Treatment Time
According to the Invisalign® website, the average treatment time for most patients is 12 to 18 months. Because this is an average, there will naturally be patients who achieve results in less than a year, while others may take more than 18 months. A majority of Invisalign® patients complete treatment within this timeframe, though.
One significant advantage of Invisalign® is its predictability. Because every move of each of your teeth is planned by your orthodontist, we can know exactly how many sets of aligners you’ll need; this also allows us to estimate the length of time you’ll need treatment, since each set of aligners is worn for approximately two weeks.
Understanding Your Orthodontic Needs
The biggest factor in determining the length of your Invisalign® treatment is the severity of your orthodontic case. The more correction you need, the longer you can expect to wear your aligners.
If you’re an adult getting Invisalign® to correct minor orthodontic relapse you’ve experienced after not wearing a retainer, you may easily achieve results in less than a year. On the other hand, if you’ve never had orthodontic treatment and you need to correct severe bite issues and misalignments, it’s possible that you may need to wear your aligners for 18 months or more.
Compliance With Invisalign® Treatment
As we mentioned earlier, Invisalign® is very predictable, but there’s one thing we can’t predict: your compliance with the instructions we give you. While braces work 24/7 because they’re affixed to your teeth, Invisalign® aligners only work when you wear them. Invisalign® recommends that you wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours each day, but we suggest only taking them out when you eat, brush, and floss. You’ll switch to new sets of aligners every two weeks, or as instructed.
If you take out your aligners often and leave them out, you’ll end up extending the length of your treatment time. You may think you can achieve the same results by switching to a new set of aligners every two weeks regardless of whether or not you’re wearing them for at least 20 hours a day, but we will notice during your check-ins with us if your teeth aren’t moving as they should. In addition, moving onto the next set of aligners when your teeth aren’t ready can cause serious damage.