Everyone wants a straight, beautiful smile, but committing to a sometimes multi-year oral treatment can be daunting. With modern orthodontics, most patients who choose to undergo treatment can choose between braces or Invisalign, which are aligners made of clear plastic meant to be worn on the teeth to gradually move them into the desired shape. For most people, the discretion and freedom to take the aligners in and out at will means that Invisalign is the preferred choice, but then they’re left wondering: How long does Invisalign take to correct my smile?
Related: How long do braces take to work?
How Fast Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign is a revolutionary smile straightening system that can take anywhere from 3 to 18 months to complete depending on a variety of treatment factors. Your orthodontist will start by assessing the kind of treatment that your particular case needs and will take impressions of your bite, from which they will make digital scans. Once the scans are taken, your orthodontist will make a series of clear aligners that are meant to be worn in succession throughout your treatment time.
These clear aligners slowly push teeth into the desired position, and each set will have to be switched out for a new set every two weeks or so. You will also have to return to visit your orthodontist or dentist every 4-6 weeks to ensure your Invisalign treatment is working.
Factors That Can Affect the Invisalign Treatment Time
Finding an answer to “How long does Invisalign take?” also requires an understanding of the kinds of complicating factors that might affect treatment. Invisalign can treat certain dental problems better than others, so the combination of factors you have and your desired results will decide the exact time you need to wear your aligners. Some of the complicating factors include:
Crowding happens when your teeth are too large or your jaw is too small to fit all of your teeth comfortably, causing them to bunch up and become crooked. Some minor cases of crowding can be corrected in as few as six months, while moderate cases will take closer to a year. The more dental crowding you have, the longer it will take for the aligners to move your teeth into position
Gaps in Teeth
Gaps between teeth, also called diastemata, can happen from different causes, including a sub-optimal tooth-to-jaw size ratio. Minor gaps will also take much less time to fix than severe gaps. If you have a combination of gaps and crowding, your treatment will probably take closer to 18 months to fully realign the entire row of teeth.
Invisalign is a good option for patients of almost every age, but because teenagers’ and older children’s teeth move much faster, younger patients may see their results much faster. That being said, some people’s teeth just move faster than others, no matter their age, which makes estimations of average Invisalign time based on age alone difficult.
How Long Do You Have to Wear Invisalign Each Day?
One of the most crucial factors for your treatment time is simply wearing the aligners for as long as your orthodontist recommends. For best results, you should wear your Invisalign trays for at least 22 hours per day. You can take them out to clean them, eat, and brush your teeth, but you should be wearing them at all other times—especially while you sleep. Only wearing Invisalign 12 hours a day, for example, might even extend your treatment time by months.
Does Invisalign Work Faster Than Braces?
Invisalign works best for treating minimal dental aberrations and is unable to perform all of the corrections braces, as specialized orthodontic equipment can do. Impacted teeth, individually rotated or angled teeth, or severe misalignment would probably see better results with braces, even if they are simply a preliminary treatment. In these instances, braces will probably work faster than Invisalign, but the benefits of getting invisalign aren’t really found in these isolated cases.
Invisalign’s main draw to most patients is its discretion and comfort. Because Invisalign uses clear plastic instead of metal brackets and wires, patients can smile wide for photos or otherwise show their teeth as they normally would without feeling self-conscious. Invisalign can also be removed while you are eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth, negating the need for changes in diet or complex cleaning methods to ensure that your treatment isn’t compromised as it would be with braces.
It’s natural to want to know how long does Invisalign take, and hopefully, this article has given you some insight into what to expect if you are considering getting treatment. Invisalign can drastically change your smile in a few short months, so if you are looking at getting a smile straightening treatment like Invisalign or braces in Nevada, call the experts at Elevated Orthodontics for your first appointment!