There was a time when Invisalign was so new that most people had no idea how it worked and what exactly it was. These days, almost everyone is familiar with Invisalign, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have any questions when they come to our office for a consultation! One of the most common things people want to know is, “How long does Invisalign take to straighten teeth?” Here’s the answer to this question.
Average Invisalign Treatment Time
According to the Invisalign website, the average treatment time for aligner therapy is 12 to 18 months. As with all averages, there are outliers, which means some people may only need Invisalign for less than 12 months, while others may require treatment for more than 18 months. Even with these exceptions, the vast majority of Invisalign patients finish their treatment within this timeframe.
Invisalign is much more predictable in terms of treatment times than braces and other more traditional orthodontic treatment options. During your consultation, we’ll determine how many sets of aligners you'll need to straighten your teeth; because each pair of aligners is worn for around two weeks, we can easily estimate the amount of time you'll need for Invisalign based on the number of aligners you’ll have. While this is a ballpark estimate, it gives you a great idea of what you can expect!
Understanding Your Orthodontic Needs
The severity of your orthodontic case determines how many Invisalign aligners you'll need to straighten your teeth. When a patient has complicated orthodontic issues, Invisalign takes longer. This is no different than what you’d expect from traditional braces.
If you're an adult who plans to use Invisalign to correct orthodontic relapse caused by not wearing a retainer when you were younger, it’s likely that you’ll have a shorter treatment time. On the other hand, if you've never had orthodontic treatment and you need to correct severe bite issues or misalignment, you may need to wear aligners for at least 18 months.
Compliance With Invisalign Treatment
Although earlier in this post, we told you that Invisalign is more predictable than braces, there is one thing about treatment that we can’t predict: your compliance with the program. Braces work all day long to straighten your teeth because they are affixed to them, whereas Invisalign only works while you are wearing your aligners.
Invisalign recommends wearing aligners for 20 to 22 hours each day, but we suggest only taking them out to eat, drink anything other than water, brush, and floss. This allows you to get the most out of your treatment. You'll transition to a new set of aligners every two weeks, or as instructed.
If you take your aligners out on a regular basis and leave them out for hours or days at a time, you'll extend the time it takes to complete your orthodontic treatment. You might feel that switching to a new pair of aligners every two weeks will give you the same benefits regardless of how often you wear them, but this can cause major oral health issues, including root damage.