Invisalign® is a series of clear plastic aligners that are worn over time to straighten teeth in tiny increments. In this regard, they are similar to metal braces, but they have the added benefit of being far less visible to others when worn.
For adults, the average Invisalign treatment course takes about a year, and the average for teens is a little longer than that. However, each patient is different and there are a variety of factors that could impact the duration of your own Invisalign treatment.
The Severity of Your Misalignment
If your teeth are severely misaligned, Invisalign will take longer to straighten them. This is also true for braces, but with Invisalign, the severity of your misalignment determines the number of aligners used in your treatment.
The Number of Aligners in Your Series
Invisalign treatment consists of a series of aligners that must be switched out for the next set every other week or so, as prescribed by your dentist. If you already know how many aligners are in your series, you can do some simple math to determine how long your treatment will take.
Let’s assume you have 16 sets of aligners.
You have to switch them out every two weeks, so that’s two sets of aligners each month.
16 divided by 2 is 8, so that means your treatment will take 8 months.
Your Compliance with Treatment
Your decisions during your treatment process will play a vital role in how long it ends up taking. At the outset of the process, your dentist will estimate how long treatment will take. To help make sure treatment goes according to plan (and doesn't take long), be sure to wear your aligners as your dentist has prescribed.
During your Invisalign treatment, you must wear your aligners full-time every day. This means that you need to be wearing your aligners for approximately 22 hours a day.
Doing this will ensure that your treatment is not prolonged. If you leave your aligners out for too long or take them out too often, your teeth may shift back out of position, resulting in delays and setbacks. Thus, be sure to remove your aligners only to eat, brush and floss… and don’t forget to put them back in when you're done.
How long before I start noticing results?
Most patients see results from their Invisalign treatment after 4 to 6 weeks. It can be beneficial to take a picture of your smile every week so you can see how much your teeth are moving.