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How Long Does Invisalign Take?

Ellie Swain Headshot
Written by
Ellie Swain
Medically Reviewed by 
Dr. Erica Anand
5 Sources Cited

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is an orthodontic procedure that straightens teeth. The procedure involves a series of custom-made clear braces that cover the teeth. Over time, the braces shift the teeth into the correct position.

As Invisalign aligners are clear and can easily be removed, they are less noticeable than traditional metal braces.

How Does Invisalign Work?

If you are a candidate for Invisalign, an orthodontist will first examine your teeth. They will also take X-rays and a 3D model of your teeth to determine a personalized treatment plan.

The ClinCheck software helps outline how your teeth will move over time and the amount of time it will take to align them correctly.

invisalign

The X-rays, 3D models, and images of your teeth will be sent to a laboratory where your customized Invisalign trays are produced. The 3D model will also enable you to see how Invisalign will progressively improve your orthodontic problems during each aligner stage.

How Long Does Invisalign Treatment Take? 

The length of Invisalign treatment depends on various factors, such as how complex your case is and how often you wear your aligners. Your orthodontist will determine how long your treatment will last based on your specific requirements. 

On average, Invisalign treatment time is between 12 and 18 months. However, you can expect to see results within weeks. Some patients who only require minor corrections can finish treatment in as little as six months, but this is rare.

Here are a few of the primary factors that contribute to differences in treatment time:

Crowded Teeth

If you have a small jaw or your teeth are large, you may have crowded teeth. Some minor cases of teeth crowding can be corrected in as little as six months.

Moderate cases are likely to take closer to a year. The more dental crowding you have, the further your teeth must move, and the longer treatment will take.

For severe cases of crowding, your orthodontist may suggest another type of treatment before starting Invisalign.

crowded teeth scaled 1

Sometimes your dentist may need to create room for your teeth to move by a technique called interproximal reduction.

Interproximal reduction is performed by using a handpiece or type of “sandpaper strip” to remove enamel between teeth to create more space. This procedure is not painful and is usually quick and simple.

Gaps in Teeth

Gaps occurring between the teeth, known as diastema, can result from tissue overgrowth or small teeth compared to the jawbone.

Like overcrowding, minor gaps will take significantly less time to adjust than severe gaps. If you have moderate or severe gaps and crowding, the treatment length may take closer to 18 months, depending on how fast your teeth adjust.

midline diastema scaled 1

In some situations, the jaw is too large and the teeth are too small. This may make it challenging to close the gaps completely. Your orthodontist may suggest other types of treatment following Invisalign, such as bonding or veneers.

Age

Invisalign works well for both teenagers and adults. However, your age can also affect how quickly it works. As teenagers are still growing, their teeth generally move faster and easier than adults do.

However, some people’s teeth move faster than others, despite their age. Some older adults may even experience faster results than their children. 

Fix your teeth from home for cheaper than Invisalign. Learn about the best Invisalign alternatives.

Can You Speed Up Invisalign Treatment?

There are several ways to speed up Invisalign treatment.

Wear the Aligners at All Times

It is essential to wear Invisalign aligner trays at all times, aside from eating, brushing, and flossing.

Many patients struggle to be disciplined with their treatment, causing the treatment to take longer than necessary. Wearing the aligners consistently will correct any alignment issues as quickly as possible.

Maintain Good Oral Health

During an Invisalign course of treatment, it is essential to maintain good oral health. If the teeth and gums are not healthy, then the treatment is unlikely to work as efficiently.

Poor oral health can result in a delay with the straightening procedure.

Attend Adjustment Appointments

It is crucial to always attend adjustment appointments with your orthodontist. These appointments ensure that the teeth are working well with the aligners. Once the teeth begin to shift significantly, a new set of aligner trays needs to be used.

Skipping or extending these appointments will slow the treatment process. For quick treatment, always visit your dentist when they recommend it.

Avoid Excess Sugar

During Invisalign treatment, it is essential to avoid consuming too much sugar or acidic foods and drinks. Soda or candy can damage the teeth, causing decay.

If the teeth cannot move into a straight position because they are decaying, then the treatment process will take longer.

Note Any Abnormalities

If you notice any abnormalities, be sure to report them to your orthodontist. While Invisalign is relatively straightforward, irregularities can occur. Treatment time will be a lot quicker if any issues are addressed efficiently.

Is Invisalign Faster Than Traditional Braces?

Treatment time comes down to individual patient needs. However, most of the time, Invisalign treatment is quicker than braces. 

Patients wear braces 24 hours a day for an average of two years. On the other hand, those with Invisalign wear their aligner trays between 22 and 24 hours a day. Treatment typically lasts anywhere between six and 18 months.

Last updated on April 12, 2022
5 Sources Cited
Last updated on April 12, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. How does Invisalign® treatment work?, Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/how-invisalign-works 
  2. Frequently asked questions, Invisalign, https://www.invisalign.com/frequently-asked-questions 
  3. Byte vs. invisalign: what are the differences?, Byte, https://www.byte.com/community/resources/article/byte-vs-invisalign-aligners/ 
  4. What’s the difference between Candid and Invisalign?, Candid Co, April 2019, https://blog.candidco.com/whats-the-difference-between-candid-and-invisalign-ffb5205a21d8 
  5. FAQ, SmileDirectClub, https://smiledirectclub.com/faq// 
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