Invisalign Treatment Time

erica medical reviewer
Medically Reviewed
by Dr. Erica Anand
Pierce Willans
Written by
Pierce Willans
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Evidence Based
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11 sources cited
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How Long Does Invisalign Treatment Take?

Invisalign treatment can take between 3 to 18 months. Treatment time varies widely due to several factors, including: 

  • How long you wear the aligners
  • What dental issues need to be fixed

7 Reasons Why Invisalign Treatment Times Vary

Here are 7 reasons why Invisalign treatment times vary:

1. Large Tooth Gaps

Invisalign moves your teeth between   (assuming it's worn most of the day, every day). This resolves most cases of gapped teeth in 3 to 6 months. 

However, larger gaps (around 6mm) will take more time (up to 24 months in some cases).

2. Crowding

A mild case of crowding could take 6 months to fix. More severe crowding issues could take closer to 12 months. Your dentist or orthodontist may recommend additional treatments — or even that you use a different treatment than Invisalign altogether.

3. Compliance

The Invisalign website advises wearing the aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, every day. Because they can be removed (to eat, drink, brush, or floss), treatment time depends partly on the wearer.

4. The Pace of Teeth Movement

Some people’s teeth move faster than others. This is due to differences in bone structure, which vary from person to person. 

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Age can also play a role: adult teeth typically move slower than those of children or adolescents. 

5. You Lose Your Aligners

Because Invisalign aligners are removable, it's essential to keep track of them. 

If you misplace your aligners, your dentist or orthodontist can always order new ones. But that means your treatment time will be extended while you wait for them to arrive. 

6. The Complexity of the Issues

Having multiple teeth alignment issues at once greatly complicates treatment. For example, if you have both an overbite and crowded teeth, you will need a tooth extraction before the overbite can be corrected. 

Likewise, a large tooth gap in addition to an overbite will add to treatment time.

7. Managing Expectations

Orthodontists sometimes give varying timeframes for Invisalign treatment. Some give longer estimates in order to account for any possible delays or issues that may come up. 

Others prescribe shorter treatment times to encourage the person to start treatment at their office (rather than someone else’s).

Why Do You Need to Wear Invisalign for 22 Hours a Day?

Invisalign aligners move your teeth between 0.25 to 0.3 millimeters every two weeks. This rate of movement is what your dentist or orthodontist uses to give you an estimate of how long treatment will take.

The aligners will only work as long as they are in contact with your teeth. The more time they spend outside your mouth, the longer treatment will take. They should only be removed for eating, drinking, brushing, or flossing.

If you don’t wear your aligners as prescribed, the teeth won’t rotate into the correct position. The teeth also won’t track with the next set of aligners, causing delays. 

How Much Does Invisalign Cost?

The average cost of Invisalign is between $3,000 and $9,000, which is comparable to traditional braces.

The exact price varies depending on the treatment time and the particular dental issues involved. There are varying costs (e.g., lab bills and retainers) depending on if you see an orthodontist or general dentist. 

Most insurance plans cover Invisalign, and you can also pay for it with an HSA or FSA. Your dentist or orthodontist may also offer payment plans.

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Best Invisalign Alternatives

There are a few Invisalign alternatives. All of them are significantly less expensive and offer a variety of features, such as at-home impressions and remote monitoring. 

Here are a few alternatives to Invisalign you should consider

Candid (Best Alternative)

Unlike Invisalign and other aligner brands, Candid only works with experienced orthodontists who monitor your treatment remotely from start to finish. 

Orthodontists specialize in straightening teeth to a greater degree than general dentists. This adds an extra layer of expertise to Candid treatment.

Candid treatment is also faster than Invisalign. The average treatment time for Candid aligners is 6 months (up to 12 in some cases). By comparison, Invisalign treatment can sometimes take 18 months or longer.

Candid is also significantly more affordable than Invisalign: the aligners cost $1,895.

Byte

Byte aligners are known for delivering straighter teeth in less time than other clear aligners brands. The average treatment time for Byte is 3 to 6 months on average, which is faster than any other aligner brand currently on the market. 

With the HyperByte, a device that uses high-frequency vibrations to move teeth quickly, Byte treatment time is actually closer to 3 to 4 months.

However, it should be noted that there is currently no scientific proof of the safety and efficacy of moving teeth too quickly. Teeth realignment requires precise and accurate movement.

Byte currently costs $1,895 to $2,295, depending on whether you choose the day or night aligner option. 

Note: NewMouth does not recommend night aligners because scientific evidence supporting their use is currently lacking at this time.

SmileDirectClub

SmileDirectClub was the first company to introduce at-home aligners, making them a well-established brand. 

Like Byte, SmileDirectClub offers both day and nighttime aligners. And similar to both Invisalign and Candid, they offer in-person consultations as well as remote monitoring of treatment.

Treatment time for SmileDirectClub is 4 to 6 months and currently costs $1,950 (payment plans are available).

Learn more about the best Invisalign alternatives here.

Key Takeaways

  • Invisalign treatment takes between 3 to 18 months.
  • Invisalign moves your teeth between 0.25 to 0.3 millimeters every two weeks.
  • Removing Invisalign aligners for extended periods will prolong treatment.
  • The average cost of Invisalign is between $3,000 and $9,000 (comparable to braces).
  • A range of payment options is available.
  • Alternatives to Invisalign include Candid, SmileDirectClub, and Byte.

Resources

Astoria Dentistry Group. “Why Compliance Matters: Following the Invisalign® 22-hour Rule.www.cosmeticdentistrynewyork.com, 2019.

Byte. “Two simple ways to pay.www.byteme.com.

Candid. “Pricing.www.candidco.com.

Carol Stream Elgin Dental Associates. “How Long Do You Have to Wear Invisalign?www.completedentalservices.com, 2020.

Dudney, Thomas E. “Invisalign – How it Works & What it Costs?www.yourdentistryguide.com.

Invisalign. “FAQ.invisalign.com

LaPonsie, Maryalene. “The Average Cost of Braces and How to Save.money.usnews.com, 2021.

Ling, Paul H. “Clinical Limitations of Invisalign.Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, vol. 73, no. 3, 2007, pp. 263-266. http://www.cda-adc.ca/.

Pan Orthodontics. “How Long Does It Take For Invisalign To Straighten Your Teeth?www.panorthodontics.com.

SmileDirectClub. “Pricing.smiledirectclub.com.

SoHo Dental. “How Long Does Invisalign Take To Straighten Teeth? A Definitive Guide.www.sohodentalgroup.com, 2019.

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