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Updated on July 15, 2022

Can Invisalign Fix Crowded Teeth?

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Key Takeaways

  • Invisalign treats mild to moderate cases of teeth crowding
  • Treatment with Invisalign is discrete, comfortable, and convenient
  • Invisalign fully straightens teeth in around 3 to 18 months
  • Invisalign costs $3,000 to $8,000
  • Severe crowding requires other treatments
hand holding clear aligner 1

Invisalign For Crowded Teeth

Invisalign can effectively treat most cases of crowded teeth.

Crowded teeth happen when there's not enough room in the jaw for them to align correctly. As a result, people with this type of malocclusion (misaligned teeth) have overlapping teeth.  

Crowded teeth are mainly associated with genetics, but bad habits can also cause them.

Possible causes of crowded teeth include:

  • Thumb-sucking or excessive pacifier use past age 3
  • Having a jaw too small for the number of teeth it has
  • Losing a permanent tooth due to injury, which leads other teeth to move in place
  • Having a cleft palate
  • Losing baby teeth too early or keeping them too late
  • Improper dental or orthodontic treatment
  • Decay that causes tooth shifting or loss

Various problems occur from having crowded teeth. They can appear crooked, which impacts a person’s appearance and can make them feel embarrassed. 

Aside from lowered self-esteem, crooked teeth also complicate oral health. It’s harder to clean leftover food between crooked teeth. This makes tooth decay more likely.

Thankfully, Invisalign can effectively treat crowded teeth in most situations.

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

What is Invisalign & How Does it Work?

Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign is discrete, removable, and relatively comfortable. Since its introduction in 1998, it’s treated nearly 11 million people and become the leading in-office clear aligner brand.

Here’s how Invisalign works:

  1. Treatment begins with an (often free) in-person consultation at an orthodontic or dental office. While there, your orthodontist or dentist will digitally scan your mouth. They will then design a personalized treatment plan based on these scans.
  2. Next, they’ll make a series of removable aligners for your upper and lower teeth. These aligners are based on both current and desired teeth alignment. The orthodontist or dentist may even show you an image of your future smile.
  3. You’ll wear the aligners for 22+ hours per day, only taking them out to eat, drink, brush, or floss (or play a sport or instrument). Every two weeks, the aligners will straighten your teeth by 0.25 to 0.3 millimeters.5
  4. After those two weeks, you’ll return to the orthodontist or dental office for a follow-up appointment. There, your orthodontist or dentist will check your progress, and you’ll receive your other aligners. From then on, appointments will occur roughly every six weeks. You’ll continue switching your aligners every two weeks.5
  5. After treatment ends, you’ll receive a personalized retainer to wear at night to keep your teeth straight.

How Long Does it Take Invisalign to Fix Crowded Teeth?

Invisalign may take anywhere between 3 to 18 months to fully straighten teeth. 

Factors that influence treatment time include how often you wear the aligners and the severity of teeth misalignment. Severely crowded teeth and other complex cases will take longer.

Read more about Invisalign treatment time here.

Invisalign Treatment Cost for Crowded Teeth

Depending on how crowded your teeth are, Invisalign treatment can cost between $3,000 to $7,000.7 Your treatment provider and where you live also impact cost.

Interested in straightening your teeth at home? Here are the best clear aligner companies.

Types of Crowded Teeth Invisalign Can & Can’t Fix 

Invisalign can fix mild to moderate cases of crowded teeth. It can also fix crowding on just the upper teeth or lower teeth (known as single arch treatment). 

Severely overcrowded teeth, known as rotated teeth, are more difficult for Invisalign to fix. Crowded teeth can sometimes rotate in their sockets. Teeth that are rotated more than 20 degrees are not suitable for Invisalign treatment.6

Pros and Cons of Invisalign for Crowded Teeth

Advantages of Invisalign aligners include:

  • Being able to remove them to eat, drink, and play music or sports
  • Easier oral hygiene
  • Less visible than braces
  • No metal wires or brackets to cut your mouth
  • They’re easy to clean
  • Equally or more affordable than braces
  • Can prevent bruxism
  • Invisalign aligners are made of a special plastic, FDA-approved for medical use
  • Studies show they cause less gum discomfort than braces1
  • A beautiful smile and more confidence

Cons of Invisalign include:

  • Not suitable for severe cases of crowding (rotated teeth) 
  • Invisalign is removable, meaning treatment outcomes depend partially on the wearer
  • Some tooth discomfort involved
  • Can be expensive

Which is better for you, Byte or Invisalign? Find out now

When are Alternative Treatments Necessary?

Invisalign can treat crowded teeth most of the time. 

Severely rotated teeth or more complex cases of malocclusion (having both crowded teeth and an overjet, for example) require alternative forms of treatment.

Braces

Traditional braces are still a standard orthodontic treatment for most cases of malocclusion. For those with teeth that are rotated more than 20 degrees, braces may be a good alternative to Invisalign. 

Braces can straighten teeth by themselves or in combination with orthodontic headgear. If the malocclusion is caused by tongue-thrusting or thumb-sucking, behavior correction may also be needed to stop it.

Not all braces are the same. Besides traditional metal braces, other varieties include clear, lingual, and ceramic. Depending on which kind of braces you have and your treatment length, the average cost of braces ranges between $3,000 to $10,000

Surgery

Orthodontists may recommend orthognathic surgery for complex cases of malocclusion. 

These are situations where misaligned teeth are the result of issues such as an overbite, underbite, or misaligned jaw. Surgery may involve not only realigning the jaw but also extracting teeth to make more room.2

There are different types of orthognathic surgery. The cost may range between $20,000 to $40,000, depending on the type.

Do Crowded Teeth Need to Be Fixed?

A variety of problems can result from crowded teeth, such as:

  • Difficulty preventing plaque and tartar build-up
  • Lowered self-esteem
  • Difficulty chewing food, which may lead to digestive issues
  • Increased risk of a broken tooth
  • Heightened risk of gum disease

The good news is, Invisalign can effectively straighten misaligned teeth most of the time. Braces, surgery, or other methods can fix more complex cases. 

Straightening teeth with Invisalign is convenient and easy. And, it can lead to a better smile, more confidence, and improved oral health.

7 Sources Cited
Last updated on July 15, 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. Cardoso, Paula Coutinho. “Pain level between clear aligners and fixed appliances: a systematic review.” Progress in orthodontics, vol. 21, no. 1, 2020. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.
  2. Center City Emergency Dentist. “When is Invisalign Not the Right Choice?www.centercityemergencydentists.com, 2019.
  3. Harnick, David J. “Using clear aligner therapy to correct malocclusion with crowding and an open bite.” General dentistry vol. 60,3 : 218-23.
  4. Invisalign. “Crowded teeth.www.invisalign.com.
  5. 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/.
  6. Mettler & Griego Family Dentistry. “Orthodontic Issues Invisalign Can’t Fix.mettlergriego.com.
  7. Personalized Orthodontics. “Better understanding the cost of Invisalign | What factors determine your price?porth.io.
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