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How Long Do You Have to Wear Invisalign?

January 9, 2023

Research shows that almost everyone has some level of malocclusion. For most people, the misalignment is so slight that treatment is not necessary. For others, orthodontic intervention is required.

Prior to the 1990s, traditional metal braces were the primary option for treating misaligned teeth. However, in the late 1990s, Invisalign was introduced to the market as an aesthetically friendly alternative. This is a series of clear, virtually invisible, aligners designed to gradually shift teeth into their appropriate position.

Since the aligners are virtually invisible, many patients at Arlington Dental Excellence choose this option over traditional braces. However, they do often have questions about this treatment. One of the most common questions is “How long do I have to wear Invisalign?”

How Long Does Invisalign Take?

How Long Do You Have to Wear Invisalign?Most of our patients report seeing results within a few weeks of putting their first set of aligners in. One of the benefits of Invisalign is that you don’t have to wait until treatment is complete before enjoying your new smile.

Invisalign treatment involves a series of clear aligners. Each set is slightly different from the previous, applying targeted pressure to shift teeth into their appropriate position. You should wear each set for 1 to 3 weeks based on your personalized treatment plan.

There is no standard treatment timeline, it is based on your personal condition and how many aligners are required. Some patients see results in as little as 3 to 6 months, while others need 18 to 24 months to see full results. However, most patients fall somewhere within the 6 to 18-month range.

The average treatment time for traditional metal braces is 18 to 24 months. In some of the more severe cases, patients require up to 36 months to see results.

There are several factors that determine the duration of your treatment. The best way to find out for sure is to schedule a consultation with the team at Arlington Dental Excellence.

How many hours a day should Invisalign be worn?

Invisalign clear aligners are more convenient than traditional braces because they can be removed. However, in order to ensure that your treatment progresses as it should, experts recommend that aligners be worn at least 20 to 22 hours a day.

You should remove them when you’re eating or drinking, as well as when you are cleaning your teeth. You can keep them in when you’re drinking water, as long as it’s not hot.

Average Treatment Times 

The length of treatment depends on the type and severity of the malocclusion. Below are the average treatment times:

Crowded Teeth

For mild to moderate cases of crowded teeth, Invisalign typically takes 3 to 6 months, while more severe cases may take 18 months or longer.

Overbite/Underbite

Overbites and underbites are slightly more complicated than other malocclusions but can still be treated with Invisalign. On average, Invisalign treatment for overbites and underbites takes 18 to 24 months. Due to the complexity of this type of misalignment, more severe cases may not be treatable with Invisalign.

Gapped Teeth

Gapped teeth, also known as diastema, can typically be resolved within a few months with Invisalign. More severe cases may take 18+ months.

Factors Impacting Treatment Time

The primary factor affecting your treatment timeline is the type and severity of your malocclusion. This is because the movement required determines the number of aligners you need. The more aligners required; the more time treatment will take. During your consultation appointment, Dr. Layth Gahnim can help you know what to expect.

There are a few other factors involved in your treatment timeline, including:

  • Compliance: if you do not wear the aligners as instructed, they can’t do their job. If you break this rule occasionally, it’s not a problem. However, consistently not wearing them will significantly slow down your progress.
  • Age: children and adolescents typically respond better to orthodontic treatment because they are still growing and developing. Adult teeth can be moved, it just takes longer.
  • Follow-up appointments: Invisalign doesn’t require as many follow-ups as traditional braces, but we still need to monitor your progress. Missing an appointment can extend your expected treatment time by several weeks.
  • Adjustments: at the expected end of your treatment, we will assess your progress. In some cases, treatment didn’t go as expected or there are a few other issues that need to be addressed. In this case, we may order additional aligners.
  • Broken/Lost aligners: aligners are made of a strong plastic that can force teeth to move, but it’s not invincible. If you break or lose an aligner, you’ll have to switch back to the previous set and wait for a replacement to come in. The best way to avoid this is to place the aligners in the case when they are not in your mouth.

Is Invisalign Right for You?

If you have misaligned teeth and are interested in learning about your options, schedule a consultation with the team at Arlington Dental Excellence. We offer both traditional braces and Invisalign. Dr. Layth Gahnim can explain your options and help you understand what to expect when it comes to treatment times.

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