Invisalign® is a series of clear plastic aligners designed to straighten teeth in tiny increments over a period of months. In this way, they're much like metal braces, but they have the added benefit of generally being far less obvious 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, it will take longer to straighten them with Invisalign. This is the case with braces too, but with Invisalign, the severity of your misalignment will also determine the number of aligners in your treatment.
The Number of Aligners in Your Series
Invisalign treatment is made up of a series of aligners and each set of aligners needs to be switched out for the next one every other week or so, as prescribed by your dentist. If you already know how many aligners there are in your series, then you just need to do some simple math to find out 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 that it doesn't take longer), 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 begin to see results from their Invisalign treatment around the 4 - 6 week mark. It can be helpful to take a picture of your smile each week so that you can get a better idea of how much your teeth are moving.