When they first learn about Invisalign, many people have questions about the innovative treatment. While Invisalign has been around since the late 1990s, the treatment is still considered innovative by people who are just now learning about it. That’s particularly true when Invisalign treatment is compared to traditional metal braces.
One of the things many prospective patients inquire about is the timeline for Invisalign treatment. We’re not just asked about a timeline for the treatment to end. People also ask us about how long it will take for them to start seeing results, how long they need to wear their aligners every day and other things. Because people are so curious about a typical Invisalign timeline in multiple contexts, we thought it would be a good idea to explain what a typical treatment timeline might be in several ways.
The Overall Timeline for Invisalign Treatment
Every Invisalign treatment is custom made to suit the precise needs of individual patients. For this reason, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the question, “How long does Invisalign treatment last from beginning to end?”
If you sign on for Invisalign, your treatment may be longer or shorter than someone else’s. While that’s the case, an average Invisalign treatment will often last anywhere from 12 to 18 months, but there are exceptions to that “rule.”
How Much Time Will Pass before You Start Seeing Results?
Your Invisalign treatment will be designed to slowly move your teeth into proper position over time. Each new set of aligners you receive will move your teeth that much closer to where they should be. Because each set of Invisalign clear aligners will only move your teeth a bit, it may take a while before you see noticeable results from your treatment.
Although it may take longer for most, some patients may start to notice results from their Invisalign treatment in as little as two weeks. Others may need to wait three months to see an improvement in their smile. Still others might have to wait five months before they’ll notice anything different with their smile.
If you’ve been undergoing treatment for five months without seeing results, you may want to schedule an appointment with your Invisalign orthodontist or dentist. By doing so, your medical care provider can make sure your Invisalign treatment is still on track to produce lasting results you’re hoping to achieve.
For most people, patience and having faith in your treatment plan will make it easier to wait to notice results. And having patience and confidence in your treatment will make your results that much more satisfying when you finally do notice that your Invisalign treatment is working as it should.
Invisalign vs Braces: Which is Faster?
If you’re trying to choose between metal braces and Invisalign, you may be curious about which treatment produces results faster. The answer depends on whether you’re wondering about short- or long-term results. In either context, it’s impossible to say for sure that you’ll see results on a specific day, such as Sunday the 20th.
In the short-term, patients generally see results faster with traditional braces. That’s because metal braces are meant to move teeth into position in a manner that’s more random than Invisalign. Braces apply pressure to all your teeth at once, including your already straight teeth. Your straight teeth will be pressured into leaving their proper position only to return to their original location later, which is a process known as “round tripping.”
With Invisalign, your straight teeth are left in position while the movement of each misaligned tooth is plotted individually. Movement may start off in small increments and become more dramatic with subsequent Invisalign trays. This oft-slower start is why you may see more immediate results with braces rather than Invisalign.
While braces usually produce short-term results faster than Invisalign, the latter produces long-term results more quickly. Compared to Invisalign, metal braces are inefficient, with round tripping obviously being evidence of that. Given Invisalign’s greater efficiency, the treatment allows you to achieve your lasting, long-term results faster.
How Long Will I Wear Each Set of Aligners?
As a general rule, you’ll wear each set of Invisalign aligners for two weeks for them to complete their respective jobs. You’ll wear aligners in a prescribed sequence, with each next set moving your teeth that much closer to proper position. If you don’t wear every set for the necessary length of time, you may end up prolonging your overall treatment unnecessarily.
Steps to Avoid Extending Your Invisalign Treatment
In addition to wearing your Invisalign aligners for the full two weeks or so recommended by your Invisalign orthodontist or dentist, there are a few other things you can do to avoid having your overall treatment extended. The first additional thing you can do is wear your aligners for however long your orthodontist tells you to every single day during your treatment.
In general, patients are advised to wear their Invisalign clear aligners for a minimum of 20-22 hours every day. If you fail to do so often enough, it can throw your treatment plan off track.
Another thing you can do to keep your overall treatment on schedule is keep track of your Invisalign aligners. If you lose your aligners or your pet uses the set you should be wearing as a chew toy, you may be forced to revert back to the aligners you wore previously, which may prolong your treatment.
If you wore your previous set of aligners long enough, you might be able to advance to your next set ahead of schedule if your orthodontist or dentist says it’s okay. In many cases, your dentist or orthodontist will simply order a replacement set of aligners for you. While that’s certainly helpful, it will take several days for you to receive your replacement Invisalign aligners.
Contact Clearsmile Orthodontics to Learn More
If you still have questions about the timeline for Invisalign treatment, we encourage you to contact Clearsmile Orthodontics. We treat hundreds of people with Invisalign every six months, which qualifies us to answer any questions you might have.
To see samples of the results we’ve had treating patients with Invisalign, we encourage you to look through our patient gallery. If you want to learn how Invisalign can give you your best smile over time, make an appointment with Clearsmile Orthodontics now.