Gone are the days when the only option to straighten teeth was metal braces. Nowadays, both adults and teens alike are embracing the latest orthodontic treatment using clear aligners like Invisalign. The advantage of this type of orthodontic treatment is that it can straighten teeth without the need for fixed metal hardware. This makes it discreet and ideal for adults and teens alike who don’t want to be seen with a mouth full of metal.
The question many people ask us is “how long does Invisalign take to straighten teeth?”
If you are one of the 62% of Australians who are considering orthodontic treatment then you will fall into one of two categories:
A – You have never had braces or undergone any kind of tooth alignment as a child or
B – You did have braces, but your teeth have shifted back over time due to not wearing your retainer.
The good news is that Invisalign treatment can help with either of these categories and to achieve a straighter smile, doesn’t take as long as you think.
Unlike conventional braces, full treatment using the latest Invisalign aligners typically takes just 12 months. However, it isn’t uncommon for treatment to be completed within 6 months.
That said, every patient’s oral condition is different and therefore it’s impossible to give a one-size-fits-all timescale. As such, there are several factors that can cause Invisalign treatment to take longer.
Because Invisalign aligners are designed to be removed every time you eat or drink, Invisalign treatment relies on patient compliance. In order to provide optimal tooth movement, each clear aligner needs to be in place for 22 hours each day. If Invisalign aligners are not worn for this amount of time, patients could find their teeth regressing to their original positions, thus delaying the initial treatment time.
Believe it or not, a patient’s age can also affect how long Invisalign treatment takes. Take teenagers, for example. Since their teeth are still growing it’s typical for their teeth to move faster than an adult’s teeth. That said, some people’s teeth simply move faster than others irrespective of age, so you are never too old for Invisalign treatment to work.
If you have a smaller jaw and your teeth are on the larger side, you probably have misaligned teeth due to overcrowding. So how long does Invisalign take in this situation?
Minor cases of misalignment can take just 6 months using Invisalign while moderate cases can take 12 months or more. The more dental crowding, the longer distance your teeth need to travel. For severe crowding, your dentist may recommend other forms of orthodontic treatment.
If you have gaps between teeth (known as a diastema) it can be a result of an overgrowth of tissue. Similarly to overcrowding, minor teeth gaps will be quicker to move using Invisalign aligners than moderate teeth gapping. This will affect the treatment timescale.
As you can see, the answer to the question of how long does Invisalign take isn’t as simple as saying that it will take ‘x’ number of months. As a ballpark figure, however, Invisalign treatment takes somewhere between 6-12 months, but every patient’s teeth (and therefore) every case is different.