If you have been thinking about choosing Invisalign for your orthodontic treatment, you likely have lots of questions. How does it work? What does it cost? And maybe most importantly: how long will treatment take? Before you schedule your initial consultation, read below to have some of your questions answered.
Invisalign is an alternative orthodontic treatment to traditional braces that uses clear aligner trays to straighten your smile. Unlike braces, Invisalign trays are invisible, discreet, removable, and easy to clean.
Here are some of the most common questions that patients have about Invisalign treatment timelines:
What is the overall treatment timeline?
Invisalign treatment is custom-tailored to fit each patient, so the treatment timeline will be different for everyone. The treatment length will depend on your current situation and how strictly you follow your treatment plan, but the average patient should expect treatment to take 12 to 18 months. There are exceptions to this rule, and many patients have longer or shorter treatments.
When will I start seeing results?
With each new set of aligners, your teeth will slowly move into a proper position. Because this process happens over time and each set of aligners only moves your teeth a small amount, it could be a while before you start noticing your treatment results. While most patients will have to wait three to five months before they notice a difference in their smile, some patients notice results in as little as two weeks.
If after 5 months you have not noticed a difference in your teeth, it may be time to speak with your dentist or orthodontist. They can make sure that your treatment is on track to provide the results you hope to achieve. Just be patient, follow your treatment plan, and trust that your treatment is working as it should. Soon enough, you will be able to see your healthy new smile!
How long do I wear each set of aligners?
Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign aligners are swapped out periodically to further move your teeth. The average time that a patient will wear each set of aligners is about two weeks. Each set of aligners will be worn in sequence according to your custom treatment plan created by your dentist, and each set is created to move specific teeth. Of course, depending on your specific situation, you may wear your aligners for more or less than two weeks.
What is the difference in treatment timeline between Invisalign and traditional braces?
This is one of the most common questions about Invisalign as it helps patients weigh the pros and cons of both treatment options. For both traditional metal braces and Invisalign, each treatment and each patient will be different. It is impossible to say when you will see results from either treatment, but there are two key differences between braces and Invisalign.
With traditional braces, patients will usually see results sooner than with Invisalign. This is because metal braces are designed to move your teeth into a new position through random drastic movements, while Invisalign moves your teeth in a more calculated and minute way. Traditional braces apply pressure to all of your teeth at once, even the teeth that are already in place. These teeth will be forced out of place only to return to their original place later – this process is known as ‘round tripping’. On the other hand, Invisalign leaves your already straight teeth in place while moving your out-of-place teeth individually. This means that movement may be smaller at first, which is why it can take longer to see results with Invisalign.
While you are more likely to see faster short-term results with traditional braces, you are more likely to see faster long-term results with Invisalign. Because round-tripping is less efficient than the Invisalign model, patients will likely complete their Invisalign treatment before completing their braces treatment.
The timelines above are estimated based on the proper use of your Invisalign trays. To avoid having your treatment time extended, here are some tips to remember:
Wear your aligners for the prescribed length of time
Your orthodontist or dentist will let you know how long to wear your aligners for each day, and it is important to listen to them! In general, patients should wear their aligners for 20-22 hours a day and only remove them for eating and cleaning. Follow these instructions closely to avoid prolonging your treatment.
Keep track of your aligners
The golden rule of Invisalign is: if your aligners are not in your mouth, they should be in their case! Try not to misplace your aligners, and never leave them lying around for children to play with or pets to chew. If you lose your aligners, your treatment may be delayed while you wait for your new pair to arrive.
Don’t miss your appointments
If you wear your aligners as prescribed by your orthodontist, you may be able to transition to a new set early. If your dentist thinks your teeth have moved enough to progress to your next set, they can simply order your new aligners and have them ready within a few days. Make sure to attend your appointments on schedule so that your orthodontist can track your progress and help you achieve your new smile!
Interested in learning more about Invisalign and what it can do for your smile? Invisalign may not be for all cases but is a popular option for many teens and adults. Contact us today to schedule your complimentary Invisalign consultation and start your journey to a beautiful and healthy new smile!