Invisible aligners are one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments. Patients ask us about them nearly every day. One of the first questions many patients ask is – how long do you have to wear Invisalign?
We hope this guide will help you decide whether Invisalign treatment is right for you. Nothing in this article replaces individualized dental care. Instead, we hope it helps you make well-informed decisions for yourself and your family.
The current clear aligner trend is more than just a fad. Due to the comfort and convenience, adults who never received orthodontic treatment or were not satisfied with the results have turned to Invisalign. Also, many kids and teens benefit from wearing Invisalign.
Many people prefer clear aligners like Invisalign over traditional metal braces for a variety of reasons.
- The Invisalign aligners are nearly invisible.
- You may eat and drink all your favorite foods during Invisalign treatment.
- You may brush and floss your teeth as normal compared to more specialized hygiene habits required while wearing traditional braces.
- Most people barely feel their clear aligners after they get used to them.
- Often the results are quicker compared to traditional braces, but that really depends on the individual.
Now that you are aware of the benefits, let’s answer your question about how long Invisalign takes.
How Long Does Invisalign Take Compared To Traditional Braces
Most orthodontic treatments straighten the teeth and correct misalignments. Sometimes more severe misalignment might require traditional braces, but many people can see excellent results from Invisalign. It is crucial to see your dentist for a thorough examination and to discuss your options. For example, braces are often better for straightening more serious misalignments and tight crowding or large gaps between teeth.
Since every patient’s needs are unique, your dentist or orthodontist is in the best position to estimate how long either braces or clear aligners would take to straighten your teeth.
Most often, braces may take anywhere from 1-3 years, depending on the level of correction needed. Invisalign usually requires between 6 months to 2 years, depending on the individual’s needs. Invisalign is the faster option for many people, but the only way to know whether that applies to you is to see your dentist.
For either braces or Invisalign treatment, the following factors influence how long it takes to straighten your teeth and how long do you have to wear Invisalign:
- Your overall oral health
- Genetics, bone structure, and anatomy
- Your age may be a factor since younger patients teeth and bones tend to shift faster
- The nature, complexity, and severity of your alignment issues
- Your level of consistent compliance with your treatment plan
How Long Do You Have to Wear Invisalign Each Day?
The other question many patients ask is whether they need to wear Invisalign all day long. The answer is yes. For best results, wear your Invisalign for 22 hours a day. Basically, you only remove your aligner trays to eat, drink (other than water), and brush and floss.
Sometimes people remove their aligners briefly if posing for a portrait or during their wedding with no adverse effects. The aligners are easy to remove and put back in, so commitment and self-discipline are key factors in how long do you have to wear Invisalign and how long the treatment takes.
Habitually wearing the aligners for fewer hours than recommended often results in less effective treatment, prolonged treatment time, and increases the expense since your dentist may need to adjust your treatment plan.
In addition to wearing your clear aligners for 22 hours a day, you also need to brush your teeth after every meal before putting on the aligners to keep your teeth and aligners clean.
The good news is that most patients quickly get used to them and feel comfortable living their lives. They barely feel the thin, flexible material. The fact the aligners are barely visible also gives them confidence.
How Can I Ensure the Best Results
For best results for Invisalign or any other dental procedure, always follow your dental team’s recommendations. In other words:
- Wear your aligners for 20 – 22 hours a day consistently.
- Gently brush and floss your teeth after eating or drinking (other than plain water) before putting your tray back in your mouth.
- Attend each follow-up visit as scheduled; if something isn’t progressing as expected, your dentist will be able to adjust the plan.
- See a skilled dental professional with training and experience managing Invisalign treatment.
- Keep your dentist informed about any discomfort, pain, or changes in your oral health.
What Can I Expect During Invisalign Treatment?
When you see a trained and experienced dentist in Invisalign treatment, you will start with a consultation. Your dentist will want to do a thorough examination if you haven’t had one recently. It is important to make sure your teeth are healthy enough to move. Patients with gum disease and bone loss often are not good candidates for moving teeth until they are healthy. You also want to make sure you do not have any cavities before beginning your invisalign treatment.
Your dentist will then map out the planned movement of your teeth to gently guide and straighten them. Your team will also make custom-made trays for each phase of your treatment. You wear your aligner trays daily as required and return to your dentist’s office for regular follow-up. During your follow-up visits, your dentist will monitor your results so far and make any adjustments as necessary.
Due to the close relationship between a patient and dental professional, seek treatment from a dentist that you feel you can trust. Invisalign offers continuing education, advanced tools, and technical support to dentists who offer this service. Feel assured that the training and resources Invisalign provides dentists is to ensure the best patient experience possible.
Many patients prefer seeing a dentist who can manage their dental needs, from routine hygiene appointments to their Invisalign treatment and beyond. They appreciate the rapport from seeing a dentist who has a holistic picture of their oral health and treats them as an individual.
Next Steps: Schedule a Consultation
If you live in or near Charlotte and long for a confident smile, contact Southview Dentistry to schedule a consultation. Since 2009, Charlotte areas have trusted their oral health to us.
We also specialize in cosmetic dentistry and smile makeovers combining two or more cosmetic procedures. We love helping a patient achieve a confident and beautiful smile.
Contact us today if you need to schedule an examination or are interested in learning more about Invisalign.