How Long Does Invisalign Take?

Do you wish you didn’t have a gap between your two front teeth? Is there a bit of overlap in your alignment that you’d love to correct? If there’s something about your smile that you would change, you’re in the majority.

An estimated three in five people don’t like how their smile looks. The good news is that your orthodontist in Glenview, IL can give you more options than just traditional braces if you’re ready for a smile makeover.

Invisalign is one of the fastest-growing orthodontic treatments today. How long does Invisalign take from start to finish? Read on to find out.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is the leading brand in clear aligner technology and a popular choice for teen and adult teeth straightening. Like traditional braces, Invisalign will gradually straighten a patient’s teeth over the course of several months. Unlike braces, you can remove Invisalign aligners-and they’re more discrete when they’re on.

Each aligner tray is custom-made to fit your exact bite and shift your teeth into position over time. Patients will wear several trays during the course of their treatment, typically ranging from 15 to 25. These trays can help correct a variety of orthodotonic issues, from gaps to crowding to mild overbites.  

How Long Does Invisalign Take?

Most patients should expect to wear their Invisalign aligner trays for 12 to 18 months. The best way to get a more accurate estimate is to consult your orthodontist, who will give you a window of time (e.g., 12-14 months or 16-18 months). Here are some of the factors that can impact how long it takes to complete your Invisalign treatment. 

Level of Correction

Invisalign can correct mild cases, such as minor crowding or small gaps, in as little as six months. However, moderate cases that involve significant crowding, large gaps, or misalignments in bite patterns can take up to two years. The more complex your case is, the more trays you’ll need to see the desired effect.

Patient Involvement 

Patients should only remove their Invisalign trays to eat, drink anything other than water, and practice oral hygiene (e.g., brushing and flossing). That means that you should wear your Invisalign trays for 20-22 hours every day. Less frequent wear will slow down your Invisalign treatment process.

Patient Age

We don’t recommend Invisalign for children or young teens. However, younger patients experience faster alignment than older patients. Adults have higher bone density, which makes their teeth and jaws less responsive to aligners and braces alike. 

Oral Hygiene

The state of your oral health can delay or draw out your Invisalign timeline. For example, you may need to get dental work before starting your Invisalign treatment. If you develop tooth decay or gum infections while using Invisalign, you may need to pause while completing dental work. 

How Many Appointments Will I Need?

The Invisalign process begins with either impressions or digital scans of your current bite. Note that there are companies that will send DIY impression kits to your home. However, the convenience of at-home service doesn’t outweigh the benefits of working with an experienced orthodontist

One of the benefits of using Invisalign over braces is that you won’t need as many orthodontic appointments during the course of your treatment. Most patients will need to schedule a visit every four to six or six to ten weeks, depending on the level of corrections they need. 

The purpose of these appointments is to make sure that the trays are working effectively. Most appointments last between 20 and 30 minutes. 

Is Everyone a Good Candidate for Invisalign?

Not all patients seeking orthodontic treatment are good candidates for Invisalign. Case complexity is the biggest factor in determining which type of orthodontic treatment is right for you. Severe malocclusions tend to require a more hands-on approach.

We tend to recommend Invisalign for older teens and adults. The teeth and jawbone in children and young teens are still developing, and aligner trays aren’t the best option. Plus, younger may patients may have a harder time caring for and wearing their aligners the right way.

One study found that one in every six patients using Invisalign do switch to traditional braces. Once again, working with an orthodontist is the best way to find out if Invisalign will produce your desired results. This can cut down on the likelihood that you’ll need or want to switch treatment methods after starting Invisalign. 

Basic Invisalign Care

Invisalign is touted as a discrete orthodontic method, but it’s not 100% invisible, especially if the trays get stained or damaged. Here are the basics of Invisalign care that can keep your aligner trays clean and promote better results. 

Cleaning Aligners

Each time you remove your Invisalign trays, rinse them with warm water. Use unscented antibacterial soap (not toothpaste, mouthwash, or abrasive solutions) to clean them at least once per day. Every few days, soak your trays in Invisalign cleaning liquid to remove excess build-up and prevent staining.

Removing Aligners

Always remove your Invisalign trays before you eat food or drink anything other than water. Liquids like coffee, juice, soda, and red wine can stain your Invisalign trays. When you remove your aligners, put them in a case rather than a napkin, or you may throw them away by accident.

Oral Hygiene with Aligners

Wearing Invisalign trays should not prevent you from keeping up with at-home oral hygiene. Make sure that you are brushing and flossing at least twice per day. To avoid excessive plaque buildup on your teeth and trays, consider brushing your teeth after every meal. 

Ask Your Orthodontist in Glenview, IL About Invisalign

How long does Invisalign take? The best way to find out is to schedule an appointment with your orthodontist to discuss the level of corrections you need and any other dental work that may help. Patients tend to complete Invisalign treatment in 12 to 18 months. 

Are you looking for an orthodontist in Vernon Hills or Glenview, IL? Graber & Gyllenhaal Orthodontics offers customized orthodontic care for patients of all ages using the latest orthodontic technology. Contact us to schedule your visit.