girl holding Invisalign aligner

How Long Does it Take for Invisalign to Straighten Teeth?

Team Invisalign

Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment that is designed to straighten teeth and correct minor orthodontic issues. It is referred to as the “clear alternative to braces” because the system uses clear aligners rather than metal brackets to adjust the teeth. The biggest advantage of Invisalign is that the aligners are barely visible, meaning the treatment has less of an effect on your appearance. 

One of the biggest questions about Invisalign is how long it takes. The answer is different for everyone, but here’s a general idea of what to expect in terms of the treatment time frame. 

Average Length of Treatment for Invisalign

For the average patient, treatment with Invisalign can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months, or a year to a year and a half. For some patients the treatment may take a bit longer, but it depends on the individual and their teeth as well as a few other factors. 

Factors That Affect the Length of Treatment Time With Invisalign

How long Invisalign takes to straighten your teeth and shift them into the desired position depends on:

  • How Far Your Teeth Need to be Moved. The extent of the corrections your teeth require will affect the length of your treatment time. Very basic straightening won’t take very long. But significant crowding of the teeth will take longer to straighten out. An overbite is a relatively simple correction, but a cross bite or underbite could be more of a challenge. It all depends on what needs to be done to determine how long it will take. 
  • How Many Hours Per Day You Wear Your Aligners. Invisalign consists of clear plastic aligners that fit over your teeth. At the start of your treatment your teeth are evaluated and a complete set of aligners is created. You are typically instructed to wear each aligner for 2 weeks before switching to the next one. You will have an idea of how long your treatment will take as long as you wear your aligners according to instructions. It is necessary to wear your aligners for at least 22 hours per day, only removing them to eat and brush your teeth. If you don’t, your treatment may take longer. 
  • Your Age. Teenagers will likely have a shorter treatment time than adults. The reason is that teenagers are still growing, including the jaw, and that allows for more easy movement of the teeth. Adults are full grown and the teeth are more solidly fixed in their positions in the jaw, making it more difficult to move them. Orthodontic treatment is most often administered during adolescence because of the significant growth spurts that occur during this time when growth hormones are high. 

Comparing Treatment Time Between Invisalign and Braces

Another common question is which takes longer between Invisalign and braces. On average, treatment times are comparable. Invisalign may take less time than braces if the extent of orthodontic corrections required are less. If complex orthodontic issues are present, a patient may not be a candidate for Invisalign and will require braces, likely resulting in a longer treatment time. 

Invisalign and Invisalign Teen: What’s the Difference?

Invisalign Teen is essentially the same treatment as regular Invisalign, with some teen-friendly features built in. For one, replacement aligners are built into the treatment so that if one or two get lost, which is bound to happen, replacing them is easier and less expensive. There are also blue dots on the back part of each aligner that gradually wear off with regular use, which is a telltale sign of how much they are being worn. 

Invisalign at Tender Smiles 4 Kids

Tender Smiles 4 Kids offers both Invisalign and Invisalign Teen. We understand that some patients would prefer not to wear uncomfortable, conspicuous metal braces, so we offer this alternative treatment. After an initial consultation we can give you an idea of how long your treatment might take. 

Contact us at any of our 4 convenient locations to schedule a consultation: 

We look forward to helping you transform your smile in the shortest time possible.