Patients have many questions about Invisalign, but one of the most common is, “How long does Invisalign treatment take?” The answer to this question is a little more complicated than you might expect—while Invisalign offers a great deal of predictability, there are some factors that have the potential to shorten or lengthen your treatment time. Here’s what you need to know.
Average Invisalign Treatment Time
First, let’s talk about the average time it takes to complete Invisalign treatment. According to the Invisalign website, most patients are able to achieve results in 12 to 18 months. This is the average treatment time, but as with all averages, there are outliers and some patients will have to wear their aligners for a longer period of time, while others may finish treatment in under a year.
With Invisalign, each movement of every tooth is precisely planned. This means that when you see Dr. Wong for a consultation, he can provide you with a fairly accurate timeline for your treatment.
Your Orthodontic Case
The most important factor in determining the length of your orthodontic treatment is the severity of your spacing, crowding, and bite issues. If, for example, you’re getting Invisalign because you had braces as a teen and your teeth shifted a little bit after you stopped wearing your retainers as an adult, you might only need a few months in aligners to correct these minor issues.
In contrast, if you need Invisalign to correct significant bite issues in addition to problems with crowding or spacing, it’s possible that you would need to wear aligners for more than 18 months. These factors are all incorporated into your treatment plan and proposed timeline during your consultation. There are, however, some factors that Dr. Wong can’t plan for.
Compliance With Invisalign Treatment
Dr. Wong’s estimate for your Invisalign treatment time assumes that you are following all guidelines and instructions—namely, that you’re wearing your aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day. Unlike braces, which are affixed to your teeth and exerting force on them all day long, aligners only work when you’re wearing them. We recommend removing your aligners only to eat, drink, brush, and floss to keep your treatment on track.
Patients who remove their aligners often and leave them out for long periods of time will slow down their treatment. When you see Dr. Wong to check on your progress, he may tell you to leave your current set of aligners in longer than the normal two weeks or even ask you to move back to a previous set of aligners. This is because progressing to a new set of aligners if you haven’t worn the previous set long enough can cause damage to your teeth.
Another factor that can change your Invisalign treatment time is whether you decide to use AcceleDent. We offer this device to our patients to allow them to speed up their orthodontic treatment. Clinical trials have shown that the micropulses emitted by AcceleDent can move teeth up to 50 percent faster than braces or aligners alone.
With AcceleDent, your treatment has the potential to take less time than predicted by Invisalign, especially when you combine AcceleDent with perfect compliance.