Many people facing the possibility of braces are concerned about the length of time they take. As Invisalign® grows in popularity, one of the big questions people have is how long they’ll have to wear the invisible aligners. After all, metal braces are usually worn for two years if not longer. Although treatment time depends on the issues that need to be fixed, most Invisalign plans can be finished in 12 months.
That’s why so many people are turning to Invisalign® to straighten their teeth. If you follow your treatment plan and wear your aligners for the prescribed amount of time, you can be in and out of braces with straight teeth in a shorter amount of time.
Some Invisalign providers like Dr. Jeffery C. Platt even offer an Invisalign Express plan. The express plan can take as little as 20 weeks. This is a great option for people whose teeth don’t need to move very much, like someone who wore braces in the past but has experienced minor shifts in their teeth.
Factors Affecting Your Length of Treatment
Everyone’s mouth is different, and the challenges faced in each individual case can impact the amount of time you’ll have to wear braces. No two situations are the same, and only a trained professional can determine the exact amount of time treatment will take. Some of the reasons why treatment may take longer include:
- Teeth need to move a larger distance
- A slower pace of tooth movement
- The complexity of the required treatment
- Aligners aren’t worn for the recommended amount of time every day
The first step in creating your Invisalign trays is to assess the current placement of your teeth, which is often performed at your first consultation. Unlike the unpleasant putty impressions normally taken for braces, most Invisalign providers use 3D software. Dr. Maya Assi, a preferred Invisalign provider, uses the iTero Element® scanner to develop a treatment plan for her patients.
This technology not only makes it more convenient to get an image of your teeth but also allows your dentist to show you a realistically rendered version of what your mouth will look like after Invisalign. You can actually see how your teeth will look after your braces are done before your treatment even begins. Your dentist can also give you a more concrete idea of when you’ll achieve that goal.
With the advantage of technology, your aligners can be more precise. This is one of the reasons Invisalign takes less time than other orthodontic solutions. Your dentist will have a better idea of the issues that need to be fixed, and how your teeth are moving throughout the treatment.
Wearing the Trays
After your teeth have been scanned, it will take about four weeks for your first set of Invisalign aligners to arrive. Each set of aligners is supposed to be worn every day, for two weeks, for at least 20 to 22 hours a day. It’s important to wear your aligners for the prescribed amount of time so your treatment doesn’t take longer than necessary.
You can remove the trays to eat, so you don’t have to limit your diet, but you must put your braces back in. Dentists also recommend brushing and flossing your teeth before putting your aligners back in as food stuck between your teeth can impact the effectiveness of the braces.
Invisalign aligners cover the entirety of your teeth, which means they exert force on all surfaces for movement. This is the main reason these clear braces don’t take as long to fix your teeth. Regular metal braces only exert force on certain areas, so they can’t move teeth around very quickly.
Every two weeks you’ll receive a new tray, and this process will continue until your treatment plan is finished. Fortunately, you don’t have to go to the dentist every two weeks to pick them up. Your Invisalign trays can be sent directly to you, meaning you only have to go in for a checkup every six to eight weeks so your dentist can monitor your progress.
The End Result
Though it may seem too good to be true, the Invisalign process does take a shorter amount of time to complete compared to traditional braces. In fact, it usually takes about half as long. Invisalign braces generally hurt less than metal braces, but they can be uncomfortable, so being diligent about putting them in every day can be difficult. Invisalign does require discipline to wear every day, but the advantages in time saved and improved health and appearance are clear.
It’s no wonder that dentists like Dr. Stephen Grussmark have been putting so much of their effort into Invisalign. Dr. Grussmark has been working with invisible braces since they were introduced in 1999 because he believes nonmetal braces to be a superior option.
If you think Invisalign may be right for you, the best thing you can do is talk to your dentist about it. In some cases, other treatments may work better and only an expert can decide which treatment is best for you based on your individual situation. Invisalign is a great choice for many people who want to efficiently straighten their teeth.