Braces are still commonly prescribed to many patients who have orthodontic problems, but some patients may be able to use Invisalign as an alternative. There are some real benefits to Invisalign, which uses clear, removable aligners to correct bite problems and straighten teeth.
One of the challenges of recommending Invisalign is that some of our patients at Sims Orthodontics aren’t as familiar with how it works as they are with traditional braces. One of the most common questions we get is:
How long does Invisalign take to work?
That’s a natural thing to ask – and we always aim to give our patients as much information as possible, so they can make an informed choice about their orthodontic care. In this post, we’ll explain how Invisalign works – and how long it takes to work – so you can discuss your options and make the best choice for your smile.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign differs from traditional braces in some significant ways. Here is what you need to know about how Invisalign works.
Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners made of a flexible plastic called SmartTrack, which was designed exclusively for Invisalign. The aligners are progressive. What that means is that you will wear each aligner for a prescribed time. At the end of that time, you will move on to the next aligner in the series. In most cases, you will switch to a new aligner every two weeks or so.
The Invisalign clear aligners you wear will be designed especially for you. Your doctor at Sims Orthodontics will create a digital treatment plan that maps out the precise movements of your teeth. The plan is unique to you.
The aligners you receive are designed to apply the correct force to the right place at the proper time to realign your teeth according to your plan. Along the way, your doctor will monitor your progress to ensure that everything is working as it should.
Another thing you should know about Invisalign is that the aligners are trimmed to fit your gum line, something that is ideal for both your comfort and your appearance.
How Long Does Invisalign Take to Work?
Our patients are often eager to know how long it will be before they see visible results with Invisalign. The short answer is that it depends on a variety of factors.
The first factor is your age. As a rule, teenagers who use Invisalign may only need to wear aligners for about a year before their treatment is complete. The reason is that a teenager’s teeth are more flexible than adult teeth are. That means the aligners may work more quickly for them than for an adult.
By contrast, adult teeth may require a longer time, up to two years of Invisalign, to get the desired result. Not only are their teeth and jaws less flexible than they were at a younger age, but adults often have serious bite problems that, by their nature, require a long treatment.
The second factor that may affect the length of your treatment with Invisalign is the severity of the issue you are trying to correct. We don’t recommend Invisalign for patients with severe bite issues or whose teeth require a lot of straightening.
The amount of time that you wear your aligners each day is another factor. As a rule, we recommend that our Invisalign patients wear their aligners between 20 and 22 hours per day, including when they sleep. The only times you should remove your aligners are:
- When you are eating
- When you are drinking any beverage other than water
- When you are cleaning your aligners
- When you are sick to your stomach and vomiting
If you do not wear your aligners as prescribed, it can be difficult to predict when you will see results. Your Invisalign treatment plan assumes that you will adhere to your doctor’s recommendations and wear Invisalign as instructed.
Finally, failure to care properly for your aligners may extend your treatment. If you drop your aligners, scratch them, or otherwise damage them, they may not work as intended.
The good news is that your doctor should be able to give you an estimate of how long Invisalign will take to work when you first receive treatment. Provided you wear your aligners every day for the recommended period, you should be finished on schedule.
Visualizing Your Progress
One of the things that both teens and adults like about Invisalign is that you can see virtual results before you start treatment. That’s because your doctor will create an individualized digital treatment plan. Each aligner is designed to fit your mouth at a specific stage of your treatment and you can see your progress visualized every step of the way.
People with minor bite problems to be corrected may see results in as little as six months. It can be difficult to see progress when it happens incrementally. Some of our patients notice the progress they are making early on, while others don’t notice it until one day they look in the mirror and it strikes them how much they like their smiles.
How Invisalign Compared with Braces
In addition to being able to visualize your progress, there are other benefits that make Invisalign a popular choice for teenagers and adults alike.
- Invisalign is clear and hardly noticeable, which makes wearing them an easy adjustment for our patients.
- Invisalign is removable and that makes eating easier than it is with traditional braces.
- There is a compliance indicator that will let you know when it’s time to switch to your next aligner.
- Teens get six free replacement aligners in case they lose or break one during treatment.
Invisalign is a good option for people with mild to moderate bite problems. It provides a less intrusive treatment option than traditional braces.
Invisalign can take anywhere from six months to two years to give you the beautiful smile you deserve. To learn more about Invisalign at Sims Orthodontics, please click here now.