There’s no time like the New Year to make a commitment to a healthier, more beautiful smile, and for plenty of people that means straightening their teeth with the Invisalign® clear alignment system. If Invisalign is on your list of resolutions, you’re probably wondering, “How long will my treatment take?”
That’s a pretty common question. In fact, most people who are considering any type of orthodontic treatment ask that same question, even before their treatment actually begins. And it’s no wonder: Invisalign treatment can dramatically improve your smile aesthetics, your confidence, and even your oral health.
At Freedom Orthodontics in Cedar Park, Texas, Brendan Smith, DDS, MS, understands how eager patients are to start — and complete — their Invisalign treatment. In this post, he reviews some of the factors that can affect your treatment time, along with a few things you can do to make sure your treatment stays on track.
Invisalign treatment time
First, the basic info: Most Invisalign treatments take somewhere between 12-18 months. However, your treatment might take more or less time, depending on a few factors.
Treatment may be a little faster for kids, preteens, and teens because they’re still growing, and that means it can be a little easier to move their teeth into their proper positions. Adults can absolutely have their teeth straightened successfully with Invisalign — it just might take a little bit longer compared to a patient in their teens.
The issue being treated
Whether you have Invisalign or traditional braces, more complex alignment problems may take a little longer to correct. That’s because it takes time to coordinate movements among your teeth so they all align properly.
How well you follow instructions
A lot of people are attracted by the convenience of Invisalign — pop in your aligners and let them do all the work. But just like regular braces, Invisalign treatment has some rules you need to follow in order to get the results you want in the timeframe you’re expecting.
If you don’t follow those guidelines, your treatment is probably going to take longer. The good news: While there’s nothing you can do about your age or your alignment issues, following instructions is one factor that’s completely within your control.
Keep your treatment on track
Here’s what you can do to keep your treatment time to a minimum.
Wear aligners all day — and night
Invisalign aligners need to be worn about 22 hours a day on average. That gives you about two hours for eating and brushing and flossing your teeth. Outside of those times, your aligners should be in your mouth, doing their job.
Remove aligners for meals
Keeping your aligners in for meals won’t speed up your treatment. In fact, chewing while your aligners are in place can bend them and prolong your treatment. Always take them out for meals — even for snacks.
Use your aligner container
During meals, pop your aligners into their case to prevent them from getting damaged. Avoid the urge to slip them in your pocket or purse, because if they get bent, your treatment time could be extended.
Swap aligners as directed
Invisalign treatment involves a series of aligners that you wear in a specific order. Each aligner has a slightly different shape, and it's these differences that keep your teeth moving into position. Swap your current aligner for the next one in your series as directed by Dr. Smith.
Don’t skip your appointments
Invisalign may not require as many office visits as traditional braces, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK to skip any. During your visit, Dr. Smith checks to make sure your treatment is moving the way it’s supposed to. If there’s an issue, he can fix it right away to prevent delays.
Make this the year you invest in a beautiful smile. To learn more about Invisalign treatment, book an appointment at Freedom Orthodontics online or over the phone today.