How Long Does Invisalign Take to Straighten Your Teeth?
Dr. Shahbazyan | March 27, 2023
Everyone has some level of malocclusion, also known as tooth misalignment. While most of these cases are very mild, many of them do require treatment. For many years, the primary treatment for misalignment was traditional metal braces. However, 20+ years ago, that changed, and a new treatment was introduced.
Invisalign is a popular treatment alternative to traditional braces for treating a variety of mild to moderate malocclusions. This treatment consists of a series of transparent aligners that gradually shift teeth to create a straight, picture-perfect smile.
The team at Shahbazyan Dental Studio is committed to our patients. We strive to help you understand your treatment options and help you determine the best one for you. In this article, we'll help you understand more about Invisalign clear aligners.
How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign clear aligners are custom-made to fit your teeth. They fit snugly against your teeth, putting firm pressure to shift them into their appropriate position. Each set moves teeth up to 0.25 mm.
Aligners are designed to be removable- but they should be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day for best results. You should remove them when eating/drinking- except water- and when brushing/flossing teeth. If you do not wear them as directed, they will not work as expected.
The type and severity of your malocclusion will determine how many aligners you are going to need. Each set of aligners should be worn for 1 to 3 weeks, depending on your treatment plan.
Does Invisalign Hurt?
Since Invisalign is shifting your teeth from their current position in the jawbone, you may have some discomfort with treatment. However, the aligners are smooth, unlike the wires and brackets of traditional braces, so you don't have to be concerned about cutting your cheeks, tongue, or lips.
How long Does Invisalign Take?
On average, treatment with Invisalign takes 12 to 18 months. There are several factors that impact treatment time, including:
Type and Severity of Malocclusion
There are several types of malocclusion:
Gaps between teeth
The type of severity of your malocclusion will be used to determine how many aligners you will need- which will determine how long you can expect treatment to take.
Invisalign aligners are designed to be removable. While this is convenient, making it easier to eat and to take care of your oral hygiene, it also may impact your treatment timeline.
Aligners should be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day, even while sleeping. This gives you up to 4 hours to eat and take care of your mouth. If you do not wear the aligners, they will not shift your teeth.
The reason orthodontic treatments are so common among middle and high school students is that its easy to shift teeth at a young age. This does not mean that orthodontics will not be effective for adults, it simply means that it may take longer.
What to Expect with Invisalign?
The first step in starting Invisalign treatment is similar to that of traditional braces. You will visit the clinic for your evaluation. Dr. Shahbazyan will perform a comprehensive exam, which will include imaging and impressions. This will help us determine the type and severity of your malocclusion. During this time, we will also discuss your expectations for treatment and create a 3D computer model that will show you what your treatment should look like. We will send your images and impressions to the lab for the fabrication of your custom aligners. The aligners will be sent back to the office. You will come in to have your first set fitted. At this time, we will explain how your treatment should progress. You will be given the remainder of your aligners to take home. Every 1 to 3 weeks, based on your treatment plan, you will switch to a new set. You will need to come to the clinic every 6 weeks or so to allow us to evaluate your progress. If you are not progressing as expected, we may modify your plan.
Is Invisalign Worth it?
Invisalign offers several benefits over traditional metal braces including:
aligners are virtually invisible
aligners are made from smooth plastic, with no brackets or wires
aligners cost about the same as traditional metal braces
aligners can be removed, making it easier to brush/floss teeth
No food restrictions:
aligners are removable, which means you don't have to give up your favorite foods
The primary disadvantage of Invisalign is the fact that they are removable. This means that compliance can become an issue, especially with children and teens.
Do You Need Invisalign Treatment?
If you are interested in learning more about using Invisalign clear aligners to treat your mild to moderate malocclusion, schedule your consultation with the team at Shahbazyan Dental Studio. We are located on North Cedar Avenue in Fresno. Our office hours are Monday through Thursday from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM. You can call the office at (559) 295-8977 or visit our website.
At Shahbazyan Dental Studio, we work with a lot of patients who choose Invisalign for their mild to moderate malocclusion. We often get a lot of questions about treatment. Below are answers to some of the most common questions we get:
How do I clean Invisalign?
Cleaning your aligners is easy- simply remove them from your mouth and use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to gently scrub away any debris.
Can Invisalign fix an overbite?
Overbite is a condition in which the upper jaw overlaps the lower jaw. Invisalign clear aligners can be used to resolve most mild to moderate malocclusions, including overbite.
Can you chew gum with Invisalign?
No, you should not chew gum while wearing your aligners. You may chew gum while your aligners are removed, but make sure to brush your teeth before putting aligners back in.
Can you eat with Invisalign?
No, you should not eat while wearing your aligners. Remove them and place them in the case during mealtimes. Ideally, you should brush your teeth after eating, but if you are unable to brush, you should rinse your mouth to remove any food debris from between your teeth.
Can you smoke with Invisalign?
No, you should not smoke while wearing your aligners because the plastic can soak in the smoke, causing them to become discolored. If the aligners are discolored, they become more noticeable, which defeats the purpose of choosing Invisalign over traditional metal braces.