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How Long Does Invisalign Take?

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A young woman smiling and holding a clear aligner in her left hand.

Invisalign is popular among adolescents and adults who want a straight smile without braces that stand out. The clear aligners provide a subtle misalignment correction to create a healthy, beautiful smile.

Straight teeth can benefit oral health by allowing one to more easily clean their teeth. Also, with proper alignment the bite is stabilized and forces do not torque teeth in the wrong direction, which causes tooth wear, chipping, fracturing, recession, and mobility. Straight teeth also aid in supporting gum health and improving proper bite alignment to prevent teeth wear.

In many cases, patients wear Invisalign for 8 months to 1.5 years. However, the treatment timeline depends on the severity of your misalignment and compliance with the treatment plan and wear instructions. To discover how Invisalign could benefit your smile, visit Dr. Cooper for a comprehensive consultation.

What Is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a popular orthodontic treatment designed to straighten teeth and correct various dental concerns. Using a series of clear aligners, Invisalign gradually shifts the teeth into the desired position.

How Does Invisalign Compare to Traditional Braces?

Both Invisalign and braces are long-standing effective treatments for orthodontic care. They differ in a few key areas, including: 

  • Aesthetics: One of the significant draws to Invisalign is the discrete nature of the treatment.
  • Removability: Clear aligners are removable and are taken out when eating, so you do not have to give up certain foods or drinks as you would with braces.
  • Oral Hygiene Maintenance: Oral hygiene with Invisalign is generally easier to maintain as the aligners require regular cleaning and are replaced every 1–2 weeks, whereas traditional braces require diligent cleaning between brackets and wires.
  • In-Office Appointments: For traditional braces, often there are monthly visits. With Invisalign, through a virtual care app, photos can be sent to monitor progress. This minimizes frequent dental office visits. 
  • Cost: Depending on your unique treatment plan, the cost of both treatments can vary, and it is best to schedule a consultation with your dentist to explore customized treatment plans.
A dentist using the iTero scanner on a patient during a Invisalign appointment at a dental clinic.
copyright Azur Mele

The Invisalign Timeline

The Invisalign process begins with a comprehensive consultation to discuss your smile goals and assess your misalignment, bite, and possible aesthetic concerns.

Your dentist will develop a customized treatment plan using iTero scan to map a 3D visualization of your entire mouth and see your future smile. Custom aligners will then be created for your smile treatment plan.

During the active treatment phase, you will begin wearing your aligners. The custom aligners typically change every 1 to 2 weeks, and a customized schedule will be created for you for additional in-office visits.

It is critical to follow the treatment plan for effective, timely results. You should wear your aligners for 20 to 22 hours per day, and you should only need to remove them for:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Brushing and flossing your teeth
  • Cleaning your aligners

Depending on individual biology, some teeth are more challenging to move than others. Therefore, in some cases, additional refinement aligners will be needed to finalize some movements.

Once your treatment is complete, you will transition to a retainer to maintain the adjustments.

Factors that Influence Invisalign Treatment Duration

Invisalign may take longer than a year to complete based on certain factors, including:

  • Severity of crooked teeth, misaligned bite, or teeth crowding
  • Compliance with wearing aligners 20 to 22 hours per day and switching aligners on schedule
  • Age of the patient
  • Aligners not fitting properly

Tips to Keep Your Invisalign Timeline on Track

Following your treatment plan to the letter can help you finish your treatment on time. To keep on track, follow these tips:

  • Practice good oral hygiene to prevent dental problems that can interfere with treatment.
  • Wear your aligners the recommended amount of time.
  • Change your set of aligners on time.
  • Ensure photos are sent on the virtual care app.
  • Prioritize your regular check-ups with your dentist to track your progress.
  • Ensure you continue with your regular hygiene visits, in some cases the frequency for cleaning may also be increased.
  • Take care of your aligners by rinsing and cleaning them regularly and removing them to eat and drink to avoid damage.
A woman in an dentist's office shaking hands with her dentist

What Happens After I’m Done with Invisalign?

When your Invisalign treatment is complete, your dentist will be providing you with retainers to prevent teeth from returning to their former position. By scanning your new smile, your retainer will be custom-made to help maintain your straight smile  and stable bite.

At Cooper Dental, as an added bonus, all Invisalign patients receive complimentary tray take home whitening to add a sparkle in their new smile!

Achieve Your Smile Goals at Cooper Dental

Achieving a straighter smile may be within reach with Invisalign clear aligners. Visit Dr. Cooper for an Invisalign consultation or contact Cooper Dental for more information.

Written by Dr. Deborah Cooper

Dr. Deborah Cooper completed her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree in 1992 from the University of Alberta. With over 30 years of experience in general dentistry, her passion for her profession is evident in how she strives for excellence. She attends dental courses to stay up-to-date on the most current developments in dentistry. Dr. Cooper has a special interest in conservative aesthetic dentistry and creating natural-looking smiles with healthy bites. For Dr. Cooper, individual patient care has always been her top priority. Many of her patients have been with her for well over 30 years. She also values her team and has many long-standing team members.
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