If you’ve been told you need adult braces, your first question is probably ‘how long does Invisalign take’? And that’s quite understandable- we realise that most adults really want to minimise the amount of time they wear braces or clear aligners for. The duration of your treatment is going to depend on a few different variables. Let’s investigate how Invisalign aligners work and what you could expect from a course of treatment.
Then vs Now
While we are all very grateful for traditional metal braces and their ability to straighten teeth and correct bites, most patients do not enjoy wearing them. They can be uncomfortable, fixed, difficult to get used to and, of course, so visible to everyone else. While traditional braces are often the most effective solution for children and teenagers, adults generally want their teeth correction treatments to be more discreet.
Invisalign’s technology has recognised these shortfalls and improved on them by creating an aligner that can be removed for eating and drinking, and that is hardly noticeable when it is worn. While Invisalign does employ more modern technology than its metal predecessor, it does also have a 20-year track record of research and development behind it. This track record currently spans around 5.5 million patients who have had their teeth and bites corrected using Invisalign aligners. In fact, the very first Invisalign treatment was carried out way back in 1945.
How Do Invisalign Aligners Work?
Invisalign is a series of clear aligners that are made to gradually move your teeth into the correct positions. Once your teeth have moved, you will start to wear a new set of aligners in order to move them into the next position. Your aligners are clear and made from a special type of plastic that requires very good dental hygiene in order to keep them transparent and correctly shaped.
How Long Does Invisalign Take?
To begin the treatment process your dentist will take digital photographs, x-rays and impressions of your teeth in order to create a 3D model of your mouth. This will be used to customise your aligners – because only you can wear and benefit from this particular course of treatment.
Once your aligners are ready they will be sent to your dentist who will probably issue you with three or four sets for you to replace. You can expect to visit your dentist every six to eight weeks, where your progress will be checked and
On average most people can expect to wear their clear aligners for between six months (for minor correction) and two years if they change their aligners as directed by their dentist. Invisalign suggests an average of between 12 and 18 months per patient.
Early Invisalign treatment plans required a new set of aligners to be used every two weeks but today it is possible to change your aligners weekly, in order to speed up the correction process.
Good Things Take Time
Here’s a very big “but” that you really do need to pay attention to: even if your treatment plan lasts for two years, you must still follow your dentist’s advice post-treatment. What does this mean?
Your gums and bones will take a few years to become stable once your Invisalign has come off so your dentist will advise you on a longer term strategy to keep your teeth straight, which will involve wearing a retainer at night.
Many patients skip this step (which applies whether you’re having clear aligners or traditional metal braces, by the way) and the result is that the teeth tend to return to their original positions if this step is not followed.
Furthermore, you should also remember that Invisalign aligners are not in your mouth permanently like other types of orthodontic treatment. You can remove them for eating and brushing – but you should put them back on as soon as you can. It’s vital to remember that your treatment is only effective if you wear your aligners for at least 20 to 22 hours a day.
While they are removable, removing them too often will diminish their efficacy and you shouldn’t take them out unnecessarily.
If you are an adult and would like orthodontic treatment to be as quick as possible you should discuss this with your dentist and follow all of the advice you are given. Any deviations can impact on your treatment timeline. Also remember though the goal is to straighten your teeth correctly so that the results last and you feel confident in your smile. The objective is not to have your treatment done in record time.
You should be able to start seeing results in your smile a few months into your treatment. Use your progress positively so that you are motivated to follow all instructions given by your dentist – including wearing your retainer.
Still have questions about Invisalign aligners? We’d love to answer them – please contact us for an appointment: (03) 8737 9359