Invisalign is advertised as the clear alternative to braces. This orthodontic treatment shifts the teeth into proper alignment by way of clear plastic trays that fit over the teeth. Invisalign achieves essentially the same result as braces, but through a different method.
Another way that Invisalign is different from braces is in the average time frame for treatment. In many cases, Invisalign can straighten the teeth in a shorter amount of time than braces. It all depends on your individual situation.
Average Time Frame for Invisalign Treatment
Invisalign treatment can take anywhere from 6 to 18 months on average. The average time frame for braces treatment is anywhere from 1-3 years. There are a variety of reasons for the difference in treatment time for these two teeth straightening systems, but it has more to do with the patient’s individual orthodontic needs than it does with the type of treatment used.
How Invisalign Works
It helps to understand how Invisalign works to understand the reasons for varying treatment times. The process begins with an evaluation where impressions and images are made of the teeth. Computer software uses these images to create a treatment plan that will move the teeth into the desired position. Once the plan is approved by you and your dentist, a complete set of aligners are made. You wear each aligner for about 2 weeks, switching to the next one in order until the final results are reached. The aligners gently shift the teeth into the desired position over time.
Factors That Determine Length of Treatment
Treatment time for Invisalign varies based on the following factors:
- Extent of the necessary corrections. The further your teeth need to be shifted to reach the desired position, the longer your treatment will take. A patient who only needs minor corrections will have a much shorter treatment time than someone who needs extensive corrections. The good news is that with Invisalign, your complete treatment plan is determined at the start, so you should have a pretty accurate idea of how long it will take once you begin.
- How often you wear your aligners. The clear aligners can be removed to eat and care for your teeth, but it is necessary to wear them for as close to 24 hours a day as possible. The goal for the average patient is 22 hours of aligner wear per day. If you wear your aligners as instructed, your treatment time should be in line with what was initially predicted. Not wearing your aligners enough could make your treatment take longer.
- Keeping up with scheduled appointments. Another important part of your treatment is periodic appointments to monitor your progress. If your dentist sees that adjustments need to be made in your treatment, the sooner this is discovered the better. If you don’t see your dentist regularly and something goes wrong, some of your progress may be lost.
Why Do Braces Take Longer?
The average treatment time for braces tends to be longer because patients who undergo braces treatment tend to have a need for more extensive orthodontic corrections. Invisalign can treat many common orthodontic conditions, including crowding, overbite, gaps, and other issues. But some problems are too difficult for Invisalign to correct, requiring braces to make the necessary adjustments. This is why braces patients tend to require a longer treatment duration.
Barkoff Dental is a Certified Invisalign Provider
If Invisalign sounds like an orthodontic treatment option you’d like to try, Barkoff Dental can help. The first step is to come in for an evaluation. We will assess your teeth and determine whether or not Invisalign would be an effective treatment option for you. If so, we can get you started as soon as possible. Most of our patients complete Invisalign treatment in less than a year.