How Long Does Invisalign Take
Invisalign Treatment Time and Process
Your Invisalign treatment depends on the specifics of your dental needs. Depending on your case, your treatment could take just a few weeks, or even up to a year (especially if you’re an adult). The duration can vary for teen patients. The process involves several steps, as detailed below.
You’ll have to take a dental assessment so your doctor can evaluate if you’re a good candidate for Invisalign treatment. Choose an experienced orthodontist, one who’s handled many cases similar to yours. If your case is very complex, it’s best to consult other doctors and opt for the best option. Note that not all dentists are authorized to do Invisalign treatments, so ask your dentist for a list of Premier Preferred Providers.
How Invisalign Aligners Work
Invisalign aligners are made of a unique thermoplastic material that looks similar to teeth-whitening trays. These thermoplastic aligners apply a certain amount of controlled force on the teeth that are to be moved. They also control the timing of the force application. Only those teeth that are fitted with the aligners experience this force, leaving the other teeth to function normally. So, unlike regular braces, there is no damage to surrounding teeth, tissue, or overall discomfort.
Many doctors use 3D computing programs to show you what you’ll look like when your treatment is over.After your 3D imaging, your doctor will custom-make a series of Invisalign aligners to shift your teeth in the best possible sequence to ensure a beautiful smile. You will be fitted with a gradually shifting series of aligners over the course of your treatment. These aligners are designed to make minute adjustments to the position of your teeth, in a process that’s already mapped out for you. Your teeth will shift from their current position into the new position gradually. Your aligners will be replaced every two weeks or so, and your teeth straightening process will continue till the sequence is complete.
What You Will Experience
When you wear these virtually invisible aligners, you can get back to your normal lifestyle, without anyone noticing you’re wearing aligners. You need to wear them for at least 20 to 22 hours a day, to ensure a good and timely outcome. However, you can take them off when you need to eat, drink, brush or floss. Your visits to the dentist during the treatment process will not take much time, as your entire treatment is pre-designed. You’ll have to clean your aligners using the Invisalign Cleaning system. Alternatively, you can also brush them and clean them in lukewarm water.
Your treatment can take anywhere from just a few weeks to 12 months or more. It all depends on how much straightening and repositioning you need. Your doctor will be able to determine the treatment duration.
All orthodontic treatments tend to affect your ability to speak clearly for a while. Invisalign aligners are not an exception, so you might have a slight lisp for a while. However, your lisp should disappear once your tongue gets used to the aligners.
After treatment, you must need a positioner or conventional retainer to keep your teeth in position. Some patients are prescribed a clear plastic retainer such as Align Technology’s Vivera Retainer, which is similar to invisalign’s braces. These are meant to be worn at night.