How Long Does Invisalign Take to Straighten Teeth?


One of the most common questions patients have about Invisalign® is, “How long does Invisalign® take to work?” The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might expect because there are a number of factors involved—some that are obvious and some that you might not even be aware of. Here’s what you need to know.

Average Invisalign® Treatment Time

If you visit the Invisalign® website, you’ll find that the average Invisalign® treatment time is 12 to 18 months. While that’s the average—most patients have treatment times that fall within this window—there are some circumstances in which your treatment could be much shorter or much longer.

The advantage of Invisalign® treatment is its predictability. Because each movement of every tooth is carefully planned, we can provide you with a fairly accurate treatment timeline when you come in for your consultation. 

Your Orthodontic Case

The most significant determining factor in the length of your orthodontic treatment is the severity of your crowding, spacing, and bite issues. 

Invisalign® is a popular treatment choice for adults who had braces as teens and later experienced orthodontic relapse, a term used to describe when the teeth shift because retainers aren’t worn; these patients may only need a few months of treatment to correct crowding and misalignments. In contrast, a patient who has a significant overbite or underbite in addition to crowding may need Invisalign® for more than 18 months.

During your consultation, these issues are all planned for in your treatment. There are, however, some factors that cannot be planned for.

Compliance With Invisalign® Treatment

When you receive your Invisalign® aligners, we’ll provide you with instructions on how to use them. Invisalign® suggests wearing aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day, but even better is to simply wear them all the time, except when you are eating, drinking, brushing, or flossing. Unlike traditional braces that are affixed to your teeth and work 24/7, clear aligners only work if you’re wearing them, so maximizing the amount of time you wear your aligners each day will go a long way towards helping your treatment time stay on track.

If you remove your aligners often and take them out for extended periods of time, it can slow down your treatment. When you come in for check-ups, we may tell you to leave in your current set of aligners longer than the usual two weeks or even move back to a previous set of aligners. (Sometimes this occurs for other reasons too—adult teeth may move more slowly than those of teens.) Patients who make a habit of wearing their aligners for less than the recommended 20 hours a day can see their treatments take much longer than we projected during their consultation.

Learn More About Invisalign®

If you’d like to discuss whether Invisalign® is right for you, contact Signature Orthodontics today to schedule a consultation or start a free digital consult online by snapping a few selfies so we can see your smile. During your consultation, we’ll be able to estimate the length of time you’ll need for Invisalign®, along with the costs involved.