Invisible braces, also called clear aligners, have become a popular alternative to traditional braces. The Invisalign company introduced the technology in the late 1990s. Since then, patients who want straighter teeth without metal wires and brackets have opted for these medical-grade plastic trays.
Virtually undetectable while worn, invisible clear braces are removable and more comfortable than other orthodontic treatment options. But patients considering them naturally wonder, “How long does it take for Invisalign to work?”
Clear braces do work, whether they are Invisalign or some other brand. Read on for details about how long you can expect that work to take and other questions about invisible braces.
The short answer to the question “How long does it take for invisible braces to work?” is, “On average, about one year.”
The longer answer is that exactly how long invisible braces take to work will vary from person to person. The complexity of your orthodontic case makes a difference, as does how closely you follow your orthodontist’s recommendations.
Like other orthodontics, invisible clear braces work by gently pushing your teeth into new, properly aligned positions. But unlike conventional braces, which constantly push and pull your teeth to their proper position, clear aligners only work while in your mouth.
For this reason, orthodontists recommend you wear your aligners 20 to 22 hours per day. You should only take them out to eat and drink, and to clean them.
If you follow this recommendation, you can expect a noticeable change quickly. You can also expect to complete treatment in about 12 months—half as long as traditional metal braces.
One factor influencing how long invisible braces take to work is the fact that your orthodontist must adjust and change them more frequently than traditional braces. Instead of waiting several months between adjustments, you can expect to change invisible aligners every two weeks.
This frequent replacement of aligners repositions your teeth more quickly, reducing your treatment time to that one-year average. And because your new aligner trays are shipped directly to you, you only need to see your orthodontist every six weeks.
Because they are manufactured from smooth, medical-grade plastic, invisible aligners are indeed much less painful and more comfortable than metal braces.
However, don’t be alarmed if you feel some mild discomfort, especially during the first few days you wear the trays. The aligners are, after all, shifting your teeth while you wear them.
The longer you keep your aligners in your mouth, the more quickly your teeth become accustomed to the pressure. The aligners will ultimately move your teeth with less discomfort.
Because you can remove your invisible braces while you eat, you don’t need to avoid your favorite foods during treatment.
That said, make sure your diet contains plenty of good foods for you and your teeth. Unlike patients in metal braces, you don’t have to worry about getting popcorn or sticky sweets stuck in brackets. But food particles can still get stuck in your teeth, where their sugars can cause plenty of damage.
Invisible braces don’t demand any special oral hygiene. Keep brushing your teeth twice daily with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily. Any problems in your oral hygiene may make your duration of treatment in invisible clear braces take longer.
At Penn Dental Family Practice (PDFP), we’ve helped many people in and around Philadelphia achieve straight teeth and beautiful smiles using invisible braces.
When you use your aligner trays as instructed in the personalized treatment plan your orthodontist prepares, invisible braces can deliver spectacular results. And they can do so in less time and with less stress than metal braces.
For even more information about clear aligners, download our free eBook, The Ultimate Alternative to Braces.