If you want to fix your smile, you’re not alone – an estimated 4 million Americans wear braces.
As you peruse your orthodontic options, one that will rise to the top of your list of potential treatments is Invisalign. It’s a popular choice because it’s a much more subtle straightening system than traditional wire-and-bracket braces.
Of course, an invisible teeth-straightening treatment can seem too good to be true. You might assume that using the aligners takes longer than regular braces.
Here’s what you need to know about the Invisalign timeline and the rest of the details about this amazing treatment.
What’s Invisalign — And Why Would I Choose It?
Invisalign, as you know, is used to straighten imperfect smiles. Specifically, you’ll wear a customized set of clear, plastic aligners to slowly shift your teeth into their proper position.
There are so many reasons why you might opt for Invisalign over traditional braces. One major benefit is that people won’t be able to see that you have an orthodontic implement. It’s tough for outsiders to detect these thin, clear aligners.
Plus, Invisalign’s a bit more comfortable and much simpler to clean. You can pop them in and out while you eat, as well as when you brush your teeth. You can clean your retainers before slipping them back into place, too.
Perhaps you already know a bit about traditional braces and how they compare to Invisalign. Your research has probably shown you that the wire-and-bracket system often takes a few years to shift teeth into the places they belong.
Could Invisalign be faster than this well-known orthodontic option? Let’s find out.
What’s the Invisalign Timeline?
Regardless of your reasons for wanting straight teeth, you and everyone else wearing orthodontics will agree: the shorter the treatment time, the better. With Invisalign, your dentist will complete the following steps and guide you through the teeth-straightening process.
It all starts with a consultation, during which your dentist or orthodontist will decide if you’re a candidate for Invisalign. The aligners can’t fix all orthodontic issues, but they do suit people who want to remedy the following:
- Overcrowded teeth
- Gaps between teeth
- Generally crooked teeth
- Crooked baby and adult teeth
Once you’re given the green light for Invisalign, your dentist will take a 3D scan of your mouth. These images will help them map your Invisalign treatment — the aligners will gradually fix the issues mapped by the digital images.
On your next visit, you’ll get your Invisalign aligners. Your first appointment will give your orthodontist or dentist the chance to ensure that the trays fit perfectly to your teeth. You can try them on and ask any questions about your impending orthodontic treatment at this time, too.
You’ll wear your first set of aligners for six to eight weeks, then head back to the dentist. At this checkpoint, they’ll make sure your teeth are moving along to their rightful positions. If so, you’ll get a new set of aligners that’ll push your teeth closer to these spots.
This process will continue until your teeth is straight: you’ll visit your dentist every six to eight weeks to ensure everything’s going well. If it is, you get new aligners — that is, until you reach the end of your Invisalign treatment.
Most people start to see their teeth shifting in a matter of weeks. However, the same could be said about traditional braces. So, can you expect to wear your Invisalign retainers for years?
As it turns out, some Invisalign patients reach the end of their treatment in as little as six months. However, the majority of Invisaligners will achieve their dream smiles in 12 to 18 months.
How Can I Make Sure the Invisalign Process Timeline is Short?
You can take additional steps to ensure your teeth shift into their rightful positions in a timely fashion.
For one thing, you can wear your Invisalign retainers nearly all day and night. Your dentist will likely advise you keep them in, except when eating and brushing your teeth. In total, you should be wearing the custom trays for 20 to 22 hours each day.
Regular wear will mean your teeth have plenty of time to adjust to the aligners. And some patients wear theirs so religiously that they can move onto the next set more quickly than expected.
Finally, experts implore Invisalign patients to keep track and take care of their aligners. If you lose a plastic tray or accidentally damage it, you’ll have to wait for it to be remade. This will stall your teeth-straightening process — and you clearly don’t want that to happen.
Are My Invisalign Results Permanent?
Whether you have regular braces or Invisalign, you’ll have to take steps to maintain your newly straightened teeth.
Of course, you won’t have to wear your aligners around the clock anymore. But you will have to wear a retainer most nights to maintain your results.
Again, this requirement stands no matter the orthodontic implement you choose. But it’s important to realize that you’ll make a lifelong commitment to wearing retainers in order to keep your teeth straight.
I’m Ready For Invisalign!
Perhaps now that you’ve learned more about the Invisalign timeline and how the process works, you’re ready to start. And there’s no question in your mind — you want an invisible, effective teeth-straightening treatment, and you’ve found it in Invisalign.
Your next step should be to talk to your dentist or orthodontist to make sure you’re a candidate. And, if you are, be sure to check back with our blog throughout your treatment. We can tell you more about Invisalign, what’s ahead and just how much you’re going to love your new smile.