Crooked teeth or large gaps are not necessarily signs of unhealthy teeth and gums. However, many people want to fix them if possible. A common solution that many people are aware of is traditional braces, but there is an alternative called Invisalign treatment.
Instead of having brackets and metal wires on your teeth, this alternative treatment uses nearly invisible aligners. Not only does Invisalign typically take less time than traditional braces, but it’s also a more comfortable way to straighten your teeth.
Even with the benefits of this treatment, Invisalign isn’t for everyone. The first step is having a consultation with a qualified dentist. They can go over the whole process with you and decide whether you’re a candidate or not.
How Does Invisalign Treatment Work?
To understand how long Invisalign treatment takes and what can affect the timing, let’s look at how the treatment works.
Once your dentist has given you the treatment plan, you will generally get a new set of custom-designed aligners for your teeth every week or two. Your dentist will let you know how often you need to change aligners based on how much correction your teeth need.
Each new aligner is slightly different from the last. The goal is to gently align your teeth over several months instead of the more forceful “pull” of traditional metal braces.
Upon changing the aligners, there is usually some mild discomfort for a couple of days as your teeth adjust to their new positions. Some people also notice slight speech changes because of the aligners. But this typically goes away quickly once you’re used to having them in your mouth.
Factors That Affect the Length of Invisalign Treatment
According to the makers of Invisalign, you could possibly see results in as little as 6 months. However, some factors can affect how long the treatment takes.
When we are younger, realigning our teeth is typically easier to do. So, a younger person—like a teenager—may find their treatment time is closer to 6 months as long as they comply with the treatment plan. This easier realignment is a primary reason why it’s so common for teens to get braces.
Treatment Plan Compliance
Even though a young person’s teeth are typically easier to align, that doesn’t mean adult teeth can’t be aligned either. In some cases, the treatment can be more effective for older adults. Especially when you factor in treatment plan compliance.
The aligners must be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day. Generally, they should be removed only while brushing, flossing, or eating. In this regard, most adults will be more diligent in ensuring they wear the aligners.
Another factor that combines age and plan compliance is losing or breaking the aligner, which can be expensive and prolong treatment because of the missed time wearing the aligner. A child will usually be more likely to remove it from their mouth and either forget to put it back in or simply refuse. This increases the chances of breaking or losing it.
Amount of Correction Needed
What is being corrected in your mouth also plays a significant role in how long it will take. For example, the statement of 6 months to see results by Invisalign is based on moderate malocclusion. This allows for up to 6 millimetres (mm) of crowding and spacing and up to 6 mm of overjet and overbite.
If you need more correction, the timing will probably be longer. During your consultation, your dentist can provide accurate information based on their examination of your mouth and teeth.
Traditional Braces vs. Invisalign
Traditional braces certainly have their place, but there are some significant differences between them. Here is a table to give you a side-by-side comparison of both Invisalign treatment and traditional metal braces:
|Key Feature||Invisalign Treatment||Metal Braces|
|Length of Treatment||6–18 months||2 years (on average)|
|Food Limitations||None||Many limitations like popcorn, chew snacks, hard food or candy, etc.|
|Required Responsibility||Requires diligence in wearing the aligners for 20–22 hours per day.||Requires proper cleaning and care, but can’t forget to put them back in and delay treatment.|
What About Price?
Another question that often comes up between the two treatment options is price. In most cases, Invisalign and metal braces both cost around the same. However, sometimes Invisalign treatment alone is not enough to achieve the desired result. In these cases, it could end up being a little more expensive for additional treatment.
Find out if Invisalign Is Right for You
As mentioned, Invisalign treatment is not for everyone. But it’s worth asking your dentist about if you find yourself attempting to cover up your smile. Give our office a shout today, and our helpful and knowledgeable staff at Arch Dental are happy to answer all your questions.
If you’d like to learn more about Invisalign, we’ll schedule you in with one of our dentists to discuss your options.