Invisalign is a pretty revolutionary dental treatment that is pretty much here to replace the traditional metal braces to straighten crooked teeth as well as over bites and cross bites -- given they are 'better' and similarly priced. But, how long does Invisalign take to work?

Well, that's what we discuss in detail below but a 408 patient case study in Indiana worked out that it takes on average 12 months or just under and over [1] (at the latest a max of 3 years) to complete compared to 36 months  (3 years) for traditional braces to fix the issue (potentially lasting up to 96 months)[2]. 

Invisalign Length of Treatment

So although 12 months is the average length of treatment (although dental practicies tend to believe a more realistic figure of 11 months as of 2014 due to the improvements in technology) for the Invisalign process to work (which is obviously a huge advantage over your traditional brace), you should consider typically a much broader scale of between 6 months and 3 years (although more than 2 years is pretty unusual) depending on the severity of crowdedness of your teeth as well as other issues.

Typically many practicies and dentists have experience being done within the year mark and even as quickly as 3 to 5 months in minor cases. Then again the more complex the case, the more time required.

To get a better idea over the entire length of the process with Invisalign you will obviously need to consult a specialized Invisalign orthodontist provider and they will be able to give you a better estimate. However, they obviously can't tell for sure how long it will take exactly but they will know roughly give or take a week or two for different issues such as: for gaps, for overbites and to straighten your teeth -- after careful examination.

But, a really great aspect of Invisalign braces is that they get to work on your teeth right from the off. They start at Day #1.

Calculator: How Long Will Invisalign Take?

How Long Does Invisalign Take?Credit: general math formula to workout how long it will take for Invisalign works goes by the number of sets e.g. 15 x the frequency of you changing your trays (as scheduled which is usually every two weeks). So basically 2 weeks for every tray. So here 30 weeks which is 7.5 months and will likely be rounded up by your dentist to the 8 month mark.

There are also additional factors that will influence the time taken for the Invisalign treatment to work:

  • Are you wearing the Invisalign Aligners enough? Although Invisalign braces are very easy to remove (allowing you to eat more foods, keep a better oral hygiene) -- especially for kids, patients can sometimes actually forget to put them back in and it is required that they stay on for at least 20 hours out of a day (however 22 hours every single is said to be ideal -- which is obviously tough). Really the only time you should be removing your trays is for cleaning and flossing your teeth and when you are eating. Patients who wear for the full recommended 22 hours also generally come out with better and straighter results too.
  • Swapping the Aligners Every Two Weeks - it is also recommended that you get a new set of aligners fitted into the Invisalign braces every 14 days to ensure their effectiveness in carrying out the treatment as they weaken over time. However, you shouldn't swap them early either as this can have repercussions and could potentially require a mid course correction that will obviously lengthen the treatment time too.
  • General Oral Care - although not totally proven there are cases presented by dentists who state that those who start with good oral health care and maintain it will have a far faster treatment time than someone who hasn't and doesn't.
  • Adjustments & Refinements - with the dental check ups for Invisalign occurring around once every two to three months (which is much less regularly than with metal braces) you may need a slight adjustment to your aligners and this could potentially prolong your treatment. 
  • Appointments Missed or Re-Scheduled - a rather obvious point as this impacts the factor just mentioned above (delaying refinements and corrections).
  • Teeth Don't Move as Planned - sometimes it just doesn't go to plan and they won't move as quickly as they are meant to, other times they will move faster though and speed up the treatment time. It is a case by case matter.

Can You Speed Up the Invisalign Treatment?

It is possible yes, but there are costs to consider. There are certain technologies like Propel that will improve what is known as your "tooth movement biology" that have the potential to half your length of treatment (e.g. an estimated average 12 month program will take 6 to 8 months). This will however be added to the cost of the bill rather significantly and prolong the treatment procedure itself.