All posts | January 31, 2024

How Long Do You Need to Wear Invisalign?

by Karin Grinbaum

Invisalign has become an extremely popular choice for adults looking to straighten their teeth. The clear plastic aligners are virtually invisible, removable and comfortable - an aesthetic and convenient alternative to traditional metal braces. However, patients often wonder: How long will treatment take?

What is Invisalign Treatment?

Invisalign uses a series of custom-made, clear plastic aligners that incrementally move your teeth into place over time. Each set of aligners is worn for approximately 2 weeks before switching to the next set in the series. The total Invisalign treatment time varies depending on the case complexity.

There are three main Invisalign product lines:

  • Invisalign Lite - For minor crowding or small spacing issues.
  • Invisalign Comprehensive - For moderately to severely crooked teeth or gaps.
  • Invisalign First - For young teenagers with emerging adult teeth.

During your initial Invisalign consultation at Smiles and Grins, our elite Manhattan orthodontists will take digital scans and images of your teeth to map out your unique treatment plan with projected timelines for achieving your perfect smile.

Invisalign Treatment Duration

Once your Smiles and Grins orthodontist has mapped out your custom treatment plan, the next question is - how long will you need to wear Invisalign? Total treatment duration varies widely based on each patient's unique tooth issues and choice of Invisalign product line.

Treatment times range from just 10 weeks for minor teeth straightening, up to 2 years for more complex cases:

Minor Treatment

For minor crowding or small spacing issues, Invisalign Lite treatment involves just 10 aligners worn over 10 weeks. Each set of aligners is worn for 2 weeks before changing.

Moderate Treatment

For moderately crooked teeth or small gaps, Invisalign Comprehensive involves 20-29 custom aligner sets worn over 6-9 months. You'll change aligners approximately every 2 weeks.

Complex Treatment

For severely crooked teeth, large gaps, crossbites, overbites or other major bite issues, Comprehensive Invisalign involves at least 30 aligner sets worn for over 1-2 years. The initial aligner stage straightens the teeth into position, then refined aligners perfect the results.

How Many Hours Per Day Do You Wear Invisalign?

Invisalign aligners should be worn 20 to 22 hours per day for the best results. You are able to briefly remove them for eating, drinking, brushing and flossing. As long as you stick close to the 22 hours per day recommendation, you will stay on track. Going under 20 hours daily risks seriously delaying treatment progress.

Be sure to always keep your most recent old aligners as backups in case you accidentally leave your current ones at a restaurant! Missing even one day of wear time can set you back.

When Do You Graduate From Invisalign?

You are ready to “graduate” from Invisalign treatment when your aligners have incrementally moved all of your teeth into their final ideal positions. At this point:

  • Your Smiles and Grins orthodontist will take new scans of your teeth to compare the final results against the original digital treatment plan.
  • They may order 1-2 additional sets of “refinement aligners” over 2-4 weeks to tweak anything minor before finalizing treatment.
  • You’ll then switch to wearing a custom-molded clear retainer full-time to hold your teeth in position long-term.

In some cases of minor relapse years later, additional refinement aligners can be ordered as needed.

How Much Do You Need to Wear Retainers After Invisalign?

After “graduating” from your aligners, retainers are crucial for holding your beautiful new smile in place lifelong. Smiles and Grins orthodontists recommend wearing clear Invisalign retainers full-time for the first 6 months, then nightly while sleeping thereafter. Some relaxation in wear time is possible after 2-3 years if your teeth remain completely stable.

Poor compliance with retainers is the number one cause of teeth shifting back after orthodontic treatment completion. Be sure to follow your orthodontist’s specific retainer wear instructions for maintaining your results over time.

FAQs About Invisalign Treatment Duration

How often do I change Invisalign aligners?

Each aligner set is worn for approximately 2 weeks before changing. You’ll change aligners around 20-30 times over the full course of treatment.

Can I finish Invisalign treatment early?

It’s possible to finish a bit early if your teeth track faster than predicted. However, condensing aligner stages too quickly risks compromised results. Patience is key!

What if I lose my aligners?

Contact Smiles and Grins immediately for replacement aligners to stay on schedule. Delaying aligner changes risks teeth shifting out of place.

Do Invisalign aligners hurt?

You may feel temporary, mild soreness for 2-3 days after changing aligner sets. This is normal as your teeth adjust. Pain beyond this signals problems; call us.

How much does Invisalign cost at Smiles and Grins?

Our elite Manhattan orthodontists offer Invisalign for an affordable price, which varies depeding on case complexity. Schedule a complimentary exam to receive your custom quote!