When a person wears braces, they often think about time: How long do I have to wear braces? How many times do I have to visit the dentist? And when it comes to Invisalign, patients begin to wonder even more about time as well as numbers: How many aligners will I have to wear over the course of my treatment? How many hours a day do I have to wear Invisalign?
Let’s break Invisalign down by the numbers:
Most Invisalign treatment is completed in an average of 12 months. Some cases may be a little shorter, some may be a little longer – this will depend on the condition your teeth are in, the course of treatment your dentist has laid out for you, and your diligence in following the recommended treatment. The important takeaway is that Invisalign can take half the time of traditional metal braces to straighten teeth, and that is always a good thing.
Because your dentist designs a customized Invisalign treatment plan for you from day one, you’ll leave each office visit – every six weeks or so – with several new sets of aligners that were prepared especially for your teeth. Your dentist will make sure your treatment is advancing properly at these appointments, but part of choosing to undergo Invisalign treatment is being responsible for keeping your treatment on track outside of the dentist’s office. Traditional braces-wearers must visit the orthodontist every few weeks for bracket and wire tightening and repairs. Your visits to the dentist as an Invisalign-wearer will be far less taxing.
To be effective, Invisalign aligners must be worn for at least 20 to 22 hours every day. That means you only remove them when eating and when cleaning your teeth, about four to six times a day. If you don’t meet this minimum requirement, your treatment could be compromised. Invisalign is made to be nearly invisible and comfortable so that you won’t feel any sort of self-consciousness in wearing the aligners to work, school, or social events. What is nice, however, is that if you absolutely want to remove the aligners for a special event, you have that option. Braces-wearers will wear those brackets and wires from start to finish, no exceptions possible.
You will wear each set of Invisalign aligners for about two weeks, though this number can vary. Depending on how your dentist has laid out your treatment plan, the difficulty of moving some teeth, and the progress of your orthodontic treatment, some aligners may need to be worn for a little longer than two weeks. Aligners are made to move certain teeth at certain times, not all of your teeth at once. The greatest success will be found when you are consistent and follow your dentist’s plan for shifting your teeth into place.
18 to 30 aligners
Through the course of your Invisalign treatment, you will wear between 18 and 30 aligners. The number will vary from person to person, and it will vary depending on how much your teeth have to move in order to be in the right position for proper alignment.
Dr. Carole Sherrod Jewell is a certified Invisalign provider. Contact Red Bank Dentistry to schedule your free initial consultation and find out whether you’re a candidate for Invisalign.