The Invisalign timeline is unique for every patient. However, the dental team at Bethesda Family Dental in Bethesda, MD, can make an educated guess about how long you’ll be undergoing this orthodontic treatment, what to expect from day to week to month, and what factors will affect your treatment.
How Invisalign Type Impacts the Invisalign Timeline
Every Invisalign journey begins with a full dental exam, x-rays, and 3D images so your Bethesda Invisalign provider can see what’s happening above and below your gumline. From there, they will be able to explain the alignment of your teeth, determine whether you are a good candidate for the treatment, and make recommendations about what type of Invisalign can work for you. Depending on the version of clear aligners that you need, the Invisalign timeline will vary.
- Invisalign Full: This is the most well-known and common type of Invisalign treatment. Clear aligners are worn on both the top and bottom teeth. Invisalign timeline is anywhere from 12 to 18 months.
- Invisalign Lite: People with minor orthodontic issues like spaces and overcrowding qualify for this treatment. About 14 trays are issued to be worn over six to seven months.
- Invisalign Express: Similar to Invisalign Lite, the Express version is for a relapse from previous orthodontic treatment (often due to not wearing a retainer) or minor spaces in a smile. The Invisalign timeline is only three to six months.
- Invisalign Teen: Designed especially for adolescents, this Invisalign option leaves room for erupting teeth and includes wear indicators to make sure treatment stays on track throughout the entire 12 to 18 months.
The Predictability and Unpredictability of the Invisalign Timeline
There is no way to know what the true movements of your teeth will be and if they will stay in line with what is predicted by your Invisalign provider. The experience of your dentist absolutely allows them to make a close estimate about how many months you’ll be wearing the clear aligners, but there are factors that can’t always be anticipated.
- Some teeth move faster than expected.
- Some teeth move more slowly.
- Some patients are non-compliant and do not wear the trays as instructed.
As treatment begins, patients are sent home with several sets of trays and told to change them out regularly, usually every two weeks. This allows for a gentle, consistent movement of teeth into alignment. Following all the rules about protecting the trays, caring for your teeth, and honoring the timeline will get most patients as close as possible to the estimated Invisalign timeline.
The Many Timelines of Invisalign
Besides the overall treatment timeline, there are many timelines that fall under that umbrella. Here is how some of the numbers and hours are broken up:
- 2 weeks: The amount of time each set of aligners is typically worn. Patients will be told at the start of Invisalign when they’re to switch trays and move on to the next part of their treatment.
- 6 to 8 weeks: Invisalign checkups usually occur every six to eight weeks, depending on the length and type of your treatment. Your dentist will review your progress, provide the next several sets of aligners, and make adjustments if necessary.
- 20 to 22 hours: The daily wear time of Invisalign is 20 to 22 hours a day, offering a few hours for the removal of trays so meals and snacks can be eaten without damaging the aligners.