27 Nov Invisalign Timeline: What is the Average Invisalign Treatment Time?
Did you know that the ancient Egyptians employed gold bands around their teeth in an attempt at orthodontic treatment? The appeal of straight, even teeth clearly dates back a long time, and in recent years having a beautiful smile has become even more desirable. Some four million Americans now wear traditional metal braces in order to straighten their teeth. Even more use the treatment known as Invisalign.
If you have a less-than-perfect smile and are considering the benefits of Invisalign, you probably have a lot of questions. Wondering about the cost of these aligners, whether or not they cause pain, or Invisalign treatment time? We’ve got you covered! Read on for answers to the most frequently asked questions about this method of orthodontic treatment.
What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign was first dreamed up in the 1990s by an adult orthodontics patient named Zia Chishti. Conceived as an alternative to the metal braces that had been the gold standard for decades, Invisalign treatment consists of a series of very thin, completely transparent trays that fit closely around the teeth.
These trays are changed every few weeks as the teeth are gently moved into position. Over time, they achieve the exact same results as the metal braces. However, patients generally find Invisalign a much more pleasant process.
What Are the Advantages of Invisalign?
The major benefit of this treatment type is the aesthetic component. Not many people enjoy having a mouthful of unsightly metal brackets installed on their teeth for months or years at a time. Invisalign, as the name suggests, are virtually invisible. If you know someone is wearing them, and you look at their mouth very closely, you can tell that they’re there. But most patients find that these trays go completely unnoticed by others.
Invisalign trays may also be more comfortable than metal braces and brackets, which must be tightened every so often. The process of tightening them can cause pain for a day or two afterward. In contrast, the aligner trays may cause a tiny bit of discomfort, especially when they are new, but they are much more pleasant overall.
Can A Patient Remove the Trays?
Yes! That’s another huge advantage of using this system of orthodontic treatment. The patient can — and in fact, should — remove these trays before eating or drinking. This makes it much easier to clean the teeth properly, as well.
In general, the more you wear the trays, the less time your treatment will take. That said, it’s perfectly OK to remove them once in a while if you have an event or occasion when you don’t want to worry about them being noticed or you want to eat and drink without removing them. Some people remove the trays for a wedding or other big party, a photo shoot, or a sporting event.
Please note that these trays are designed to be worn for 22-23 hours each day. They should be worn at nighttime. With the noted exceptions of a few hours for special occasions, the trays should not be removed except when the patient is eating, drinking, or brushing and flossing their teeth.
How Long Is Invisalign Treatment Time?
There are many factors that play into the length of time required for Invisalign treatment. For starters, everyone’s teeth are different to begin with. And the level of malocclusion — that’s a fancy orthodontic term for crookedness — will also have to be taken into consideration.
It may even be difficult for orthodontic professionals to predict how long an individual will need to wear aligner trays. The patient may make faster or slower progress than estimated.
Most patients wear the Invisalign trays for an average of 12 to 18 months. That’s actually less time than the average length of treatment time with metal braces of 24 months!
What About Eating? Is Anything Off-Limits?
No! Patients love this aspect of Invisalign treatment as well. With standard metal braces, certain foods are forbidden for the length of the orthodontic procedure. Patients have to steer clear of sticky caramels and toffees, crunchy foods like apples, corn on the cob, etc. and any other foods that might be difficult to clean from the braces.
With aligner trays, no food is off-limits. That is because you remove the trays to eat. This can make the process of having one’s teeth straightened much more palatable!
How Are the Trays Cleaned?
It is less difficult to keep the Invisalign clear aligner trays clean than it is to brush your teeth with traditional braces. You can simply brush them with your toothbrush and toothpaste at the same time you brush your teeth. Every few days, soak them in denture cleanser or a dedicated cleaning solution for Invisalign.
Traditional metal braces require extra care and attention to clean. In most cases, they also call for the use of specialty items like a certain kind of floss. This makes them difficult to care for. Not so with Invisalign!
How Long Does Each Tray Last?
Expect to return to the orthodontist’s office fairly frequently, usually about twice a month. At this time, the provider will check your teeth for movement and overall health. You will likely receive a new tray, since the old one will have moved your teeth sufficiently that the next step in treatment has been reached.
Is Invisalign Appropriate for Every Patient?
Unfortunately, the answer to this question is no. There are a few cases in which the patient is not a good candidate for Invisalign. In those cases, the orthodontist will explain the need for metal braces. Some patients may also need to wear metal braces for part of their treatment time, before switching to trays.
You will need to undergo a thorough evaluation before finding out if Invisalign will work for you.
Ready to Get Started on the Path to Straighter Teeth?
Invisalign aligner trays continue to represent a revolutionary approach to treating malocclusions. Now that you have a solid understanding of how these trays work, what their benefits are, and the average Invisalign treatment time, you’re probably excited to get the process underway!
Contact Alicia Dental to schedule an appointment for evaluating your teeth and learning more about Invisalign.