Phillips Family Orthodontics

Our Blog

Transforming Smiles: How Long Does Invisalign Take to Work

Invisalign has transformed the way we approach teeth straightening. Unlike traditional braces, this modern alternative uses clear aligners that are virtually invisible, making them a popular choice among adults and teens alike. One of the primary concerns for many considering this treatment is the duration—how long does Invisalign take to work?

What is Invisalign?How long does Invisalign take to work?

Invisalign is a cutting-edge orthodontic device that uses a series of custom-made, clear plastic aligners to adjust teeth gradually. This treatment was developed as an alternative to the metal braces commonly seen in the past. The aligners are removable and made from a flexible thermoplastic material called SmartTrack, which is specifically engineered for the Invisalign system to provide comfort and control during teeth movement.

History and Development

Invisalign first became available in 1999, and since then, it has continuously evolved with advancements in dental technology. These improvements have made the aligners more efficient and comfortable for users.

How Invisalign Works

The process begins with a digital scan of the patient’s mouth, which is then used to create a 3D model. Based on this model, orthodontists can map out a precise treatment plan that includes the gradual shifts that the teeth need to make. Each aligner is worn for about two weeks before moving on to the next in the series, gradually moving teeth toward their ideal positions.

Advantages Over Traditional Braces

The benefits of Invisalign extend beyond aesthetics. For starters, the aligners are removable, which allows for easier cleaning of both the aligners and the teeth. This design helps maintain better overall oral hygiene during treatment. Additionally, Invisalign treatment typically involves fewer visits to the orthodontist since several sets of aligners are provided at once, allowing for less frequent check-ups.

How Long Does Invisalign Take to Work? Understanding the Factors

How long does Invisalign take to work? The duration of Invisalign treatment can vary significantly from one individual to another. Several factors play critical roles in determining how long you will need to wear your aligners to achieve the desired results. Understanding these factors can help set realistic expectations for your orthodontic journey.

Biological Factors

The biological response to orthodontic treatment differs among individuals. Age can influence how quickly teeth move; younger patients typically experience faster movement due to more pliable bone structures. Additionally, the overall dental health of a patient, including the density of bone and the condition of the gums, can impact the effectiveness and speed of treatment.

Complexity of Dental Issues

The specific orthodontic issues being addressed also significantly affect treatment time. Simple cases, such as minor crookedness or small gaps, may require shorter treatment periods. In contrast, more complex situations like severe overbites, underbites, or crowded teeth can necessitate longer treatment times to carefully move teeth into the correct positions.

Treatment Compliance

One of the most controllable factors influencing the duration of Invisalign treatment is patient compliance. Invisalign aligners are designed to be worn for at least 22 hours a day. Failing to wear the aligners for the recommended time each day can delay progress and extend the treatment duration. It is crucial for patients to adhere strictly to wearing their aligners as prescribed to avoid unnecessary extensions of the treatment process.

Previous Dental Treatments

Patients who have undergone previous orthodontic treatments might experience variations in treatment length. For instance, if a patient has had braces in the past, the condition of their teeth and gums could either accelerate or slow down the current Invisalign treatment.

Average Duration of Invisalign Treatment

How long does Invisalign take to work? While the specific timeline for Invisalign treatment can vary widely based on individual cases and compliance, there are general estimates that can provide a broad understanding of what to expect. Here’s a breakdown of the average duration for Invisalign treatments based on typical scenarios.

General Timeline

Most adults undergoing Invisalign treatment can expect the process to take approximately 12 to 18 months. However, this is just an average range. Some simpler cases can be resolved in as little as six months, while more complex alignments might require up to 24 months or more.

Adults vs. Teens

Teenagers might experience slightly different treatment durations due to their ongoing dental development. For teens, the treatment length can vary even more than it does for adults, depending on the stage of their dental maturity and specific orthodontic needs. Orthodontists will typically tailor the treatment to accommodate growth and changes in a teenager’s mouth.

Comparison with Traditional Braces

How long does Invisalign take to work compared to braces? In general, the time frame for Invisalign treatment is comparable to that of traditional braces. However, Invisalign offers a level of predictability with its computerized treatment planning. This digital planning allows patients and orthodontists to preview the expected changes and timeline, which can often lead to a more efficient treatment process.

What to Expect During Your Invisalign Journey

How long does Invisalign take to work?

Invisalign treatment involves several key stages, each critical to achieving the best results. Here’s what patients can typically expect from the start to the end of their Invisalign journey:.

Initial Consultation

The Invisalign process begins with an initial consultation, where the orthodontist assesses your dental structure using digital scanning technology. This scan creates a precise 3D model of your teeth, which is essential for planning your treatment. During this visit, you can discuss your dental goals, and the orthodontist will explain what Invisalign can achieve for your specific case.

Custom Treatment Plan

Using the information from the initial scan, the orthodontist designs a customized treatment plan. This plan outlines the series of movements your teeth will undergo and estimates the total number of aligner sets required to achieve the desired results. The plan also provides a virtual representation of how your teeth will move at each stage, giving you a preview of your treatment outcome.

Receiving Your Aligners

Once your treatment plan is finalized, your custom aligners are manufactured and sent to your orthodontist’s office. You’ll receive several sets of aligners at each visit. Each set is worn for about two weeks before moving on to the next one in the sequence. The aligners should be worn for 22 hours a day and only removed for eating, drinking anything other than water, and brushing your teeth.

Progress Checks

Regular check-ups with your orthodontist are essential to monitor progress and make any necessary adjustments. These visits are usually scheduled every six to eight weeks. During these appointments, your orthodontist will ensure that the treatment is progressing as planned and provide the next batch of aligners.


After completing the active phase of wearing aligners, maintaining the results is crucial. Most patients will need to wear retainers to prevent teeth from gradually shifting back to their original position. Initially, you might need to wear retainers all the time for a few months, then only at night. Your orthodontist will advise you on the best aftercare plan based on your specific needs.

Understanding these steps provides a clear picture of the Invisalign treatment process, helping patients prepare for what lies ahead. Each phase is designed to move you closer to your goal of a straighter, more confident smile.

Common Questions About Invisalign Treatment

Patients considering Invisalign often have numerous questions about the treatment, what to expect, and how to handle various scenarios. Addressing these frequently asked questions can provide clearer insights and help manage expectations.

How quickly will I see changes in my teeth?

How long does Invisalign take to work and show results? Most patients begin to notice changes in their teeth within a few weeks of starting treatment. However, the visible progress will depend on the nature of the corrections needed and how faithfully the aligners are worn.

Is Invisalign painful?

While not typically painful, some discomfort is common as your teeth begin to move. This discomfort usually occurs when switching to a new aligner set and generally subsides within a few days. Over-the-counter pain relievers can be used to manage any discomfort during this adjustment period.

Can I eat with my aligners?

It is recommended to remove your aligners when eating or drinking anything other than water. Eating with aligners can damage them and also lead to issues with oral hygiene, as food particles can get trapped between the aligner and your teeth.

What happens if I lose an aligner?

If you lose an aligner, it is important to immediately contact your orthodontist. Often, the orthodontist will advise you to move to the next set of aligners or go back to the previous set until a replacement is provided. Prompt action is crucial to preventing any delay in your treatment plan.

How do I clean my aligners?

Aligners should be cleaned regularly using a soft-bristled toothbrush and clear, antibacterial soap. Avoid using toothpaste, as it can be abrasive and scratch the aligners, making them less clear and more noticeable.

Will I need to wear a retainer after Invisalign?

Yes, wearing a retainer after completing Invisalign treatment is necessary to maintain the new position of your teeth. The retainer prevents them from shifting back to their original placement. Your orthodontist will provide specific instructions on how often and how long to wear your retainer.

Choose Excellence with Phillips Family Orthodontics

At Phillips Family Orthodontics, your satisfaction is our priority. Our practice combines a passion for perfection with advanced orthodontic technology to deliver high-quality care, including expert Invisalign treatment. We believe in treating more than just your smile, focusing on holistic health to enhance both your appearance and well-being.

Ready for a transformation? Contact Phillips Family Orthodontics today and see how our Invisalign services can seamlessly fit into your life and help you achieve the perfect smile. Experience orthodontic care that truly cares about you.


The first step toward achieving a beautiful, healthy smile is to schedule an appointment.

Ready To Straighten Your Smile?

The first step toward achieving a beautiful, healthy smile is to schedule an appointment. 

Call or Text Us Now

New Patients:
Current Patients:

Call or Text Us Now

New Patients:
Current Patients: