How Long Does Invisalign Take to Straighten Teeth?

How long does Invisalign take to straighten teeth?

For many people who wish to pursue Invisalign treatment, their biggest and most pressing question is often how long their treatment will take as a whole. To help you better understand what to expect from your treatment and how long it may take to complete, we are breaking down everything you need to know about Invisalign. 

What is Invisalign?

While most people may be vaguely familiar with Invisalign thanks to popular television or print advertisements, they may not be sure exactly what it is, or what treatment typically consists of. No worries; we are here to provide you with a thorough breakdown of the information you need and want.

To provide you with a solid understanding of Invisalign treatment, let’s explore exactly what Invisalign is.

Invisalign is the modern and clear alternative to metal braces, sometimes referred to as “invisible braces”. Invisalign was first introduced in 1997 and has successfully helped millions of people achieve beautiful, healthy, and straight smiles in the years since.

The Invisalign system is composed of clear, discreet, and hygienic aligner trays that are specially made for each patient. The trays fit snugly over the teeth and work to correct alignment issues over the course of treatment. 

This method of treatment allows patients to pursue a straight and beautiful smile without the use of traditional metal braces. Below are some of the most notable benefits of Invisalign:

  • Exceptional comfort during treatment - no uncomfortable brackets or braces
  • Nearly invisible appearance; almost completely undetectable to the naked eye
  • Aligner trays can easily be removed and placed back inside the mouth
  • Easy and simple maintenance and hygienic home care
  • Successfully treat many of the same conditions or issues that are treated with traditional braces
  • No damage or harm to self-confidence, self-image, or self-esteem during treatment
  • No dietary restrictions (no worries about breaking brackets or wires) 
  • Minimal impact on daily activities 

Perhaps one of the most notable benefits of Invisalign treatment is significantly improved confidence and self-esteem for the patient - even during treatment. Long gone are the days of feeling self-conscious about the look of metal wires and brackets. 

According to Orthodontics Australia, over 55% of Australians are self-conscious about the look of their teeth. Not feeling confident about the look of your smile can hold you back from enjoying social situations, prevent you from reaching your full potential at work, and can potentially change the way you view yourself as a whole.

Invisalign helps discretely correct the look of the smile without the use of metal brackets or wires, allowing patients to maintain their confidence throughout treatment. 

The end result is a beautiful and aligned smile that patients can take full pride and pleasure in showing off with confidence. When you feel great about the way you look, it can become infinitely easier to enjoy important life tasks and events.

How Does Invisalign Work?

Understanding the process behind your treatment is an important part of understanding how you can personally benefit from it. So, how exactly does Invisalign work? 

When considering the concept of clear, thin, and discreet aligner trays that straighten and correct the alignment of the teeth just as well as traditional braces, this clever orthodontic system may seem too good to be true at first. 

Have no fear; the truth is that Invisalign has proven itself to be widely successful since its introduction in 1997, and this method of orthodontic treatment is as simple as it is effective.

To begin treatment, diagnostic x-rays and detailed three-dimensional scans are taken of the inside of the mouth. These scans are used to create interactive models of your teeth, which your orthodontist will use to conduct an examination and develop a custom treatment plan to help you achieve your desired results.

The models will also be used to create your aligner trays. You will receive your first set of trays during an in-office visit, during which you will also be informed on how to properly wear and care for them. You will be encouraged to ask any and all questions you may have about getting the most out of your treatment and caring for both your teeth and aligner trays.

The aligner trays apply continuous pressure to help gently yet effectively guide the teeth into their ideal positions. Every two weeks or so, you will return to see your orthodontist to have your progress checked and to receive your next set of aligners. 

Throughout your Invisalign treatment, you can expect to receive anywhere between 20 and 30 sets of aligner trays - though this number may vary depending on the intensity of your treatment and the overall amount of corrections that are required to achieve your desired results.

Each set of Invisalign trays is designed to focus on the correction of a single, concentrated area inside the mouth; this ensures that your treatment is thorough, addresses all concerns, and runs smoothly from start to finish.

Once your treatment is complete and the smile of your dreams has been achieved, you will be given a set of retainers to keep the teeth in place and preserve the orthodontic work that has been done. You will be asked to wear your retainers indefinitely, and no further orthodontic visits will be needed. You will then simply be asked to return for your periodic check-up and cleaning appointments.

How Long Does Invisalign Take to Complete?

It’s a question that is almost always on the tip of everyone’s tongue when considering pursuing Invisalign treatment: how long will my Invisalign treatment take?

The answer is that it really depends! No two Invisalign treatment plans or experiences are exactly alike.

Below are some examples of things that can affect how long Invisalign treatment will take to complete:

  • The overall health of the teeth and gums
  • The amount of orthodontic correction needed
  • The severity of the misalignment or malocclusion (bite issue)
  • The patient’s compliance with treatment requirements - wearing aligner trays for a minimum of 22 hours per day, as recommended
  • Patient age - since teens are still actively growing and developing, their treatment may be a bit faster than adult treatment, though this may not always be the case
  • Changes to the treatment plan 
  • Large gaps between the teeth (time will be needed to shift the teeth into the correct positions)
  • The patient’s ability to practice proper home care and maintenance during treatment
  • The patient’s ability to attend all of their orthodontic appointments as scheduled

Everybody is different. Consequently, every mouth is different, as well; that is why each treatment plan is exclusively and personally planned for each patient. A personalized treatment plan ensures that you are able to get the most out of your treatment and produces the best possible results.

In most cases, Invisalign treatment is faster than treatment that is completed with the use of traditional braces, which may take anywhere between 1 and 3 years - or more, in more extensive cases. 

The average time it may take to complete Invisalign treatment typically ranges anywhere between 12-18 months, but this number may vary considerably from patient to patient. Some patients begin to notice a visible change in the look of their smile after just a few weeks of treatment; this is often one of the most exciting parts of treatment for many people, as it serves as confirmation that the smile of their dreams is soon to be within reach.

While one patient’s treatment may only take a short amount of time to correct minor issues, another patient with a more extensive case will typically experience a longer treatment time.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the successful and timely completion of treatment depends on your ability to wear the aligner trays for a minimum of 22 hours each day. While you are encouraged to remove your Invisalign trays to eat, brush, or floss, it’s crucial to keep them in place inside the mouth otherwise. 

Failure to wear your trays for the recommended amount of time can, unfortunately, prevent treatment progress, ultimately delaying treatment completion or even potentially causing the teeth to revert to their old positions.

Of course, it’s only natural to be curious and excited about when you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful new smile after treatment is complete. The best way to determine how long you can expect your Invisalign treatment to take is to consult your orthodontist. He or she will be able to provide you with an educated prognosis and estimation of overall treatment time based on your personal treatment plan and the orthodontic corrections that are needed.

Will Invisalign Work for Me?

Now that you have learned all there is to know about Invisalign treatment, you may be wondering if this type of orthodontic treatment is right for you in your journey towards a beautiful, healthy, and aligned smile. 

In most cases, Invisalign is capable of successfully treating many of the same conditions and issues that are typically treated with traditional metal braces, including:

  • Crooked teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Gaps in between the teeth
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Crossbite
  • Protruding teeth

In other words, yes, Invisalign is a viable option for many people! Every year, hundreds of thousands of people around the world achieve the smile of their dreams with the use of the Invisalign system. 

There are, however, some instances in which this method of treatment may not be ideal:

  • Extreme malocclusion (severe bite issues)
  • Severe crowding
  • Patients who are too young to understand how to properly wear and care for their aligner trays
  • Adult patients who lack the discipline needed to properly wear and care for their aligner trays
  • Patients with poor oral hygiene habits
  • Regular tobacco users (the trays may become yellowed or stained over time)
  • Pre-existing bridgework
  • Untreated gum disease

For more extensive orthodontic cases, orthodontists typically recommend the use of traditional braces rather than Invisalign. The main reason for this is that traditional braces are more durable and typically provide and support a greater range of movement over the course of treatment. In some cases, the use of traditional braces may provide a shorter overall treatment time and more desirable results.

The best way to determine if Invisalign is right for you is to consult your trusted orthodontist. A thorough and professional consultation will help you discover and evaluate your candidacy for Invisalign. 

In the unfortunate case that you are not an ideal candidate for Invisalign, alternative options (such as traditional braces) will be presented to you and discussed with you at length.

FY Smile: Best Invisalign in Sydney

With the information you have learned here, you should have a solid understanding of how long Invisalign typically takes to straighten the teeth, as well as what you may personally expect to experience during your own Invisalign treatment.

It’s currently estimated that over 40,000 Australians pursue orthodontic treatment each year, with that number continuously growing as orthodontic care advances and becomes more accessible. We’re here to help grow that number, as well.

Here at FY Smile, we strive to provide our patients with an unparalleled level of orthodontic care; that is why we are proud to offer comprehensive Invisalign services in beautiful Sydney.


Your journey towards optimal dental health begins here. In addition to offering Invisalign in Sydney, FY Smile is proud to offer a wide range of dental services. From basic tooth fillings to dental implants to cleanings and more, we’ve got you covered.


For more information about Invisalign in Sydney or to get scheduled in our Double Bay dental clinic, give us a call anytime at 02 8319 5557


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Topics: Invisalign