If you’re reading this article, you might be among the many people who don’t like their smile. A recent study found that 57% of Americans cover their mouths when they laugh in an attempt to hide their teeth. The study also showed that one in two people smile with their mouth closed due to insecurities.

Unfortunately, having a mouthful of braces as an adult can seem like an even worse situation than simply having crooked teeth. But what if we told you there’s a better way to have a beautifully straight smile?

Invisalign clear braces offer a more discrete way to get the same results as traditional braces. So what does the process look like and how long does Invisalign take to straighten teeth?

Keep reading for an easy guide to understanding everything you need to know about Invisalign clear braces.

How Does It Work?

You might be meticulous about keeping your teeth clean and smelling fresh, and you might even have some pretty pearly whites in there, but a simple case of overcrowding or gapped teeth can be all it takes to develop some serious insecurities.

Invisalign braces are a great way to get the smile you’ve always wanted without the embarrassment of traditional braces. With that being said, Invisalign braces work a bit differently than metal braces.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the Invisalign straightening process:

Create a Personalized Treatment Plan

First, you’ll need to make an appointment with your orthodontist for a consultation. Your doctor will do a quick exam to see if you are a good candidate for Invisalign braces.

Remember that Invisalign works well for adults and teenagers, but not as much for young kids, as they still have some growing to do.

Not all orthodontists are trained for this specific treatment, so be sure to find a doctor who is well-versed and experienced with Invisalign.

During your consultation, you can expect x-rays and photographs of your teeth to be taken.

Impressions Are Made and Sent Out

Once your orthodontist has determined that you are a good candidate for Invisalign, impressions of your teeth will be made and sent out.

Once Invisalign receives your impressions, they will scan them to create a 3-D model of your teeth. Together, a team of technicians will adjust the teeth in step-by-step motions in order to correct their positions.

In an effort to keep the process as painless as possible, not all teeth are moved in one shot. Instead, each tray will straighten a couple at a time.

The computer will record these step-by-step movements and create a series of personalized trays to help guide your teeth along those movements.

Once the trays are finished, Invisalign will ship them back to your orthodontist. It usually takes about four weeks from the time the impressions are sent out for the trays to come back.

You’ll Receive Several Trays

Now that you’ve received several trays, your doctor will give you the first set out of the series.

You can expect to wear a set of trays for two weeks at a time. After two weeks, you will move to the next tray. The trays will continue to be a bit straighter each time.

A typical movement is about 1/10 of a millimeter per tray.

Expect to wear your braces about 20 to 22 hours every single day. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of Invisalign braces over traditional braces is that they are easy to remove so you can conveniently brush and floss your teeth.

Your orthodontist will want to do checkups every 6 to 8 weeks to make sure everything is going smoothly.

How Long Does Invisalign Take to Straighten Your Teeth?

Now that you’re familiar with the process of straightening your teeth, let’s take a look at how long it takes. In short, Invisalign will take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to straighten out your teeth. However, this really depends on the severity of your case.

Let’s take a look at how crowded teeth or gaps in between teeth can affect this timeline.

Crowded Teeth vs. Closing a Gap

Crowding happens when your teeth are too close together, sometimes sitting on top of each other. If the crowding is mild, it may take as little as 6 to 12 months for the Invisalign braces to resolve.

As a general rule, the more severe the crowding is, the longer the straightening process will take. Keep in mind that severe cases of overcrowding could mean that you are not a good candidate for Invisalign braces.

In this case, your orthodontist may suggest another treatment altogether.

Invisalign is a good option for closing a gap as well, however, the maximum gap size is 6 mm. Closing a gap this size could take as long as 24 months. Closing shorter gaps will take less time.

It’s Never Too Late to Have a Smile You’re Proud Of

They say a smile is worth 1000 words, so why hide yours?

It should be a universal goal for everyone to have a smile that they are proud of, after all, smiling is the fastest way to improve overall happiness.

Let’s do a quick recap.

What does the Invisalign process look like? The process consists of three main steps:

  1. Create a personalized treatment plan
  2. Have impressions made and sent out
  3. Use a series of trees to slowly straighten teeth.

How long does Invisalign take to straighten teeth? Remember that no two smiles are created equal. Some teeth are more stubborn than others and require a bit more convincing. Your orthodontist will give you an estimate specific to your situation.

All of this sounding too good to be true? Check out this article to see if you are a good candidate for Invisalign braces.