Many people desire a straight and beautiful smile. However, straight teeth are a natural blessing bestowed upon only a fortunate few.

Several orthodontic treatments can help straighten your teeth, including clear aligners. Aligners are custom-made, clear trays that fit snugly over your teeth and work to guide them into their desired positions gradually. The ability to remove them, their discreet appearance and their effectiveness in aligning teeth have made them a sought-after orthodontic treatment.

If you’re considering this orthodontic treatment, you may have a lingering question: How long do you have to wear aligners? Let’s explore this question by examining the factors affecting total aligner usage time. 

Factors that impact the duration of aligner treatment

Severity of malocclusion 

The severity of your jaw misalignment or malocclusion determines how long it takes for your teeth to move into their correct positions. Milder alignment issues may require a few months of treatment, while complex cases may take a few years to correct. Your orthodontist will generally give you a rough estimate of how long you would need to wear your aligners before starting the treatment.

The type of aligner

The type of aligner you use also affects how long you need to wear them. Aligners are incredibly popular due to their convenience and aesthetic appeal, but they can require more time than traditional metal braces. For example, the average treatment time for Invisalign clear aligners is from 12 to 18 months, based on the patient’s age and the severity of misalignment. It’s important to note that these timeframes are approximate and may differ from case to case.

Compliance with the treatment plan

Your orthodontist will usually give you several sets of aligners at once, and you will progress through them at regular intervals, usually changing them every one to two weeks. Each aligner set represents a different stage of your tooth movement, bringing you closer to your desired smile.

To get the best results from aligners and prevent an extension of the treatment time, you must follow the treatment plan as instructed by your orthodontist. This includes wearing your aligners for the recommended amount of time (typically 20-22 hours per day, removing them only while eating and performing oral hygiene routines), wearing the right set of aligners during the duration of the treatment and attending all scheduled checkups. Following the treatment plan as prescribed by your orthodontist can ensure that your teeth experience gentle and continuous pressure to aid in their gradual repositioning.

What’s next after the aligner treatment?

As you near the end of your aligner treatment, your orthodontist will evaluate the final position of your teeth. In some cases, you may need additional refinements to achieve optimal results. This may involve wearing a few more aligners or employing other orthodontic techniques. Once your orthodontist is satisfied with the alignment of your teeth, you will transition to the retention phase of treatment. Retainers can help keep your teeth in their new position and prevent them from shifting back.

The bottom line

Overall, when it comes to using aligners, there isn’t a definitive answer about how long you must wear them. The total duration depends on several factors, such as the severity of malocclusion, the type of aligner used and adherence to the treatment plan.

Remember to wear your aligners consistently and follow your orthodontist’s instructions for the best results. With the proper care and attention, you can attain a more attractive smile in a relatively short amount of time.

So, if you’re looking for an effective way to improve your oral aesthetic, talk with your orthodontist about using aligners. Learn how much invisible aligners cost. They can help you decide if they are the right solution for you and give you a better idea of how long it might take to work their magic.