With so many ways to straighten teeth out there, the question often comes down to which method is the quickest: braces, aligners, maybe veneers? The answer is that when it comes to how to straighten your teeth quickly, aligners are often the best choice both for the quick timeline and numerous benefits. We’re breaking down everything about aligners and what you need to know to decide if they’re right for you.

What are aligners?

Aligners are clear plastic trays that offer a direct alternative to traditional metal braces. These aligners are specially designed for your teeth from a mold and can be used to gradually shift your teeth over time into their new positions.

How do aligners work?

One of the first steps in getting aligners is completing an impression of your teeth. From the impression, a doctor can decide what is needed for your teeth. From there, they’ll create a set of clear and durable plastic aligners that slightly differ every few weeks to put force on your teeth and shift them gradually.

There are specific rules to using aligners to straighten your teeth that differ from braces. When followed correctly, these rules can help create a speedy process and get you out of the aligners more quickly than braces. Typically, you need to:

  • Wear your aligners 20 to 22 hours a day
  • Remove aligners when eating or drinking to avoid damage
  • Properly clean aligners and teeth routinely
  • Keep up with the treatment schedule, meaning switching aligners as prescribed

How long do aligners take to straighten teeth?

Depending on your dental case and the severity of it, you may be able to wear aligners for as little as six months to a year. The more closely you follow the guidelines, the more efficient your treatment will be, which can help keep you on schedule and prevent extensions, or worse, having to start a new treatment plan.

While it can be tempting to switch aligners sooner than told to move the treatment process along, it’s important to steer clear of this habit. Teeth need to gradually be moved to avoid bone loss or other dental issues down the line. Quickening the process can leave your teeth weak and vulnerable.

Benefits of aligners

Aligners offer a host of benefits beyond the quickened timeline. Here are a few to consider:

Virtually invisible

Clear aligners are made from a clear, plastic material that is almost invisible when worn. This means you can straighten your teeth without anyone knowing that you’re doing so.

You can eat anything

Unlike traditional braces, which can make it difficult to eat certain foods, clear aligners allow you to eat anything you want. This is because they are removable, so you can take them out while eating and then put them back in when you’re done.


Because aligner trays can be removed, they are easy to clean and also allow you to clean your teeth properly. It’s important to maintain oral hygiene, especially when straightening your teeth. Otherwise, your new smile can lead to bigger issues down the line. That process can be difficult with braces, but aligners make it easier.

Are aligners right for me?

Aligners are a great alternative to traditional braces. They allow you to straighten your teeth while avoiding the major issues that accompany braces, including cleanliness and self-confidence, with few drawbacks. Be sure to discuss with your doctor whether aligners can be a treatment option for your case!

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