Does Invisalign Take as Long as Braces and Does it Work as Well?

I really want to get Invisalign for my top teeth, but my mother doesn't want me to get Invisalign because I plan to go away for University next year and she doesn't want to have to drive me to dentist appointments from 6 hours away, as she believes they will take longer than braces. In all, will Invisalign take longer than braces and will it work as well? Also, will I get all my aligners before I have to go away for University so I can take them with me?

Doctor Answers 7

How long does Invisalign take & is it as good as braces

The average Invisalign case takes 12 months to complete.  Cases that require less movement will take less time, and some more complex cases will take longer and may even require traditional braces to complete the case.

When chosen for the right cases, Invisalign is an excellent solution,  However, it does have its limitations and in some situations the patient has to decide if they will be happy with a compromised result. In these cases, if the patient wants a more ideal result, then they need to consider traditional fixed braces.

Freehold Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Invisalign is often shorter treatment time

On average an Invisalign case takes about 1 year.  Traditional braces about 2 years.  That said, every case is different.  Some cases can take less than this and some even more. 

Usually we see people every 6 weeks to check on the progress of their invisalign treatment.  If you start the process soon you would most likely be able to get your aligners before you go away to school.  The key for you, being far away from your dentist, would be to somehow coordinate your trips home with your ongoing dental visits.

Martin Frankel, DDS
Toronto Dentist
3.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Invisalign, is it an option?

Invisalign® straightens teeth with a series of transparent, nearly invisible plastic aligners worn over your teeth. These aligners gradually transition your smile into its ideal alignment. In fact, you can actually see how your new, orderly, beautiful smile will look before you even begin Invisalign® treatment. Invisalign® orthodontic appliances can be quickly and quietly removed for eating and drinking, brushing and flossing, or any other activity. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements your dentist or orthodontist plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You simply pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete and you achieve the confident smile that you've always wanted. The best part about the whole process is that most people won't even know you're straightening your teeth. Many people believe that Invisalign is only effective at treating minor orthodontic issues. 

Pamela Marzban, DDS
Fairfax Dentist

It depends, but see an orthodontist to get an accurate answer

It really depends on your case. Some orthodontic movements with Invisalign would take much longer and are less predictabe than with braces (i.e. extrusion, or pulling down of teeth, and rotations of certain teeth).

I believe it's foolish to throw out generalities with either method regarding treatment time b/c every patient is different, and each appliance (Invisalign versus braces) should really be customized to the patient's problem because one appliance versus the other may work better for any given case.

 I would recommend consulting with an orthodontist to get a more accurate estimate for your individual needs.

Mazyar Moshiri, DMD, MS
Saint Louis Orthodontist

Invisalign may work better

Most certainly every case is different. Invisalign often has a great advantage over braces for college students. Usually the students come home every three months so we can check them. In the mean time we communicate via email to make sure the Invisalign is on track. This is more difficult to do with conventional braces. When you are away at college and develop an orthodontic emergency such as a poking wire or loose bracket the solution becomes a problem. This doesn't happen with Invisalign. The key is to comply with what the Orthodontist asks.

Gilbert H. Snow, DDS
Encino Orthodontist
3.7 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

Invisalign MAY take longer than normal braces

It is hard to quote average times because each case so unique.  However, as a rule of thumb, they say Invisalign is about a year and a complete orthodontic traditional braces case is about 2-3 years.  Some Invisalign cases have gone as long as 3 years and some traditional braces have only been 6 months.  It depends.

With brackets and wires we like to see you every 4 weeks.  Invisalign aligners are worn for 2 weeks each and normally 3 are dispensed at a time, making office visits every 6 weeks.  If 6-8 were dispensed at a time, the visits can be less frequent, but this would eliminate the ability to verify teeth are moving as expected or make any adjustments, so treatment MAY go longer just because the visits were less frequent.

Lance Timmerman, DMD, MAGD
Seattle Dentist
4.3 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Invisalign vs. Braces

Invisalign treatment times are comparable to conventional braces. With normal braces you need to visit your doctor every 4-6 weeks and get the wires adjusted. With invisalign visits are typically spaced every 8-12 weeks. You could time your visit with your visits home so that you can get the most of your invisalign treatment while away for school. Usually you get 4-6 aligners per visit but this can be adjusted you need to talk with your doctor and plan things out.

Dan Hagi, DDS
Toronto Dentist
5.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.