Wearing Invisalign for Less Than 24 Hours Per Day

I'm not sure I can commit to wearing the invisalign appliances for 24hrs per day. What happens if I only wear it at night and for a few hours per day? I am 55 years old and am doing this to correct crowded lower teeth which occasionally cause me to bite my lip while eating. Thanks

Doctor Answers 7

Invisalign should be worn minimum 22 hr/day for best results

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Having been through Invisalign as an adult myself, I know it can be challenging to routinely have your aligners in place 22 hours/day on average. If you know for certain that you will be non-compliant and only wearing them at night and a few hours a day, I would recommend that you not do Invisalign. Not only could your final result not look the way you want, you could do more damage than good...the least of it is the money you'd be wasting not to get the result you want.  Ask your dentist for other options to improve your smile and your bite.

Chicago Dentist

Wear the aligners 22 hrs

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You must wear the aligners 22hrs out of 24 hrs.

Wearing less time it will not give you the results you expected.

Antoaneta Barba, DDS
Santa Ana Dentist

How much wear is needed

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I agree with Dr Povolny, you should strongly consider passing on Invisalign for a treatment option. Unless, you are comfortable writing a big check and getting little to nothing in return.

That said I had one patient who only wore them to bed and a few hours every day. She transferred into me from another city. Both the other orthodontists and myself strongly warned against it. I have to confess she got about 90% of what she hoped out of her treatment. It just took 3 times as long.

I think the key to her success was she was very consistent with her hours and was in her mid 20's. The reason the age plays a factor it simply the bone density factor. Typically the older the more dense your bone, so moving teeth is harder and less predictable.

If you use simple math to think about this and apply some basic science...we are talking about moving something throw bone. Bones cells have to be stimulated enough to be broken down, pushed out of the way to allow the tooth to move. Then the tooth needs to be held there while the bone cells fill in around the tooth's new position and harden. That take TIME. There are 24 hours in a day. So theoretically, 12 hours in and 12 hours out = a net zero.

I think your key, if you still really want to try Invisalign is being truthful, as you seem to be, about the wear you will be able to get AND finding someone willing to try it with you.

Congrats to you on realizing you have a full life of beautiful smiles ahead of you and you deserve it.

Jacqueline Demko, DDS, MSD
Chesterfield Orthodontist

Wearing Invisalign less than Full Time

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I would strongly recommend that you NOT get Invisalign unless you can commit to wearing it an honest 22 hours per day.  The amount of wear you propose is usually not enough to move teeth, and your results would be very unpredictable.  Some teeth may move, others not, and the results would likely not reflect the original plan.  For most people, spending the amount of money that Invisalign requires makes them expect guaranteed results.  If you can't commit to wearing the aligners 22 hours the best alternative is braces.  Since they are glued on your teeth they work 24 hours per day every day and you get guaranteed results!

Brian Povolny, DDS, PhD
Seattle Orthodontist

Invisalign, wearing less than 24hrs/day might work.

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We recommend that patients wear their aligners for 22 hours a day, removing them for eating and hygiene only.

When the wear time recommendation is followed we know the treatment will work.  But what happens when Invisalign aligners are worn less than the recommended time? 

Depending on the particular tooth movement desired and the particular patient, the treatment might still work.  Just keep in mind that the further one deviates from the prescribed treatment, the more likely the treatment won't work.  I have had patients that admitted to only wearing the aligners at night, and in turn wore each set for 3-4 weeks, and the treatment worked.  I've had others that had problems because the wear protocol was not followed. 

Its like if your physician prescribed antibiotics to be taken 4 times and you only took them 3 times a day.  It might work, it might not.  There is just no way to know unless you try.

I would say that if you are OK with the possibility that the outcome may not be ideal, you could wear them as you described, extend the length from 2 to 3 weeks per aligner set, and see how it works.  If the tooth movement isn't tracking as desired, you can either commit to wearing them as prescribed, or discontinue treatment. 

Steve Alper, DMD
New York Dentist

Is possible to wear Invisalign for less than recommended 22 hours per day

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It is possible to wear Invisalign for less than the recommended 22 hours per day. However, this may increase the time in treatment.

Zach Casagrande, DDS, MS, PC
Ashburn Orthodontist

How much one should wear the aligners

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In my opinion one should not go for the invisalign treatment if not too sure of the commitment of following the instructions completely. Invisalign include set  of self correcting aligners if not worn for the proper duration can change the whole treatment outlook and the length of the treatment .Ideally aligner should be in the mouth for atleast a period of 22 hours ,it  is okay to take them out for 2 hours for eating ,brushing ,floosing and drinking.So fgor better predictability of results one should wear the aligners religiously.

Dalvir Pannu, DDS
San Jose Dentist

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.