Invisalign®: A Treatment Timeline for Patients

By John Rink DDS on December 12, 2017

An Invisalign alignerThe Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry is proud to offer patients Invisalign®, an invisible alternative to traditional braces. Thanks to Invisalign®, people can undergo orthodontic care without brackets, wires, and bands. Instead, patients wear custom-fitted clear plastic mouthpieces. Removable and easy to clean, this convenient approach to straightening teeth does not interrupt your normal daily life.

A number of prospective patients have questions about the duration of treatment and what that entails. Let's take a moment to consider this timeline for treatment and what you can expect.

How Long Does Invisalign® Treatment Take?

First things first, let's offer an overview of the length of treatment.

For most patients, Invisalign® treatment will take several months to one year to complete. This allows the Invisalign® aligners to gradually shift the position of a patient's teeth without causing severe discomfort.

The Initial Invisalign® Consultation

The first step of Invisalign® treatment is the initial consultation. During this first visit, patients will have the alignment of their teeth carefully assessed. X-rays can be taken to note the position of the teeth as well as the position of the roots and any issues with bone structure.

Sometimes it may be determined that a patient is a poor candidate for Invisalign®, but an ideal candidate for traditional orthodontics. This decision will need to be made after carefully examining a patient's teeth.

The First Invisalign® Aligner

Patients who are good candidates for Invisalign® will eventually get their first aligner tray. This aligner slips onto the teeth easily and should be worn at all times except when eating, drinking, or cleaning the teeth.

A New Invisalign® Aligner Every Two Weeks

Every two weeks, a patient will swap out the previous aligner for a new one. Each subsequent aligner tray is custom designed and planned by computer, allowing for a gradual shift in the position of the teeth over time. Patients will be instructed to consider wearing their aligner trays at all times except when eating, drinking, or cleaning the teeth.

Follow-Up Visits with Your Dentist

Periodically during the Invisalign® process, patients will return to the practice for follow-up care. This allows the dentist to assess the progress of treatment and ensure that things are going by fine. This also allows patients to discuss any concerns they may have as treatment unfolds. Attend these follow-ups as scheduled.

In addition to these follow-up visits, patients will also attend their normal dental visits for cleaning and maintenance. Concerns about Invisalign® may be brought up at these normal dental visits as well.

Additional Post-Invisalign® Care

Some patients may require some cosmetic or restorative care at the end of Invisalign® treatment. For instance, teeth may require just a bit of fine cosmetic or restorative adjustment to improve aesthetics or fit. This can add some time to the treatment process depending on the extent of the work required.

During the consultation process, these additional procedures can be discussed. As the end of Invisalign® treatment approaches, additional discussion can occur so patients know what's ahead as the process comes to a close.

How Does This Compare to Braces Treatment Time?

Overall, Invisalign® patients will have a comparable treatment time as patients who get traditional braces. That is to say several months of treatment to an entire year or more. That said, the convenience of Invisalign® is typically seen as a major advantage over traditional orthodontic care.

Learn More About Invisalign®

For more information about Invisalign® and whether or not it's ideal for you, be sure to contact the Charleston Center for Cosmetic and Restorative Dentistry. The team here will be happy to discuss your options for treatment in much greater detail.

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