How Long Do You Have to Wear Invisalign?

Woman Holding a Clear Aligner for Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign at Annandale Smiles, serving Annandale, VA, and the nearby region, offers an alternative to metal braces that uses a series of clear aligners to straighten teeth, bridge gaps, and correct crowding and bite issues.

Popular among adults and teens alike who want a more discreet way to straighten their teeth, Invisalign users also tout the ability to remove aligners while eating and drinking.

Your custom-crafted aligner trays will be switched out every one to two weeks to gradually and continuously shift your teeth into the desired position.

But how long does Invisalign take, you ask? We have the lowdown.

How long do I wear Invisalign?

Each day, you wear the aligners for 20 to 22 hours. We recommend only taking them out when you eat or perform dental hygiene tasks, including brushing and flossing.

Any time you aren’t wearing them, they aren’t doing their job, reducing their effectiveness. As a result, when you aren’t wearing them enough daily, you extend the time it takes to complete the treatment.

We should note that it’s possible to take the clear aligners out for a day here and there if you have a special event to attend, but in general, you need to wear them every day to see the full results sooner.

How effective is Invisalign?

Some patients see complete correction with clear aligners in as little as six months. However, most patients require 12 to 18 months to see full results, though it may take longer in some cases.

Depending on the nature and severity of your case, Invisalign usually takes less time to correct the problem than a standard set of braces.

The secret behind the rapid results is the customized treatment plan with trays that change every few weeks. Ultimately, this allows the aligners to place pressure on the teeth in a strategic manner focused on your unique problem.

Your customized plan

When you visit our dentist for a consultation, you receive an assessment to determine if Invisalign is a feasible solution for your situation, depending on the nature and severity of your case.

Once our dentist decides this is the right solution, you will receive an estimated time, which will incorporate the following factors:

  • Distance teeth need to shift (greater distance requires a longer time)
  • Degree the teeth need to shift
  • Type of issue(s)
  • Age (Teenagers respond better and quicker than adults)

To put this more into perspective, for instance, a small gap will take less time to correct than mildly crowded teeth.

Remember, your teeth may take longer than anticipated throughout your treatment if they’re moving more slowly than expected or you aren’t wearing the aligners as recommended.

What about aftercare?

After your treatment, you must wear a retainer to maintain the results. Its purpose is to keep the teeth in their new positions.

In most cases, our dentist will recommend a removable retainer worn consistently, aside from eating, brushing, and flossing, for several months. After that, you’ll need to wear the retainer only at night.

Eventually, you can skip a few nights of wearing your retainer here and there without a problem.

If you don’t wear your retainer, your teeth will gradually return to their original positions.

At Annandale Smile, we’re happy to offer patients a convenient, fast approach to straightening teeth. While Invisalign isn’t an option for every patient, many qualify, and for those who do, it’s a life-changer and provides correction in as little as six months in some cases.


Although we’re located in Annandale, VA, we also serve cities like North Springfield, West Falls Church, Springfield, Lincolnia, Falls Church, and West Springfield.

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