Invisalign Timeline

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What is the expected Invisalign timeline from start to finish?

The teeth straightening process is no doubt a process that takes time. So when you are thinking of getting Invisalign, one of the things you may be wondering about is the Invisalign timeline. How long does the Invisalign process take?

Generally, the average treatment time is about 6 to 18 months for the Invisalign process to work on your teeth. However, there are some instances when the treatment time will be shorter or longer than that range.

The truth is that like traditional braces, the Invisalign timeline will depend on numerous factors. The timeline varies from one patient to the next.

Here, we give you the most common factors that could affect how long your Invisalign treatment will take and other things that would affect your treatment time.

Factors that affect your Invisalign treatment time

State of your teeth

The most determining factor when it comes to how long your treatment would take is the state of the teeth. The bigger the problem, the longer it would take.

Not all sets of teeth are created equal. Some are born with straight teeth while others come with gaps and crooked teeth. Most of us fall somewhere in the middle.

The more work your teeth need the more aligners you will need and the longer your treatment time will be. On the other hand, if you only have minor issues, you may be done with your treatment in less than 6 months.

Your age

Invisalign has grown in popularity as an orthodontic treatment for adults but the truth is, the earlier you start it, the faster the treatment time will be.

You see, younger patients have teeth and jaws that are still in the growing phase. This makes it easier for Invisalign to manipulate the teeth into the right place. Older patients have their teeth and jaws already locked into place which means, more force and time would be needed to move the teeth into the right place.

This is the case no matter what orthodontic treatment you want to get. It is always advisable to get treatment during the early adolescent stages because this is usually the time when the jaws and teeth are about to settle in place.

Your level of discipline

One more thing about Invisalign is that its effectiveness is totally dependent on how disciplined the patient is. Invisalign has very specific rules. You have to wear Invisalign aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day.

If you do not follow that rule, this will result in a delay in your treatment and may cause you to extend your treatment time.

This is why Invisalign is best for adolescents and adults. You need to have a thorough understanding of how important it is to wear your clear aligners all the time. And you need to be disciplined and responsible enough to actually follow the rules.

The Invisalign timeline

This is an example of a typical Invisalign timeline that usually happens in Invisalign treatments.

Initial meeting with Invisalign provider

Upon your first meeting, the dentist or orthodontist will check your teeth to see if you are a viable candidate for Invisalign. They will usually take x-rays and make dental impressions of your teeth for assessment. This is necessary to create the custom made trays that will straighten your teeth.

If you do not qualify, they will inform you and provide alternative teeth straightening options. They can also suggest what you can do to be cleared for treatment if you insist on getting Invisalign for your teeth. If they think Invisalign will not work for you, they may suggest that you go for traditional braces instead.

If you do qualify, you will get an orientation on your first meeting with your chosen Invisalign provider. The provider will discuss with you the specifics of the treatment and will take the time to answer your questions.

They will then call you to another appointment for you to return for your first set of aligners and your first fitting.

Invisalign aligners first fitting

It usually takes a few weeks for the dental impressions and x-rays to reach the lab, create your Invisalign trays, and then send them to your provider. Once your provider has received your set, they will give you a call to set an appointment for your first fitting.

During the fitting appointment, the provider will insert the first of your Invisalign clear aligner set. They will ensure that it fits correctly. If they do, you get to go home with them and start your treatment. If they don’t new impressions will have to be taken and you will need to wait for a few more weeks again.

Regular check-ups

Once you go home with your aligners, you will need to return to the dental office from time to time for regular checkups. During these checkups, your provider will assess your teeth to make sure that your treatment plan is right on track.

There is no way to skip these regular checkups because it is the only way for you to get your next clear aligner trays on your set. Remember, you have to go through several sets of trays for you to finish your treatment.

You have to wear each tray for anywhere between two to six weeks, depending on your personal treatment plan. The number of Invisalign trays you will have to wear will depend on the original position of your teeth and how far the tooth movement must be.

Final assessment

Once you reach the end of your treatment, you will be seeing your provider for the final assessment. Your Invisalign provider will make sure that your teeth are as straight as they should be in the projected treatment plan.

If it is, your treatment will be over and you will be given instructions about wearing your retainers. If not, your provider may have to extend your treatment plan and order more clear aligner trays for the adjustments.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long can Invisalign braces treat crowded teeth?

When your teeth is crowding, it means your teeth are overlapping or pushing into one another. The amount of time Invisalign would take to correct this would depend on the severity of the situation.

Invisalign can usually fix mild crowding within six months. For more severe cases, it would take longer than that. And in some severe cases, your provider may even recommend multiple treatments to manage it.

How long can Invisalign treat gapped teeth?

Gapped teeth are easier to remedy compared to crowded teeth. This is because it is easier to push your teeth together than to push them apart.

This being said, Invisalign usually can correct mild gapping issues within 2 months. If the issue is severe, it will take longer but usually, it can be settled within a year.

How long before you start seeing results with Invisalign?

Again, Invisalign results are also subjective. Some patients get to notice Invisalign results in just two to three weeks while some would only notice an improvement within three months.

If more than five months have gone by and you see no indication of teeth straightening, you should schedule an appointment with your provider to see if the treatment is working as it should.

What happens after Invisalign treatment is complete?

Once you reach the end of your treatment plan, your provider will be moving on to a maintenance plan. This basically needs you to wear a retainer.

The retainer is required to prevent your teeth from moving back to their original position. Your provider will tell you how much you have to wear the retainer and when.

Is Invisalign braces faster than traditional braces?

Yes, Invisalign is usually faster than braces – even for severe dental issues. Traditional braces would usually have a longer treatment time of up to 2 years.


As you can see, the Invisalign process timeline to straighten teeth is very subjective. Your treatment may not be as long or as short as the treatment of others. One thing is for sure – the more work your teeth needs, the longer your treatment time will be.

To be completely sure of what your own personal Invisalign timeline would look like, book your first appointment with an Invisalign provider near you and see what it takes to get your teeth straight.

Dr Febin Mary George - Editor

With more than 10 years as a dental surgeon, Dr Febin Mary George is passionate about educating consumers around the world to help look after their teeth.

She completed her Bachelor of Surgery at the Century Institute of Dental Science and Research Centre in 2010.

Alongside editing the International Journal of Dental Clinics she has also written for major publications including Thrive Global.