How Long Does Orthodontic Aligner Treatment Usually Take?

The sooner orthodontic treatment is over, the sooner patients can enjoy straight teeth and more perfect smiles. Naturally, patients are eager to see fast results. One of the biggest concerns of individuals looking for an orthodontic treatment to straighten their teeth is how long the treatment will take. 

When it comes to invisible aligner treatment, the length of treatment can vary widely depending on the severity of the patient's orthodontic issues. On average, this type of orthodontic treatment will take 12 months. However, the treatment period will vary widely depending on the following factors:

The size of gaps between teeth

Gaps between teeth are the most basic issue that can quickly be corrected with orthodontic aligners. The wider the gap, the longer treatment will take. 

Another important factor in determining how long gaps will take to close is where in the mouth the gap is located. The molars in the back of the mouth tend to be more difficult to move with orthodontic treatment than the teeth in the front of the mouth. Therefore, gaps between molars that are interfering with proper alignment could cause treatment to take longer than usual. 

Crooked teeth

Crooked teeth are a slightly more complicated issue that invisible aligners can treat. If you have crooked teeth that are severely twisted into an irregular position, it might not even be possible to correct them with invisible aligners. If your orthodontist determines that it's possible, you might have to undergo longer treatment to get crooked teeth to rotate into the correct position. 

The presence of overbite problems

Bite problems are a third orthodontic issue that could increase the amount of time you need to wear your aligners. One of the most common bite problems is the overbite, which affects roughly 70 percent of all young orthodontic patients. 

While aligners can treat this orthodontic issue, they often require patients to place elastic bands on their aligners that typically increase the visibility of the treatment. It typically takes aligners a period of around nine months to treat a moderately severe overbite. 

The self-discipline issue

The biggest reason why treatment takes longer than the average 12-month period is because patients are not leaving their aligners in enough. For this orthodontic treatment to work properly, patients need to keep their aligners in for at least 22 hours per day.

It's often tempting for patients to take out their aligners for comfort and for the sake of appearance. However, getting into the habit of taking aligners out for long periods of time each day will delay results and prolong the treatment period.