Honestly, there are loads of factors that could affect the length of your aligner treatment. So, we hate to disappoint, but when it comes to the length of your aligner treatment, we can't give you a definitive answer.
However, we can discuss factors that influence the length of your treatment to prepare you for what may come.
If you've had orthodontic work in the past, it can influence how long your aligner treatment takes. For example, teeth that have previously been manipulated may be a little more stubborn to move again than teeth in their natural location.
GAPS IN YOUR TEETH
A gap between your teeth may give you some unique style points, but if you're looking to enter your straight-teeth era, it can also distinctly lengthen the time you'll need to spend with your aligner treatment.
The more spaces in your teeth, the more complicated your smile becomes and the longer it may take to achieve optimal alignment.
Similar to the gap situation, another determining factor in your journey to joining the straight teeth club is:
When it comes to music festivals, the bigger the crowd, the bigger the success. Unfortunately, we cannot apply the same logic to your teeth. The more crowded your teeth are, the harder it is to achieve optimal alignment in a timely manner.
AGE & ORAL HEALTH
As adults, we often reflect on our youth as a time when we had a bottomless pit of energy, were flexible enough to sit cross-legged comfortably and had mobility that didn't result in several knees, back, and neck cracks every time we left a seated position. Our point is younger patients tend to be more malleable, and often their teeth are easily manipulated, making their aligner treatment shorter than older patients with stubborn teeth and gums.
So if you’re thinking of getting your teeth aligned, it’s best to start sooner rather than later!
Similarly, healthier teeth and gums tend to respond better to the forces of treatment.
YOUR INDIVIDUAL ALIGNER TREATMENT
One size does not fit all when it comes to aligner treatment. Some treatments are based on more frequent changes, and others require extended periods between aligner changes.
Ultimately, the length of time you're in aligners is discussed with your orthodontist and depends on the factors mentioned above, along with the following:
YOUR LISTENING SKILLS
We get it; as an adult, you're at the peak of your dating life, trying to progress in your career and enjoy the freedom of living by your own rules. Taking on board the plethora of information and instructions concerning your aligner treatment can become challenging, and the 'I know better' attitude can be hard to ignore.
"Wear your aligners for 20-22 hours per day" may be interpreted as, "I'll wear my aligners most of the time but take them out for dates, meetings, and (for lack of a better analogy) pissing up on a long weekend bender."
Thus, resulting in the possibility of a lengthier treatment. So, as we say to our children, put your listening ears on and follow instructions.
In a nutshell, when it comes to the length of your aligner treatment, you won't be able to determine an exact answer as too many variables affect its duration. The best way to ensure your aligner treatment gets you that insta-worthy smile sooner rather than later is to strap on your listening ears, make a few small sacrifices on the social life front, and try not to take it personally when someone a decade younger than you makes it out the orthodontist's chair earlier.