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Do You Have to Wear Your Invisalign Aligners all the Time?

If you are considering Invisalign as orthodontic treatment, you might have heard that you need to wear your aligners all the time. This isn't quite true since you can remove your Invisalign aligners if you need to. For instance, you can remove your aligners for meals and for oral hygiene.

Your dentist will decide your aligner timeline

Not all patients have the same timeline in regards to keeping their Invisalign aligners in. In general, most of the time, you'll be expected to wear each of your aligners for 20-22 hours per day. This duration is important because it ensures that each aligner achieves the goals your orthodontist set for it.

In a typical case, an Invisalign patient wears each aligner for 22 hours a day, and for a two-week period. After the two-week period, the patient moves onto the next aligner, which will straighten the teeth a little more.

In some cases, patients can't stick to the typical timeline for Invisalign. If this is the case, a patient can notify their orthodontist before treatment begins. Their orthodontist can then come up with a realistic timeline and duration for the patient. For instance, a patient may be able to wear their aligners for 18 hours a day but over a three-week period rather than a two-week period.

What happens if you keep your aligners out too long?

Each Invisalign aligner is designed to move teeth from 0.25 to 0.33 millimetres over the assigned two-week period. Sometimes, an orthodontist will suggest that you keep an aligner in for a little longer if the expected movement hasn't occurred. But most of the time, you'll be responsible for making sure you keep your aligners in for the recommended time period.

Remember, each aligner moves teeth a set distance, and once that distance is achieved, usually within two weeks, you move to the next aligner. If you interrupt the movement rate of an aligner by removing it too often and for too long throughout the day, you're going to slow down your treatment time.

Fortunately, if you do leave an aligner out for too long on one day, you can make up that time in the following days. For instance, if you can only wear your aligner for 16 hours on one day, then you can make that time up by adding an extra hour to your wearing time for the next six days. This will help you stay on track with your orthodontist's timeline.

Although you do need to wear Invisalign aligners most of the time, you'll have time to take your aligners out at meal times and oral hygiene sessions. For more information on Invisalign, contact a professional near you.