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  • Danielle Godley

How long do braces and aligners take?

Updated: Apr 26

Smiling girl wearing metal braces
Smiling girl wearing metal braces

People often assume that orthodontic treatment will take years. Fortunately, this is not the case for everyone! There are many factors that determine the length of your treatment with braces or clear aligners. Let's explore the main factors.

1. Option Chosen

The length of your treatment first depends on the orthodontic option selected. Minor cases can sometimes be treated with a retainer, limited aligners, or limited braces. This generally takes less than a year (sometimes only a few months) to achieve results. A more comprehensive approach, involving treatment of a misaligned bite for example, may take 18 months to 2 years to achieve ideal results.

2. Complexity of Treatment

Some patients seek braces or aligners to help align just a few front teeth. Others need orthodontic treatment for issues such as overbite, crossbite, impacted teeth, severe misalignment, or a jaw imbalance. The more complex the issue to be treated, the longer treatment will take.

In general, braces or clear aligners (such as Invisalign) typically 6 months or less for very minor or limited cases, 12 to 18 months in most moderate cases, and 24 months or longer for more complex cases.

3. Age

As we age, our teeth and gums sometimes become more resistant to moving into a new position and less likely to adapt to that new position. Adults can and do obtain beautiful results with braces and clear aligners, it just might take a little longer.

4. Compliance

With invisible clear aligner treatment, the trays must be worn daytime and nighttime in order to be successful. If trays are not worn for enough time, teeth will not track properly, which can delay your treatment, and lead to compromised results.

If bite correction is a part of your customized treatment, it may require a bite corrector or elastics in order to correct. If Dr. Godley prescribes elastics as part of your treatment, they are a must in order to achieve treatment goals. Not wearing your appliance, clear aligner trays or elastics correctly can significantly prolong your orthodontic treatment.


It is important to remember that Orthodontists are experienced in treating a variety of conditions in the safest, most efficient, and most effective way possible. They can also offer limited options if comprehensive treatment is not a goal of yours.

Our team at Godley Family Orthodontics can provide you with options to fit your needs and lifestyle. Contact our Zionsville, Carmel office for a complimentary evaluation. At your consultation, Dr. Godley can provide you with a close estimate for how long it will take to achieve your goals. We look forward to meeting you!


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