How does Invisalign work: what dental issues can Invisalign fix and how long does it take?

Dr Simon Church
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Invisalign has become one of the most popular ways to straighten, correct and perfect your smile. With its barely-there, removable aligners and more flexibility than traditional braces, it’s clear to see why many people opt for this teeth straightening solution over others.

But you may be wondering: how does Invisalign work? And will it work for you?

The good news is that Invisalign is an effective solution for most orthodontic concerns. Yes, that means even more complex issues like bite corrections and gapped teeth can usually be treated with Invisalign (but more on that later).

Read on to learn more about how the Invisalign clear aligner system works, the types of dental issues it can effectively treat and how long it takes.

How does Invisalign work?

Invisalign uses a series of removable clear aligner trays to gradually move your teeth into the correct position. Each set of aligners is specially designed to apply different pressure to different teeth at different stages of your treatment. As such, the aligner trays must be changed every few weeks to keep your treatment (and your teeth) moving. While Invisalign aligners are removable, it’s important to note that they must be worn for at least 20 to 22 hours a day to be effective.

One of the most impressive parts of Invisalign treatment (apart from its ability to give you a winning grin, of course) is the technology behind it. Using the special treatment planning software, your Invisalign dentist can map out the precise movement of your teeth and customise every set of aligner trays to suit the treatment plan. This technology allows each tooth to be moved individually, rather than all teeth receiving the same amount of pressure. This is one of the key differences between Invisalign vs braces and one of the reasons why Invisalign can achieve more precise, predictable and faster results.

Photo of an Invisalign clear aligner.
Invisalign technology allows for customised aligners that move each tooth individually. This is one of the reasons why Invisalign can achieve such precise, predictable and fast results.

What to expect during Invisalign treatment

  • Treatment planning
    Thanks to Invisalign technology, most of the heavy lifting occurs before your treatment even begins. Your dentist will use the Invisalign software to plan out your entire treatment and prepare all of your aligner trays.

  • Receiving your aligners
    You’ll visit your dentist to receive your first few sets of aligners. During this appointment, your dentist will ensure the aligners fit correctly and show you how to use them. They will also give you a full rundown of your treatment plan, explaining which aligners you need to wear first and when to change them to the next set.

  • Follow-up appointments
    Since you can replace your aligners every few weeks without your dentist’s assistance, you’ll have fewer check-up appointments than you would with traditional braces. However, you’ll still see your dentist every 6 to 8 weeks so they can monitor your progress and provide you with new sets of aligners when needed.

How long does Invisalign take to work?

One of the top questions we hear at our Sydney Invisalign clinic is:

How long does it take for Invisalign to work?

Invisalign treatment time will always vary from patient to patient, ranging anywhere between 4 to 18 months. And it largely depends on one very important thing:


The truth is you play a crucial role in your Invisalign treatment. You are responsible for wearing your aligners at least 20 to 22 hours per day and replacing them every few weeks as guided by your dentist. If you frequently forget to put your aligners back in after removing them or don’t change them at the right time, your treatment will not be as effective and it will take longer to see results.

Other factors, such as the complexity of your case, will also affect how fast Invisalign works. More complex issues will take longer to treat while minor corrections may only require a few months to achieve the desired results.

Keep in mind that treatment time will also influence the cost of Invisalign, with a general guide being the more complex the issues, the longer the treatment time and the higher the treatment cost. But with our Invisalign payment plans, there’s no need to be concerned about big upfront costs — you can pay for your treatment in affordable instalments over time.


A beautiful smile without braces? It’s possible with Invisalign

Learn more about the Invisalign treatment, including what to expect and the costs.

What dental issues can Invisalign fix?

Invisalign isn’t just an effective teeth straightening solution. In fact, there are many orthodontic concerns that Invisalign can effectively treat. Let’s take a look at the common dental issues Invisalign can fix below.

Overcrowded teeth

Overcrowding occurs when the jaw does not have enough space to accommodate all of the teeth, causing the teeth to overlap, twist or become crooked. The concern with overcrowded teeth is that they can be difficult to keep clean, increasing your risk of decay, cavities and gum disease.

Photo of young lady with severe overcrowding teeth in the lower jaw.
Invisalign can fix overcrowding teeth as each new set of aligners helps to shift and rotate the teeth back into line, often achieving results without the need for any tooth extraction.

Overcrowding is a common orthodontic problem that can be treated with Invisalign. Each new set of aligners helps to shift and rotate the teeth back into line, often achieving results without the need for extraction.

Gapped teeth

Gapped teeth happen when there is too much space between the teeth. There are a few reasons why teeth spacing may occur, such as tooth loss or even genetic makeup. The main issue with gapped teeth is that food often gets stuck between them, increasing the risk of decay and cavities.

So, how does Invisalign work for gaps? Each set of aligners moves the gapped teeth closer together, gradually reducing the space between them until the gap is completely closed.

Bite issues

Bite issues refer to the way the upper and lower teeth come together when the mouth is closed, such as:

  • Overbite (where the upper teeth protrude out from or overlap the lower teeth)
  • Underbite (where the lower teeth protrude out from or overlap the upper teeth)
  • Crossbite (where some of the upper teeth sit behind the lower teeth or vice versa)
  • Open bite (a rare issue where the upper and lower teeth do not meet and have an open space between them)

Bite issues not only affect the appearance and function of your teeth, but if left untreated, they can also leave you at risk of other serious oral health issues, such as worn down teeth and enamel, cavities, gum disease and jaw issues.

Image of a young lady with an overbite where  the upper teeth protrude out from or overlap the lower teeth.

In bite correction cases, Invisalign attachments provide additional pressure needed to move the jaw back into proper alignment while the trays help to move the individual teeth into their correct position.

Overbites, underbites, crossbites and open bites generally fall under the more complex category in Invisalign treatment. This means that bite issues will typically take longer to correct than less complex issues. But rest assured, there is rarely a bite issue that cannot be treated with Invisalign.

So, how does Invisalign work for overbites and other bite issues?

In bite correction cases, Invisalign attachments such as buttons and elastics will often be used in conjunction with the aligner trays. The attachments help to provide the additional pressure and control needed to move the jaw back into proper alignment while the trays help to move the individual teeth into their correct position.

Will Invisalign work for me?

If you’re eager to find out whether Invisalign is suitable for your smile, come in and see us for your free Invisalign consultation. During this appointment, we’ll assess your teeth and dental concerns and determine whether Invisalign is the right treatment for you. Got another question? Remember you can also contact us anytime for more info, we’re always happy to help!


A beautiful smile without braces? It’s possible with Invisalign

Learn more about the Invisalign treatment, including what to expect and the costs.

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