Which Takes Longer: Braces or Invisalign?

Orthodontic treatment straightens teeth to create a more attractive smile, but its value goes far beyond that. Since crooked or overlapping teeth are often difficult to clean, patients have a higher risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease, or other dental problems requiring further treatment. Bringing teeth into proper alignment has a significant positive impact on oral health.

Today’s orthodontic patients have more treatment options available to them than ever. For many people, deciding between traditional braces and Invisalign clear aligners can be a challenge. We outline the treatment timeline for each below along with other important factors to help you make the best decision for yourself or your child.


Invisalign is the brand name for a set of aligners that place pressure on your teeth to move into the desired position. At your first appointment, a digital scan is taken of your teeth and gums. The Invisalign laboratory uses scans to create several aligners intended to last the duration of your treatment. You should wear your aligner consistently and ideally only remove it to eat or brush your teeth.

Treatment time with Invisalign can be as short as six months or as long as two years. Every patient is different, and their total treatment time depends on the complexity of the issues. Dr. Rollins or Dr. Petersen can give you a more accurate estimate after completing your initial orthodontic exam. Some factors that can increase treatment time include:

  • Age: Teeth can be more resistant to moving as you grow older, but people of any age can benefit from orthodontic treatment. They just need to be patient if it takes a bit longer.
  • Compliance with treatment plan: Be sure to switch aligners according to schedule, keep all scheduled appointments at Rollins & Petersen Orthodontics, and wear an aligner for at least 22 hours a day.
  • Type of orthodontic issue: Gaps between teeth, overbites, underbites, and teeth crowding each require a different treatment approach with some taking longer than others.

Traditional Braces

The average time people of any age wear braces is one to three years. Like Invisalign, the exact timeline depends on the complexity of your orthodontic issue and compliance with treatment objectives. Factors that influence treatment time with traditional braces include:

  • The severity of orthodontic issues: People typically seek to wear braces to correct crowded teeth, teeth spaced too far apart, or teeth that protrude further than the others. Your orthodontist may need to extract one or more teeth to make room for the other teeth to move. The more interventions you require, the longer you can expect the process to take.
  • Your bite type: Orthodontic treatment can take longer if your top and bottom teeth do not line up as they should.

Our orthodontic practice offers metal and ceramic braces. Ceramic braces are clear brackets rather than traditional metal. Our metal braces are offered in either a gold or silver finish. Your orthodontist will consider your preferences when recommending one type over the other.

Rollins & Petersen Orthodontics offers both virtual and in-person consultations. Please contact our office at 480-924-2880 to learn more.