How Long Does Invisalign Take If You Already Had Braces?

How Long Does Invisalign Take If You Already Had Braces
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Orthodontic treatment, whether using traditional braces or Invisalign, is an investment in achieving straighter teeth. If you’ve previously had braces and are now noticing your teeth shifting again, you might wonder about the possibility of using Invisalign to correct this issue. This article explores the factors that influence the duration of Invisalign treatment after braces, addresses potential cost considerations, and examines alternative options for achieving a properly aligned smile. Gaining insights into the post-braces realignment process can assist you in making well-informed decisions about your orthodontic care.

Why Your Teeth Shift After Braces

After investing time and money into braces, noticing your teeth shift again can be frustrating. Let’s explore some common reasons for tooth movement after orthodontic treatment, like not wearing retainers, erupting wisdom teeth, and bad habits.

Not Wearing Retainers

Not wearing retainers after braces is a common reason for teeth shifting. Once braces are removed, teeth have a natural tendency to move back to their original positions. Retainers help maintain the new alignment achieved with braces. Neglecting to wear them as instructed can allow teeth to revert, compromising the time and effort invested in orthodontic treatment.

Eruption of Wisdom Teeth

The arrival of wisdom teeth can apply pressure on your existing teeth, causing them to shift. This pressure occurs as the wisdom teeth attempt to erupt, and in some cases, they may not have enough space to grow properly. As a result, they can push adjacent teeth, causing misalignment.

Bad Habits

Certain habits, like teeth grinding or clenching, known as bruxism, can contribute to teeth shifting after braces. Bruxism exerts excessive force on the teeth, potentially altering their position and undoing the alignment achieved with orthodontics. It’s not only detrimental to tooth structure but can also compromise the stability of post-brace results. 

Can You Get Invisalign If You’ve Already Had Braces?

After understanding the reasons teeth might shift post-brace treatment, many wonder about subsequent orthodontic options. Specifically, can one opt for Invisalign after having braces? 

For individuals who have experienced post-brace shifting, Invisalign can be an effective solution to re-align teeth. Invisalign is designed to address various forms of malocclusion, whether it’s an overbite, underbite, crossbite, or simple crowding and spacing issues. 

However, Invisalign might not be the best solution for every dental situation. It’s important to consult with an orthodontist to evaluate individual needs and determine the best course of action based on dental history and specific alignment issues.

Advantages of Invisalign

Invisalign offers a number of advantages for individuals who have previously undergone orthodontic treatment with braces. One major benefit is the clear aligners’ virtually invisible appearance, allowing for a more discreet treatment process. This can be particularly appealing to adult patients who may feel self-conscious about wearing traditional braces.

Another advantage is the removability of Invisalign aligners, which enables easy maintenance of oral hygiene. Users can remove the aligners for eating, drinking, brushing, and flossing, resulting in a lower risk of dental issues such as cavities and gum disease during treatment.

Lastly, Invisalign often provides increased comfort compared to braces. The custom-fit, smooth plastic aligners minimize the chances of irritation and discomfort that can be associated with metal brackets and wires. In addition, the treatment time for Invisalign can be shorter than traditional braces, with some cases showing results in as few as six months.

Worth Knowing

Worth Knowing

According to the article published in The Angle Orthodontist, aligner therapy requires significantly fewer visits to an orthodontist and a shorter treatment time than braces.

How Long Does Invisalign Take if You Already Had Braces?

General Duration of Invisalign Treatment for a First-Time User

In general, the duration of Invisalign treatment for first-time users can vary, with an average treatment time of 6 months to 1 year or longer depending on the individual case. The process involves wearing 18-30 clear plastic aligners that are replaced every few weeks to gradually shift the teeth into proper alignment. The precise treatment timeline depends on factors such as the complexity of the dental issues and the patient’s compliance with the treatment plan.

How Prior Treatment with Braces Might Affect the Invisalign Timeline

For patients who have already undergone orthodontic treatment with braces, the Invisalign timeline may be shorter. The duration of Invisalign treatment after braces depends on how far the teeth have shifted out of their prior alignment since the braces were removed. In some cases, patients might only require Invisalign treatment for less than a year to achieve the desired results. However, there are no guarantees for how long Invisalign will take, as each case is unique and depends on the patient’s specific dental needs.

Worth Knowing

A study featured in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics reveals that two years after receiving their retainers, 19% of patients had stopped wearing them altogether, while 81% continued to wear their retainers at least once a week.

Is Invisalign Cheaper if I Already Had Braces?

When considering Invisalign after previously having braces, cost is a common concern. The price of Invisalign is typically influenced by the complexity of the treatment, the duration, and the orthodontist’s fees. If the teeth have only slightly shifted since the removal of braces, the required Invisalign treatment might be shorter, potentially reducing the cost. However, it’s important to understand that the price isn’t automatically cheaper because you’ve had braces in the past. Each orthodontic case is unique, and costs are determined by individual needs. 

See also: Long-Term Side Effects of Invisalign

Can my Insurance Pay for Invisalign?

In most cases, dental insurance plans cover only one tooth straightening treatment. If you have already received braces, it is less likely that your insurance will cover Invisalign as well. However, insurance coverage varies, so it is important to check your specific plan to determine the extent of coverage.

If your plan does not offer coverage for Invisalign, the option to purchase a supplemental orthodontic plan is available. Investigating the various policies your insurance offers is crucial to understanding the financial aspects of Invisalign treatment.

Cheaper Alternatives to Invisalign

If your insurance declines covering Invisalign after braces, check out these more affordable options for straightening your smile a second time. While Invisalign offers advantages, there are cheaper alternatives to consider:

AlignerCo is a well-known brand that provides an affordable aligner program. Their prices are lower than most other aligner brands, with treatment starting at just $945, which also includes free retainers and a teeth whitening kit. 



The cheapest at-home aligners, with monthly plans, no down payment, and considerable discounts.

Check out AlignerCo Aligners

NewSmile is one of the newest aligner brands on the market and is known for its affordability. When you purchase their aligners, you receive an impression kit, whitening foam, aligners, and retainers. This brand also provides monthly payment plans without requiring any initial payments, offers a video call option with a specialist to assist with mouth impressions, and has a user-friendly online assessment process.



Affordable at-home treatment with positive reviews offering superior look and comfort.

Check out NewSmile Aligners

Byte is a well-known brand that offers a lifetime guarantee for your aligners. This means that if your teeth don’t stay in the desired treatment position afterward, you’ll receive additional impression kits, treatment plans, and sets of aligners at no additional cost to correct any misalignments.



An affordable option with refundable impression kits, free HyperByte, and a Byte for Life guarantee.

Check out Byte Aligners

Candid is a highly regarded aligner product with a treatment approach similar to Invisalign. Unlike the other brands mentioned, Candid doesn’t offer a direct-to-home ordering service. Instead, a qualified orthodontist will assess your eligibility for treatment. The advantage is that you won’t need regular appointments after starting treatment. Candid aligners are suitable for addressing both mild and severe spacing issues.



A hybrid of in-office and at-home treatment that provides 1-on-1 orthodontist support.

Check out Candid Aligners

Frequently Asked Questions

Can Invisalign last longer than 2 years?

Invisalign treatment typically lasts between 12 to 18 months for most cases, but the exact duration can vary based on individual needs. In some cases, particularly more complex ones, treatment may extend beyond two years. 

The duration of Invisalign treatment depends on factors such as the severity of the misalignment and patient compliance.

Can I remove my braces and switch to Invisalign? 

Yes, it’s possible to transition from traditional braces to Invisalign in many cases. Your orthodontist will evaluate your specific situation to determine if you’re a suitable candidate for the switch.

Is Invisalign faster than braces?

In some cases, Invisalign can be faster than traditional braces. The treatment duration depends on individual factors, such as the complexity of the dental issues and patient compliance. Invisalign often takes about 12 to 18 months for most cases, while braces typically require 18 to 24 months or longer.


Buschang, P.H., Shaw S.G., Ross M., Crosby D., Campbell P.M., Comparative time efficiency of aligner therapy and conventional edgewise braces. Angle Orthod (2014). DOI: 10.2319/062113-466. Available online at:

Alajmi S., Shaban A, Al-Azemi R. Comparison of short-term oral impacts experienced by patients treated with Invisalign or conventional fixed orthodontic appliances. Medical Principles and Practice. 2019. Available online at:

Kacer, K. A., Valiathan, M., Narendran, S., Hans, M. G., Retainer wear and compliance in the first 2 years after active orthodontic treatment. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop, 2010. DOI: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2008.12.027. Available online at:

Al-Moghrabi, D., Johal, A., O’Rourke, N., Donos, N., Pandis, N., Gonzales-Marin, C., Fleming, P. S., Effects of fixed vs removable orthodontic retainers on stability and periodontal health: 4-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial; Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop., 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.ajodo.2018.01.007. Available online at:

Nedwed, V., Miethke, R. R., Motivation, acceptance and problems of invisalign patients, J Orofac Orthop., 2005; DOI: 10.1007/s00056-005-0429-0. Available online at:

Iza Wojnarowski

Content contributor

Iza is a dedicated content contributor for Toothific. Having worn braces twice and currently using Invisalign to correct a mild overbite, Iza brings a unique perspective to her writing. She spends her time staying updated on the latest dental trends and treatments, ensuring her readers have the most current information for their dental care needs.

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