When patients are weighing their orthodontic treatment options, one question that frequently comes up is how long it will take. Although we can’t possibly imagine why anyone would want to spend less time hanging out with us, most patients are interested in the fastest possible treatment time. So the question remains. What is the faster orthodontic treatment, braces or Invisalign? First, let’s talk about how they each work.


Braces are the most traditional way to straighten teeth. Metal or ceramic brackets are adhered to each individual tooth and then the archwire connects the teeth together. Elastic bands attach the brackets to the archwire and the system is complete. During regular check-ups, your San Jose orthodontist will adjust the tension of the archwire. That tension will gradually move each individual tooth into the proper place. Adult braces and children’s braces work in exactly the same way.

Braces offer consistent results and treat a wide variety of orthodontic cases. They are also the most cost-effective orthodontic treatment option. Patients with braces do need to pay special attention to their brushing and flossing. Without proper care, leftover food can build up behind the hardware and cause tooth decay. Don’t worry though, with routine brushing and flossing, teeth will stay healthy during your treatment.

Invisalign Clear Aligners

Unlike braces, Invisalign is a new orthodontic technology that does not use brackets of any kind. Adult Invisalign and Invisalign Teen use clear aligners to straighten teeth. Your orthodontist will take a scan of your teeth that will be used to create your custom Invisalign aligners. Once the aligners arrive and are checked for fit, you’ll begin wearing them 22 hours a day. The aligners will put pressure on all of your teeth at once to gradually move them into place.

Invisalign aligners are totally clear and therefore virtually unnoticeable. Unlike braces, patients with clear aligners don’t need to worry about diet changes. Because you remove the aligners for eating and drinking, patients can continue enjoying all the foods they love. Nuts, hard candy, taffy — nothing is off limits!

Which Is Faster, Invisalign or Braces?

Now that you understand how each treatment type works, let’s get down to the brass tax. Which one is faster? While every orthodontic case is unique, Invisalign clear retainers are typically faster at straightening teeth than braces. This is because of how straightening pressure is applied. In traditional braces, pressure is applied to each individual tooth through the brackets and archwire. With Invisalign, the pressure is evenly distributed to all teeth at once. This typically results in a faster treatment time. The average Invisalign treatment time is between 12-18 months. It is important to remember that these results are based on wearing the clear aligners an average of 22 hours per day. If patients do not consistently wear their aligners, they will not have the same results.

If you are still curious about braces or Invisalign, we would love to talk with you more. Visit our website to see our answers to more common orthodontic questions or to book your free consultation. We will help you determine the best orthodontic treatment for your unique case. We can’t wait to help you achieve your best smile!

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