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Why Compliance Matters: Following the Invisalign® 22-hour Rule

Patients who undergo Invisalign® treatment enjoy many benefits that traditional metal braces do not afford. The clear aligner trays as nearly invisible and can be removed for short periods of time for cleaning or when eating.

To work effectively, the trays should be worn for 20 to 22 hours per day. Drs. Clifford Degel and Carmen Every-Degel provide Invisalign treatments at our Queens, NY office and recommend that the trays be worn a minimum of 20 hours per day.

Why Do I Have to Wear Invisalign Trays for 20 Hours Per Day?

The Invisalign trays are designed to gently move your teeth into better alignment through micro-movements. By making gradual shifts over several months or longer, patients experience minimal discomfort.

The alignment trays can only work during the time in which they are in physical contact with the teeth. Each subsequent tray is slightly different than the previous tray.

The custom trays are designed and calibrated with the assumption that they will be worn 20 to 22 hours per day. In order for your cosmetic treatment to stay on track, you must stick to the prescribed rule of wearing Invisalign trays for 20 to 22 hours per day.

What Can Happen If I Don’t Comply With the 20 Hour Rule?

Failure to wear Invisalign trays for 20 to 22 hours per day can result in a range of problems that can compromise your treatment. These complications can include:


The first few days of new tray placement are the most critical. Failure to wear your trays for even a few hours may result in noticeable discomfort when the trays are put back in place. That is because your teeth can revert back to their original position while the trays are off.

One tip for lowering the temptation to remove your trays during this critical time is to place your new trays right before going to bed. The discomfort of the initial tooth movements will be less noticeable the following morning.

Remember, you should expect periodic discomfort associated with Invisalign treatment, but that momentary feeling of pressure and soreness will only be exacerbated by the failure to comply with the 20- to 22-hour rule.

Delayed Results

Failure to comply with the 20-hour rule may result in the need for a revised timeline. In other words, you risk not being able to enjoy your new smile at the promised date (usually 12 to 18 months after the initial treatment).

During your regular checkups, one of our doctors will examine your progress. If the teeth have not reached their intended target area, you may be asked to remain on your current tray for longer than the typical two-week period.

Solutions for Teens

Teens are particularly at risk for failure to comply with the 20- to 22-hour rule. Invisalign designs the trays with a built-in blue compliance indicator that allows parents and dentists to verify the trays are worn regularly.

Contact Astoria Dental Group Today

The best way to prevent setbacks is to wear your Invisalign trays daily for 20 hours or more. If you misplace your trays, don’t put off finding them or notifying your dentist.

Invisalign is an effective cosmetic treatment that can deliver dramatic results when used as prescribed. To learn more about how Invisalign treatments can improve your smile, contact us online or call (718) 215-0510.

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