Why Are My Teeth Not Tracking With My Invisalign Plan?

Straightening your teeth requires a significant investment of time, effort and money, so patients track the movement of their teeth on a regular basis. Invisalign progress is important to everyone involved, so it doesn't surprise me when people complain that their Invisalign is not tracking according to their treatment plan.

When you find your Invisalign not tracking, it can be frustrating. Fortunately we can get patients back on track with focused attention and extra effort. In this blog, I share five reasons why your Invisalign is not tracking and what you can do to get back on schedule. 

Text: Freshen Breath + Fight Dry Mouth + Better Aligner Fit = Delicious Progress with Movemints Clear Aligner Mints. Image: a woman in a green shirt holding clear aligner trays and Movemints clear aligner mints.

What is Clear Aligner Tracking?

Before we get into our tips, let's review how Invisalign works and what we mean by “teeth tracking” so you can better understand the advice I’m about to share.

Tracking describes how teeth move in accordance with your treatment plan. We can’t straighten your teeth overnight, but through gradual and successive force we can move your teeth into a new position, and train them to stay there. With every new set of trays, we continue to repeat this gradual process of movement, training, and moving again until we achieve a smile you can be proud of.

Orthodontic professionals work with incredibly sophisticated systems to design your treatment plan. Software like ClinCheck creates an incredibly precise representation of the size, shape, and position of your teeth and defines how they will gradually move into their new positions. In cases of Invisalign gone wrong, we can institute mid-course corrections during treatment, or refinements after treatment to produce an end result that reflects your ideal smile.

So then why are your teeth not tracking? There are five common reasons that we can share here in this blog, but if you are really concerned about your progress it is always best to consult your orthodontist or provider.

My Invisalign is Not Tracking Because: Individual differences

Our computer models run thousands of scenarios to devise your treatment plan. These models account for common variables but they are unable to predict individual differences that result from your body’s specific response to orthodontic treatment. Plain and simple, some teeth are more stubborn than others, and when they aren't tracking it becomes one of the primary reasons why Invisalign doesn't work.

Image: A woman in a blue sweater is smiling while pointing to the clear aligners she is holding.

For example, your lateral incisors (the small teeth next to your two front teeth) are the most difficult teeth to move even with metal braces. If you’ve got some stubborn teeth, your provider may apply Invisalign attachments or buttons onto these teeth to give them more attention and encourage them to track in accordance with the plan. Once affixed, the buttons will be used to anchor rubber bands that can apply extra force to move those teeth.

My Invisalign is Not Tracking Because: Your teeth are colliding during treatment

If you’ve ever ridden public transportation during rush hour, you know how difficult it can be for crowds of people to squeeze through an open door. After a bit of bumping, grinding, and shuffling, people eventually get on the train, but not after a good bit of contact with each other.

Invisible braces can create the same crowding effect in your mouth, albeit on a much smaller scale. When two teeth are colliding with each other during treatment, your provider uses a solution called interproximal reduction, or IPR. These procedures are typically performed in the office, where your orthodontist will literally reshape your teeth to avoid collisions. But don’t worry! IPR is a safe and effective way of making more space so that your teeth can be straightened.

My Invisalign is Not Tracking Because: You aren't meeting the 22 hours of daily wear time

Even with the best intentions, many patients find it difficult to comply with the 22 hours of daily wear time that Invisalign and other at home clear aligner companies recommend. The fact is, it’s tough to find 22 hours in a day to wear invisible braces. And ironically, it’s the flexibility to remove trays during those two (ish) hours that can leave your teeth still crooked after Invisalign, leading to refinements and mid-course corrections during your treatment.

To minimize the variables introduced by removing your trays and help you achieve the 22 hours of wear time, we recommend TrayMinder’s free smartphone app to keep a record of your smile journey. It has a timer that tracks “not wearing” time and a reminder function that will help you set a limit for your trays being out. Or if you really want an all-in-one solution, check out nCase, a "smart" retainer case and mobile app that makes tracking your daily wear time much simpler. 




My Invisalign is Not Tracking Because: You aren't doing your chewing exercises

Aligners work by creating orthodontic tooth movement that guides your teeth into their new positions. The trays “push” your teeth each time they are seated, which provides extra force for moving your teeth. So getting from the first tray to your last is really a numbers game; every time you swallow, your teeth come together and your trays tighten. Every time you clench your teeth due to stress or determination, you tighten your trays. However, swallowing and clenching only applies force to your molars, and not to your front teeth. Go ahead and try to swallow; where do you feel the pressure?


To apply seating pressure to your front teeth, perform the chewing exercises recommended by Invisalign specialists all over the world. I tell all my patients to do them 3-5 times each day, for 3-5 minutes per time, focusing on those front six teeth that don’t get the natural seating your molars enjoy. Chewing exercises will help deliver more predictable results because you’re giving your teeth that extra motivation to move, and you can do them in a couple ways.

First, you can use a chewie, small foam tubes you bite on several times until those aligners click into place. They do the job, but aren't the best look in public. That's why I created Movemints, a great tasting mint with a patented groove that seats your trays.

Text: Freshen Breath + Fight Dry Mouth + Better Aligner Fit. Delicious Tracking. Movemints Clear Aligner Mints. Shop Now [Button}. Image: Close up of woman smiling holding a Movemint (a breath mint with a patented shape) in between her aligners.

Place Movemints between your teeth with aligners in, and use gentle pressure until you feel your trays click into place. Repeating this process can also help reduce Invisalign pain while keeping you on track for the results you and your provider are hoping for.

My Invisalign is Not Tracking Because: My trays are getting gross and I don't want to wear them

If you don't wear them as required, they're not going to move your teeth. And if they're gross and dirty, you're not going to want to wear them. Keeping Invisalign braces clean and clear is top of mind for many patients, and for good reason. From a basic hygiene perspective, clean trays reduce the potential for cavities and will keep them (and your breath) from smelling funky and unappealing. Clean trays are also clearer and free of any ecru or eggshell tint which will make them more noticeable while you wear them.

We have an entire blog dedicated to keeping your clear aligners clean and clear, but there's one important point that we need to reinforce here that can prevent potential tracking issues: Don't make a habit of cleaning your trays with hot water. It will weaken the tensile strength and ultimately warp your trays. Even if you don’t think this is happening, the precision of your 3D printed invisible braces is so important to your treatment that even minor, imperceptible alterations can throw everything out of whack.

Stay positive!

Remember that the smile journey is a process, and even with advanced technology, 3D printed trays, and the best possible care, there will be things that don’t always go according to plan. A few adjustments along the way might add some time to your treatment, but isn’t it worth it to get the smile you’ve always wanted?

Starting your clear aligner treatment is an incredibly exciting time! Follow our blog for more Invisalign tips and tricks that will help you on the road to your ideal smile!


  • Robert

    I’ve completed 15 weeks worth of treys. My teeth are pretty strait. But a couple hours of have retainer out of my mouth, my teeth spread with in hours … it’s very annoying…. what will I have to do next to keep my teeth in place and strait with out the assistance of a Trey ?

  • Lynette

    I’m on tray 39 with 59 total. I have two problems. First, I have a premolar that needed significant rotation. The tooth was literally needing 180 turn. As the true “front of the tooth case into contact with the canine in front of it, it completely stopped rotating and it became more and more obvious with each tray change that the seating of the aligners was loosing contact with that premolar and now with the molars further back in my mouth. The current tray I’ve been wearing for the last two weeks fits nicely in my mouth everywhere except for that premolar, huge gap can be seen where the tooth should be created in the aligned. I need to change trays but 40 may not even click onto my attachments at all on the problem side as tray 39 was quite difficult.
    Second problem, I had to move two states away in the middle of treatment. I did my best to address the issue quite sometime before my move. I had suspected that more was involved than a strict regimen on my part would be needed as, the fit of the progressive aligners only seemed to get worse. No attachments or anything else we’re used or suggested to get my treatment back on track.
    I’ve been in contact with the dentist sending pictures by email I’ve asked what can be done or even if I may need to find a different dentist to proceed with treatment. Before moving I even agreed to flight back if an issue arose but I’m thinking this issue might require more than one flight back at this point.
    I’ve been met with the same recommendations of “wait and see” and “keep to the regimen”. I’m at a loss as to what to do. Help!

  • Carol

    I was having the same problem as Camille (above ) my bottom teeth shifted slightly and was told to do Invisalign . Was also told 4-5 months .
    After 2 or 3 mos my top and bottom teeth did not meet, and my bottom teeth became completely crooked.
    My drs advice : remove the buttons , bond the bottom teeth so they are higher , and *jump four trays ahead on the top .
    That did not make any sense to me, and just read “ should never do that “ My teeth are now so horrible I can’t smile, it is hard to annunciate and at times – eat
    My top teeth are *all veneers that we’re perfect … Tonight , one of them came off due to my bottom tooth protruding – the rest are overlapping .. My bottom teeth now have spaces
    ( never did ) after bonding them .
    I cannot even say what I paid for my veneers , the Invisalign and the bonding …..Would seem the only answer is to get veneers for every tooth now .
    i do not believe I was given the right advice here at any time, would like to know that –
    In addition , any other alternative I may have….
    *My 13yr old son needs braces – i too wish I had them. His dentist told me 4 mos at best with them .

    of note ; I never even had braces as a kid , ever .
    My former perfect smile is now a total mess and cannot wait years or even months to fix .
    Have to go in tomorrow to glue the veneer back on the top , would appreciate any advice at all, prior to.
    Nightmare !!!

  • Camille Hansen

    I was initially told 4-5 months of treatment. Now on month 9. My teeth were straightened by month 5, but then my bite became off. And now my top incisors hit my bottom teeth, and my bottom teeth are becoming more crooked. The orthodontist said next time he wants to shave down my bottom teeth so my incisors don’t hit them. I’m not happy at all with the treatment, as there is no end in sight. As soon as one issue gets fixed, another one comes up. I just don’t want to stop wearing my liners as they are messing up my bite. Don’t know what to do.

  • Invisalign orthodontists

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