My Experience Getting Invisalign
Today I’m giving ya’ll a little life update and sharing my experience with Invisalign (which I just got), and also doing a little FAQ/Q&A on the whole process. So a little backstory… I had braces for one year in 8th grade. I was told by my orthodontist at the time that I was a pretty “easy” case for braces - basically I had some crowding/shifting primarily around the center bottom six or so teeth. I didn’t have any issues with my bite, but my teeth were a little crooked. A year later my braces were off, my teeth were straight and I was given a set of retainers to sleep in, which I did for a couple of months and then stopped (oops). By the time I graduated college/around my early 20s I noticed my teeth had moved, but it honestly never bothered me. I’ve always cared more about my teeth being white than being super straight. I did have my dentist start commenting that my teeth had shifted and told me a few times I’d be a good candidate for Invisalign, but I guess I never cared enough to actually get them.
Well, now I’m singing a new tune because about nine months ago I was at the movies with my mom, eating some Mike and Ikes, when I bit into something crunchy. I pulled it out of my mouth and low and behold it was a cute little piece of my tooth. And just FYI, when I say little, I definitely mean little. I didn’t lose a chunk of my tooth. More so it looked like a tiny tiny piece of sand, but let’s be real, despite the size it was certainly upsetting to chip my tooth and then see it in my hand. So a couple months later I noticed another small chip, meaning I now had two chipped top front teeth (my boyfriend’s lucky, right?). A few months after that, I went to the dentist for a regular cleaning because oral hygiene is cool and they asked me if I noticed my teeth were chipping (ugh…. a little embarrassing since I had tried to convince myself if I didn’t bring it up they wouldn’t notice). I of course admitted I had noticed and asked why they thought that was happening. And that’s when I got the news… apparently my teeth have shifted enough where my top and bottom front teeth are now biting down directly on one another - in a perfect world your top teeth should be a little in front of your bottom teeth - and because of that, my enamel is weakening and my teeth are chipping (GREAT!). My dentist recommended I get Invisalign to straighten out my teeth, correct the alignment of my bite and prevent future breakage… so fuck yeah, I immediately agreed to get them. And now, here I am. I’ve had Invisalign for about a week and so far, so good. If everything stays on schedule and my teeth move correctly, I should be done in 7.5 months.
Here are the questions I wanted answers to before starting this process, so I thought I’d share my answers. If anyone has had Invisalign and has any tips or tricks, please let me know! And If anyone is starting the process or thinking about it and has questions, feel free to ask.
How much does it cost?
I paid $4,600, which seems to be the average for most people (I have seen some things online where people paid up to $7,000). I do have dental insurance, but orthodontics is not covered. I paid in full, up front but my dentist - and probably others - do offer payment plans.
What does the process entail in terms of impressions and getting your retainers on?
After paying, I went in for a consultation-like appointment. The took a camera-ish thing and basically scanned my entire mouth, while a 3D image populated on a screen in front of me. Not gonna lie, it was pretty awesome. I remember how miserable it was taking impressions of my teeth for braces so this process was waaaaaay easier and literally painless. After they finished the scan of my mouth, my dentist sent it to Invisalign and I returned about four weeks later to discuss my treatment plan and get going. My dentist had to file the sides of some of my teeth because they are so close together, they wouldn’t shift easily without that being done. I may have freaked out a titch when I heard this, but it wasn’t too bad. I also got four attachments on three teeth. Attachments are basically white brackets they put on some of your teeth that need a little more grip for the retainers to be able to grab onto and move your tooth. Getting them on was pretty easy.
How long do you have to wear them for?
The typical schedule is 12-24 months, with 18 months being the average. I’ve been told I will need 15 trays, and I wear each tray for 2 weeks, meaning I should be done in 30 weeks (or about 7.5 months) so I have a fairly short trajectory. In terms of daily wear, I’m supposed to pretty much only take them out to eat or drink anything other than water with the goal to be to only have them out for 2-4 hours a day.
Do they hurt?
No. I had a little soreness around day three but it subsided. I wasn’t able to bite into a raw carrot or anything too crunchy, but other than that it’s been pretty painless.
Are they difficult to put in and take out?
I haven’t had any issues. You kind of need to play around a bit and find where the sweet spot is to grab onto, but I think it’s easy to figure out. They aren’t going to get stuck on your teeth and as long as you wear them correctly they are super easy to pop back in.
Are the retainers noticeable?
99% of my friends and people I’ve talked to have said they aren’t noticeable and the other 1% are ass holes (just kidding!). tbh, I think they are a little noticeable, but nothing like braces. The weirdest part is that I feel like I can’t bite down all the way when I have them in, so I was self conscious of not being able to close my mouth normally. But after a week I’ms pretty used to it.
Do you have a lisp?
I was really worried about this, especially since i have to do presentations at work and attend a lot of meetings but I haven’t noticed a lisp.
Is it hard to take them out to eat?
Yes, it’s a bit of an annoyance, but I can deal with it.
How often do you have to go to the dentist?
I get three sets of trays at a time and wear each tray for two weeks before moving onto the next. So I will be going into my dentist’s office once every six weeks to review my process, make sure everything is tracking correctly and then get my next set of trays.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED SO FAR
It’s an adjustment. I usually eat smaller meals and little snacks throughout the day - and I definitely enjoy Jolly Ranchers from the office candy bowl - so having to think more about when I’m eating and for how long has been an adjustment.
Hygiene is everything. I’m already a little OCD about my oral hygiene, but now I’ve been brushing and flossing up to four times a day. Lots of people online have warned that the trays stain super easily so I always make sure to clean them after I take them out of my mouth and before I put them back in.
You have to want it. The only way you’re going to be motivated to do this is if you are serious about. No, I don’t want to be almost 30 years old and wearing retainers. No, I don’t want to have to brush my teeth every single time I take a bit of something. No, I don’t want to time myself when I eat. But I do want to fix my teeth so I’m willing to put up with this in order to do so.