I’ve been wearing Invisalign aligners for years. Years! I can finally say I am done with Invisalign life and happy with the results!
When I first went in for an Invisalign consulation at a Phoenix orthodontist in December 2013, I was told I was better suited for traditional braces because they would best help fix my dental issues. I was stubborn, though. I didn’t want to wear traditional braces, I wanted Invisalign and the ability to take them out. The orthodontist agreed to take on my case but he warned me it would take years and my smile may not be as perfect as I envisioned.
In March 2014, I received my first aligners. It took the three months since the consultation to take impressions and receive my trays. That was because I first had to have two teeth removed. I also needed attachments, which are enamel-colored hooks on certain teeth to keep the aligners in place and help move my teeth. I needed quite a few of them. They were mostly not noticeable unless someone was up close to me, though sometimes I felt like I was wearing clear braces. I also needed an appliance to keep the spacing in my upper teeth as it was. I wore this for more than a year. I got used to it being there and cleaning food from it, but it wasn’t fun. I was overjoyed the day it was removed!
A plus about Invisalign is that I was able to get the attachments removed for my wedding in September 2014. It was unpleasant but worth it for the photos. My orthodontist at the time also gave me teeth whitening for my big day. I simply used my current trays as whitening trays using the gel he gave me. (After the wedding I went back in and he put the attachments back on.)
You can tell in this photo from my wedding day:
After the wedding I continued wearing my trays as usual until I complicated matters and extended my orthodontic treatment time by moving to Chicago in March 2015. I had to pause my treatment until I found an orthodontist I liked in Chicago. I went months wearing the same trays until I was able to get new impressions and new aligners.
It wasn’t until fall of 2015 that I was back on Invisalign and moving forward with my treatment. I thought I was going to be done in 2017, but after finishing my final trays, my orthodontist ordered yet another set.
What life was like with Invisalign:
- More water, fewer sugary drinks. You have to take out your Invisalign when you drink anything but water. Invisalign was a great motivator for me to stick with water.
- More attention to dental health. I would try to brush my teeth immediately after eating to keep my Invisalign aligners clean and prevent bad breath. This can be tricky at restaurants because we’d be in the middle of conversation and I’d have to excuse myself to brush my teeth and put my Invisalign back in. Wearing Invisalign forces you to be more vigilant. It’s also important to have two or three cases to store your aligners. I always kept the last set in case I lost a pair, and I had one case in my purse at all times for when I needed to take my aligners out to eat.
- Less snacking. I found that in order to keep my aligners in for the optimal 22 hours I would snack fewer times a day or take a shorter amount of time to snack. Cutting back on snacks meant less time I’d have to excuse myself to brush and rinse my mouth out. It can be challenging to wear the aligners more than 20 hours. Toward the end of treatment, though, I wouldn’t wear my aligners for that long. I kept them out for up to two hours every time I ate.
Was Invisalign worth it?
Yes! Absolutely. I am not sure how much I paid anymore, but it was at least $4,000 (probably closer to $5,000). My insurance only covered child orthodontia, so I was not able to get any of it paid. The goal was always to widen my upper teeth and narrow my lower set to make my smile more even. I was always embarrassed of my smile before Invisalign and now I love it. I would always hide my crooked bottom row of teeth and smile from the side to avoid showing how narrow my top teeth were. I do need teeth whitening now that I am done though, but I am already taking care of that. While my teeth aren’t perfect by any means, I am satisfied with the results. Getting Invisalign treatment improved my confidence and made me like my smile. I wish I would have done it years earlier!
My Invisalign Results:
Note: The top photo is not my true “before” photo. This was after a set of aligners in 2015, but I don’t have the before photo from my first orthodontist. My bottom teeth were much more crooked than the photos show.