Tuesday, May 13, 2014

My Invisalign Results and 5 Things I Wish I'd Known

Have you considered Invisalign? I've been doing it for 24 weeks, and I thought I'd share my results with you. Please note, this is a completely independent, non-sponsored post and reflects only my own experience and results. Yours might be different.

This is the before picture, wearing my first set of Invisalign plastic trays at the end of November. My bottom teeth were really crooked and I have a weird bite anyway, because I was born with only one eye tooth (fang), so everything on top is off center.


This is how my bare teeth look today:


Much better, right? My upper teeth are almost finished, although I still have another 18 weeks to go on the bottom, which is the real problem anyway.

As a teenager, I wore braces (the super-ugly kind) all through high school - rubber bands, headgear and all. I had no desire to go through that again. I'd considered Invisalign for years as my bottom teeth became more and more gnarly. So finally, after multiple conversations with my trusted dentist, I went for it. Obviously, the results are encouraging, but here are a few things I wish I had known up front.

1. The Invisalign trays are uncomfortable, especially at first. You wear each set of trays continuously for two weeks, but most of the actual movement of teeth happens in the first couple days - and for those first few days, your mouth is sore. It's not intolerable, but not fun either. Stock up on Motrin.

2. You'll have bumps on your teeth. The trays grip onto little clear buttons that your dentist glues to your teeth. So, even when you take the trays out, you still have those little nubs. (I didn't expect this, but it hasn't been a big deal.)

3. You have to floss and brush like crazy. Any time you take the trays out to eat or have a cup of coffee, you have to brush and floss your teeth before you put the trays back on again. You don't want to trap a bunch of bacteria in there. This oral care regimen is super time consuming. I am flossing like six times a day. It's my new hobby. On the bright side, my gums have never been healthier.

4. There's a surprisingly nasty little procedure involved called "stripping." If your teeth are overcrowded like mine, your dentist will need to make some room before he or she can straighten things out. Instead of pulling teeth or using an expander, your dentist can create space by shaving a little bit off the sides of your teeth - with a tiny set of saws. Think of this as the worst floss of your life! It doesn't actually hurt, but the sawing sounds god-awful and is just plain creepy. I had it done at my very first visit and again at my most recent one. The best thing I can say about stripping is that it's over!!

5. Good news! You can take a few hours off now and then. I don't think my dentist would recommend this, but if you're going to a party or are making a presentation or are just sick of wearing the trays, you can take a break from wearing them and, in my experience, the process will stay on track. This, of course, is the most appealing part of Invisalign. Not only are the braces inconspicuous, they're removable!

I'll check back in when my treatment is completed. In the meantime, have you tried Invisalign or had other orthodontia as an adult? I'd love to hear your experiences.