My dentist has wanted me to get Invisalign for years. (Or at least address some issues I have one particularly wonky tooth that was causing bone loss.) I put it off because of the money and time involved but as part of my ongoing midlife crisis I decided to go for it. I’ve never been in love with my smile, it was just never quite bad enough to do anything about it. But I decided it was time. And when I decide I’m going to do something I do it. Quickly. Warning…close up tooth photos ahead…
My teeth before had some spacing and crossbite issues. Nothing horrible. As a matter of fact whenever I mentioned what I was planning to do people always wanted to know why, saying my teeth were fine. Of course in extreme close up I think they look like a mess. (And those white spots from too much fluoride? That’s another issue I’m addressing but we’ll get to that later…)
I did a lot of research online before I went in for my consultation. I had planned to shop around and see who was going to offer the best price. In the end I went to one orthodontist very close to my house. Everyone there was so nice and the location was great so I decided to go for it. My initial consultation involved lots of photos, a panoramic x-ray and an exam. We discussed options and prices, but I already knew that Invisalign was what I wanted.
I went back a few days later for impressions. I’ve heard that lots of people really hate the impression process but it was fairly quick and painless. The impressions have to be perfect and they took three top impressions and two bottom impressions before they were satisfied. The orthodontist sent the impressions to Invisalign and Invisalign created my treatment plan. A few weeks later my aligners were back at their office.
When I went in to get my aligners I had no idea what was going to happen. I knew that I might be getting attachments and that I would get some of my aligners to take home. I wasn’t sure how many aligners total I was going to get. It turns out my treatment plan has 25 upper and lower aligners. (I was sort of surprised because I thought my case would be a little milder than that.) 25 aligners means 50 weeks total, not including any refinements in the treatment that might need to be made along the way. So I was a little surprised by the 25 aligners. I was a lot surprised by the number of attachments I received. I think it’s 16, with more to come further down the road. Attachments are little bits of tooth colored material bonded to the teeth. They help the aligners do their job. Although they’re super visible to me everyone who’s seen me swears they would have never noticed them if I didn’t point them out.
I’ve read lots of new Invisalign patients have had trouble taking their aligners in and out, especially for the first few days. I haven’t had any problems. My mouth has been sore but I can’t say there’s been any pain. Getting used to having something in my mouth is taking some time and I feel like after a day and a half I still talk a little funny. There have been some slightly sharp edges on my aligners that I’ve smoothed with an emery board. I also have one place where there’s a sharp protrusion on an attachment that I plan to have smoothed as soon as they can fit me in at the orthodontist. In the meantime using some orthodontic wax I picked up at Walgreens is helping a lot.
I’m wearing them for 20-22 hours a day. (Basically only taking them off to eat and brush.) Everyone says it gets easier the longer you wear them. I hope that’s the case, although it’s not too bad so far. I’ll return to the orthodontist in 8 weeks to get more trays and have them check my progress. Stay tuned!