Invisalign Teeth Straightening Time- What They Don’t Tell You

It’s been about 5 months since I started my Invisalign teeth straightening treatment. Did you read my first post on Invisalign?  There must not be much efficient information out there on these invisible braces because my post has been very popular! If you are new to researching Invisalign, I recommend reading that post first and then returning to this one.

Real Self  is a cosmetic surgery site that compiles reviews from patients and responses from doctors on every procedure you can think of. The average “worth it” rating on Invisalign is 90%.

They have many reviews and pictures by patients, but some of them surprised me. For instance, a few state how the trays hurt. I never had that experience. If I did, I would have been concerned. The point of Invisalign having many trays is to slowly shift your teeth over time in a natural way.

A summary of my Invisalign teeth straightening process thus far

  • My two middle top and bottom teeth started to crowd as an adult. This resulted in the outside edges of the teeth jutting out instead of being flush with the teeth next to them.
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    You can see my middle top teeth coming out at the sides here, right?

  • After Invasalign assessed my teeth molds (took 6 weeks), I was told by my dentist that my treatment plan would be 17 treatment trays and 3 over-correction trays. I was to be wear each tray for 2 weeks for a total of 40 weeks. Over-correcting trays are used to further push the teeth into place if they aren’t corrected by the end of the treatment sequence.
  • After the first 3 trays, each of which I wore for 2 weeks, I switched my trays to the next level every 7 days. I learned from my dentist’s staff that the treatment works in this expedited way as long as you are consistent in wearing them for most of the day/night. I was excited about the idea of finishing at 23 weeks.

My status after 5 months of my Invisalign teeth straightening treatment

I wore the trays consistently for 18-20 hours a day, taking them out only to eat and when I was going out for the evening.

I visited the dentist every 6 weeks to get my teeth checked so they could ensure they were tracking properly with the trays.

Starting about the 17th tray, I noticed (and my dentist confirmed) my teeth were not responding to the trays for the final stages of straightening.

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In this picture above, you can see my bottom middle tooth on one side is crooked.

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This side profile shows the top middle teeth are not flush with the ones next to them (my right side is this way but left is corrected). You can see my middle bottom teeth being crooked.

I asked if this could be because I was only wearing the trays for 1 week at a time. The dentist said not likely since until recently, my teeth were tracking properly with the trays as I went along. If they hadn’t tracked (if the trays did not fit properly), the dentist would have had me go back one or two trays to get my teeth on course again.

Invisalign teeth straightening time significantly longer than expected

After the 20th tray, the dentist explained that about 50% of patients who undergo Invisalign need refinement trays.  He said in most cases, refinement trays are for the smaller teeth which are more resistant to shifting. Hmmm. None of this was mentioned before.

I was told I needed to get molds taken again for Invisalign, and they would determine how many “refinement trays” were necessary. This process is included in the original price of Invisalign (I paid $6200).

So I need to wait another 6 weeks until the new trays are ready. In the meantime, I am wearing my 20th tray.

The good news is, they removed the little composite balls off my teeth and the “button” that was hooking the rubber band on my tooth to straighten my bite. Those are the worst part about Invisalign.

The other good news – while I wait for the new trays, I can wear the 20th tray just at night! Any slight shifting during the day will be corrected during my sleep as I wear the trays. So I get a break! That makes me happy and not as annoyed about needing to essentially start this process over again.

Once I get my new trays, I will need to get the composite balls reapplied on positions of my teeth Invisalign specifies.

The rubber band did not improve my bite at all during the 20 weeks (I only wore at night but was supposed to wear all day too). My bite is off as the center of my top middle teeth does not align with the center of my bottom middle teeth. But until my dentist pointed this out, I had no idea. I have decided I can live with my bite and don’t want the hassle of the rubber band.

So I wait. The picture below shows the state of my teeth now.

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Not bad, right? And there is definitely a big improvement in my top teeth which was my primary concern.

So far my biggest take aways

  • The trays are NOT invisible and people notice them.
  • Invisalign is a hassle so you should REALLY want straight teeth to undergo treatment.
  • Invisalign is expensive. Ask BEFORE treatment if the price includes your first retainer. I did not know there was a retainer involved and did not ask. I am afraid to ask now since it is too late if the answer is no!
  • Make sure you like your dentist’s office because you will be going every 6 weeks for over a year. Looking back, although I paid on the higher end of average for the treatment, I think if I paid a lower amount I would not be as happy with the service.
  • If your teeth are porous, they tend to turn color with the trays. I did not know my teeth are porous until I had this problem. Just 2 cups of coffee each morning stain my teeth. I brush within an hour after drinking, but something about the trays covering my teeth all day still turn the color. I am using whitening gel more than ever! Teeth whitener can damage your teeth over time, so I have to be sparse with it. I could stop drinking coffee to solve the problem, but I can’t give up my coffee.

Would I still do it again?

I would. But it’s a hassle. Would I have preferred metal braces instead? No way. I like how I can take off the Invisalign when I need to. So let’s see how the rest of my treatment goes once I get word from my dentist on the refinement trays.

I hope this info helps you understand Invisalign teeth straightening as a treatment option and whether it is right for you. Let me know if you have any other questions about them. I will be an expert soon!

Flavor Your Life with an Ounce of Salt. A lifestyle blog by Jen Oliak.