Invisalign-Find Out What I Know That Most Patients Don’t! By Jen Oliak

How straight are your teeth? Have you ever thought about getting Invisalign? I’m currently on week 8 of a 20 week treatment plan. I had been wanting to do this for many years but could never make the decision. Although it’s an annoying process, I’m glad I finally started it because I see my teeth are becoming straight!

I am not being paid or sponsored (or given anything) to write this post.  It is my opinion only. Isn’t it refreshing to hear about the experience from someone with no agenda other than to inform?

My top front teeth have always bugged me.  They weren’t buck teeth, but they jutted out a little from the teeth on each side. In my adult years, I noticed they were being pushed out even further.

I learned it is common for adult teeth to crowd as we age. Awful!

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Can you see how my top two front teeth come out a bit on the sides?

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You can tell here, right? The front teeth were starting to turn inward at the center due to crowding.

Invisalign Process

Once it’s determined you’re a candidate for Invisalign, they:

  • take molds of your teeth to send off to the lab by putting what feels like silly putty on your top and bottom teeth. It’s not the most comfortable process, but it’s not painful.
  • take x-rays.
  • send the molds off to the Invisalign lab to get your trays created.

Upon receiving the molds, Invisalign decides how many trays you will need for your treatment. It takes about 6 weeks to get the plastic, BPA free alignment trays back from the lab.

The treatment plan is to wear each set of trays for 2 weeks. They gave me 20 trays, so I was theoretically supposed to wear these for 40 weeks.

After the treatment, you get a retainer to wear at night time for a year or more, depending on your treatment plan.

Cost: $6200 ouch! Not cheap at all. I heard the price can be about $4000 if you shop around?  Not sure if this is true.

Once your trays arrive, the orthodontist or dentist will give you one tray to wear for a 2 week start.

My first 2 weeks with Invisalign

  • It was hard for me to talk without lisping on day 1 and 2. By Day 3 I got used to it and spoke 95% normally.
  • It felt very awkward in my mouth. If you are wondering how it might feel, you can purchase night guard trays on Amazon.  Invisalign is much thinner but you’ll get the picture.
  • If I knew how awkward it would feel, I probably would have lived with my crooked teeth.  But now that I have the trays, I am glad I got them.
  • While people won’t notice them if you are talking briefly, when you’re having a conversation, they will see the trays.
  • They want you to wear the trays for 20-22 hours a day but that is baloney. You need to take them out while you eat, even when you you are out. Factor in snacking, drinking and socializing… there is no practical way to wear these trays for 20-22 hours/day.
  • I wore mine about 18 hours a day on average and it’s been working fine.
  • It’s very hard to brush after each time you eat or drink. I tried to be diligent about it for the first 2 weeks, bringing my toothbrush with me when I went out. But it’s just impractical to brush in public bathrooms. So if I couldn’t brush right away, I put the trays back on and then brushed both the trays and my teeth once I got home.

Orthodontist at End of Week 2

At this visit after the first tray term was complete, they put little dental composite filler (feels like cement) balls on my teeth per Invisalign’s instruction. These were bonded onto my teeth to hold the alignment trays in place in order to help shift my teeth.

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They hold your mouth open with these prongs to bond the little composite filling balls on your teeth. Glamorous shot, isn’t it?

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This process took about 20-30 minutes and was not painful.

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They also pointed out I needed to wear a rubber band in the back of my right side to align my bite as the front top and bottom teeth were not aligned. See the center line of my front and bottom teeth, how the lines don’t meet?

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Here’s the sexy rubber band! They glued a “button” to my bottom right back tooth to hold the rubber band. The top of the band was held by a hook on the tray.

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I have the aligners on over the dental bond balls. Can you see them? If you look closely, you can see the composite balls under the trays. And see how shiny my teeth look? Those are the plastic aligners. I really don’t like the composite balls.

Really Useful Tip About Invisalign People Don’t Know

One thing I learned from one of the employees at my orthodontist’s office – the alignment can work by wearing the trays for 1 week instead of 2! You just have to make sure the trays are fitting right and you are not forcing the trays onto your teeth. If they go on easily with no gaps at the top of each tooth, you are fine to move on to the new trays! I was so excited to hear this.

Since my first set of trays, I have been wearing my trays for 7 days and then switching to the next set. I do have to go in to the dentist again soon to have them confirm my teeth are “tracking” right (moving in line with the trays). But I am pretty sure they are. When I went in on week 4, they were fine.

Note: they do not usually tell their patients about the expedited process and it was an opinion only but I ran with it for my own treatment plan and it is working.

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This is at the end of week 7. Do you notice a difference in my front teeth? I do, for sure. They don’t jut out on the sides anymore! I’m not wearing the trays in this pic.

I have 13 weeks left in my treatment plan if I put in new trays every 7 days.  Again, this is not recommended by Invisalign. They want you to wear the trays for 2 weeks before advancing to the next tray. But why do that if one week stints are working?

At the end of my treatment, I will post more pictures. But in the meantime, Invisalign does work!

The Most Annoying Things About Invisalign

  • Lisping the first few days after starting each new tray
  • The trays make my lips and mouth area jut out slightly (only I notice this)
  • The bonded composite fillings are very uncomfortable when you don’t have on the trays.  They rub against the inside of your cheeks and make you feel like you have little pebbles stuck inside your mouth.
  • When you eat, it feels like food gets stuck in your teeth easily. I find myself constantly rubbing my tongue across my teeth when I don’t have on my trays.
  • You have to be careful when you chew, that the dental bonds don’t scrape/cut your inner cheeks.
  • Having to take them off each time I want to consume anything other than water.  Unfortunately they don’t make me eat less.
  • Keeping track of where they are when they aren’t on. I’m constantly misplacing them and I lost a set of trays when I put them in a napkin that got thrown away by accident.

What I Like About Invisalign

  • I like that I can take them off for social events.
  • It is easy to use teeth whitener now since I already have the trays on. I just put the whitener in the trays for 20-30 minutes.
  • Keeps me from grinding my teeth at night (which is a problem).
  • It’s great that my teeth will be straight in 20 weeks!

For more information from the company, click on the Invisalign Site.

My Orthodontist: Bock Orthodontist (in Brea, Ca and Redlands, Ca) is the nicest dentist I’ve ever met!  His staff is really sweet too.

What do you think about Invisalign after reading this post?  Isn’t it more expensive than you thought? I almost fell over when I found out the cost! But it’s nice to have straight teeth. Don’t you wish you were Invisalign?  They are raking it in with those plastic trays!

I hope you found this post useful. I didn’t post unattractive close ups of my teeth for nothing! If you enjoyed this post, I bet you’ll like reading about my experience with Coolsculpting (fat freezing).

Click on my latest Invisalign Post from January 2017 to see my progress.

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