If you are new to researching Invisalign, I recommend reading my first post discussing Invisalign and then returning to this one.
Real Self is a cosmetic surgery site that compiles reviews from patients and responses from doctors on almost every procedure. The average “worth it” rating on Invisalign is 90%.
They have many reviews and pictures from patients, but some of them surprised me. For instance, some state that the trays hurt. I never had that experience. If I did, I would be concerned. The point of Invisalign having so many trays is to shift your teeth over time through a natural process.
A summary of my Invisalign experiences thus far
My two middle top and bottom teeth started to crowd as an adult. The crowding resulted in the outside edges of the teeth jutting out instead of being flush with the teeth next to them.
After Invisalign assessed my teeth molds (took six weeks), my treatment plan proceeded with 17 treatment trays and three over-correction trays. I would wear each tray for two 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.
I wore the first three trays for two weeks. Then I switched my trays to the next level every seven 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.
Invisalign Results After 5 Months
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.
My dentist checked my teeth every six weeks to ensure my teeth tracked properly with the trays.
On my 17th tray, I noticed (and my dentist confirmed) that my teeth stopped t responding to the trays.
You can see my bottom middle tooth on one side is still crooked.
This side profile shows the top middle teeth are not flush with the ones next to them. My right side is this way, but the left is corrected. My middle bottom teeth are still crooked.
I asked if this could be because I was only wearing the trays for one week at a time. The dentist said not likely since until recently, my teeth were tracking 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 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, Invisalign refinement trays are for the smaller teeth which are more resistant to shifting. Hmmm. Refinement trays were never mentioned in my consultations.
My dentist ordered new Invisalign molds to repeat my program. They will determine how many “refinement trays” are necessary. This process is included in the original price of Invisalign (I paid $6200).
So I need to wait another six 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.
Invisalign Next Steps
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 corrects 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 wore the rubber bands only at night instead of all day. 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.
Not bad, right? And there is a big improvement in my top teeth which was my primary concern.
Invisalign Reviews – My takeaways are:
- Invisalign trays are NOT invisible, and people notice them.
- Make sure you REALLY want straight teeth before you start, because Invisalign is a hassle.
- Invisalign is expensive. Ask BEFORE treatment if the price includes your first retainer. I did not ask because I didn’t know about the need for a retainer. 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 six 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 were porous until I had this problem. Just 2 cups of coffee each morning stained my teeth. I brush within an hour after drinking, but something about the trays covering my teeth all day still made them turn color. I started using whitening gel more than ever! Teeth whitener damages your teeth over time. I felt the effects on my teeth and I “burned” my gums. I could have stopped drinking coffee to solve the problem, but I can’t do that! I’m glad I found my whitening toothpaste or I’d have yellow teeth.
Would I do Invisalign 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.
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And read my latest post Are Your Teeth Still Crooked After Invisalign for my latest Invisalign update.