My Personal Experience with Invisalign Updated 12/31/2018
For years I wanted to straighten my bottom teeth - My fear of looking like a hillbilly held me back, since I would have needed to have a bottom tooth removed to make space for straightening.
As time passed, I noticed that my bottom teeth looked more crooked. As you age, it's not your imagination - your teeth are moving and NOT in a good way! This was a surprise to me - I never realized that your teeth move as you get older.
Invisalign helped me to get up the nerve to do it! I am about 2 weeks away from finishing my 20 month stint with Invisalign. Invisalign gradually moves your teeth as you go about your day with no real disruption to your life at all! Unlike traditional braces, Invisalign also disguises any open spaces in your mouth reducing your anxiety about a missing tooth.
I want to add here that there was practically no discomfort for me. When I changed aligners, I could feel a bit of tugging and pressure, but it was only for the first day or two, and again it was not enough that even required an over-the-counter painkiller.
For starts - I went to 3 orthodontists for cost estimates and opinions on technique. The first orthodontist wanted to remove 2 teeth from my bottom teeth. The second orthodontist didn't want to remove any teeth which seemed virtually impossible to me - I envisioned TMJ in my future with the orthodontist trying to cram all my teeth into my small jaw.
The third orthodontist wanted to remove 1 tooth and push the remaining teeth back together. Now, that made sense to me! The third was juuuuuuuusttt right. I wanted to straighten my teeth with the least effect to the appearance of my mouth. He said that a tooth had to be removed since my mouth was not big enough to accommodate all of the teeth. Apparently, my mouth is not as big as I thought it was! I'm sure that my family and friends would disagree.
I went with my gut, and I chose the third orthodontist - He was also more handsome than the other two! ;)
The first step was scary. I had to remove a bottom tooth in order to start the process. This was only in my case - All cases are different. Here I am the day after removing my tooth. The aligners truly disguise the hole in your mouth, so it ended up not being an issue.
The process involved X-rays, molds and an approximate wait of 6 weeks for the sets of Invisalign to arrive.
I received 24 sets of Invisalign aligners. Each set of aligners is worn for a two-week period for approximately 18-22 hours a day. The aligners are removed before eating. I have to admit that I never wore these as much as 22 hours a day - I would say 18 hours a day was my maximum, sometimes going as low as 16 hours a day.
If you wear the aligners as you should, the next set of aligners will fit your teeth perfectly. Your teeth gradually straighten with slight adjustments made with each set of aligners. After using all 24 sets of aligners, I was evaluated and ended up needing some more aligners to straighten up a few teeth.
The best part of Invisalign is that they are basically invisible to everyone. Some of my friends are now telling me that they never thought that Invisalign could close the gap of my missing tooth, but it DID!
I have had a wonderful experience with Invisalign - I wish that I would have done it sooner! I finally have straight bottom teeth, and it was so easy! I hope that I live long enough to enjoy my new set of teeth!!! :)
I will say that I expected to lose weight with Invisalign, but that was not the case especially since you can remove the aligners to eat what you want. Where there's a will, there's a way!
Choose your orthodontist carefully. If you are local to the Collegeville/King of Prussia, Pennsylvania area, you could check out Dr. Adam Weiss.
Being the Nervous Ninny that I am, I was convinced that somewhere along this process, a mistake would be made by either the orthodontist or the Invisalign provider. No mistakes were made, and Dr. Weiss passed the 'Suzy Soapbox' test!
The costs of Invisalign vary depending on the treatment, but the range is generally from $4000 to $6300. Most practices have a payment plan to soften the cost, and you can use a Flexible Savings Account to reduce your costs significantly.
If you have any questions about my experience with Invisalign, feel free to contact me using the contact form on the right side of my blog.
UPDATE: 7/19/2015 I have been finished with my braces for a year now, but I want to let you know that you MUST continue to wear your final set of braces (or a copy of your final set of braces) nightly - EVERY night for the rest of your life. One of my teeth moves during the day when my braces are not in my mouth - once I wear these at night again, my teeth are perfect in the morning. Do not spend your money if you are not going to properly wear your braces nightly. I am still VERY HAPPY with invisalign and still AMAZED that I have straight teeth now.
UPDATE: 10/22/2016 I've found a solution to my tooth moving so quickly when the retainer is not in place. The orthodontist placed a brace 'behind' my bottom teeth to prevent the one tooth from moving each day. If I miss a night with the retainer, I now don't have to worry about this tooth permanently moving. It felt a little funny for the first couple of weeks, but now I don't even notice it.
UPDATE: 5/7/2017 I'm adding the picture of when I had my bottom tooth pulled for Invisalign. I am also adding a picture of what my teeth look like today. Here is a picture of the day that I had my bottom tooth pulled at the start of my Invisalign experience:
Here is a picture of my teeth today:
I added a picture of my bottom teeth today, since the pic above is limited in view.