Like I mentioned before, I honestly had no idea how many of you were interested in this post, so I am so happy to share my experience thus far! I have learned a lot since July when I first started Invisalign, but will also likely do a follow-up post whenever I fully finish the entire process. To give a little background/context to this post, I did have braces as a kid for about a year or two and was generally very fortunate with my teeth/smile. I joke with Matt that as soon as I tuned 30 over a year ago, things just started to go downhill….haha. It was probably close to 8 month to a year ago that I started noticing that my two front teeth started to form a gap. I let it go for awhile, but then quickly realized it was getting worse and worse. Matt, who also thinks I am over exaggerating things (which to his defense I typically am ha…he keeps me grounded!), actually agreed with me. At that point, I knew I was not crazy and set out on a mission to figure out what was going on and fix the issue.
I first talked to my dentist, but she said she was not sure of ways to “fix” the problem and recommended seeing an orthodontist, which I did. During my first consultation, I was laying back in the chair and my orthodontist kept asking me to swallow. I thought to myself “what the heck is this woman having me do and why will swallowing get us any answers?” Little did I know, she was right (obviously) and I was wrong, she instantly looked at me and said “you have a tongue thrust.” A WHAT?! She explained that when I swallow, my tongue pushes forward (which I have noticed in some pictures I take) and your tongue is a very strong muscle and with the amount of times you swallow throughout the day, my tongue was slowly, but surely shifting my teeth forward and creating the gap. I was so happy to have a reason behind what was going on, but also concerned that even after Invisalign this would continue. But she reassured me that even with just then wearing my trays at night (or opting for a top and bottom permanent retainer on the inside of my teeth), they will stay in place.
So we began the next step discussions, she listed out all the options and pros and cons of each. I decided I wanted to go through this one time and one time only, so took the most extreme (and expensive) option to get top and bottom Invisalign to completely change my bite, which will also help with my tongue thrust and gap between my front teeth. Once I was committed, she took a bunch of x-rays and showed me a 3D start to finish visual of someone who had gone through this process and I was blown away. Now that you have a bit of backstory, I will dive into answering all your questions!
The picture below isn’t the best “before” of my gap, but the only close up I could find where you could sort of see it. I got really good at “hiding” my gap…aka push saliva in between (TMI sorry) my teeth when talking to people to hide the gap. It was much worse in person then the image below.
The below is so blurry and bootleg, but the only picture I took from the side to send to my mom after my initial appointment with the orthodontist. You can see how pushed forward my top teeth are, which is all from the tongue thrust. – True love for you guys with posting this super close up shot haha!
I’ve heard they’re really painful – are they? To be completely honest, the first 2- 5 days I had them I was not sure what I just did to myself and wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it (I am a baby when it comes to this stuff). I then remembered my Orthodontist saying this is completely normal, your mouth is adjusting and reacting to going from not having anything foreign in it, to having these semi-permanent pieces. Sure enough, after a few days and discovering the AMAZING trick of using a nail file to file down any rough parts that were rubbing my tongue, we were back in business and good to go! It truly has not been painful at all – even when I switch my trays, there might be a tiny bit of discomfort for a day since you are placing in a tighter tray, but nothing horrible at all and you quickly adjust.
Can you do a before and after if you already have a before shot? I don’t have the best before as you can see above, but I will see if I can have any images from my orthodontist to share with you all and will of course take an after!
Does it make you produce more saliva in an uncomfortable way? I haven’t noticed this at all!
What does Invisalign cost? Probably my #1 most asked question aside from pain. So I am going to answer this to the best of my knowledge and experience, but depending on your own situation, insurance, top, bottom or both Invisalign, the answer will likely vary. I was quoted about $6,000 total for what I personally needed (top and bottom Invisalign). The day I signed up they had a promo going on though where I instantly knocked $1,000 off from that and got a free teeth whitening at the end. They had my insurance information and with what they knew, were guessing I would end up paying around $3,000 – $3,500 when all is said and done and insurance kicks in. Like I said, depending on how many trays you need, your treatment process, and insurance, this may very. Always ask about discounts, payment plans (they had 3 payment plan options), etc. to make things more affordable!
How long do you have it? This also varies per person, but I have a total of 29 trays. I am currently on tray 9. I started off with switching my trays every 2 weeks, then now I am every 10 days and I believe it will get down to switching them every week. I think in total I will have Invisalign for around 6-8 months.
Is it time consuming to do it? All the mailing? How many times a month do you send/get sent stuff? So with my experience, I have done it all with my orthodontist. I go in about every 6-8 weeks and they will check my progress and give me the next group of trays I need. I typically have about 5-6 trays at home that I switch on my own.
Can you wear it only at night? I know some people that do, but it will significantly delay your progress. The recommended time to wear them is 22 hours a day and as crazy as it sounds, I try and get as close to this as possible. Since I invested money into it, I just wanted to do it correctly and also make the process as fast as possible.
How do you manage eating at social events when taking the Invisalign in and out? I love this question because when I first got them I was CRAZY about always excusing myself and going to the bathroom to take them out. I am not going to lie, that was a PAIN! Depending on the event (aka a wedding where I know cocktail hour and dinner is typically first thing) I will take them out for that duration beforehand and then put them back in. Otherwise, if I am at an event or dinner, I try and politely and quickly take them out right before eating or drinking something not clear by using a napkin, covering my mouth and turning my head. Obviously this is a more causal situation, but I have gotten quick at it and getting up every time to take them out and put them in was such a pain.
To be honest, eating is the most annoying part about having them, but if you are looking at the bright side, it has given me self control when it comes to snacking because at times I get too lazy to take them out for a quick snack or appetizer bite that passes by.
Is it worth it? Were you happy with your results? Like I mentioned above, I am only on tray 9 of 29, but so far have noticed a big difference, mainly with the space closing between my two front teeth! A lot of people I have talked to said it was the best decision they made and I truly am feeling that way so far.
Is there a certain time you recommend getting them? I think whenever you feel ready…financially and “emotionally.” I say emotionally because it does take work on your part to stay committed, especially with keeping them in! A few friends of mine did it before their wedding, so I think having an end goal to look forward to helps. For me, I was getting so self conscious about the space between my two front teeth I was ready to commit to anything that second.
Is it annoying to take it out all the time? YES! Not going to lie here, I touched on this above, but snacking is no longer fun hah. But that is the worst of it, so in the long run, not too bad.
Any regrets? Not yet!!
Do you drink alcohol with it on? You can if it is clear (aka a vodka soda), otherwise anything with color will stain your Invisalign. Also, the sugars can get trapped in your Invisalign/teeth if you keep them in which could lead to cavities.
What happens when you finish with your aligners? Do you still have to wear a retainer 24/7 or just at night? My orthodontist said that afterwards, you can just wear your Invisalign at night. There is also an option of permanent retainers on the inside of your teeth. I had this on my bottom teeth since my braces were removed years ago and it was amazing…couldn’t see it at all. The only downside is flossing is tricky. My bottom teeth didn’t shift at all. I am not sure yet which I will choose.
How often do you see your orthodontist? About every 5-6 weeks when I need new trays!
Doctor you went to in the city? – Upper Eastside Orthodontist, Dr. Tanya Vaysman.
Do they shave (feels like sandpaper) in between your teeth with a special type of floss? My orthodontist has done this a few times just between two teeth to create space. It takes a few seconds and doesn’t hurt at all.
How long did it take to see results? I would say around tray 7 for me. I started noticing that my gap between my two front teeth was finally starting to close.
Do you brush your teeth or rinse only after having just coffee? I have always been crazy about this, but mainly due to teeth staining, so I always brush. But, with all other eating and drinking, I just swish water around a bit before putting my Invisalign back in.
Do you get dry mouth from your Invisalign? I haven’t noticed that!
Have you had to use attachments or rubber bands? Attachments! The dreaded attachments. From what I know, I think these are unavoidable because it is what keeps your Invisalign in place and ultimately helps shift your teeth. It just depends on your treatment plan on how many you need and where. I was “blessed” with needing a good amount, including one on my very front tooth. They were SO annoying at first, but like my doctor said, you get used to them and then eventually forget they are there. In the beginning when I took off my Invisalign to eat the attachments would DRIVE ME CRAZY. I honestly forget I have them in now, but I will say, they “catch” stains way easier, so my teeth with the attachments on them look more stained than my others, which I hate. I think the teeth whitening in the end will help fix this and just removing the attachments in general once complete. I also try and focus on brushing those teeth longer as the attachments can easily catch stains.
Do people notice you have Invisalign in? So, not for the most part. A lot of people are surprised when I say I have them in, but my friends all know I have them and can notice them now (if that makes sense?) You can see on Instagram Stories when I talk to, they are always in 🙂
Do they leave little bumps on your teeth where they attach? So yes, for the duration of your Invisalign those little bumps are called the attachments. I talked about them above, but they will be removed once your treatment is complete.
Can they help with overbites too? I believe so! This is some of what we are fixing with my treatment. We basically are completely changing my bite to reduce my tongue thrust and at the same time close the gap between my two front teeth.
Do you have a lisp? I do notice I have a bit of a lisp for 1 or 2 days after I change my trays, but then everything sounds pretty much back to normal. The lisp isn’t anything terrible, just with certain letters/words.
Have you gotten any cavities from wearing the trays? Eeek! I had this very question since it seems like the Invisalign traps anything in your teeth after you eat and place them back in and I have the biggest sweet tooth. I am a bit prone to cavities, but I haven’t noticed any pain like I usually do when I get them. I have a dentist appointment early next month so I will report back! My orthodontist said that the Invisalign really shouldn’t cause any additional cavities though.