My 2017 Invisalign Experience (Updated Frequently)
First and foremost, I want to warn anyone considering Invisalign as an orthodontic treatment, that it is a long term commitment. Invisalign will not be able to straighten your teeth much quicker than any other methods used to give you straight teeth.
Now that we got that out of the way, I wanted to share my Invisalign experience for those of you that still want to continue.
I was 38 years old when I decided to get Invisalign. The reason I waited so long was because my parents didn't have money when I was growing up and I was never able to afford traditional braces. As I went into my young adulthood, I didn't want to wear metal braces, so I suffered and rarely smiled. I spent many decades like this and decided it was FINALLY time to fix my teeth.
My first stop on my journey was to my regular dentist, who did a little dental work on me (filled in cavities) to prep me for my Invisalign treatment. My dentist is also who referred me to Dr. H, who was my orthodontist.
When I arrived at Dr. H's office for my first appointment, I felt a bit odd sitting in a waiting room with children who were only a fraction of my age. Oh well I said to myself. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait too long before I was called in.
My first step to getting Invisalign was imaging. For my x-rays, I had to wear a heavy lead vest and then I stuck my head in a machine that did a panorama of my teeth. After that was done, I had to do more x-rays sitting on a stool and then had pictures taken of the front and sides of my teeth, followed by a few of me smiling.
Fifteen minutes later, Dr. H came it to speak with me about my imaging. He was very nice and told me I was a great candidate for Invisalign, something I had heard many online users say their orthodontist said about them, and it's something I'm pretty certain 99% of people seeking Invisalign will hear. My treatment was going to cost around $6,200, making it a good money maker for every orthodontist who offers it. I was offered several payment options, which made this treatment affordable. Dr. H also told me my treatment would take about 16-18 months, which is a long time, but shorter than the 2-2.5 years I had expected him to say.
The next step was to make an appointment to widen my smile and have inter-proximal reduction, or IPR, done to my teeth. IPR is when the sides of your teeth are filed down to make space for them to straighten out. I would also have my impressions done at this appointment.
My IPR and impression appointment went as expected. Having your teeth filed down and getting impressions made isn't overly pleasant but in my opinion it's no worse than having a cavity filled. I would have to wait about 11 weeks before my first aligner trays arrived.
First Aligner Tray Appointment:
I arrived at my ortho's office, I went in to the examination room and I was told what I should and should not do with my aligners. Then they had me put in and remove my aligners several times to make sure everything fit well. I will say that the aligners were painful when they went in. I felt like ripping the damn trays out of my mouth. My bottom aligners were more painful than the ones for my top teeth, which is odd, because my top teeth were more crooked than my bottom teeth!
Getting Used to First Aligners:
It took me 5 days to get used to my first set of aligners before they weren't so bad to wear. It was a bit difficult getting used to constantly feeling the aligner's plastic on my teeth. I felt like I wanted to crush them. I also found it annoying to only be able to drink water while wearing the aligners and having to clean and floss my teeth every time I eat something. My teeth ache a bit too when I eat.
I don't have enough time now to finish this review, but I will continue posting updates below over the next few days.