My Invisalign Treatment Was Definitely Worth it (Before and After Photos Inside)
I began my Invisalign treatment in October 2015 after months of research and years of being uncomfortable with my smile. I went to my general dentist for a consultation and she originally told me that although I was a candidate, my treatment would last 2 years due to the severity of the case. We also originally thought that I would have to have teeth extracted. I agreed to the treatment regardless and paid the full cost upfront. After analyzing my x-rays, my dentist determined that she could do the treatment with IPR (shaving tooth matter from my existing teeth) and therefore cut off about 12 months of treatment time. This was a relief! My first official appointment and the beginning of my treatment began by receiving 16 attachments and receiving my first set of aligners. Dr. Claeys gave me 3 sets at a time, which meant I would be returned to her office approximately every 2 weeks.
Dr. Claeys was very upfront about every aspect of the procedure—the good, bad, and ugly. She did tell me the attachments would be cumbersome and obtrusive, and they certainly were. In fact, after receiving them, I didn’t speak to anyone in my office to days because I knew everyone could see them. The treatment did not feel “invisible” at all. The IPR portion was also quite unpleasant. I had to have this done several times because my teeth were very crowded, and this created more room for the teeth to shift. I bled each time from my gums. I started noticing movement within 8 to 10 weeks. Once movement was noticeable, I quickly noticed my smile becoming progressively better. The largest “hiccups” I had in my treatment were a tray tear and having to prolong my treatment with refinements, but luckily they were included in the cost. The tray tear did not seem to concern my doctor or her staff, and I was instructed to wear the torn tray as normal until it was time to switch to a new one. Although each tray switch was physically uncomfortable, the pain was never overbearing. I also slowly became more comfortable speaking to people, though my speech was also a little different with the attachments and the aligners.
I had my final attachment removed in January of 2017, and I still wear a retainer during the day and while I sleep. Dr. Claeys has advised that I will shift to wearing the retainer only at night by January of 2018. I am much more laid back about my wear-time now that I am wearing a retainer and not the actual trays. I am thrilled with the outcome and if I had to go back and remake the choice to get Invisalign, I would absolutely go through with it—costs, social awkwardness, pain, and time commitment considered. I would also highly recommend Dr. Claeys. She made sure that I was happy with my progress the entire time, and had no qualms about it when I suggested that we make refinements at the first end-date of my treatment.
My biggest problems with Invisalign were finding a “right” way to eat. You are supposed to wear the trays for 22 hours per day, which leaves only 2 hours for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I feel like this created a somewhat disordered relationship with food and eating for me, which I am still struggling with today. Secondly, the trays would stain very easily and by the end of each 2 weeks, I was very embarrassed wearing them in public. Despite these things, I smile all the time and am told constantly what a great smile I have! I absolutely owe a huge increase in my confidence levels to Dr. Claeys and Invisalign.