I’m about 4 months into my Invisalign journey and I figured I would write a little bit about it. Personal stories helped me make the decision about going the Invisalign route and helped dispel any nerves/anxieties about the process. Having gone through 10+ pages of Google result, I came to my Orthodonist with a list of questions that helped me feel prepared and understand what to expect given how huge of a financial and time investment the treatment is!
I am about 1/3 of the way through my Invisalign – my full treatment time is expected to be 18 months and I have 23 trays that need to be worn for 2 weeks. I have regular check-ins every 6 weeks to ensure my teeth are moving as expected and also to pick up my next set of trays. Yes, you’ll really get to know your Orthodontist and their office very well throughout the treatment!
The last few months have gone by so quickly and I haven’t felt the need to chuck my trays in frustration. I remembered very clearly the first trays I popped in – I was so sure I was going to hate the experience and I was nervous about how I was going to cope the long run. But a few months later, complete with a long-haul travel experience, tons of social events and regular wear later, I can confidently say wearing my trays have become so second nature, that I don’t really worry or notice it anymore.
My first 7 trays haven’t yielded too obvious of a result as expected. They are meant to get my teeth ready for trays 8-23 where I’ll see the most movement. My teeth have moved enough to fix my overbite, and both the top and bottom are slowly getting better aligned which are some of the most obvious improvements I’ve seen so far.
How I Got Started with Invisalign
I never had braces as a teen and my dentist never really thought I needed it (admittedly, going to a dentist who’s a family friend doesn’t guarantee the best results) and I’ve always been deathly afraid of doctors/clinics/hospitals. This meant that the less time I needed to spend at the dentist, the better. As a result, my grinding, overbite and impacted canine were never fully addressed until I worked up the courage to ask a new dentist for a referral to the orthodontist.
Coming in, my main concern was the impacted canine (a baby tooth that had not fallen out with the adult tooth still buried). After the first consultation and 2 subsequent meeting, it turns out, I was offered 2 solutions. One was to leave the adult tooth and get an implant once the baby tooth can be safely extracted or two, use a chain to slowly extract the tooth out. The second option was stuff of nightmares – the first orthodontist I saw was convinced this was the only option I had, so I never wanted to commit to a treatment. Imagine having a chain in your mouth for up to 2 years, and a gaping canine while the tooth is being pulled into place. Not great for my social life, work or personal life to be frank.
The first option was more acceptable – especially after we discussed that they don’t foresee it causing health issues down the road. While I came in specifically to address my canine, I could also tackle the issue of my overbite and uneven teeth at the same time, in the same treatment. So it was like tackling 3 things at once.
Why I Went with Invisalign instead of Braces
Admittedly, when presented with the option of Invisalign or metal braces, one would immediately jump on the Invisalign bandwagon. I was quite worried about the metal braces but I was comforted by the fact that they could put in teeth-coloured attachments on the braces, making it look less obvious. Fortunately for me, the Invisalign option came out cheaper – almost $700 cheaper for the whole treatment. All else being equal, this was the obvious choice!
My Invisalign Treatment & Routine
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve had my Invisalign for 4 months now, and while this feels a bit early to write an update, I feel like it’s a good milestone in my journey. As you will discover with Invisalign, your food and dental cleaning habits might change. I personally find those changes have been for the better – I have whiter teeth, my dental health is better than ever, I spend way less on fast-food/takeouts and being on the “Invisalign diet” meant I am less prone to snacking on the go.
My dental routine has dramatically improved so much so that my teeth got noticeably whiter after only 7 weeks, and my dentist and siblings noticed it!
If you’re curious, here’s my current dental routine:
- 2 minute brushing with an electric toothbrush
- A quick brush on the teeth again to remove any gunk that the floss didn’t remove
- Mouth wash
- Clean my trays with toothpaste or mouthwash before putting them back in
This may seem a bit extra for some, but for something that I have spent quite a bit of money on, and one that could really adversely impact my health if I don’t spend the extra 2 minutes, I’m willing to do it. After a while, I really got used to this routine so much so that it doesn’t bother me as much. Of course, once in a while I’ll forget the mouthwash or the second brush, but it’s really no big deal.
If I know I’ll be eating in 5-6 hours time, I won’t go through the whole routine – just the 2 minute brushing and swishing water or mouthwash to get rid of as much of the leftover bits.
I eat only twice a day now and it hasn’t adversely impacted me in any way. I no longer have my morning coffee which I thought was going to be the death of me, but I lived through it. The first week was a bit rough, but now, I’m much happier not seeing the daily Starbucks / Tim Hortons / McDonalds charges on my visa bill at the end of the month.
Having my Invisalign really forced me to eat at home more and less on eating out during lunch or breakfast, so not only have I developed a much better routine that saves money and is much healthier, now I don’t have any excuse not to make my own meals after my treatment is done!
If this all sounds so rigid and too disciplined, don’t let it scare you. While I followed my orthodontist’s recommendation 90% of the time, sometimes life gets in the way and I don’t end up wearing my trays for the full 22 hours. In those cases, you can make up a day or two. It is expected, which is why they recommend scheduling your follow up visits with a 1-3 day buffer just in case you need to make up those missed hours/days.
I’ve travelled with my Invisalign, attended a few social events (multiple weddings, Christmas parties and blogging events), and lived my Invisalign for a few months now. While I hope to see more noticeable results soon, I am excited about the progress I’ve made thus far.
I’ll check in again at the half way mark and keep you posted. I’ll put together another post on tips and tricks about how to travel with your Invisalign in case you might find it helpful!