I honestly can’t believe I’m writing up this post following my Invisalign treatment, I feel like my entire treatment flew by! I wanted to share my experience with those of you interested in the treatment yourself.
I had traditional metal braces during middle school and we all know how this story ends… I eventually lost my retainer and my teeth started shifting through the years. Correcting my smile was something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and once I finally started and saw the results, it’s something I wish I didn’t put off for so long!
If your curious about my Invisalign experience and my treatment plan, keep reading!
Everything You Need to Know About Invisalign
Picking Your Invisalign Specialist
First you should create a list of providers who offer invisalign in your area. I think it’s always a good idea to get a few opinions before starting a treatment plan like this. You can get different price points and perspectives on your treatment options, plus get a feel for the doctor who will be treating you.
Here are a few questions I would recommend asking in your Invisalign consultation:
- How long do you expect my treatment to be?
- How long after treatment do I have for any corrections?
- How often do you need to see me?
- What happens if I lose an aligner?
- How do refinement trays work after my initial treatment?
- Do you think invisalign aligners will be as effective as traditional metal braces at straightening my teeth?
- What happens after treatment?
I had three consults throughout the years regarding my treatment and eventually decided to work with Dr. Kirby at Atlanta Dental Spa (ADS). I felt very comfortable with his treatment plan and dental care approach and loved the extra amenities offered at ADS. If you have any dental anxiety, I highly recommend checking them out. Here are a few highlights from my orthodontic treatment there:
- No wait time for appointments
- Available during and after hours via text for questions or changing appointments
- Maximum comfortability – they offer weighted blankets, heated neck rolls, headphones, etc to ensure you’re comfortable throughout your treatment
They offer cosmetic dentistry such as no-prep veneers, teeth whitening, gum lifts and even botox!
Before Invisalign Treatment
Here are some photos of my teeth before starting Invisalign treatment. I had pretty severe crowding on my bottom teeth, as well as general shifting across my top bite. I pretty much referred to my one middle tooth as a snaggletooth because you would see it sticking out when talking. There are also some gaps in my bite.
After Results from Invisalign Treatment
Here are my final results after invisalign. I was shocked how much my top teeth adjusted, because to me they looked pretty straight in the beginning. I can really tell my smile has become more even, with less of my gums showing on the left side of my mouth.
before and after smile results
I didn’t realize how shifted my top teeth were prior to starting. I was mainly focused on correcting the crowding on my bottom teeth. But the complete transformation makes such a difference!
Why I choose Invisalign over traditional braces (or other options)
Now that I’ve completed both traditional and invisalign treatments, I can 100% say I’m so glad I did Invisalign this round. Compared to traditional metal braces, my treatment was so much more comfortable. I never experienced any ulcers or cuts like I remember from metal braces, and it was nice to switch out my trays on my own versus visiting the orthodontist monthly to tighten my braces.
And of course, the treatment is much more aesthetically pleasing for straightening your teeth. Being on camera is a huge part of my job, and I didn’t want my treatment to take away from my content. I also liked being able to clean my teeth more effectively and not have food stuck in my braces.
Did you look into Smile Direct Club or other online teeth aligners?
You may also be curious if I looked into other clear aligner options like Smile Direct Club. I did briefly, but ultimately decided that I wanted a professional monitoring my progress. When it comes to my face/smile, I didn’t want to take any chances! I’ve heard some horror stories from dentists who had to correct issues following failed treatments or nerve issues from rushed/bad treatments. Plus, I don’t think my teeth were a good candidate for it either. Those types of treatments promise straight teeth, but don’t take into consideration your bite complexities because they don’t require X-rays. I needed new space created for my bottom teeth to fit correctly under my top teeth. So had they just been straightened out without that space adjustment, I would be looking like a bulldog with an underbite 🙂
My Invisalign Treatment
I thought it would be helpful to explain my general treatment so you have an idea of what to expect. This will of course vary person to person and depending on your provider.
I started my Invisalign treatment 2/13/2020, which is when I had my initial attachments places and IPR (Interpxoimal Reduction). Not everyone will need this, but with my crowding issue the only way to create enough space for my bottom teeth to sit correctly underneath my top bite was to create space in between the teeth. I had a numbing cream for this part of the treatment and it was completely painless, but the noise wasn’t the most pleasant.
For the first two months of treatment, I switched out my trays every two weeks. Then for the remainder of my treatment, I switched them out weekly, which contributed to my quick progress. This was a big reason I wanted to work with Dr. Kirby for my treatment. In other consultations, the doctors wanted 2 weeks with each tray, which added an additional 6 months to my estimated treatment timeline!
Coronavirus and Invisalign treatment
Now I have to add that my treatment started right before Coronavirus shut everything down, so I didn’t go in for my first scheduled follow-up appointment. However, I’m very thankful this didn’t slow down my progress because Atlanta Dental Spa was able to mail me my new round of trays and keep everything moving. With traditional braces, that probably wouldn’t have been an option. I wasn’t eating out or traveling during this time, so I would say my treatment was pretty convenient during 2020.
I did need one round of refinement trays, which is if you want to make any adjustments following the initial Invisalign treatment. They rescan your teeth and usually that takes 3 weeks for the new set of aligners to come in. While waiting for your new aligners to come in, you stay in your last treatment tray to maintain your teeth in position.
Completing and maintaining treatment
I completed my treatment on 10/21 and did a final scan for my long-term retainers, which I received about 2 weeks later. I’m supposed to wear those retainers similarly to my invisalign trays (22 hours a day) for the first 3 months, then I can switch to nightly wear. Wearing your aligners diligently is vital the process. After about a year, they said I could start wearing the retainers 1-3 times a week. I received 4 sets of retainers, with each set lasting about a year. These cost around $600 every 4-5 years to maintain your smile. Each person is different, and depends on quickly your teeth move.
Now I will say I got pregnant right as my treatment was ending, and I didn’t wear my retainer throughout the day due to morning sickness, but I wear them every night! I noticed at first they would feel really tight at night for the first month or so, but now I can tell my teeth don’t shift as much throughout the day and they go right in at night.
What to Know Before Starting Invisalign
These are just some general tips and helpful insights I think it’s good to know before starting your treatment
This was one of my main concerns since I film youtube videos weekly and being on camera is a big part of my job. I was worried I would have a huge lisp that would distract my viewers or I would end up not wearing the trays as recommended. However, that was such a minimal issue! My speech took about a week to adjust, and I was way more aware of it than anyone else. As you get closer to the end of your orthodontic treatment, this becomes even less of an issue.
Another big hesitation to starting this type of treatment is of course the pain. I was actually pretty surprised how comfortable my teeth felt throughout the majority of my treatment, especially considering I switched my set of aligners out weekly after the first 2 months. A big tip I have for you is to switch your invisalign aligners out at night, that way you sleep through most of the initial tenderness.
My teeth usually felt tender the first day or two after a new tray when I removed them to eat; however, it was mostly located along my front teeth where most of the movement was happening, so biting and eating wasn’t much of an issue. I had a bite tool to use throughout the day to make sure the aligners were fitting correctly, and using that was always tender but it was short-lived. As my teeth shifted into the position of the new tray, I had zero pain.
I’ve heard your teeth can feel more tender if you don’t wear them as much as you should, so if you’re experiencing more pain than usual make sure you’re not taking the trays out to relieve them! Your teeth shift back very quickly, so every time you take them out you’re starting over again essentially.
This definitely depends on your area and treatment requirements, but invisalign treatment starts at $2,000 and goes up from there. Check if the price includes retainers following your treatment and if there is any warranty following the completion. There are monthly payment plans options, too!
I was very happy to hear my treatment is insured for 5 years following completion. That means if I happen to notice any changes in my teeth (from forgetting my retainer or something), I can get new scans and correct the issues within the first 5 years.
Is it invisible?
While the treatment is much more aesthetically pleasing than traditional braces, I wouldn’t say it’s completely undetectable. You do have attachments on your teeth which act essentially like handlebars for the trays to work more effectively. Depending on where these are located, this is the most noticeable thing. But most of the time I would say people had no idea I was wearing them in person. Initially, I had more attachments, but as my teeth progressed Dr. Kirby was able to remove a few, which was much appreciated!
Here’s a photo of me wearing the trays.
Frequently Asked Questions
Any tips or tricks with invisalign?
I have a few to share that I found helpful!
- Change your trays at night before bed
- Use a jewelry cleaner to clean your trays with a retainer cleaner like they do in the office!
- Always keep a toothbrush and floss on hand
Would you recommend it during pregnancy?
Personally, I’m very glad I didn’t start my treatment during the first trimester. I got pregnant right as my treatment was ending. For one, I would gag when brushing my teeth, so doing that multiple times a day after eating wouldn’t be ideal, plus dealing with morning sickness the majority of the day. It’s also common to get more sore and bleeding gums during pregnancy. So I’m sure you would get through it, but if you can avoid it I would!
Did you get cavities?
I was worried about this, but I actually didn’t get any following my treatment! My dental hygienist actually said she wished all her patient’s teeth looked like mine during my last cleaning I guess with all the brushing and flossing after eating, my teeth stayed in great condition. But I have heard from others they did get cavities following treatment.
Did you get a lingual bar (permanent retainer)?
I didn’t! Dr. Kirby said if I wanted one he would place one, and we talked through the pros and cons of them. Tim has one and he didn’t recommend it for me because of the cleaning. After losing my retainer once, I doubt I’ll let that happen again!
How to you keep your teeth so white?
This question doesn’t really pertain to invisalign, but I get asked often so I thought I would address it here! In the past, I’ve used crest white strips to whiten my teeth, but haven’t used them since 2016 before my wedding. Now, I just brush with this whitening toothpaste and use this mouth wash, and my teeth have never looked better! I will warn you this toothpaste flavor takes some getting used to, but it’s what Tim and I have both used for years. You will get used to it 🙂
How long did your invisalign treatment last?
I wore Invisalign for a total of 9 months! At my original consult, Dr. Kirby said it could be 10-12 months at most, which was much shorter than the 18 month timelines I was given in other consultations.
My initial treatment was 6 months total, and after completing that we decided to do a round of refinement trays because I felt like my bottom tooth needed a tiny bit more tweaking. The time between scans and getting a new set of trays is about 3 weeks, so I wore my last set of trays for a few weeks until my set of refinement trays came in. The refinement treatment was 4 trays total, so I finished up my treatment at month 8 and scanned for my final retainers. Once my retainers came in a few weeks later, I was discharged in just under 9 months.
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I can’t even begin to tell you how much this treatment has improved my confidence. I didn’t realize how insecure I was of my teeth when talking, and I honestly didn’t expect this investment to make such an impact on my confidence. The results are truly priceless!
If you have any other questions about my experience with Invisalign, let me know in the comments below! If you have specific questions about the treatment and if it’s right for you, schedule a free consultation at Atlanta Dental Spa, here!
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