Yes, Invisalign Works Even on REALLY Bad Teeth
When I decided in my late 20s that it was time to...
- 9 Jul 2009
When I decided in my late 20s that it was time to finally straighten my teeth, I did a lot of research to see how Invisalign works on severely crowded teeth. When I came across some of the pictures on this site and others, I couldn't believe how minor most of the cases I saw were....these people had teeth I would have loved to have! I never did see any cases where anyone's teeth were nearly as bad as mine, so I wasn't sure I'd even be a candidate for Invisalign. I had two teeth that were so crowded they were basically hidden behind other teeth, and one tooth was twisted almost sideways.
At my ortho consultation, the doctor tried repeatedly to steer me towards metal braces, telling me he didn't think Invisalign would give me good results. After assuring him I'd be happy to have some improvement, and wasn't looking for perfection, he agreed to proceed. I was quoted $6000 (Maryland) and x-rays and molds were taken. It was a long 6 weeks until my trays came in, and in the meantime, I was told to have one tooth removed (one of the hidden ones that was way out of place). It was covered by insurance and was no big deal...no pain, no anesthesia.
I was given 29 trays, covering 1 year and 6 weeks of treatment. They were easy to get in and out, though I had some initial pain at the site of the extraction. I never tried any of the fancy cleaning systems, and relied on a regular toothbrush, which worked great for cleaning.
After 4 or 5 trays, the ortho put my attachments on....something like 14 of them. This was the worst day of the treatment for me, because I thought they were really ugly and obvious. No one noticed them though, not even my co-workers, who I am around every single day and eat lunch with daily. It took 6 months for one person to notice. The attachments gave me a bit of a speech issue, but I think only I noticed. Some people on this board mentioned a lisp, but mine was more just a difficulty with moving my lips to form certain words. The attachments made the trays very hard to get on and off, but after a few days it was fine. One thing I learned is that both your teeth and the trays are tougher than you think...do don't worry about breaking either one.
I had to have a lot of teeth shaving and filing to make room in my mouth. This is done at virtually every appointment I have, every 6 weeks. I need so much of it that the ortho does it in stages at each visit, grinding away for a few minutes then giving me a break while he takes care of another patient. It causes a little bleeding, but its not painful, though the grinding noise makes me cringe. The dentist gave me a fluoride treatment to take care of sensitivity problems, and that made it much easier to handle. The whole filing concept was the thing I was most scared of before I started because I was so used to my teeth as they were, but the shape and size of my teeth is now sooo much better. Even crooked, they looked much better just because they were better sized for my mouth and face.
So the results? I'm 23 trays in out of 29, so I only have three months to go. Even now, my teeth look incredible. I could stop treatment today and be happy with my smile....though of course I won't! I've heard a lot about refinements and additional trays, but I don't plan on using any. My ortho keeps cautioning me that almost every Invisalign patient needs some refinement at the end, but my teeth look great now, so with 6 more trays to go, I can't imagine needing more. I'll post an update when I get to that point.
As far as problems with the trays...there are a few, but they're minor. As my teeth have moved, I've found that the first few days of each new tray is a pain. During these few days, there are certain spots on the trays that cut into my lip and gums. If I remember to file it down before I put it in, this doesn't happen, but I usually don't, and end up waking up the next day with two painful cuts on the inside of my lips. This goes away after a few days, but the first time it happened, I got a terribly painful cut that led to keeping the bottom tray out for almost a week.
Another problem is that the trays seem to crack along the edges at times. This happens mainly around my teeth that are way out of place, and it didn't happen until I got the attachments on. After a while, you get better at preventing this, but I think my 6th or 7th tray broke right in half just shy of the two week mark.
As far as pain levels, I'd say they were almost not even an issue. The most painful part was the cut caused by the sharp edges of the tray, and that's probably not even going to happen to most people. The first day after each new tray is put in, my teeth are mildly sensitive, but I wouldn't call it painful. This is coming from someone whose teeth had a LONG way to go, so for milder crowding, its probably even easier.
I guess my main purpose for this very long review is to let people with very crooked teeth know that Invisalign might be a possibility for them, and may actually be successful like mine has been. If it worked for me, there is definitely hope for the average person with normal teeth issues.
Once I get my final tray done with, I'll post pics.
Good luck to everyone!
The entire staff was so professional and friendly. They worked really hard to give me a great experience. I was also extremely impressed by how well they kept their appointments as scheduled. I don't think I ever made an appointment that didn't start exactly on time. This is very rare for most doctors in my experience.