I'm on trays 6 of 23 on my top and bottom, and I...
I'm on trays 6 of 23 on my top and bottom, and I have no regrets. I am 26 and am a college instructor, so I have to speak in front of judgmental college students every week. I knew that having metal braces would have affected my self esteem, which would have made me a less effective teacher. I also liked the idea of being able to take them out to eat and brush my teeth. Overall, here are my observations, and I hope they help someone who's trying to decide:
1. The first couple of days of new trays are somewhat painful. But ibuprofin helps immensely. The worst is taking them out, but I've found that it fades relatively quickly after the initial soreness.
2. The first days of having my first trays, I had a lisp. I thought it was noticeable, but no one else seemed to notice. The trays also caused some rubbing on my gums at first, but some over the counter canker-sore cream did the trick, and no more issues with that.
3. No one notices them. I do, because I know I have them, but even my husband sometimes has to ask if I have the trays in or not. And unless I tell someone I have them, they never seem to notice at all. This is a major plus! You just have to be discreet about popping them out for meals and excusing yourself to the restroom to brush. A little travel case with toothbrush/paste and floss is easy to fit in a purse, briefcase or backpack--even a pocket!
4. You don't notice any movement at first. I'm in my 12th week, and I can't see anything. But, I can feel that my bite is changing. I had pretty good-looking teeth, except for some slight crossing of my bottom front teeth, but my bite was severly occluded and was causing tooth and bone damage. I can feel that my bite feels different when I clench and chew. It'll be fun to see when they start moving the front teeth!
5. I have 8 attachments--those clear little "buttons" (4 top and 4 bottom)--and my dentist didn't put any on the front teeth to minimize the looks of them. I also have to get "adjustments" every month where they shave a little enamel from in between the teeth--doesn't hurt, just is a bit inconvenient (30 minutes or so per visit extra).
6. As with everyone, I'll have to wear retainers (i.e., the last tray) for a while after the final official session, until my teeth don't shift while the trays are out. Plus, I'll need to sleep in the trays pretty much forever. But that's no big deal since I'm a grinder anyway--they'll protect my teeth, plus you can use them for whitening.
Overall, I am pumped. I think they are great and I highly recommend them if you get a good dentist who listens to you and explains everything up front. They won't be invisible to you, but they will be to everyone else...just don't expect it to be painless. :-)