85% Finished with my Treatment and I Am Thrilled! - Philadelphia, PA

Context: I am in my mid 20s and had needed...

Context:
I am in my mid 20s and had needed braces since I was ten. My parents couldn't afford them and I grew up accepting my crooked smile. After college I decided to finally see an orthodontist. I saw a few before I settled on my current ortho. He was the most expensive but he was honest in setting expectations.

The cost:
I paid a lot for my orthodontic work, but it has been worth every penny! My teeth were VERY crowded as you can see from my before pictures! I had "fangs" and one of my front teeth was starting to rotate. My ortho actually wrote a text book on Invisalign and is Chair of the Orthodontics Department at a local university's dental school. He had no reservations with using Invisalign on me but said I may need segmented braces to rotate some teeth and close some gaps. My treatment cost reflects Invisalign and metal braces. I paid a little over 20% of this upfront and made monthly (interest free) payments to my ortho thereafter.

What makes my case a little different:
I had an overbite. My ortho recommended I have one of my premolars extracted to give my teeth room to come in on the top. Additionally my dentist said three of my wisdom teeth needed to be removed after I had my first impressions for Invisalign, but this did not seem to be a problem since I told my ortho which teeth would be gone by the time my trays came in. During treatment I did have one tooth on the bottom right that needed to rotate and would just not budge. This was because I had an attachment on that tooth that I kept biting into when I ate, causing it to break repeatedly. My ortho said he could fix it with three or four brackets of braces, but since I was going to be done with my bottom trays and needed refinement anyway, I opted to have braces put across most of my bottom teeth for six months.

The Invisalign experience:
My quoted treatment time was two years. I am about a year and a quarter in and am pretty close to a perfect smile. I am now in refinement after wearing 30 trays on top and 16 trays on the bottom (with six months of braces). It took about six weeks from impressions to day one of my first tray. My wait was a little longer because my orthodontist did two ClinChecks to verify I needed a tooth extracted on top. The first tray hurts A LOT. I generally have a high threshold for pain but had issues eating/drinking normally for those first few days. Now I just pop in a new tray at night deal with a tender mouth for two days. Invisalign didn't impact my day to day life as much as some people who've left reviews here. I never forget I am wearing them, but I don't mind excusing myself to pop them out in the bathroom when I need to. When I go out with friends for the night, I generally just leave my trays at home and make up the time by wearing them a day or two longer. I ended up wearing most of my trays between two and two and a half weeks each. I did keep my trays in for a couple of happy hours and did not have issues with staining, but I am fairly certain this is not a best practice :) A few trays gave me a slight list, but I don't think anyone noticed and it usually only lasted a day anyway. My boyfriend claims he couldn't feel the trays or attachments when kissing me (!), and my coworkers (who knew about my ortho treatment) were amazed that they couldn't tell I was wearing Invisalign. I had several attachments on my top teeth that I thought were super obvious, but no one really seemed to notice unless I pointed them out.

Oral hygiene on Invisalign:
You really do need to floss and brush your teeth all the time while on Invisalign. I didn't see this as much of a con, but I could see why some people would be annoyed. I take my toothbrush and floss with me everywhere and never put my trays back in unless my teeth are clean (this is why it was easier to just leave them out for the evening when going out with friends). Your trays will be smelly and plaque-filled if you do not watch your oral hygiene! My standard routine has been brushing/flossing/Listerine anytime I eat and a quick rinse with my Waterpik at night. I also schedule extra cleanings with my dentist since I was periodontal-ly challenged to begin with. I sometimes soak my trays in denture solution but am generally able to keep them pretty clean with just a toothbrush. If there are pieces of food stuck in the grooves of my tray, I just hold the tray under my shower head for a few seconds and let the water blast everything out. As someone who has had Invisalign and braces, it is exponentially easier to keep you mouth clean and healthy with Invisalign as long as you make the effort.

Things I have learned from this process thus far:
1) Do not go to a cosmetic dentist! They do not know teeth like orthodontists!
2) Make sure you shop around until you find an orthodontist you are comfortable with. You will be paying this person lots of money. You need to trust them! Go with your gut feeling during the initial consultation. A cosmetic dentist told me he could have my teeth perfect in a year without any extractions, and this just did not feel realistic.
3) Invisalign is not totally invisible, but it is far better than traditional braces. If you are super self conscious about people noticing the attachments and the outline of tray at your gum line, orthodontic work is not for you. I had attachments and a giant gap in my smile (from the extraction) for the first eight months of my treatment, but I survived. I would rather have someone notice the attachments and gap than my crooked teeth!
4) Braces move teeth much quicker than Invisalign does. I did talk about a braces-only treatment plan with my orthodontist, and it would have been cheaper with a shorter treatment time. It is much harder to keep your mouth clean with braces, and metal braces are a million times more noticeable than Invisalign. This made the extra cost worth it.


I just want to reiterate that I am NOT FINISHED...

I just want to reiterate that I am NOT FINISHED with my treatment! I am in refinement and will post more after pictures in a few months.

Philadelphia Orthodontist

He and his staff have provided exceptional service across all areas of my treatment.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
3 out of 5 stars Wait times
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