I am on tray 14 of 25 on the top and 14 of 31 on...
I am on tray 14 of 25 on the top and 14 of 31 on the bottom and am very pleased with the experience. I am 29 years old and had traditional braces when I was around 12 years old for 2 and a half years. I had since stopped wearing my retainer (I was told I no longer needed to) and my teeth had moved very noticeably. Most people would probably never guess I ever had braces.
During a consultation with my orthodontist, he recommended traditional braces in my case but said that if I really wanted to do the invisalign, then they could do that. Having had braces before, I was much more interested in invisalign for so many reasons.
In any case, I opted for the invisalign and started out by having impressions taken. I had to wait about a month for the impressions and then another 6 weeks or so for the first set of trays to come in. In the meantime I wore a retainer that was very similar to the invisalign trays but without any correction. So I was able to spend that time getting used to wearing the trays and talking with them in without any discomfort. But I was very anxious to get started... I don't know what is involved in making the trays but it seems the process could be faster. The first 3 trays I changed every 3 weeks and after that I have changed trays every 2 weeks.
Buttons: I was not told until they were putting them on that I was going to have "buttons" on many of my teeth. I have 10 actually which is quite a lot. None are on teeth that can be seen from the front except one on the bottom. At first when the trays were out for eating they were a little uncomfortable and rough but you do get used to them.
Putting on/removing trays: For the first 8 trays or so this was quite interesting for me. I had relatively severe crowding on the bottom and until that started to straighten out a bit the first day or two of each tray provided some challenge when taking the trays on and off. I actually had to use something metal to pry them off for the first few trays. I would say putting them on the first day would take about 30 seconds or so and removing them took about a minute or more. However, invisalign worked very quickly to straighten those teeth out and now putting a tray in or out takes just a couple of seconds even the first time you use it. One thing I found that helps is putting in each new tray for the first time right before bed. It helps to have those first 8 hours to work on the movement before you try to take it out for the first time.
Pain: I am a little bit of a hypochondriac actually and I admit they are really not painful. Again, I put them in before bed and use some Tylenol PM and there is mild pain for the next full day but after that I would describe it as pain free. I do notice if I don't put the trays in after eating for some reason after an hour or two my teeth start getting sore as they are actually moving back. The best way to stay pain free is to wear the trays as much as possible and not have them out for more than an hour at a time. The trays themselves are not sharp or irritating to me. In fact, I have a tooth on the bottom that was so sharp and crooked that it would actually cut my lip occasionally. Wearing the trays in the beginning made my teeth feel much smoother than without them.
Results: I noticed results much sooner than other people seem to. I was also very aware of my teeth and looked at them often. I would say I noticed movement within the first month and now being halfway through I would say the change has been dramatic. I couldn't be happier.
Noticeability: The trays are very clear and while if someone were staring at your mouth while you were talking they may notice there is something different, I don't feel like they are very noticeable. Especially not compared with braces! You can take them out in situations where you need or want to but in general I don't feel the need to take them out. One issue is that I work at home so I do not have to deal with other people very many hours a day. I am sure this makes it easier for me to wear them all the time and easier for me to care for them as I can take them in and out, brush them, etc. whenever I want.
Office visits: My visits to the orthodontist have been very short. I go to the orthodontist after every three trays, so once every 6 weeks. Almost all of my visits are 15 minutes or less. Once or twice they had to shave a little off between my teeth and that added about 10 minutes but still was very quick. Each time I go in they seem amazed that it is going so perfectly well. I don't know if that means that sometimes people have issues with that or not but for me everything has been just as planned and very convenient compared with regular braces.
Cost: In my consultation I was told that invisalign would cost the same as regular braces in my case. ($5200) Ceramic braces would have added abut $300 to the total cost if I had chosen them. They offered several plans to pay it off over the course of the treatment at no interest, but I chose to pay cash upfront and I received a discount of about $250 for doing so.
Overall, this was a very good experience so far. The pain was minimal. The trays are comfortable after you get used to them (after the first few weeks), and oral hygiene is far easier to maintain than with traditional braces. The cost was significant but not more than braces, the only other alternative fix. My office visits have been very short and six weeks apart. And I feel that my teeth are straighter now than I had expected they would be at this point in the process. I have not noticed that they affect my speech significantly. If I am aware of my pronunciation I can counteract any affect they have. I would highly recommend invisalign to anyone who feels self-conscious about their crooked teeth but dreads the thought of wearing braces for a couple of years.