Obviously, everyone is going to be different, but...
Obviously, everyone is going to be different, but I've had a very fortunate experience with my Invisalign braces. I am considered a "traditional case," which means I am going to be wearing my Invisalign braces for an entire year. I am 5 months in and still very satisfied with the progress and the ease of wear. For those looking to buy into Invisalign, it's important to note that I was experiencing crowding on my tops and bottoms. My bottoms are going to be finished in just 2 more months, but my tops are going to take a full year, because they need to rotate two of my teeth. Rotations, apparently, take a lot longer. However, the subtle shifts that occur in Invisalign really do reduce the pain factor significantly. Below are my pros and cons:
1. Nearly invisible (most people don't notice unless you point it out)
2. Removable (this is KEY- having the ability to go out without those suckers on is crucial to your social life)
3. Predictable (computer simulation and numbered packaging keeps you well aware of how far you've progressed and if you're on the right schedule
4. Easy to clean/maintain (cleaning the liners is incredibly easy- simply use warm water and some toothpaste)
1. Very expensive. I decided to go with "the best of the best" in NYC, which meant I was going to spend more on treatment, but I'm with a dentist who is extremely careful about the procedure and how it's progressing. Unlike many dentists, he did not file between my teeth to the extent that the Invisalign program wanted him to. Instead, he filed between my teeth in stages, scraping away a bare minimum of enamel each time, so he didn't have to scrape off more than necessary. It's things like that which make the extra $$ worth it. I would NOT trust any dentist offering huge incentives or discount programs for Invisalign. I put this in the same category as Lasik surgery- do not "cheap out" with anything this important. It's just not worth it. However, I won't sugarcoat it --- $5500 is a pretty huge chunk of change. If you are hesitant moving forward with Invisalign because of cost (I sure was for a good year), you might benefit from learning more about CareCredit: www.carecredit.com; a no-interest 12-month loan that many dentists and orthodontists offer as an alternative to paying up front.
2. The buttons- the dentists will not tell you this beforehand unless you ask: some people have to get buttons glued onto their teeth to help the teeth make more dramatic movements. At first, I couldn't stand the feel/look of these things, even though they were "invisible" - however, after about 2 weeks, I noticed that they smoothed down considerably (they feel rough at first to the tongue) and absolutely no one noticed them. I have 4 on my bottom teeth and 2 on my front, and people STILL don't notice them. Now that I'm so used to having them in my mouth, I honestly forget they're there, so this "con" really isn't too huge.
3. Pain- compared to "real" braces, this is nothing (so I hear), but the first 2 days of a new set of liners and I'm a hurtin' puppy. I suggest taking Advil and putting in a new liner when you're about to go to sleep, so you can dope yourself up on the pain killers without affecting your day-time activities. Also- don't freak out if you feel your teeth move when you take the aligners out. Your teeth are supposed to be more "flexible" during this time- it doesn't mean they're going to fall out. They're just moving, so they can be wiggled much more than you're used to. Certainly for the first few days of any aligners, eat softer foods or you'll be in a lot of pain. Another quick point on pain: the "filing" process is extremely uncomfortable and sometimes very painful. Some people have to go through more of it than others, but it's not enjoyable, so be prepared.
4. Everyone is different- I am extremely blessed that my teeth move quickly and easily. I actually only wear my aligners at night and for a few spotty hours during the day and I've stayed right on track with my program! Not everyone is so lucky, I know, but everyone is different. For those who have more stubborn teeth, wearing these can get a bit obnoxious in one's daily life...constantly running to the bathroom to clean the liners and brush your teeth every time you drink a non-clear liquid or have a bite to eat, etc. etc. It's a pain.