Well, I haven't received them yet, but I'm going to update this as my treatment progresses. So I'll be updating about every 2-3 weeks.
I suggest that the first investment you make is with your time. I mean, seriously go out and "invisalign shop" and compare prices. You should also search up each dentist's profile. I went to visit a few, but two dentists and there were really different answers.
My case: I have crowding top and bottom and cross bites.
Dentist A: He graduated from UCLA and has been a premier provider for over 5 years (the most important part about your invisalign dentist is his/her experience with invisalign). He did initial examinations on my gums, teeth, smile, etc. He really did a thorough examination for a consultation. He asked me what I knew about invisalign and then explained to me the whole process. He showed me a few of the virtual cases and explained to me what kind of case I was. He gave me a nice price of 5400 and that was all-inclusive + whitening at the very end. The whitening is a plus, I think they understood the investment of spending on invisalign and I would think that's they're way of saying, "Hey thanks for doing business with us". He said that my case would take about a year and 4 months. He wasn't trying to bs me around. He was very straight forward.
Dentist B: It took him a while for the consultation. He did an examination for about 2 minutes. (I was really disappointed especially since Dentist A spent over 15 minutes examining. It really shows the quality you'll receive if they're willing to spend that much time on you for a complimentary consultation.) He then asked me what I knew and explained to me the process. I noticed he only had a premier provider plaque for 2 years. That's a major difference from Dentist A who has been doing it for 5.
Anyway, He then said that invisalign and I were going to be an unlikely team. He said that he thought the other dentist was very shady when he told me that he would get it done in a year and 4 months. I began to worry. He said I should start off with braces for the first 6 months then continue with invisalign after.. until the end of my treatment, but it defeats the purpose of invisalign if you're going to get braces anyway. He gave me a stiff price of 6500 and it wasn't all-inclusive. He said there will be additional fees for x-rays, and other resources from third parties. So I guess his office didn't have all the supplies they need.
So with Dentist A and Dentist B's information, I really didn't know who to believe. So I was really upset. I decided to call Dentist A's office and asked to speak directly to the Dentist. He was more than willing to talk about it with me. He basically said, well look at the experience of the Dentist, how long he's been working with Invisalign and get back to me.
All my questions went answered. He said why don't you come in today and I'll show you some of my cases that were more severe than yours and I used invisalign on them. I thought, you know what.. if he can live up to it and really say that. I think I trust him. It's not that I don't believe Dentist B's words, it's just I think that he said that out of lack of experience with Invisalign.
So before you decide to make any permanent decisions check out education, dental experience, invisalign experience (check for premier provider plaques on the walls), and go to places with complimentary consultation, see how well they examine you, and spend time to explain anything to you.
Dentist A: UCLA educated, 5+ years experience with invisalign, examined for 15 minutes, explanation of process 15 minutes.. AND he's a well-known spokesperson for invisalign so he speaks at seminars and semi-trains other dentists (i think)
Dentist B: UCI/UCLA/UNEBRASKA educated, I'm assuming maybe 2 years experience with invisalign since he only had two plaques on his wall, examined for 2 minutes, explanation 5-7 minutes.
I think it's pretty obvious I went with Dentist A. I just sensed that trust, which you really need. You need to trust your dentist, if you don't then don't bother. I've researched some of the pictures of before and after and there are way more severe cases, so I'm sure he can fix mine.
The day that I called Dentist A to "confront" him about the dilemma, I came in to do the paper work. When you first sign up the first thing they'll do is take x-rays. In my case, I had to stand holding onto this handle and they put a thing plastic strip to bite onto, then these arm looking things rotate around once for an all-over x-ray, i guess? Then he gave me a couple of paperwork to fill out. The paperwork basically explains how the process will work (everything he already covered in the consultation). He then quizzed me to make sure I actually read the material (another example of a quality dentist).
Afterward, the Dentist worked on impressions with me. Basically he fills this plastic mold with light green.. I wouldn't call it liquid, but it's almost more liquid than play-doh. (haha SORRY!!) So he asked me to look forward keep my head perpendicular to the floor and open wide. He inserts the mold and presses against the top for 20 seconds then he lets it stay in there for 5 minutes to harden. Taking it out was a little painful because the way your gum is shaped isn't the same way your teeth is shaped. The top wasn't as bad as the bottom, and the bottom honestly isn't bad either, but I just had a drooling problem. It was so embarrassing! When you insert the mold at the bottom you don't want to accidentally swallow the filling. I ended up drooling like crazy. It was funny but embarrassing, but my dentist just said "it's cool, it's nothing I haven't seen before".
Afterward, he took a couple of pictures on a digital camera. Then I was done. The process took about 20 minutes.
I should be receiving my aligners in the next 3 weeks. I'll post up another review when I first get them. I continuously post pictures of my progress. If you're in the Orange County area: He's honestly great.
I hope this helps!!