At the Beginning of the Invisalign Journey - London, GB

So I am in my first week of trays. I need a...

So I am in my first week of trays. I need a whopping 36 trays, for top and bottom and have loads of attachments.

The good news is that the tray hasn't hurt so far! Also, my boyfriend (who I live with) hasn't noticed that I'm wearing braces. I deliberately kept it a secret as I wanted to test how invisible Invisalign really is. It has been 5 days now and he seemingly doesn't have a clue!

The bad news is that as I am a high school teacher, I've been very self conscious at work. I have developed a lisp that is showing no signs of going. It is really affecting my work as I feel weird talking to my classes (which of course I can't avoid).

I'm hoping this lisp is more noticeable to me than anybody else, as no one, not even the boyfriend, has commented on a change in my speech.

Due to the attachments, I feel I have to be careful how I talk and I definitely can't raise my voice or my mouth full of attachments would be visible to all.

Removing the retainers at work and brushing my teeth after lunch in school is proving very difficult as there really is no privacy where I work. I will have to master the art of secretive removal.

Far to early to say if it is worth it yet. I really hope so as I am feeling very daunted by the prospect of of 36 trays, loads of attachments, a stubborn and being exposed to the scrutiny of over 100 teenagers a day!

Will post some a picture up soon so you can track the progress and decide if it will be worth it for you.


Good luck with your journey. I am just changing to tray 2 today. I found the first one was a breeze. Like you I am an educator, thankfully I do not have any more students to teach face to face until 2014 now. I still lisp a little, but its getting better. A few people have had a double look, I think mainly as I have a pressure point on my front tooth (not an attachment but an extra thick bit inside the aligner) and it is easier to see. Anyhoo good luck
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Whew!  Talk about a tough audience. :D.  A few things from my own experience:  1) the first tray may or may not be functional, in the sense that it may be just a tray to get you used to having invisalign in your mouth--it may not be moving teeth.  But it might.  2)  Some trays will hurt more than others, depending on how your teeth are.  3) My lisp never went away, but it did improve--YMMV--and also, it is more noticeable to you than others.  I even drooled a little in the beginning, and especially when I switched trays and it was painful.  4)  You may wish to consider timing your meals differently.  I found that I could just skip lunch and avoid taking the trays out completely when I was out and about.  Not everyone can do that, but it's a slightly out of the box alternative to consider.  I hope that you get used to the trays quickly--perhaps your students won't be as judgmental as you think (hope!!)  Thank you so much for sharing a review, and I look forward to seeing pictures and following your journey!

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You know I cant understand why, when they cost so much, that they would give you an non functioning tray? i get that it might be to get used to it, but seriously, it really is only prolonging the process by 2 weeks and begs the question - How many more non functioning trays are there in someones plan????


Twoplusone - I will definitely try to vary meal times. One. Couple of days, I have free lessons, so can reduce the meal time trauma by eating before/after the school lunch hour.

Angelannie - it is good to hear from someone at a similar stage in the treatment, and a fellow educator too! I'm glad your lisp is getting better!

Update since last post - lisp is still here, but ever so slightly better. Still self-conscious in front of classes, but, with the exception of a parents' evening, I've been confident enough to wear the brace for the full 22 hours.

I think the retainer is genuinely moving the teeth as they ache a little now, but it is not too bad.

I'm now suffering from severe dry mouth and several cuts. Judging from other people's experiences I am hopeful these issues will resolve themselves.

In truth, I have been having a bit of a crisis about the Invisalign and wondering if it is really going to work and if it will be worth 18 months of this. However, I've just taken photos for this site...I can really see how bad my current teeth are. I guess you don't really see your teeth that often, so looking at the photos is really helpful as it really has reminded me why I was so desperate to fix them!


Keep it up it's totally worth it! In the beginning you can get so caught up in wanting immediate progress that it can be hard to see the worth. But it doesn't take too long for the little improvement to show and encourage you to keep up the work! I'm in college and I teach a lot of classes so I know how having a lisp can be with the retainers. I notice it more the first day I switch trays and the last few days of that tray. It's like it becomes more loose as time goes on making it harder to talk without a lisp. But I've found myself enunciating more because of it so maybe it's a blessing in disguise! haha
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Thanks for the pictures!  Your teeth are so white in them!!  I happen to love that crooked corner teeth look (David Bowie and the lead singer from Smashing Pumpkins both have those!) but I can see that it might be less fun to actually have them and feel self-conscious.  Do you know whether the InvisAlign is set to expand your smile as well?  Don't forget to drink water, especially if you're moving mealtimes!

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Thanks -it is good to know I'm in good company! I guess having Billy Corgan's teeth is nothing to be too sad about! My ortho said the Invisalign will expand my smile a little, but not that much. I had 4 teeth out for braces as a teenager, so apparently expanding too much would create instability and also risk leaving gaps. As I'm not really after, or willing to pursue any more drastic options such as jaw surgery, I know my smile will never be Hollywood perfect. However, I will be happy with straight teeth and a little expansion!

Tray 6

Hi, so I am on tray 6 now. I think there have been some minor improvements, but still 30 trays to go! With the slight shifts, the attachments have become much less noticeable.

Good news is that I am now completely confident with the retainers in. No students have noticed and to be honest I wouldn't mind even if they did comment now. I'd just tell them the truth - yes I have braces!

Close friends haven't noticed either and have been shocked if I've told them!

The lisping has completely gone as have the cuts and ulcers.

This will sound odd, but I now actually prefer to have the retainers in. I am convinced they mKe my teeth look shinier and whiter. Also, I like wearing them because I feel I am doing my teeth some good.

Photos posted for comparison with tray 1.


I am so glad to hear that you are no longer self-conscious about them.  After all, what's wrong with braces??  I think a lot of people got scared of them when they were young and there was more of a stigma.  They're much more common now (at least in the US, it seems every child whose parents can afford it gets braces, and the kids even choose colored bands and the like.)  But you're really not trying to impress 17-year-old boys anymore, you know? :D  It's good you don't lisp, though, just for your own sanity :D.

As for seeing a difference, that'll likely be difficult, since you've got an 18-month treatment.  You've done only a very small percentage of your treatment so far.  Sometimes it's easier to see the difference by looking at your actual aligners, though.  Like comparing set 1 with set 6 and checking for differences.  When I enlarge my screen, I feel like I can see a difference in your two front teeth, but it's hard to tell cause the angles are slightly different and the trays are in :).  Still, I'm sure everything's going fine--otherwise you wouldn't be able to switch trays.

Thanks for the update, and Happy New Year, to you!
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Tray 18 of 36

I am now on tray 18 of 36. The trays so far have been pushing my teeth forward to straighten them. The next stage will involve slightly broadening my smile (apparently invisalign isn't great at this) and then pushing the teeth upwards and back again.

I am quite pleased with the improvements so far. I know my smile will never be amazing using invisalign, but so far so good.

Watch this space for more photo updates!


I don't know…you seem well on your way to having an amazing smile.  Not sure why you think that won't happen for you…?  Your progress has been fantastic!
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Thanks for the encouragement TwoPlusOne - you are always very positive and kind. I am sure the final result will be much better than the starting point, I am just trying to be realistic about what invisalign can do for my teeth. It just feels like there are so many things wrong with my smile (big teeth, tiny arch, deep overbite and mis-aligned midline) that if seems unfeasible that invisalign could fix it all! Well, we will see I guess! There seem to be many success stories on here, so maybe I will be one of them!
You have a fair point, and, of course, we can't see the whole picture of your face, just your mouth :).  So proportion is difficult to gauge.  Being realistic is always good as well.  But I think you're gonna look great :D.

Lowers complete - fixed retainer

So my lower teeth are complete. They were hardly wonky at all to be honest, which is why I never bothered with a photo of them!

I am now on tray 22. Apparently my lower teeth were finished at tray 11 and the last 11 trays have all been identical! I'm a bit annoyed that I've been unnecessarily wearing the trays and that I was so poorly briefed on the treatment that I thought I had 36 trays on the lower teeth as well as on the top teeth. orthodontist has now fitted a fixed wire behind the front teeth of the lower set. Even though this has been fixed, I have a more robust retainer that I now just need to wear at night for 3months. After that I can wear it every other night and keep on reducing wear.

I'm a bit confused as to why a fixed retainer needs to be supplemented with a removable one...? Can anyone enlighten me?y orthodontist said that the fixed retainer won't prevent movements at the back. Does this mean my teeth will always be at risk of reverting to the original position?

Has anyone else had a fixed retainer? Has it kept your teeth in place over a long period of time?

Thanks in advance!


So, the aligners will keep your teeth pretty-much exactly where you want them.  They will maintain spacing and rotation and everything perfectly.  Wearing aligners for an extra five months has helped to solidify the new position.  This is to your advantage!

As your doctor said, the bonded retainer will not maintain any of the teeth it is not covering, which is generally everything from the second pre-molars and back.  There is generally less movement in those teeth, but they are likely to move a little, and they can put pressure on your other teeth since they move forward.  If enough pressure is put on your teeth, your brace can come loose.  I've read about people losing their bonded retainers here on RealSelf.  But wearing your aligner retainer at night will keep the back teeth from moving forward to mess with your front teeth.  It's an insurance policy, to make sure you won't have wasted your time and money on this treatment!  

Your doctor's method is very common within Invisalign and you can see many others here in the community who end up with both a bonded retainer and a clear aligner to wear with it nights :D.

I chose not to get a bonded retainer because of the difficulty of flossing (which I feared, though many others have no trouble at all,) but my teeth also move during the day, so putting in the retainer at night is likely more painful for me than it will ever be for you. :)
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photo update


nice progress!
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Beautiful smile! :)
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Thanks for explaining! I'm at peace with the night retainer now :) the teeth do move a bit during the day because I can feel the retainer is tighter if I put it in later. I was struggling a bit with flossing, but then my hygienist recommended superfloss. No problems at all with it now!
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