Do Not Recommend. - Long Island, NY

I wore braces as an adult as recently as 2000....

I wore braces as an adult as recently as 2000. Only a few years after having them removed, my teeth settled back into their crooked state. I postponed correcting them until this year, when I decided to give Invisalign a try. One lateral tooth was moving in front of a front tooth, and I just couldn't live with the look and discomfort.

My case would be considered mild by most standards. Only 15 aligners were ordered, 30 total weeks of treatment.

I've completed all 15 aligners and am disappointed with the results, and with the continuing treatment. The orthodontist hasn't done a refinement, the term for taking new impressions and ordering new aligners. Instead, he has adjusted the last aligner 3 times, several weeks apart, to very little effect. On my next appointment, 16 weeks will have passed from what should have been the end of the treatment. It's possible the size and shape of my teeth are such that they can't come out perfectly straight, though I do believe they should look better than they do. There's a still some rotation on the two upper laterals.

If you're considering Invisalign over traditional braces, Invisalign does have an appearance advantage. Be aware, though, that Invisalign isn't "invisible" like the models with perfect teeth in the ads. The orthodontist will put small attachments, called buttons, to give the aligners something to grab. The aligners have small bumps that line up with the buttons. There are 6 on my front 6 teeth, The overall effect is a bad smile, I look like I have something on my teeth,which I do.

I shopped price, because the treatment is expensive, with a wide range of quoted costs, generally $4,000 - 6,000.

I would recommend Invisalign, in spite of my personal dissatisfaction, over wire braces, having worn both.

I too have mixed feelings about the efficacy of Invisalign. After my initial 19 aligners for both upper and lower teeth, my two laterals were still twisted. My dentist took new impressions and I got 6 additional aligners. Three month later, and still no improvement. So again, my dentist did another set of impressions and said Invisalign acknowledged they were having difficulty with their product results with the lateral teeth. So I began and a whole new treatment plan began with another 19 aligners. With each set of refinements, the old buttons were ground off and new buttons put on. This is an assault on the enamel of the teeth each time. After finishing with the last 19 aligners for the upper teeth, the one lateral was perfectly in place. The other was slightly twisted, but enough was enough and the buttons were removed. I wore the retainers [both upper and lower] every night. Even though treatment was finished on my bottom teeth a year earlier, I learned that if I went one night without the retainer, my teeth would be slightly shifted by the next night. Within a week after treatment was completed on the top teeth, my slightly twisted lateral was going back to its old ways, so I began wearing the retainer 24/7 and my dentist has ordered replacement retainers to be mailed to me every three months. At least with the retainers, I look like the television commercials which never show how ugly the buttons can look. During my semi-annual cleaning and exam, my dentist hesitantly said she could put some kind of permanent band attachment on the lingual [backside] of the teeth from canine to canine, but it would be difficult to keep my teeth clean. We agreed that I would wear the upper retainer 24/7 for the next five months and re-visit the issue. To be honest, I don't feel comfortable taking the retainer off to eat because my teeth don't feel right when I bite into food and chew. My dentist said its customary until the brain learns what normal, naked teeth feel like. I think my dentist has been very diligent and doing her best. I don't know who took the financial loss for the second and third extensive round of refinements, but regardless, I have lost faith in the Invisalign process. What truly disturbs me are the two cavities I developed on my bottom teeth. I'm 62 years old and I haven't had a cavity since age 15. With the Invisalign, I brushed with my Sonicare twice daily, a regular toothbrush twice daily, flossed twice daily and used a flouride mouthwash. Both cavities are where the buttons were close to my gumline. Indeed, my teeth are better now than before Invisalign, but they are not what the computer modules showed at end of treatment. Maybe I'm being pessimistic because of my recent exam this week, but I think I'm doomed to wearing the upper retainer 24/7 for the rest of my life and still not sure if the retainer will keep my teeth from shifting. You might see me still posting here five years from now. Who knows, maybe Megan and I will feel like best friends after my posting here for the next five years and we'll meet somewhere for lunch :)
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Yeah, 15 aligners seems pretty light. That being said, if you aren't seeing the results you discussed achieving with the orthodontist I think its reasonable to push on him/her a little to get them. You were understanding and let them try tweaking the existing trays to get the result, but it that isn't working hopefully they will be willing to go the next step and order the refinement.

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Megan that won't happen that would cut profit! Invisalign is good but not perfect as advertised. Invisalign alumni
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The orthodontist finally took a new impression and...

The orthodontist finally took a new impression and ordered a new set of aligners. It's way late for this, my current aligners are now 4 months old, cracked, and barely able to serve as retainers. New aligners take 6 to 8 weeks. By then I will be 20 weeks past the scheduled end of my treatment. This is potentially a problem, not just a delay or inconvenience. If my teeth shift in this time, the new aligners won't fit properly.
My comments should be limited to helping someone decide whether this is a good treatment for him/her. However, this is a personal decision, and case by case. My experiences should help you, though, in remembering to ask the right questions and be your own advocate if treatment isn't going correctly. What I didn't do correctly was find out what the expectations should be - perfect teeth, a little better, a lot better?
There's still the next phase, maybe the next set of aligners will finish straightening my teeth.

2/1/13 I received what are called refinements,...

2/1/13
I received what are called refinements, the next set of aligners. These are based on a new mold and can be considered a fresh start. The technician commented that they're new, but didn't get into any details. Neither did the orthodontist, and I didn't pursue it. I found a press release that will be of interest to anyone considering treatment. It's about the new materials being used by Invisalign as of Oct, 2012. The difference is noticeable. They're much more comfortable. The new aligners are designed to exert even pressure over a longer period. The previous material (which was my last set), exerts strong initial force, than tapers off soon afterwards. Align also claimes that the new material will do better with rotating teeth. If true, this is encouraging for me, because that is my remaining problem. My original 15 aligners were good at moving teeth forward and back, but not correcting teeth that are even slightly rotated.

Read about it: http://finance.yahoo.com/news/align-technology-introduces-next-generation-200000500.html
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My bite is misaligned, it's uncomfortable to chew....

My bite is misaligned, it's uncomfortable to chew. I still have 7 more aligners in the "refinement" phase. I put that in quotes because what is referred to as a refinement is more like a do-over, because the treatment was unsuccessful up to this point.
I cannot recommend Invisalign. However, if you're an adult and don't want the embarrassment of wire braces, you may want to roll the dice after consultations with several orthodontists. Go with whichever one discusses the treatment in detail.

The Last Word

Treatment is finally over. 30 weeks turned into 16 months, and my teeth didn't come out straight. Today was my final visit. I didn't express my dissatisfaction, because I won't sit through another round of impressions and aligners, assuming that's even an option. I also won't pay the $350 for retainers. Your experience might turn out better. Be sure to ask the right questions up front.

Oh no Joe1999. :( I'm so sorry to hear how things ended up for you. I suppose its good that you know you have reached your limit and you are ready to cut your losses, but what a bummer to not achieve the outcome you had hoped for.

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Name not provided

The doctor speaks well, but says nothing of substance. Anything I've learned about Invisalign was through being a patient, reading patient forums, and Invisalign's website. The practice deals in volume. Other orthodontists I considered have only one chair. I asked to see the computer modeling of my treatment, and never did see it. The technicians are excellent and courteous.

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