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.
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.
I received what are called refinements,...
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
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.