My Invisalign Journey! - New York, NY

I decided to post on here because this website has...

I decided to post on here because this website has been a huge help to me in deciding to do Invisalign, so I hope my post(s) will help others too. I've been wanting to get Invisalign for years and finally decided to go for it this past October 2013. I am set to graduate next year and I figured it is the perfect time to do it before I get into the working world and have to deal with talking to people face to face each day. I found a premier provider two blocks away from my home & I thought perfect, he's recommended and he's in walking distance. I went in for my consultation and the office was jam packed with people waiting to be seen. The office itself looked like it was a veterinary office (it was cold, very old/outdated equipment and no decor). The orthodontist sat me down and told me I could choose not to do my top teeth if I wanted to, which would cost about $4,000.. or I could do both and it would cost me $6,000. Not doing the top was not an option for me because I do have minor, though very visible issues that need to be fixed. I was surprised that he would even suggest this. The price along with the atmosphere of the office completely turned me off and I just couldn't motivate myself to find another dentist, up until December. I was recommended one which was about 15 mins from my home by car, so I decided to go in for a consultation. The office was warm and inviting, the staff was so helpful, and the dentist herself seemed very knowledgable and a perfectionist - I was sold! What a difference from my last one, I'm glad I decided not to give up. She gave me all of the information upfront and told me that my treatment time would likely be a year. When I went in for my clincheck it turns out that I need 24 trays, so just under a year. However, she did tell me that I would likely need refinements afterward. She also mentioned to me after everything was done, she would put a bonded retainer on my lower teeth. For the top teeth I would need to wear the Invisalign retainer 6 months daily - as I would the trays. After daily wear, I would switch to 2 years of nightly wear, and after the 2 years I would do about 3-4 nights a week. Initially it seemed scary, but I'm hoping the refinements won't be needed, so as to shorten my treatment time, we will see.

I'm on day 5 of my first tray of Invisalign, and I can definitely say it has been a rough few days. I got them put on (with attachments) on Saturday 2/1, and for the first few hours everything was fine, no soreness, no pain, just a slight lisp - boy was I wrong. A few hours in I began getting a throbbing pain and soreness. My aligners were cutting the sides of my mouth. It was nearly impossible to take them off and when I finally could, chewing food was so hard due to the attachments on my teeth that I ended up biting the side of my mouth that was already sore causing it to bleed. By Sunday I was ready to give up on my Invisalign journey because I was fearing that it would be like this throughout the whole treatment period. I was taking advil/ibuprofen a few times a day to ease the pain. It is now day 5 and the pain is just starting to subside. The aligners feel as I assume they should - just a slight pressure to let me know its working. One of my attachments already fell off, but I asked the dentist what to do if that were to happen and she said she could attach them on my next visit which is in a month to pick up my next set of aligners (right now I have 1 & 2).

I do have a few questions, and perhaps someone can help me. I have a friend who is also doing Invisalign and nearing the end of her treatment. Her orthodontist said she would only have to wear her retainer 6 months and that's it. That seems strange? I figured with any treatment involving braces, regardless of the severity of the case a retainer would have to be worn for years.

Also, what causes someone to need refinements? Is it mostly due to patient non-compliance (not wearing 22 hours a day), or is this inevitable for some people?

Sorry my post is so long, I'll post photos and update time to time to show you how my treatment is going!
Refinements are needed since teeth moving isn't completely predictable even if you wear your aligners are directed. Not wearing your retainers will cause your teeth to shift. Sometimes a small shift, sometimes a large shift. Especially if your teeth are moving a large distance, you need to be in retainers full time for a while. I don't know about others, but there is NO way I'd mess up all that hard work by chucking my retainers after 6 months post. Even if my ortho said that I could, I wouldn't do it! (I'm sure he wouldn't suggest that as 18 months of retainer check-ups are included in treatment cost, which means you'd be wearing them for that long, at least.)
Welcome to RealSelf, and thank you for posting!  I'm just going to start in on the questions :)

First, about your friend, yes, that is weird.  The doctor meant she would only have to wear the retainer full-time for six months, and after that, just nightly.  Otherwise, if she wants to maintain her results, she must wear her retainer for the rest of her life.  Nightly or close to that.  I suppose it's possible that she's wearing Invisalign for something other than fixing crooked teeth, in which case it's possible, but the teeth are always moving as we age, so she'd be well-served by wearing her retainer for the rest of her life.  As would you.

Refinements:  The movement of your teeth cannot be perfectly predicted.  Sometimes non-compliance is a problem, sometimes some teeth are just more stubborn than others.  Sometimes you can't tell from the ClinCheck what your teeth will look like in your mouth, and you want them to look slightly different after all is said and done.  That's what refinements are for.  Sometimes you will also need a mid-course correction, if the teeth are just more stubborn than usual and aren't tracking like they should.  Or if you're not wearing your aligners as much as you should be (it can be easy to overestimate how long you're keeping them on.)  But there really is a difference in how quickly they work for different people.  Some people wear them the full 22 hours/day and have trouble getting movement.  Others wear them 20 or less and have no trouble getting movement.  Individual differences.

I'm sorry you had such a painful few days!  I hope that you were able to get some support from looking at other people's experiences.  Five days is a little longer than the norm, but it's not at all unusual to experience pain as you did, unfortunately.  But it does mean things are moving in the right direction :).  Hopefully future trays will be easier, as your teeth will start off a little looser. :D  If your doctor gave you the chewies, use them!  And don't get in the habit of clenching your jaw or chewing your trays.

Have you taken a look around and found others who are just starting treatment as well?

I look forward to following your progress!

My Invisalign Journey!

So I've just switched to tray 2. I wasn't supposed to until tomorrow morning, but a lot of posts suggest switching to new trays the night before, to avoid discomfort and to give a full 8 hours of not taking the aligners off. Is this ok to do? Part of me feels almost guilty for switching earlier, so I just want to know for the future. When I had my tray 1 put in it was in the morning, so technically I'm only 11/12 hours early.

Huge difference in fit! I almost forgot the feeling of just getting the aligners put in. After a painful few days with Tray 1, everything went well after that. Taking them on/off was a breeze and they even started to get "loose".
Just checking in to see how you're doing!  It's going on a month since you last posted so I hope all is well and going seamlessly. :D

Tray Four!

It's been a little over a month since I updated. I guess because I haven't been seeing much of a difference, I didn't feel like there was anything worth sharing. I did end up losing tray 2 (put it in a napkin-big mistake) and wore tray 1 for the rest of the day. I picked up tray 3 the following day which was pretty tight the first two days and then it was easy from there on out. I'm now exactly a week into tray 4. I haven't seen any difference yet. It is somewhat discouraging because I did expect to see a slight difference. I received trays 5 & 6 as well, and they look pretty much identical to tray 4. My next appointment is in May to pick up tray 7 & to start my IPR so my bottom tooth can move forward.

Two attachments on my bottom teeth fell off. My dentist tried putting them back on, but they wouldn't stick to the teeth. Since they were on teeth that were already straight, she said it's not a big deal and she will just re-attach them when I do my refinements. This is another thing that has me discouraged. I'm only on tray 4 and ideally, by the time I get to my last tray everything should be straightened out. I do realize that it doesn't work out that way and refinements are usually needed, but is it typical to be able to tell so early on? She also extended trays 4, 5 and 6 a week. So instead of wearing them two weeks each, she added an extra week on so that I can wear whichever tray(s) I feel necessary a few more days. She asked if I was getting 22 hours in, which I usually am, but on days I am in school it sometimes can be 21 because of extra time traveling to the bathroom to brush, etc. Which is why she added on the extra time. I read on here that a lot of people sometimes don't get the full 22 - so I didn't think this would be such a big deal, especially since it doesn't happen often for me. I am much stricter now on myself than before and have been timing everything to make sure I am doing a full 22 hours.

I'll add in some pictures from tray 4. Nothing really to note for tray's 2 & 3, so I'll skip those. Just curious, if you've done Invisalign what tray did you start noticing a difference? I expect my bottom teeth to take longer because of crowding. However, my top teeth have only slight imperfections, so I expected those to be faster but they haven't moved at all.
So, you really don't notice a difference? Because I do, and I don't think it's hard to see either. Look at the fourth lower incisor (the one furthest back). See how close it is to the second lower incisor in the first picture? Notice the space between them is small. Now look at the picture of aligner 4, without the aligners in. The space is noticeably larger. This means the tooth has moved forward, closer to where it's supposed to be. Looks like a change that would be expected with only the first 4 aligners. So if you have 20 more trays to go, your lower teeth could definitely be straightened out at the end...If you're worried about the teeth not tracking (which doesn't seem to be the case right now), try to use chewies. If you didn't get them from your dentist, they are online at They'll help make sure the aligners are always on properly and encourage movement...As far as when you'll notice changes, I noticed a difference by the 3rd tray and another substantial change with the 7th. I wouldn't say the teeth which need the less work see the most early improvement, it really depends on how your dentist has timed the movement. One of my lower teeth is very slightly rotated and there is no noticeable change with it so far (I'm on #8), but by aligner 15 (halfway) there is a clear change.
I noticed that but I wasn't sure if it was just the angle of the first picture! Thanks for your response. I guess I have to remind myself sometimes that I'm ONLY on tray 4. Good luck with your treatment!
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