I'm due to move on to the fourth set of trays this week but here is my experience thus far: I'm in my mid 20s and I've always been a little self conscious of my smile but my teeth seem to have shifted a lot in the past 7-8 years to the point where I don't like to show them when I get my picture taken. Maybe it was a natural shift after having wisdom teeth removed, maybe it was because I've worn a lip ring off and on since I was 18, all I know is it was time to do something about it. I purchased a LivingSocial deal for $49 and it included consultation, X-rays, and $500 towards braces or Invisalign. Being a broke college student I didn't hesitate since the worst case scenario was being down $50 but at least having X-rays and an idea of what would be required to fix my teeth. The orthodontist recommended Invisalign over traditional braces because of the condition of my teeth. I have a lot of decalcification, largely due family genetics and my medications (which apparently is a common side affect of a lot of meds and I just didn't know). The doctor was concerned that traditional braces would make it worse.
So after all was said and done my Invisalign cost $5600 which included 52 sets of trays (2 years worth), attachments, up to three adjustments/refinements if needed, and retainers. One other problem I was eager to see if it would help was my TMJ. My jaw acts like a trigger finger meaning it pops into place when closing from being wide open, there's no in between range of motion. I also go through phases of grinding my teeth at night. Over the past two years it got increasingly worse- lots of pain, I couldn't eat anything really chewy because it hurt, continuous tinnitus (ear ringing), and frequent headaches. My mouth was crazy sore the first couple days of having my first pair of aligners but nothing ibuprofen couldn't fix. It continued to be sore for a couple more days whenever the trays were out. This made it hard to determine if there was any affect on my TMJ symptoms. Within days I was so happy and relieved when I realized my jaw pain was drastically reduced. Thus far my TMJ symptoms continue to be minimal.
Now however, I seem to be encountering some issues with the process. A couple weeks ago I received 14 attachments. They were extremely irritating the first couple days until I took a file to the two troublesome ones and smoothed them out. Already one of them has come off which I was told could happen and not to worry about it. If it's nothing to worry about then why put them on in the first place? Now my trays are really difficult to clean thoroughly ( I came across this site in my search for better cleaning methods) and consequently they smell worse.
Then the other day I noticed some of my teeth are developing white areas which isn't a good sign. A couple months ago (before the braces) I started using a strong fluoride paste that I put on for several minutes after I brush. If that and good hygiene aren't enough to combat the effects of my teeth being covered 22 hours a day, I'm not sure what else to do. Tomorrow I'll start using a different cleaning method and see if anything improves. So for now my overall opinion is still on the fence. I think I'll have a better idea in the next couple weeks depending on if the issues improve or not.