My Invisalign Journey - Rockville, MD

I've been interested in Invisalign for a while......

I've been interested in Invisalign for a while... I had braces in elementary school through high school and stopped wearing my retainer (got braces in 4th grade, got them off in 5th because I still had some baby teeth that needed to come out, then got them back on from 6th grade to 9th grade?) Combine that with still having my wisdom teeth (got them removed in December), and you get teeth that have moved around. The office I work in does a lot of training events where I'm constantly talking to people and smiling so after a few months of thinking about it and researching orthodontists in my area, I scheduled a consultation. I found a place in my area that had a free consultation, and I really liked the way their website was designed and what it included.

I had my consultation last week. Didn't hear anything surprising since I had researched everything for a while (and read a lot of your helpful reviews). I felt very comfortable with the orthodontist and his staff. Unfortunately my insurance isn't covering me (which I knew) but I at least have a Flex Spending Account to help a bit.

My first appointment is April 23 to take xrays, impressions and get all the other fun paperwork stuff done. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I don't know why I'm nervous considering I've already been through the braces processes.

I'll try to update this each month and will post pictures soon :)


I always love reading when people have really done their research before going ahead with treatment. It sounds like you have well prepared yourself, and it is awesome you have started your review so we can support you through this and others will be able to learn from you!

Do you know if the office you are going to does traditional impressions or if they use the scanner?

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Had my appointment this morning! Nothing...

Had my appointment this morning! Nothing exciting--filled out some paperwork, made my down payment (I'm using my ortho's payment plan: 25% initial with rest over 17 months), and took pictures and impressions. They did traditional impressions with trays.

My first trays should arrive in 5 weeks, and my ortho is going to email me the ClinCheck video when it's ready.

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Received my ClinCheck videos today, and pictures...

Received my ClinCheck videos today, and pictures they took when we did my molds.


I'm on my last aligners and its been such a bad decision, I'm not sure if its because the ortho doesn't know what he is doing or what. I still have an overbite, my teeth don't align as they supposed to and according to the dentist they look good to him. Definitely such a bad experience at this place. This makes me hate aligners, I wish I could have gone with someone else and use regular braces rather than the aligners.

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Day 3

I've had my trays for a little more than two full days and it's not so bad right now. My teeth are a little sore but that's expected. My back teeth have been fine so I've cut food up and just shoved it back there to chew. Haven't really done any biting with my front teeth.

So far, I've struggled with just getting the trays out when I need to brush my teeth and eat. The girls in the office suggested I start with the side with the least attachments because that's easier to get off usually. The top tray isn't bad. I pop off the back right side and then peel around the rest of my teeth. The bottom tray gives me the most issue. You can't see it in the photos they took, but my back left molar doesn't sit straight down so getting the tray over it is hard. I end up having to pop off the back right side and wiggle it around a bit until it almost gets to my attachments. Then I work on getting the other side up to where I can slowly wiggle and pull forward to get off the rest of my attachments. It's probably not good, but I'll also try and lift the tray over the attachments if it's getting stuck.

They didn't put on two of the attachments in my videos so I'm not sure if the girl just forgot or they'll put those one at a later date. I did have to file down the edges of some of the attachments; they were just ripping up my mouth! My mouth is still raw in those parts but it feels much much better when the trays are out.

I have 14 trays on the upper and lower for this first part of treatment. Once those are done, the ortho is doing to see how things are doing and decide if I need to get any refinements done. I'm hoping I don't need any and I'll be done with treatment in 7 months because that would be awesome. Wishful thinking?


The last attachments will likely be added later. I know I have more IPR and attachments coming about half way through my treatment. I have over 10 attachements now and while it was aweful getting the trays off the first week or so, after that they came off fairly easy. I think my buttons wore down some so that they weren't so scratch and bumpy and with slight alignments in my teeth I'm sure that helped as well. They do sell a tray remover on Amazon (search invisalign tool or something like that). I didn't use one but others have sworn by them if you have attachments.
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I'm sorry you haven't had a good experience here! I know I'm still going to have a slight overbite when I'm finished with all my trays... that's just the way my mouth is. I had traditional braces in middle and high school and I still had a slight overbite when those came off.

Follow Up Appt 1

Had my first follow up appointment yesterday morning. Super short, like 5 minutes long. I spent more time sitting waiting for them to call me than I did sitting in the actual chair. I wish they would tell me ahead of time how long they expect appointments to be so I don't waste my quarters in the parking meter.

The assistant/technician pulled up my case on the computer, checked to see that all my attachments were still on and gave me three more sets of trays. I put my new trays in last night before I went to bed. There was some tightness but no soreness this morning which I've found odd. Definitely not the same amount of tightness tray 2 had.

Is that normal? Some trays making you more sore than others? It's not like the tray is loose or anything. It fits nice and snug (and I've been using chewies) but I was expecting more pain when I was taking the trays out this morning to brush my teeth.

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Currently on Tray 4

Hello! It's been a while! Like the title says I'm currently on Tray 4, switching to Tray 5 this coming Tuesday. Haven't been having any issues. There was similar tightness to Tray 3 when I switched to this one, but nothing major like Trays 1 and 2.

I did go on vacation last week and brushing my teeth was obnoxious while out at restaurants. Since we didn't go too far from where we stayed, and because we always went back to the place after eating, I would just swish water around my mouth before putting my trays back in, and then brush and floss right when we got back. Not the best habit ever, but it's less awkward that being in a crammed restaurant bathroom taking up all the counter space and getting weird looks from people.

I have noticed that my bottom front teeth are getting straighter! I haven't noticed anything with the top teeth but I'm sure something happening up there.


I love it when people start to notice some straightening. Isn't it exciting to actually see the progress?!

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More trays!

Picked up trays 6, 7 and 8 this morning and just put in tray 6. Normal tightness, we'll see how sore they are in the morning. I'm excited for tray 8! I was looking at it through the bag and my upper teeth with be super close to being properly aligned :)

The two attachments I had been wondering about still haven't been put on, nor has my orthodontist said anything about giving me rubberbands. I guess that'll be happening in the second half of treatment (after my first 14 trays).


How is tray 6 feeling now that a couple more days have gone by?

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My teeth were really sore the first two days.. now it's not so bad except for a few teeth that ache a lot when I take the trays out

I guess it means they are working & moving towards the straightness of tray 8 - silver lining! :)

Tray 7

I put Tray 7 in on Tuesday night before I went to be and OMG does this one hurt! Half of my lower teeth are super sore! I can barely stand to bite down on my chewie to make sure the trays are sitting properly. Right after I put the trays back in, those lower teeth are just on fire! The other half of the lower teeth feel fine and the upper tray is just a big snug.

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Trays 8 and 9

Tray 8 and on have had the precision cut outs in them but the doctor said he wants to hold off on those until the second half of my treatment. Something about how he didn't me to deal with sore teeth from the trays with the rubber bands pulling on them, which I'm ok with.

Tray 8 and 9 (currently in) were not as aggressive as tray 7. Just the normal tightness when first put on and soreness the first few days. I have trays 10 and 11 before I go in to see them again for the last 3 trays in the 1st half of treatment.

I haven't had any IPR yet. The only reason I talked to my doctor this time was because the technician didn't know if he wanted to do any or not.

Excuse the blurry quality of the image :)


Looks good.
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Part 1 - last 3 sets of trays

As the update title says, I picked up the last three trays for the first part of my treatment today - trays 12, 13 and 14. Next appointment in 6 weeks will be taking new impressions for the 2nd half of treatment. Ortho said there are a few teeth that haven't moved exactly like he wanted so the first few weeks of treatment part 2 will fix those and then it'll just be rubber bands to correct my bite.


I'm in the same tray spot as you. I have bands as well and they can be really annoying at first. At least for me because I kept playing with them and my tongue would get sore... Thanks for the update, your pictures are looking great!
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Part 2!

Had my appointment today - took off all the attachments, took pictures and new molds for the second half of my treatment. I'll be wearing Tray 14 as a retainer until the new trays arrive, which should be in about 5 weeks. Taking molds is the worst. We had to do my bottoms 3 times to get the best mold because my back molar is at an angle and the technician kept pulling the mold out at an angle where my tooth kept messing it up.

There was also something weird with the bottom of one of my front teeth.. like a small chip in it so Dr. Avila polished that up. My only complaint is that my front teeth are different heights/sizes now. You would think that he would have tried to even both teeth out or something but no... Now it's all I can see. I don't know how the new trays would correct that so maybe I'll ask him to even out the other tooth when everything is done?


The halfway point…exciting! I'll be interested to hear about the plan for evening out those front teeth. I'm going to have a similar situation to deal with further down the line, I'm afraid. Thanks for sharing!
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Picture of the uneven teeth

Here's a picture of how my front two teeth are uneven after today. Super zoomed in so it's exaggerated. Probably much less of an issue from far away but I just can't stop staring at it.


With attachments, it would be possible for them to pull one of the teeth down a little.  Also, as they shift in your jaw, the difference may be less exaggerated--right now they look slightly tilted.  However, it is likely that there will be some slight imperfections even at the end of your treatment.  For example, because my teeth had been placed a certain way for so long, one of my front teeth is thicker than the other.  The one that was sticking out a bit.  Either the other got worn down, or this one was thicker and that was why it got pushed out further.  I'll never know.  But that is with me forever, and it means that tooth will always be pushed forward by my tongue, and so I have to have my retainers keep pushing it back.

It is possible for doctors to shape the teeth a little bit at the end, though--take some height off of one of them.  But not a whole lot, since they don't want to compromise the tooth.  Definitely ask them about it.

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14 more trays, now with rubber bands

Picked up the first 3 trays for the second half of my treatment this morning.

I have 2 attachments on the top, both on my incisors. They did a little IPR between my front teeth which was weird and uncomfortable but not painful. I thought it was unnecessary but whatever. I have 6 attachments on the bottom teeth--2 on the right side and 4 on the left, plus the two buttons for the rubber bands to hook on to.

I had rubber bands the back in middle/high school so nothing new there. Just have to stop myself from trying to shoot them out of my mouth like I used to. I do have to adjust to speaking with them in since they don't let me open my mouth as wide.

Normal sort of tightness right now but they new tray has only been in for about an hour. Hopefully they won't feel too awful when I take them out for lunch and dinner later.


Cool rubber band ;) I am getting a rubber band too, but only one, on my right canine. Your teeth are beautiful already, so I'm sure when you're done they'll look even better.
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Thank you for showing us what the rubber bands look like.  A lot of people know very little about rubber bands with Invisalign.  Happy New Year to you!
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Rubber bands

I have had the rubber bands in more about a day and a half. Soreness seems pretty normal for a new tray although my incisors and molars where the rubber bands attach are a bit more sore than normal. Taking the bottom tray out in a bit more difficult right now. I used to grasp the back between my finger and thumb, then lift up and peel off the tray--it's not as easy with the metal button. The button is a bit obnoxious when the trays are not in. It sticks out a good bit and I keep chewing on my cheek when I'm eating. I'll get used to it but it's annoying right now.

I'll put the trays in, chew on a chewie for a bit to make sure the tray is seated properly and then put the rubber bands on.


I'm starting Invisalign in a few weeks, I'm following your journey because we have really similar teeth and rubber band placement! Thank you for sharing your journey and I'll be starting mine in a few weeks! Your posts are super helpful and your smile looks great!
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Ooh!  I've never seen a button up close before!  Thanks!!!!
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Tray 4

Picked up Trays 4-6 on Tuesday. Ortho did a little more IPR in between the same front teeth. He said my bite is looking good and told me to wear the rubber bands full time for two more weeks and then just wear them at night. My teeth don't really feel like they're lining up perfectly when the trays are out but whatever. Maybe I'll wear the bands full time a little longer than two weeks.

Tray 4 had a little bit of tightness when I first put them on. No major movement happening there so I've put the rubber bands back in almost immediately. With my first three trays, my teeth were really sore and I would leave the rubber bands off for a few days when changing trays. If I put the rubber bands on immediately, I experienced increased soreness for a longer period of time. This way, I let my teeth adjust to the new tray before adding on the pressure from the rubber bands.


I just got a message that you updated your review, but I don't see the update…?  Did something go wrong?
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No, I updated from Not Sure to Worth It. Thanks for checking!
Oh, okay! :)  So that means things are going well, right? :D


Hi all! Sorry for the silence but there hasn't been much going on. Very little movement of my teeth, mainly focusing on getting my bite right with the rubber bands.

I picked up trays 7 though 10 at my April appointment and switched to wearing the rubber bands at night online.

I picked up trays 11 through 14 (the last 4 trays!) this morning. Still wearing the rubber bands at night for my bite. I go back in 8 weeks, and he said we'll see how everything looks then. Might have to wear the last tray for maybe 2 more months and then do the retainer. If everything looks good, then we'll move straight to the retainer.

His only concern is the front tooth that is lower than the other one (my concern in a previous post). He was like those teeth aren't even so I'll give you some chewies--only use the chewie on that tooth to encourage it to move up. To which I was thinking, they're uneven because you evened out that other tooth months ago.... Is there a difference between chewie colors and what they do? Is one color firmer than another? The ones I got today are purple. My older ones are yellow.


I always forget to use my chewies, how important are they to this whole process???
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I don't think the chewies will have the effect my orthodontist wants but I found them helpful when I put new trays in. Other than the obvious fact that they make sure the tray is sitting properly against your teeth, I found that chewing on it seemed to help my teeth/gums adjust to the new tray faster.
My Ortho and her staff act like they don't even know what a Chewie or Outie is...when I asked about it, they actually said to not use it because it could cause the teeth too much pressure with a new tray...she said that the tray feels looser over the 2 weeks because your teeth are adjusting to the tray, not the tray adjusting to your teeth. Long story short...she said don't use them to me.

Tray 14

So close to the end! I'm currently wearing Tray 14 of 14 in my refinement process. I go in on July 22 to see if I have to wear this tray longer or if we're going to take retainer impressions. As I said in my last update, the Ortho wants the front tooth to move up and be the same level as the tooth he evened out. He said to just use the chewie there to encourage it to go back up. As expected, it hasn't moved. I'll have to remind him that he evened out the other tooth and that my tray accommodates for the difference.. it's not like there's a little gap in between the evened tooth and the tray. There's just a bit more plastic at the bottom.

I have some soreness in my top teeth. The tray bags say that one of them is a passive aligner, so I assume it's the bottom once since they haven't hurt in a long time. I'm still wearing the elastics at night except for right after switching to a new tray. I tried to wear the elastics on Tuesday after putting this tray in and assume I woke up to take them off in the middle of the night because they hurt too much. I found them on my pillow the next morning.

Anyone know how they get the metal button off? Do they just like.. snap it off?? I know they grind/polish off the attachments.


@kellynyc16, bottom line is to follow your doctor's advice.  We don't give advice on RealSelf, tending instead to relay what our doctors or other doctors we've read have said; but if your doctor says to do or not to do something, then that is what you should be following.  Of course, if you disagree with what they say, then you talk to them and make your own decisions.  This is probably obvious to you, but for others coming in later and reading threads like this, I just want people to see that Crooky's doctor recommends using them but your doctor didn't; and it's not uncommon for different doctors to have different opinions on how to best go about treatment.  One doctor may be more worried about tracking, while another is more worried about possibly creating an open bite or exacerbating TMJ disorder, for example.  It may even be patient-specific.


Went into my normal dentist for a small filling and left 3 hours later after a root canal. Awesome. Sadly, it wasn't my first one so I wasn't freaked out about the procedure. Apparently, it looked like a small thing on the x-ray but when she got in there she found a small line all the way to the nerve.

It's hard to tell if my mouth hurts from the root canal or if the dental resin isn't in the same shape as the tray impression. It's definitely shorter than what was previously there on one side cause I can see the gap. It doesn't hurt too terribly and I'm going into the ortho on Tuesday so I'm dealing. Pain level is about the same as putting in an aggressive new tray and they prescribed some extra strength ibuprofen in case I need it. I'm going back to the dentist in a week and a half to get my crown made while I'm there.

At my appointment on Tuesday, I'll let my ortho know that if he planned on taking impressions for the retainer, I'll need to come back after I have the crown in. If I need to wear this tray for 2 more months like he mentioned, I'll see if the dentist can use one of my older trays to make the crown. My bottom tray has been passive for a while.


I can tell you that when I got my crown, it took about a week for it to move to fit into the tray :(.  PAIN!  I didn't have a root canal, but the crown itself is never perfectly positioned.  They even had my Invisalign retainer and everything, to make everything fit, and reshaped the tooth so it'd fit better, but the pain happened anyway.

Now I feel nothing, though.
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A little bit longer now

Did anyone read that to the tune of Shout? Cause I was humming 'a little bit louder now' as I wrote it.

Anyway, my ortho decided to we're going to do a few more trays on the top to get that one front tooth even with the other front tooth. He took off all the attachments, snapped off the button with some neat little tool (didn't hurt at all, just sounded like a pop) and then took an impression for the upper. I'm not sure how many trays the top will be again, but it didn't sound like a lot. His words were "It's like a hair off and I want them completely straight and perfect."

Since I'm getting my crown done on Monday, I go back on Tuesday to do an impression for the lower. The lower impression will be for the retainer because those teeth are done and my bite is where he wants it. If the crown doesn't fit the tray, they'll do a cut out around the crown so I can keep wearing the tray until the retainer is ready.


I see the slight discrepancy there, but man, it looks really fantastic anyway, so congratulations!!!  It's worth it, though, to get the last 1%, because you don't want to regret not doing it later, and we always start staring at our teeth like crazy going through this.  You'd always notice :D.
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At least 5 more trays

Last Thursday, I finally got my crown done. My dentist cancelled the first appointment because she wasn't feeling well and then got grumpy that I couldn't reschedule my work meetings to come in sooner. You only work Mondays and Thursday, what am I supposed to do?? Whatever. After I got the crown done, I popped over to the Ortho because the crown was a bit larger than my tray. They took the impression for my bottom retainer, and then sliced off half of the tray so I could wear it on most of my teeth.

I had my normal appointment today where I picked up 5 more trays to fix that front tooth. There are no attachments on these. He said to come back in about 7 weeks so I guess I'll be wearing these for 10 days each.The trays actually came in about 30 minutes after I left on Thursday.

He said these should be the last, but there are 5 more after in case we need to tighten up the space in between any teeth. They also already had my bottom retainer ready so I got that too. They didn't explicitly say what type it was but the plastic baggy had a hand written label saying Essix retainer. It was tight feeling when I first put it on and I can feel some aches but I think that's pretty normal from reading other people's experiences with the retainer.


Thanks for the update!  It's nice that they hadn't made your retainer yet, since the crown wouldn't have fit!
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Sublime Smiles

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