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Invisalign Reality Check: What to Really Expect

I had real braces as a kid, but of course...

I had real braces as a kid, but of course didn't wear my retainers and my bottom teeth had become crooked -- with one tooth receding and the others crowding in. My dentist suggested that invisalign would solve the problem. After a comprehensive overview of what to expect, I made the investment. It was supposed to take 6 months. I am now almost 2 years into it, and I don't anticipate being even close to the projected outcome.

Here are some warnings I wish someone had given me:

- If you have a job where you have to eat throughout the day (such as regular coffee/lunch/dinner meetings and/or cocktail parties or events), Invisalign may not be for you. I could not keep them in my mouth just based on my work requirements alone.

- If you actually have a social life and enjoy drinking wine or really, anything other than water or eating dinner as your "evening activity" Invisalign may not be for you.

- If you think they are really going to be "invisible" then Invisalign may not be for you. They make you hold your mouth funny even if you can't actually "see" the aligners. I could ALWAYS tell in photos when I had them in just because my mouth looked awkward.

- If you have to speak to other people or publicly for a living, Invisalign may not be for you. The aligners definitely alter your speech no matter how used to them you might get.

- If you are uncomfortable with shaving the enamel off your teeth (I am still researching the long term effects of this) Invisalign may not be right for you.

- If you expect perfection for the MAJOR investment you are making, Invisalign may not be right for you. I have been incredibly underwhelmed with the results -- especially after all this time.

It's easy to get excited about the perfect computer generated models of what your teeth will look like. Don't kid yourself. If you want perfect teeth, go with traditional braces. Definitely more reliable and cheaper. This just wasn't worth the money or the hassle.

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I felt like I was given a really detailed overview of what to expect. I knew there would be buttons on my teeth, that I was likely going to have to shave them down a bit where there was crowding and that the results weren't guaranteed.

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Comments (5)

Obviously, you're displeased. But I've watched a co-worker in traditional metal braces try and function and let me tell you eating (especially starches) is not a pretty thing. Almost 3 months into my seven months, I've had no issues; this has been a non-event. I had some spaces in between my lower teeth filed to make more room for the straightening. I do drink white wine with my trays in, but I rinse frequently with water and brush and floss consistently throughout the day. If I don't tell people about the trays, they don't know they are in. Of course, I know they're in, but others don't. I had no speech issues from day one and operate in a professional corporate environment. This is a snapshot in time and if you follow the directions and wear the trays the modification to life is short-lived and minimal.
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Well by reading your comments it would seem you are not following the treatment. You said you can't wear them all the time like you are suppossed to. Try getting a mouth full of metal and see how you feel in public situations.
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It is important to choose your provider wisely too. There are levels which coincide with the amount of training an orthodontist has had. My ortho was a premier provider and I am totally thrilled with the results. I admit water is the only liquid I drink but I wear my trays 20 to 22 hours a day. I was supposed to be finished in 18 months. By being vigilant, I will be finished in 12 months and will wear my retainers as instructed. I had absoulutely no speech problems. My only complaint is a few mouth sores due to getting used to new trays every two weeks. I, too, had buttons on my teeth.
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They have to make spaces between some teeth for some people, it's as if the enamel is being shaved. I had it done a few times. I had my treatment for 13 months, I was vigilant about wearing my trays for the recommended time. Occasionally I had an occasion where I had them out for about four hours, but I can count on what hand that I did that. My teeth really shifted appropriately during the estimated time. I have one tooth that looks slightly crooked, but only because my teeth are a little funny shaped (some are pointy) so there is a spot where my bottom tooth fits in with my top. It sounds weird but it's not. I didn't need any revisions. I also wear my retainer now (six weeks so far) just like my regular invisalign. I will do this for the recommended 6 months and then switch to nighttime only if my teeth really don't start shifting. My speech was awful in the beginning. I slurred and lisped. Once I got used to the trays, that stopped. I did spit on people a few times in the beginning. I had a mouth full of buttons. 99% of people didn't notice my invisaligns unless I showed them. I of course noticed them because I knew they were there. As for drinking, I went out and had some drinks with my trays in. No wine, but beer. I just rinsed my trays every time I went to the bathroom and made sure to brush really well that night and soak the trays. I do agree with the statement about if you expect perfection then this might not be right for you. My provider never promised perfection but promised a big improvement and that's exactly what I got. I am thrilled, but I had realistic expectations. My bite is better, my teeth are better and I smile all the time. My whole face appears to have changed for the better. My smile got wider and my face looks thinner. If you don't want to be bothered with a retainer for the rest of your life, then braces in general won't be right for anyone.
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How many hours per day have you been wearing the Invisalign trays? I am surprised that a treatment program that was supposed to take 6 months has actually taken four times as long. According to what I've heard, one of the most common reasons why treatment goes off track is that the trays are not worn for the requisite 20-23 hours per day. Also, what is the basis for your saying that Invisalign shaves off tooth enamel?
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