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Straight Teeth Without the Pain of Traditional Braces.

I have been doing Invisalign now for about 9...

I have been doing Invisalign now for about 9 months. I wouldn't say I love it (it can be uncomfortable or even a bit painful at times) but I am incredibly happy with the results so far. I never had braces when I was younger. And at 29, I certainly didn't want an eye-catching mouth full of metal. When I went in for a consultation, the dentist palpably exuded excitement. According to him, I was a perfect candidate-- relatively simple fixes that would result in a dramatic visible change. I have 3 anchor points, all on the top row of teeth: one large one on my right incisor, one smaller one on the tooth behind it, and another smaller one mirroring that one on the other side of my mouth. To correct rotation of a bunch and tilt of a few, I was originally told I would only need 10 sets of trays (about 5 months worth). At the end of my 10, my teeth hadn't moved as much as projected by Invisalign's software. I think this was partially due to one anchor point having stopped really fitting about halfway through. No big deal though, the dentist simply took another set of molds and sent them off to Invisalign for what he called a "mid-course correction". They sent back an additional 10 sets to continue with at no extra cost. I did have to have some filing in between teeth. The dentist broke it up over the first month or so so I wouldn't have to have it all done at once. It was easily my least favorite part(s) of this whole experience, but the time spent getting filed was so short compared to the length of the entire procedure that I can't really complain. Warning to people thinking about Invisalign-- the very first set of trays was excruciatingly painful. I could barely stand to eat solid food for the first week. Once my teeth had loosened up a bit, the second, third, and following trays were MUCH easier to deal with. During my first 10 sets, I noticed the tightening between sets quite a bit. I'd usually be a little sore for the first 3-6 days or so. The newest 10 seem to be much closer together; I'm barely sore for the first day or two. I usually go to sleep with new sets on so I'll be more used to them by the time I wake up. This used to require a bit of Ibuprofen before bed with the earlier ones. Occasionally, new sets feel sharp around the edges (especially in the front under my tongue) but using orthodontic wax to line the outside of the trays in those areas works pretty well. (It sure beats having sharp metal in my mouth all the time!) I lisped for maybe the first week, back at the very beginning. Now I'm completely used to talking with them in. I occasionally whistle on certain words, but it doesn't really bother me. I won't have these things in forever. As far as the results so far go, most of my smaller teeth look totally straight along the front to me (although my dentist says they have a ways to go when he looks at the alignment from above) and the monster incisor that instigated all of this sticks out way less. There is no visual overlap between my two front teeth anymore, but I can feel with my finger that they're not entirely flat together. All of that is supposed to change in the next few months. I was actually shocked when I saw some old photos recently-- I have gotten so used to the way my teeth look now that I'd almost forgotten what they used to be like. At the end of the procedure, I will be getting a tiny bar along the backs of my lower teeth in the front to protect this investment, and will be wearing my last upper tray as a retainer when I sleep. I have been told that the last set of trays would also make excellent custom bleaching trays if I ever want to go that route less expensively. I'd say the only con for me is having to brush all the time (if you eat more than 3 times a day, this can be annoying). I'm not always the best with that, so I have denture baths to help clean the trays sometimes. Sonicare toothbrushes seem to work really well at getting plague out of the crevices, too. So ultimately, I would say YES, Invisalign IS worth it -but- there ARE some minor annoyances. However, I feel those annoyances are negligible when you compare them to what you'd experience with "real" braces. My partner had braces for years and years when he was younger, and admits to some envy when he watches me remove or replace my trays. I can take them off, eat whatever I want, floss my teeth, and easily snap them back on. I don't have a mouth full of jagged metal constantly ripping apart the inside of my cheeks and catching on my skin. I'd say the pros far outweigh the cons in this situation. I feel lucky that I was a good candidate for this, and that my molars didn't need a ton of movement. If anyone is in the Seattle area, I highly recommend my dentist. I will post before and after photos once I finally get my anchors removed.
Joseph Zimmer DDS

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Comments (1)

I have used invisalign's for a little under 2 years now. Initially I was told that they will stay on for a year and a few months. But after my trays were finished, my teeth were not perfectly straight and more trays had to be ordered three times. My orthodontist then told me, after the fact, about 70% of the invisalign patients have to get the traditional braces to obtain the close to perfection straightness they are seeking. So, needless to say, I just came back from the orthodontist today with braces on my teeth to get my teeth "perfectly straight". If I had to do it again, I would have just gotten the traditional braces initially because they are cheaper and the procedure would have been completed at this point.
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