Invisalign Reality Check: What to Really Expect

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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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