The price is a doozy, but the feeling of being healthy and not being afraid to just smile wider and brighter are going to make this worth it. Straightening teeth isn't necessarily a superficial process; my crowded teeth don't get as much attention with the tooth brush, and my dentist had warned me about all kinds of problems that could come up with age.
The process itself has been really good! However, I say this now with a week and three days under my belt. I have not received my attachments yet. I believe I'm getting them in two more weeks. The first week was a definite challenge, like many others reviews I've read - the pain was pretty intense. I don't feel as though I was adequately warned about the pain, but then I might've been half-listening with all of my excitement.
To describe the pain, it mostly had to do with the sharp edges. I never ended up filing them but the pain did disappear after day three. The other elements of discomfort were the aligners just working, I suppose. I felt very anxious with the pain, almost trapped/claustrophobic. I was having kind of a steady stream of anxiety attacks over the idea of the next eighteen months being like that. The feelings lessened every time I woke up, and each day got better. I'm curious (read: worried) to see how the next set will feel, but at least I'm aware of the light at the end of the tunnel.
As for people noticing them - it was not happening! Friends didn't notice them until I pointed it out. The only difference I noticed is a slight lisp I acquired - but like the pain in the beginning - it seemed to lessen in time as well. I only hear it if my mouth is dry.
If I had any advice it would be to make sure your orthodontist comes recommended, preferably by your dentist (and hopefully you have a great dentist)! After doing some accidental research on aligners, I don't know if I would have been so easily persuaded to spend the money had I been in a different office. There was just something very reassuring about the place I went to (as well as the doctor). If you don't have a place recommended to you, do your best to research - put in the time to find out the best place for you. Go through the pain of many consultations until you have the perfect fit, and your check list of "Must haves" are complete.
I'm kind of excited about the next set, and will try to keep updating how everything is feeling/going. Hopefully with pictures next time!