Invisalign is one of the best things I have ever done for myself.
For me, the thought that was always in the back of my mind was my teeth – in particular, one of my top crooked front teeth.
Before my treatment I had one front tooth that came forward which I would always tried to hide as much as possible in photos or when I would be meeting people for the first time. I always felt extremely self-conscious laughing and would often laugh with my mouth shut, or with a hand over my mouth just so my front tooth didn’t show. I always had a ‘good side’ when I was posing for photos, so that my teeth gave the illusion of being straight. Ridiculous right? Everyone should feel confident when having a chuckle, and flashing my pearly whites was something I just couldn’t feel good doing.
I felt like when I had my mouth closed the culprit tooth was pressing on my lips which kept it at the forefront of my worries. Being an overly anxious person, it played on my mind so much that I really wanted braces. That was my plan, until I found out Invisalign existed.
I chose Invisalign literally because they were clear, the idea of being a 25-year-old with metal braces just really didn’t make me happy. It was either do nothing about my teeth and feel upset every time I smile, or get Invisalign. It was nothing to do with the cost, I just wanted something that wouldn’t show in photos because I was already so self-conscious about my teeth – braces to me, would just enhance this and make my mouth stand out more. I had also started doing a lot of photo shoots for my blog, and I personally didn’t want a mouth full of braces that I couldn’t hide.
What to expect
Invisalign are clear, plastic trays that are made by those strange-looking 3D printers. You have a mould taken of your mouth in its current state, and the 3D printer makes you a custom set of trays that slowly get tighter and straighter. This process ends up slowing pushing your teeth into their desired shape through pressure over the course of your treatment.
You may or may not need to wear elastic bands (one on each side) to place your jaw into the correct spot. I found that each tray varied – in the beginning when my teeth were dramatically shifting each fortnight my tray would get slightly tighter and YES it would hurt. The bones in your mouth are moving… so I’m definitely not going to sugar coat that at times it was incredibly painful.
I would wake up some mornings and feel like I had been punched square in the jaw. Other times I would eat or drink and my teeth were so sensitive that I could only eat soft foods. Sometimes, the trays were perfectly fine and didn’t hurt one bit. It totally varies with each retainer because as they get tighter, it works on different sections of your jaw. Everybody who has Invisalign would have a different outcome, because everybody is different.
The first few sets would rub on the inside of my lips and really hurt. I brought some wax that you stick on braces and moulded bits around the sharp ends of my Invisalign to help with the pain.
I have a very minor lisp, but I found my lisp was incredibly noticeable once I had started my treatment. This carried on for the first five/six Invisalign trays until the front teeth straightened out a little. If you think about it like this, there’s a strange foreign object covering your teeth, so of course you’re going to feel a little weird and uncomfortable talking with them in until you are used to it. Your whole mouth is adapting to having plastic covering your teeth.
Every six weeks I had a check up with my dentist – and I changed my retainers every fortnight to a tighter set, in the last 20 or so weeks, I actually changed them to a different tray every week.
I’ve compiled a list of the things that I did, which were a big mistake – so if you’re thinking about getting Invisalign then keep the below pointers in mind
Don’t ever go to sleep without your retainers on.
You will be surprised how fast teeth shift when they have constant pressure on them. While you are sleeping your body relaxes, including your jaw which means prime time for shifting. In the beginning of your treatment when your teeth are really shifting a great deal you must keep your Invisalign in when you aren’t eating. I found this out the hard way at times when I would forget to put them back in and would then have some serious pressure to deal with. Ouch!
Don’t throw your Invisalign retainers away when it’s time to change a set
Pop them back into their little snap lock bags and toss them into a paper bag somewhere safe in the off-chance you need an emergency pair to chuck in before your next set. There were a couple of times when I took them out to eat and lost them. Because they are clear plastic, I would wrap them in napkins and then accidentally chuck the napkin away without thinking (it happened more than once).
Try not to drink too much coffee, tea, red wine, bright coloured fizzy drinks with retainers in
As they are made of clear plastic they can absorb colour and stain your trays.
Give them a good brush out with your toothbrush when you brush your teeth (morning and night). You should also grab some special fizzy cleaning tablets to use, your provider will be able to help. These tablets dissolve in water and help keep your Invisalign clean and free from bacteria, kind of like Berocca tablets for your retainers.
Every patients treatment plan will be different and mine cost a total of NZ $8,000 (including the removal of two wisdom teeth). This is an AMAZING price (especially with wisdom teeth removal included which can sometimes cost up-to a grand for each tooth removal!).
I pay it off with affordable weekly payments and couldn’t be happier with the cost. You cannot put a price on confidence and I was willing to do anything to have healthy, straight teeth. I’m always smiling and cackling – I actually feel like I have a great smile when I laugh now which is an amazing feeling! Please don’t take this post the wrong way either. I’m definitely not advocating that spending lots of money on changing the way you look is a must to feel confident within your body… I was just really upset about my teeth and the way I automatically deleted photos or untagged myself in images where I could see my teeth. All I’m saying is that this is what worked for me, and now I feel so much happier being able to cackle without my own insecurities getting in the way.
Initially my treatment was estimated to be around a year and six months. However it ended up being two years because my jaw wasn’t quite sitting where it should be so the treatment was extended. You need to be prepared for a shorter or longer plan depending on how your teeth are doing. These extra trays that I needed were all included in the first price… basically because my jaw wasn’t sitting where it needed too (and needed some extra time) the extra Invisalign trays required to get my end result were all included within the price.
On the whole I would gladly recommend Invisalign to anyone who is wanting to straighten their teeth, or even if there is a specific tooth that you aren’t happy with. The best thing to do if you’re interested would be to find out which local dentists in your area have Invisalign approved staff and make an appointment to talk about options. It took me forever to book in an appointment but I’m so glad that I finally did it, it’s changed my life!
Even the shape of my lips have changed, they are a lot more symmetrical and don’t have one side that comes more forward (if that makes sense) because obviously the tooth behind it sits nice and flat in line with the rest of my jaw so the lip settles nicely over the top.
Now that my Invisalign treatment has finished, I have a tiny metal wire across the back of my bottom teeth to keep them in place. I also have a clear top retainer (it’s even more invisible that my first retainers) which I wear for the next six months. As my teeth are now in place and looking great, the bones need to fuse to my jaw which is why you need to keep them in place for the next few months while the bones set. Sounds gruesome but once the time is up, I’ll be retainer free and have the straightest teeth in town!
I spoke to one of my best friends Izy about the topic of teeth straightening as she has only recently had braces put on her bottom teeth. Here’s what she had to say:
“After seeing the incredible result Charlotte had from her Invisalign, I was inspired to book a consult to see if I was eligible for this treatment to resolve a tooth crowding issue I have on my lower jaw line. The orthodontist said I would be able to use Invisalign if I wanted to, but because my teeth were crowded, it would be harder to achieve a perfect result. She said I might need to have a tooth extracted in order for Invisalign to work, because with traditional braces she was confident it would be possible to correct my teeth while keeping them all. Not only that, but traditional braces tend to be considerably cheaper than Invisalign and they work a lot faster. Although I wanted Invisalign for the cosmetic and cleaning benefits, traditional braces just make a lot more sense for me. I’ll be getting them on the 11th of August and I’m excited about transforming my smile!”.
If you have further questions about my Invisalign treatment then comment below and I’ll try to answer as best as I can. Otherwise, for more detailed questions about your own teeth, get in touch with Invisalign via their Facebook page 🙂