emily howard

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My Invisalign experience: Halfway there!

Invisalign, ReviewsEmily HowardComment

This week marks my technical halfway point with my Invisalign treatment. Yay! Time for a run-down of my experience so far:

Why did you start Invisalign?

I signed up for dental insurance through work that covers orthodontics. I also got engaged in March to a swell guy with straight-as-a-board teeth, so Invisalign is a pretty nice wedding gift to myself. My dentist will also whiten my teeth after the treatment! :)

Wait, you never had braces?

Haaaa yes, I did. For four years. With rubber bands and headgear and seasonally-appropriate colored bands on the brackets. So my teeth were straight and my overbite was fixed. BUT! I never wore my retainer and my teeth shifted, so now I am paying for some pretty expensive orthodontia. (Seriously, wear your retainers.)

How much does Invisalign cost?

Total, $5000. *wide-eyed blushing emoji* My insurance covers $1500 worth of orthodontics, so I pay $3500. My dentist is great and let me pay for half when I started my course. Then, they provided an option to pay month-to-month, or pay for the other half any time before my course is complete. I chose to do the half-and-half method, but I imagine the monthly payment plan would be a great option as well! Of course, when it comes to the price, YMMV at other dentists/orthodontists. 

How long does Invisalign take?

I am on my Invisalign course for 9 months — that's 18 trays in total (I switch to a new tray every two weeks.) Depending on how my teeth are moving, it could be longer than that, but I'm hoping to finish by April 2016! The length of treatment will vary with everyone. Once I'm done, I will be sure to post before and after photos that the dentist's office will provide for me!

Does Invisalign hurt?

Yes, it does. Not as much as I remember metal braces hurting, though. My mouth and tongue had to get used to pieces of plastic being in my mouth for 22 hours a day. At first, there was a lot of saliva, lisping (this was pretty bad at first) and soreness going on. Not a fun time! But by the time I was on my second or third tray, I hardly noticed any of it.

It's going to be so worth it. The time will pass anyway, so I want to make sure I'm using that time straightening my teeth out!

When I put in a new tray every two weeks, it does feel like a tiny person is pulling on my jaw at all times. I started putting in new trays and taking Ibuprofen before going to bed. This way, a lot of the initial painful movement happens while I sleep. It's been working well so far!

Can you still eat/drink anything with Invisalign?

Yes! But there are a few catches:

  • I can eat and drink anything I want, but I have to take out my trays first. The only thing I drink with trays in is water. And sometimes light beer if I'm out on a weekend :)
  • Before putting my trays back in, I have to brush and floss. My teeth are covered most of the time with plastic trays, so they aren't getting a natural bath of saliva. It's extra important to keep them clean before covering them back up! I am also now getting my teeth cleaned four times a year, instead of two.
  • The downside of having to keep the trays in for 22 hours is that my snacking and drinking habits have changed. I can't graze on snacks at work anymore, because I'd rather use those hours to keep the trays in. I also can't leisurely drink a glass of red wine or cup of coffee (and if I do, the trays have to be out because they can stain.)

I could write another 600 words on my Invisalign experience, but I'll stop here. My next Invisalign-related post will focus on the products I use to keep my teeth in tip-top shape!