Despite asking the dentist, some of us skipped the braces experience many go through at school. Ongoing lockdown seemed an ideal time to undertake an alternative process, so, after saving up furlough, I have taken the plunge and started a 15 week course of Invisalign. After finding online information conflicting and overwhelming, I decided to share my own experience to help others make an informed choice.
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign are clear aligners which fit over your teeth and gradually move them into position. I have 14 “trays” (aligner sets), to be worn a minimum of 22 hours a day and removed when ingesting anything except water.
What I didn’t know….
It may vary between practices, but after starting the process in September, I finally received aligners at my “fit” appointment in January after three separate appointments. First, a “provider” created a 3-D image of my teeth and explained treatment options. The second “supercharged” appointment examined my oral health, with scans and X- Rays sent to Invisalign to create my treatment plan. The 3rd was my “clincheck” where I gave the go-ahead for aligners to be ordered. So if you have an occasion in mind, you may need to start early.
Aligners aren’t the only tool. Small pieces of composite called “buttons” were attached to help grip and move my teeth more efficiently. Luckily they aren’t on my front teeth, but people who have them on all teeth find it can lessen Invisalign’s discrete nature. My teeth also needed shaving to create space. This was a tiny amount (less than 1mm per tooth) which is not noticeable. Neither of these were painful and took less than 10 minutes. I was told in advance, so don’t worry that it’ll be sprung on you, however it may be worth checking how visible you can expect treatment to be.
Drawbacks & Combats
Time: It’s not as simple as popping aligners in and out. After each meal you need to brush your teeth and the aligners, which takes me around 10 minutes. To avoid timers constantly going off, create a daily schedule to reduce stress and maintain 22 hours a day wear.
Restriction: This routine means I am often hungry, mainly from the lack of hot drinks between meals. I loved sipping on tea and coffee whilst doing work, so it has been an adjustment, as they can stain and warp alligners.
Discomfort: For the first three days I had mild toothache, easily sorted with Ibruprofen and Paracetamol. Removing or replacing the retainers hurt, as did chewing. Luckily my sleep hasn’t been affected. I experienced ulcers on my cheeks and tongue, but sparingly filing the rough parts helped make the trays comfortable.
Cleaning: Invest in a baby toothbrush, as the soft bristles haven’t scratched or dulled the clarity of my aligners, and it gets into their tight spaces. I am yet to experience discolouration, so using Invisalign cleaning crystals weekly has been fine.
I will continue to write updates, discussing the specifics of how I’m finding Invisalign, so if you’re considering the treatment hopefully this first hand account will help you to make the decision. Be sure to check back here for more information about the process later down the line!
– Ellie Doherr
Featured Image Source: Pexels