Before I Started Invisalign…

When I grew up the only way to get straight teeth was those nasty train track braces. I’m sure millions of people have benefited from the wires clamped into place straining the teeth into position, but it isn’t for everybody. My parents took me to an orthodontist when I was about 12, but we never got past the second appointment. At the age of 14 I fell down the concrete garden path and smashed one of the front teeth losing about 1/4. You can see that in the picture below. So me – crooked teeth especially the lower ones, overbite, and chipped tooth.

My teeth!

Now, I’m 35 and whilst I’m sure my teeth haven’t held me back at all in life – I have a beautiful wife, two great kids and a decent job – it would be *nice* to get my teeth straight. After ten years of not visiting the dentist, my wife had arranged checkups for our kids and us as well. It soon became apparent that this was a dentist that specialised in ‘cosmetic dentistry’ as well as the regular stuff. So after my checkup when the dentist asked if there was anything else, as a passing comment I mentioned the state of my crooked teeth…

Having never heard of Invisalign before, I was rather surprised when she pulled out of the drawer a box containing moulded plastic – it looks like the kind of thin clear plastic you get in easter egg packaging. She explained how it worked; that after a set of moulds and xrays are taken a set of plastic braces are produced – a set ranging from 10 to 30 or so, depending on how bad your teeth are. These plastic braces are worn 24/7 (except when you eat and drink) and every two weeks you change the brace for the next one in the series. And so it continues, until gradually, you’ve completed the course and hey presto, you have straight teeth.

She did seem rather reluctant to tell me how much it cost though – I’m sure it is at this point that many people run for the hills. Depending on how many aligners (braces) are required, it can cost anywhere between £3000 and £4000. I’ve since seen it advertised cheaper than that – but as with all things I’ve learned you generally get what you pay for – and whilst you might get the same brand aligners cheaper elsewhere; you probably won’t get the quality of dentistry that needs to accompany the course. And I’d rather have an expert there willing to help and guide me though the process than take a short cut on the price and find myself without support after I’ve parted with my cash.

So that’s a very quick summary of how I got introduced to Invisalign, and this website is where I’ll be posting progress and my experiences with it.

June 24th, 2010 – 16:19
Hi there. I was just curious how the packaging worked. After getting fitted the first time and the Dr plans your tooth movement do they order all the trays necessary for you for the whole treatment plan? About how often do u have to go back? How many trays do you get at one time and how is the packaging (boxed?) I only ask because I am doing a project in my marketing class and invisalign is my competitor for the product I am making up.

Thank you so much.
Thank you also for sharing your journey. It is interesting to get real insight on the whole process and everything that occurs with them that you may not be told right away.

June 25th, 2010 – 21:32
Hi Audi. At the first initial consultation the orthodontist takes the moulds from your teeth and sends them to the Invisalign labs. They then work out what the treatment programme would be like and send the video animations to the dentist so they can show you what your teeth would look like afterwards. It also lets you know how long the treatment would take (how many trays). If you are happy with the proposal, you then hand over pretty much all the money and they begin the programme. I was given four sets of trays to begin with, so I had to go back for a quick checkup to make sure everything was going ok after about 7 weeks. Then I was given another 4 sets of trays. I think to begin with they like you to go a bit more regularly to make sure you are brushing properly etc. Not sure how often I’ll have to go later on in the treatment. I understand if you are looking at the marketing of it then you’re interested in the packaging etc – I did take some pictures so I’ll try to dig those out. The real marketing power is in the videos. What you see is your set of teeth, all crooked and all over the place, transform magically into a set of straight teeth. That, combined with the fact that success rate is over 90%, makes a very compelling case. Unfortunately the main barrier for people is not in working out whether they want it, but whether they can afford it.

I’ve now put the pictures of the packaging material etc onto one of the early Invisalign blog posts here. Hope it helps.

December 2nd, 2010 – 22:00
Hi Ed,
I just wondered whether there were any recent updates?

Kasandra Melendez
September 19th, 2011 – 21:37
HI Ed,
So the less trays you have the cheaper it is? How do the payment plans work?

September 20th, 2011 – 21:21
Hi Kasandra,
Actually I had quite a lot more trays than my wife but the treatment for both of us cost the same. It probably varies from dentist to dentist – so I would inquire with your local practitioner to find out. It would make sense, wouldn’t it, if it were cheaper if you had fewer trays – but the cost of making extra trays probably isn’t much. We had to pay the entire cost of our treatment up front – an initial deposit followed by payment of the balance before the first treatment. Again, I’m sure some practices will offer payment plans allowing you to spread the cost over time.