Is Invisalign Worth It?

I had a message today from Nicola who is thinking about starting Invisalign to sort out her overbite. She’s doing some research which I cannot stress enough is really important – not just because it costs a lot of money, but because the chances are your dentist might just play down a few aspects of the treatment so they get the sale. Not that I’m cynical or anything.

Nicola said:

I am seriously considering going for invisalign, as I have a slight overbite, and some crowding and crookedness that my dentist said invisalign would be ok for. However, I am reluctant because I really am not sure I can take wearing the aligners for that length of time. Can you speak ok? Are they really uncomfortable, or only mildly so? Do you think it is worth the outlay?

Any honest feedback would be greatly appreciated

I might be cynical but I can be honest too.

Firstly, the short answer for me is yes, it is worth it for me.

I’ve been wearing these things for over 20 weeks now, and I’m about a third of the way through my treatment. By now I’m sure I’ve got used to wearing them as much as I’m ever going to, and I’ve probably experienced many of the issues that people face wearing them.

The worst aspect of Invisalign
The worst time is definately changeover day. Every two weeks you change the trays, and putting them in and taking them out (for me) causes mild/moderate discomfort for about 5-10 mins. Then after about 10 mins for the first day or two in a new set of trays it is mildly uncomfortable, but not so bad that it is on your mind the whole time. It is never so bad that I think about taking a pain killer; I don’t even know if that would work. Some sets of trays are worse than others. The ones I’ve got in at the moment were a breeze – they hardly hurt at all. So far about half of them have been mildly painful in the first couple of days. Every set of trays I’ve been through, after day 2 or 3, there is no discomfort.

I wear you long time
Nicola mentioned wearing them for a long time. I’m guessing here she means the length of the treatment, which for some people can be over a year. The other way she might mean this is that you have to wear them for at least 21 hours a day. That’s three hours off a day for all your meals, snacks etc (because you need to take them out to eat). Lets take the first instance – wearing them for a year. Once you are used to the routine of taking them out to eat and changing the trays every two weeks, it isn’t a problem for me. Yes, it is annoying to have to remove them every time you want to eat but again, you get used to it. After seeing the movement in my teeth that was more than enough to spur me on. Moving on to wearing them for 21+ hours a day – well, you’re asleep for almost half of it, and the rest of the time – once you are used to it – you don’t notice it. So not a big issue for me either.

Wath waz that you jush shed?
Speaking is fine. The very first day I had them in it was odd, and I thought I was speaking funny. With a slight lisp. But after a couple of days it went away. So no worries there.

What the dentist might not have talked about yet…
Many people need to have gaps filed between their teeth if there is a lot of movement needed. This is obviously so that there is enough room for teeth to move around. I have had at least 14 gaps created between various teeth at several stages in the last 20 weeks. This procedure doesn’t hurt and the only annoyance is that food gets stuck between the gaps – so you have to spend time getting the food out before you replace your trays. It doesn’t hurt having these gaps created and it is actually motivational to notice the gaps getting smaller as your teeth move into the desired positions.

The other thing is the ‘attachments’ – the composite dental blobs that get fixed to some of your teeth – these are to help the aligners get sufficient pressure on specific teeth. Some people need lots of these attachments – I think I have 8 of them. I know that some people that have many of these attachments report it is more difficult to get the trays out – I guess that makes sense.

Taking out the trays is a knack that you pick up after a few weeks. To start with it might be a little scary when you cannot get your tray out – you might break a nail in the process 🙂
But after a few weeks you find a technique that works for you and it becomes second nature.

Finally the dentist will talk about the number of trays required to complete the treatment, but they might not talk about the ‘refinements’ that some people have after the end of the course. These can last months. So ask about those. I know that my lower teeth, that only require 17 trays, are going to need the final set of trays kept in until my top trays (32 of them) are finished. So even though my lower teeth finish in half the time, I still need to wear the lower trays for the whole time. I bet that my dentist will then say I need to keep my top trays in for a while after the top course is finished as well. I was annoyed that my dentist hadn’t told me about refinements and wearing the trays beyond the treatment time.

Off the top of my head that’s about all I can think of that I would have wanted to know before I started my treatment. Hope it helps!!!

Dave C
October 18th, 2010 – 14:12
To Nicola: I’ve just started with invisalign after uhmming and ahhing about whether to do it or not. My treatment will take just under a year.

I’ve already turned into some tooth cleaning nazi…I have toothbrushes/toothpaste at work, in the car and a travel set if I go into town (just in case)…not to mention gallons of mouthwash. Seriously though, my tea/coffee habit has dwindled and I’m surprised by how white my teeth are now. I’ve gotten into a routine and don’t really ‘feel’ the aligners all the time.

To begin with popping the trays out was hard and I couldn’t do it…I though I was never going to be able to take the trays out and could have cried at points…relax, though, they will eventually come out (honest) and whilst there is a lot of pulling at times, your teeth won’t get pulled out and you will soon work out the best way to remove the trays.

I have about eight attachments…when my trays are out, they get in the way of my ‘bite’ but I’ve just got used to them now. It actually feels better with the aligners in because I’m not playing with the attachments with my tongue.

At first, I felt that I had a lisp and was conscious of it. Having talked to people, I’m surprised that actually no-one really noticed anyway. It was just me! I also thought people would see the aligners since the attachments mean there are ‘bobbles’ on the trays. This doesn’t seem to be the case either though. I have some discoloured teeth at the front and was worried that the attachments would be really noticeable. However, the attachments really do take the colour of the teeth and they don’t stand out against your teeth colour-wise.

All that said, I would recommend Invisalign, just wanted you to be aware of some of my experiences. Oh, and don’t even try to chew gum with the trays in…it gummed up the aligners something special!!

Tom Herman
October 29th, 2010 – 22:41
I have Invisalign and my treatment is 53 top and 12 bottom. When I was finished with the bottom trays, I got a retainer that I had to wear full time for 3 months. Now I only need to wear the bottom retainer at night. I say go for it, it is worth it!