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Life > Experiences

My Dental Journey: What Eight Months of Wearing Invisalign Taught Me

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

“Wow, your teeth are so straight!” says anyone whenever they notice someone who possesses the look of perfect teeth. 

Moreover, when one questions how that person obtained such impeccable teeth is asked, it was either natural or they went through some dental procedure, such as braces.

For me, I was lucky enough to not need braces at all. My teeth were overall pretty straight, and they were healthy enough that I didn’t need to go through any other types of procedures (i.e. filling a cavity). 

However, there was a little situation going on with my bottom front teeth. Whenever I slightly opened my mouth, I noticed that a tiny part of my bottom front tooth stuck out a bit, making my teeth look slightly uneven on the bottom. It wasn’t too noticeable from a distance, but when you’re up close, it would’ve caught your attention from time to time. 

Like I mentioned before, since my teeth have overall been straight and healthy, my dentist claimed that this issue of mine is merely cosmetic. Meaning, I didn’t really need braces to fix it, unless I thought that it was unattractive.

During my sophomore year of college, I asked my sister – who has worn braces before – for advice on what to do with my teeth, and she told me that I should choose what I think is best for myself. So, as an indecisive person who expected a more straightforward answer, I ended up not making a decision right away. 

Upon first hearing my sister’s advice, I felt that she was not invested enough in my situation and therefore didn’t bother to suggest something more direct. However, as time progressed, I thought it over again and realized she was right. Since the dental problem I was dealing with was cosmetic, it was optional whether I wanted to have it fixed. This meant that it really was up to me – not my dentist, and certainly not my sister – to decide whether getting braces or another method of teeth straightening, such as Invisalign, would make me feel better about how my teeth look. 

Summer finally hit in 2021. I just finished my sophomore year of college, and I finally came with a decision. I chose to move forward with Invisalign to straighten my bottom front teeth. 

My first week of wearing Invisalign was rough. My teeth ached when I had the aligners on, and they ached even more whenever I had to take them off or put them back on. On top of that, I developed a very slight lisp whenever I spoke, which I found a little funny. 

As the weeks passed by, I gradually accustomed myself to the aligners as well as my Invisalign routine. I met with my orthodontist every eight weeks to check the progress of my teeth, and throughout the course of eight months, I wore a total of nineteen pairs of aligners. 

This journey is much easier than wearing traditional braces, but wearing Invisalign certainly has its duties, requiring you to be responsible and aware of what to do at certain times. For instance, I needed to make sure I was wearing my aligners at least 20 hours each day; otherwise, my teeth would shift and be unable to fit the Invisalign going forward. I also needed to make sure I either brushed my teeth or rinsed with water before placing them back on after meals. 

Tooth Brush Toothpaste
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

Let’s not forget to mention the social challenge of Invisalign. Well, for me at least. During my first few months of Invisalign, I remember feeling way too embarrassed to take my trays off in front of my friends whenever we had meals together. So, in order to resolve this, I would go to the restroom to take them off. 

Eventually, I felt confident enough to take my aligners off without going to the restroom. I would just briefly ask my friends if they’re okay with me taking them off. I was glad to find out that they were all okay with it, and that this type of stuff doesn’t really make them feel disgusted.

Then came the end of my junior year of college. I was finally ready for my retainers and, most important of all, my new smile. 

The first few days of not wearing Invisalign 24/7 were somewhat difficult for me to adjust to. I recall telling my friend how “naked” my teeth felt because I was so used to having my aligners on most of the day, everyday, for eight months. However, beyond all that, I was extremely happy to finally be free from the responsibilities that Invisalign demanded of me, and – of course – to finally appreciate my new, fixed smile.

Thinking back to the advice my sister gave me, I’m grateful that I chose something that made me feel better about myself. Even though this was just a small fixture, getting Invisalign helped me gain more confidence about my teeth and my appearance in general. If you have ever considered getting braces (Invisalign or traditional), it’s never too late to go for it!

Gennah Penalosa is currently the social media director for Her Campus CU Boulder. She is a senior studying finance at the Leeds School of Business. When she is not doing homework, you can find her listening to music or drawing the face of a random celebrity.