Invisalign 101

I got my teeth straightened and perfected later than most people. Everyone got their braces between elementary school and middle school. By the time high school came around, everyone had beautifully straightened teeth. I always felt insecure about my smile and how my teeth looked. Even in college, it affected how much I talked and smiled. During the fall of my freshman year, I decided to invest in Invisalign.

I was on my own in Gainesville trying to find the right orthodontist. Fortunately, a lot of orthodontists offer a free consult before you commit. Don’t get me wrong, it was an absolute luxury for me to get Invisalign. It was something I thought about for years. Things just so happened to fall into place last year.

Several at-home-based brace services have emerged over the past couple of years, like SmileDirectClub. I thought about using these services, but I figured that I would play it safe and visit an orthodontist in person to check my teeth out.

I came across several misconceptions about Invisalign during my experience. Here’s what I learned.

  • Invisalign isn’t just one clear retainer. You get your teeth scanned, and your orthodontist and Invisalign develop a plan with a set number of retainers. I had somewhere between 25 and 30 trays. Some people have 70 to 100. It depends on your specific case. Each retainer slowly shifts your teeth into place.
  • It isn’t just a clear retainer. Most people end up getting attachments on their teeth that blend in, for the most part. The attachments are little buttons placed onto your teeth to help the trays stay in place. Some people get rubber bands, but I only had attachments.
  • Your mouth gets cut up the first week (but only for that week). It’s just your mouth getting used to a new foreign object being in there for almost 24 hours a day. The first week will be the most painful, but it gets better.
  • You will have a lisp the first week. Don’t worry – your mouth will adjust. You won’t have it forever.
  • Get the TrayMinder Aligner Tracker app. Reminders to change the trays are useful, and you can take photos to keep track of your progress.
  • Dining out might get difficult. When people invited me out to eat, I struggled. I made sure to wear my retainers for the right amount of time every day. The more I dined out, the more my Invisalign trays were out of my teeth.

Invisalign was an expensive, sometimes painful, journey. But I would not trade the experience for anything. At the end of the day, it’s about what you value. I am happy to say I smile more now, and I feel more confident around others.