In this post, I’m telling you everything you need to know about the Invisalign experience – from placing procedures, costs to the already famous Invisalign Diet. I am also showing you my step-by-step Invisalign results. There are so many things I wish I knew, so if you are considering placing aligners, I hope you find this helpful.
If you’re anything like me, having a beautiful and healthy smile is very important to you.
I’ve always had pretty good teeth and have been taking good care of them ever since I was a kid, with regular checkups and, in recent years, professional cleaning every 6 months.
But my teeth aren’t perfect: for all my life I’ve had a large gap between the two front ones (see exhibit A below).
I am very grateful for my parents realizing this was pretty serious and could affect my confidence growing up, so they decided to get me braces early. Back in the 90s, they were told that if we didn’t act then, it wouldn’t be possible to straighten them anymore later, when I grew up.
So, I wore braces for a couple of years, from the age of 8, but the gap was still there. All they could do was get my teeth straight and slightly closer together. I stopped wearing them in my teenage years and decided to “embraced the gap” as part of my personality, my signature look, that something that made me different.
Why I decided to fix my teeth
I was always smiling confidently and was never ashamed of it but, deep down, I was always a little bit jealous of those people with straight teeth and a perfect smile and wished I had the same. And you know those ads, where they show you a guy with a 3rd hand or missing an eyebrow, but you haven’t even noticed because you couldn’t take your eyes off his missing tooth (or the large gap between his teeth)? Those didn’t help either… 😉
Fast forward a couple of years to my 30s; I noticed that my teeth were slowly moving away from each other. Again. The gap was getting even bigger now.
It was when I realized that I was no longer smiling as confidently in pictures and was even becoming slightly embarrassed of my smile that I decided it was time to do something about it – I talked to an orthodontist and got Invisalign.
Having straight teeth was such a long-time dream, and I didn’t even think it was possible anymore. Yet, here I am, 4 months into my Invisalign journey, SO excited for the outcome and here to tell you EVERYTHING you need to know and show you my (so far) Invisalign results!
FIRST OF ALL, WHAT IS INVISALIGN?
Invisalign is the most discreet version of braces you can find nowadays. They are transparent plastic aligners that are placed on your teeth.
Depending on your situation, you will have one or several attachments (small little white “buttons”) placed on your teeth, which hook the plastic aligners and ultimately straighten your teeth (in my case, I’ve got one on almost every tooth). They are made of white material, so they are barely noticeable and stay permanently on your teeth until the treatment end.
The aligners come in sets; each of them is meant to be used for 2 weeks. You will then switch to a new set, which is slightly tighter, taking you one step closer to your awesome new smile.
WHAT IS THE PROCESS? HOW DO I START?
Step1 is an intake interview with the orthodontist – who gives you a quick consultation and estimation of future procedures and costs. I placed my aligners at Lassus Otho Clinic in Amsterdam, and I definitely recommend it. It’s very professional, they’ve got the latest equipment, everyone is very friendly and the best part – everyone speaks English (they are used to having many international patients 😉 ).
Duration: 15 minutes.
Step 2. The next appointment is to scan your entire mouth to create the 3D mold/simulation. This took about 30 minutes.
Step 3. Appointment for reviewing the 3D simulation and treatment plan – the orthodontist explains your personalized treatment plan (this is where I found out I will need elastics besides the usual attachments) and its length.
This is when you will be signing the contract, which gives Invisalign to go to start producing your own personalized aligners – this takes about a month.
Duration: 15 min
Step4. The placement appointment. It took 1 hour in my case but depends on your particular situation. You will also receive the 3D simulation, so you can track your progress week by week and stare at your final Invisalign results video all day long. It’s SO motivating. Don’t forget to ask for it in case they don’t offer it right away.
From the initial appointment to the placement itself it took approximately 2 months.
Step 5: monthly checkups – the orthodontist will check that the attachments are still in place and the progress you are making based on the 3D simulation.
IS INVISALIGN PAINFUL?
The placement procedure is more or less painless and depends on your current situation. In my case, attachments had to be placed on almost every tooth. And that’s not all: I also need to have elastics (to bring my teeth further back), so I had 2 metal buttons placed on the bottom teeth to hook the elastics. Don’t worry; it’s not painful. They apply some glue and fix the attachments with the help of the plastic mold (called template). You will feel some pressure on your teeth while they fix it.
The one thing that was a little bit painful (uncomfortable is probably a better word) was the tool they use to hold my lips apart- keeping it on for 1 hour was not pleasant.
What surprised me in the placement procedure was the filing. This is needed if some of your teeth are too close together as they will require space to move into their optimal position. It is SUCH a weird experience- the orthodontist uses a file to, well, file your teeth to create the room for them to move. Again, don’t worry, it’s not painful (you might experience a bit of pain if you have sensitive teeth, as she told me) but no pain on my side. Not gonna lie; it is NOT pleasant, though.
The entire aligners placement procedure took about 1hour in my case.
Now let’s talk about pain while wearing the aligners – you can expect pressure on your teeth in the first couple of days of each new set (you change to a new set every 2 weeks). I think this level of pressure (or even pain) is different for everyone.
In my experience, I’ve noticed that it’s the first 1-2 days when I feel the most pressure, and as I progress in the treatment, it seems to get more and more intense with every new set. So, my first 2 days are painful when I place the trays on or take them off, but the pain goes away after 30 seconds to 1 minute, as my teeth get used to the new set. I don’t feel it after that.
HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WEAR IT?
For Invisalign to show results, you are recommended to wear it 20-22 hours per day. I wear mine on average 20 hours per day, I don’t think I’ve ever managed longer than that, and I still noticed results pretty quick.
The entire duration of the treatment depends on the situation of your teeth. It can vary a lot from a few months to a year or more. My treatment plan is 34 weeks (it’s like baby talk, right? that means about 8,5 months). So far, 3 down, only 5,5 to go.
HOW MUCH DOES INVISALIGN COST?
I would advise setting aside between 2.5-3k EUR (up to 4.000$) for the entire treatment. This includes the production and placement of aligners, scans, monthly checkups. Again, it might depend on your particular situation, so my advice is to get a quote from your orthodontist.
It’s definitely not cheap but SO worth the investment, in my opinion. I see it as an investment in myself.
CAN I EAT AND DRINK WITH INVISALIGN?
No. You have to remove your aligners before eating and drinking. You should only drink cold water with the aligners or use a straw if you really want some tea or coffee. I personally always remove them.
It’s also not recommended to drink infused water with Invisalign, which I’m not too thrilled about… I did drink water infused with some mint leaves, and nothing happened, so it’s not too bad.
After every meal, you need to brush your teeth, floss thoroughly, and put the aligners back on. You need to be on top of your oral care game to prevent food from being stuck between your teeth, which could cause cavities.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t really feel like brushing my teeth 5 times a day, which means I am only eating breakfast, lunch, dinner, and nothing in between. Yep, you read that right! And yes, it IS as hard as you might think ;). But the good news is that those extra kilos you were planning to lose, that small layer of belly fat that was bothering you, well, it’s all gone thanks to the famous Invisalign diet! And let me tell you, it really works, haha.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR ALIGNERS
This is pretty easy – I was recommended to gently brush them with a kid’s toothbrush and toothpaste once a day. In your Invisalign kit, you will also receive cleaning crystals to use once a week.
MY INVISALIGN RESULTS
The great part of my Invisalign experience is that I’ve started seeing results almost right away! I find it very motivating, so I thought I’d share with you my progress: I will upload every month on this page my before and after results:
Invisalign results after 2 MONTHS:
Invisalign results after 3 MONTHS:
Invisalign results after 5 MONTHS:
Invisalign results after 6 MONTHS:
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE!
Last but definitely not least, it really is NEVER TOO LATE! If you’re thinking: I’m not a kid/ teen anymore, I will look ridiculous, I have a job, I meet/zoom with clients – STOP. First of all, it is NOT too late; thanks to this technology, you can straighten your teeth even when you’re older (I’m in my 30s, and it still works). Second, your colleagues and friends will barely even notice – I’ve held 2 hours of presentations with my aligners on, and no one could tell.
So, if this is something you really want, go for it!
I’ll be here cheering you on, and I’ll be happy to hear about your own experience if you’d like to share it.
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