Pros And Cons of Invisalign: Revised After 2+ Years of Wearing Aligners

So you think you’ve made the decision to straighten your teeth with Invisalign. What next? I’ve compiled a list of stuff you’ll want to think about before you pull the trigger. Get ready folks, here comes another one of my novels.

I’ll start with my revised list of cons. You’ll find my original list here back from when I was just starting out, but now that I’ve gone back and read it for the first time in ages, I realize it’s pretty silly and not straight-forward like it could’ve been. BUT that was then, and over two years have passed. I am now a seasoned Invisalign veteran.

It is not my intention come off as negative in this list, but these are real things you have to think about before you take this huge plunge. Invisalign is an expensive investment and requires 100% dedication for it to give you the results you’re wanting. You have to be completely honest with yourself about whether or not you will have the willpower to follow through. There’s no half-effort. It’s all or nothing and in my opinion, well worth it for a better smile.

CONS:

• Attachments, buttons, and elastics. Fortunately, I haven’t needed elastics for my treatment, but everyone’s case is different. Be prepared to learn you might need elastics. Also, people tend to use the terms “attachments” and “buttons” interchangeably, but they are different. From what I understand, buttons are used to anchor down elastics for more challenging tooth movements, kind of like elastics are used with traditional braces. I just now found an awesome webpage describing the differences.

What I have dealt with for the past 27 months are attachments. I started out with 14, then 7 in my first refinement, and then 6 in my second. Depending on where they’re placed on your teeth, they can be visible from up close when your aligners are in. If your teeth are fairly white, they’ll hardly be noticeable when your aligners are out, so at least there’s that. At first your attachments might tear up the insides of your mouth but in my experience that went away really quickly. The thing that I hate most about these damn attachments is the removal process, and then what’s left over after they’re done. I just had my top attachments removed last week and my once-shiny teeth now have somewhat of a lackluster appearance. I’m still not quite done yet so we’ll see if my orthodontist will be able to restore my teeth to their original shine. I will definitely be back to update this once my treatment is complete. EDIT- January 2015: No, my teeth never went back to their pre-attachment shininess but I’m positive it’s because of the technician who removed them. I promise, it can be done right.

Keep in mind that almost everyone will need attachments. Big picture, you want straight teeth, right! They’re not all that bad in the whole scheme of things. You only have a handful of choices in orthodontics and in my opinion, having a few attachments trumps everything else.

• There will most likely be a drastic change in your oral hygiene routine. Are you prepared to brush and floss 3+ times a day, every single day for the next however many months or years? This is an important one to think about! I’d probably consider this more of an upside to having Invisalign rather than a con, but really, that’s up to you.

Bonus: Your hygienist will fall in love with you. She will ooh and ahh over your teeth. She’ll probably even round up the other hygienists to collectively come peer inside your mouth. You will be her dream patient! Why? Because with all that upkeep you do every day, your teeth and gums will be nice and healthy. Which brings me to the third con on my list.

• You have to wear your aligners for 20-22 hours a day which means they’ll really only be out for meals. To me, that didn’t seem too bad for an exchange of straight teeth, but after a while it kind of took its toll on me. I think my jadedness can be attributed to all the hang-ups and treatment delays I’ve experienced along the way though. I’ve been through some really rough patches during my treatment that most people never experience. I am the exception.

I do a lot of reading on Invisalign and it seems that wear-time is one of people’s biggest worries. “I’m celebrating the holidays/going on vacation/a lazy turd, can I leave my Invisalign out for two hours??” The answer to that is, well, maybe. Are you able to not make this a habit? For me, this wasn’t a big deal. After a few months in, I made the decision not to let Invisalign rule my social life. I always wore my trays (while drinking beer too, which I’ll get to in a minute) but if I had a nice dinner or event to attend, I’d simply take them with me but leave them out. I never made this a habit and only allowed this extended out-time every once and a while.

So my question to you is, are you able to keep up with this routine day in and day out? Every time you eat, you must floss, brush, and clean your aligners. I will admit that the day I was lucky enough to experience someone else’s ass explosion in the stall right next to my sink, I put an end to public restroom teeth brushing. Not completely, but almost. I am now very choosy when and where I do my routine. Tip: Always, always keep toothpick flossers with you. Or even Colgate Wisps. These will carry you over until you’re at a more sanitary environment.

Another aspect of the wear-time con is drinking alcoholic beverages while wearing aligners. Since I started Invisalign, AlignTech changed the material. This new stuff stains much easier so I’d be wary of what you consume while wearing your trays. My motto? If it stains your tongue, it’ll probably stain your aligners. At one point, I thought, “Well, I can drink this now because I’m switching to the next set tomorrow!” That may be, but keep in mind that something may happen to that next tray and you’ll be stuck with the old stained one until your orthodontist can order you a new set. Not that big of a risk just so long as you’ve got your vanity in check and are okay with pink teeth for a couple weeks.

Back to the beer thing. Do I regret drinking so often with my aligners in? Yes and no. Before starting Invisalign, I had a few small decalcification spots between some of my molars caused by my lack of flossing back in my teens. I’d been taking great care of my teeth once I was made aware of these spots to prevent them from growing into full-blown cavities.

Check out that tall boy! That's 100% Class.

Check out that Busch tall boy. 100% Class.  (I’m wearing my aligners in both of these pictures by the way.)

I’m quite certain that even though I brushed and flossed constantly, my love for long, (most of the time, blazing hot) days on the beach paired with ice-cold beers every weekend, year-round, was detrimental to the health of my enamel. Maybe not super detrimental, but those spots finally did turn into cavities and I’m certain they were from the beer because they were kept at bay for years before Invisalign.

SO! Does drinking with Invisalign cause cavities? Probably not if your teeth are in great condition in the first place… and if you don’t drink your meals on the weekends. You shouldn’t make it a habit, ahem, like I did. Plus, a lot of beverages have acid in them anyway which doesn’t help the situation.

• There are waiting periods where nothing is happening. Unlike traditional braces where your orthodontist can keep the train moving and tweak or make changes as he sees fit, Invisalign trays are manufactured all at once (for Invisalign Full, at least) and then sent from the lab to your provider. Molds and impressions take time to be sent through snail mail which is why it may be beneficial to find a provider who uses the iTero scanner (check out that link… it might be worth your time.) Waiting for initial trays can take over a month which can almost make you feel like you’re waiting on Christmas. The good thing about waiting for those is that you’re not wearing the same trays all day every day like you would if you were waiting on a replacement aligner (they can and do crack!) or a refinement. Over five months of my aligner wear-time was squandered away on waiting. Plain old thumb-twiddling waiting. This was due to mistakes on my provider’s behalf, which is why it is imperative to do your research and find a good provider. I plan on covering all that in a future blog post.

• Black Triangles. If you’re hoping to have some moderate or even severe crowding corrected with Invisalign, there’s a chance that once your teeth are nice and straight, you’ll be left with little triangles of empty space from your gum line to the biting surface of your incisors. This can usually be corrected with IPR, or interproximal reduction. Again, this is where your choice of provider comes into play. A skilled dental professional, be it a dentist or orthodontist, can execute a pain-free IPR job without a hitch and make it to where your teeth are able to scoot in together nicely. Keep in mind that not only does that mean your doctor will have to remove some enamel (a minimal and safe amount), it also may require a refinement which means more months of wearing aligners. Over all it’s a good deal if in the end, you’ll have gap-free teeth! You’re in this for a beautiful smile, right?!

• Thlight Listhp. Just kidding. Not everyone gets a lisp but it does happen and from what I’ve read, it only takes a short amount of time before your mouth gets used to the aligners and compensates. In my experience, I’ve only dealt with a lisp during two parts of my treatment- now, and the second time my aligners stopped tracking correctly. I don’t think it was ever noticeable to anyone but myself and sometimes my husband. Luckily my kid is only an infant and probably won’t remember me starting her name with “Th” rather than “S”. Really, it isn’t bad.

• Invisalign’s difficulty correcting certain problems. There are certain movements that Invisalign has difficulty making (intrusion, extrusion, canine rotation, etc.) however by choosing an Elite Preferred Provider, your risk of aligners not tracking correctly is greatly reduced. Although AlignTechnology is always working on enhancing their product, there are still things that make it inferior to traditional braces. Again, this is why you’ll benefit from choosing a good doctor who knows what they’re doing with Invisalign.

Loss of Freedom. Okay, that sounded a bit martyrish but it is something you might want to think about. Even though I quit letting Invisalign dictate my social life, it still has a good grip on my day to day activities. Especially now that I’m a parent. Sometimes I’m really just not ready to wash away the taste of bacon, eggs, and orange juice with minty toothpaste and Listerine. The same can be said for any yummy meal.

There’s always that nagging voice over my shoulder saying, “Hey. HEY. You really should go floss and brush, you know. It’s been like 30 minutes. I don’t care that your coffee is still hot! I don’t caaare that your wine glass is half full!! I reallydon’t caaaaare that your baby just fell asleep in your arms!” That voice. It’s always there.

So those are my cons in detail. Now for the pros! They really haven’t changed much over two years, so I’ll just brush up on what I’d written then.

PROS:

• “Free” whitening trays. With or without attachments, I still use my trays for whitening. I’ve read that some people worry about spots where their attachments are, but I’ve never experienced anything I couldn’t correct. Think of it this way- your teeth can only get ‘so white’. If you bleach while you’ve got attachments, you can always whiten again until the surface is even once the attachments are gone. Simple.

• The dull achiness. Yep, I still love it. There were a couple memorable aligners, namely the first over-correction trays, that took the breath out of me upon removal. And I still liked it! Something about knowing that my teeth were that much closer to being straight…

• Its invisibility. I don’t care what anyone says- Invisalign is hardly noticeable! Especially when compared to traditional braces, Damon or not. Sure, people might see your attachment bubbles, but that’s only if they’re all up in your personal space. I love that if I’m going on a hot date with my man, I can take out my aligners and eat steak with proper manners and touch of grace… except for the part where I take them out at the table. And THAT’S something I should’ve mentioned above in the cons list. I’m getting so damn tired of removing my aligners in public. I seem to never get spit strings down my chin unless I’m in a public place. The more people around, the messier it is. It’s like my aligners have a mind of their own. No matter how hard I try for a flawless, dry removal, I still get ‘the strings’. Fuck you, aligner spit. I’m tired of your shit.

• The ClinCheck videos. In the beginning, I loved seeing my teeth transform. After all this time though, I’ve learned that ClinChecks are only projections and not guaranteed. In fact, I’ve read that some providers won’t show patients their ClinCheck movie until after they’ve ordered the aligners. These elite providers know exactly what Invisalign is capable of and compensate from there. The ClinCheck may look completely different than what they’ve got planned for your teeth.

And there you have it. I feel like I may have done a disservice to anyone who’s read my old pros and cons post as it was really uninformative and frankly, quite dumb… and sadly it’s my second-most viewed post next to the beer one. Of COURSE people want to know if they can drink with Invisalign! My apologies, people!

Advertisements

66 thoughts on “Pros And Cons of Invisalign: Revised After 2+ Years of Wearing Aligners

  1. I just started. On my 5th aligner. This blog is hilarious and informative. The cleaning is a lot and I drink beer with them in. I should be straight by October. Hopefully.

  2. Fabulous outcome. I appreciate your REAL feedback as I just had invisalign teen placed on me today and I already can relate with most everything… pros and cons!

  3. I just had my impressions taken 10 days ago. I wish the waiting process wasn’t so long. I just want to get this show on the road! I had braces 25 years ago so my straightening is minor and out of sheer vanity. So, I’m very excited to regain my perfect teeth and perfect smile. I can’t recall from one of your first posts, but did you have top teeth which needed to be “pulled down” to be the same length as others? I have 2 teeth in this condition, albeit minor. I am a tiny bit concerned about the success in moving them down. The doctor did say this a bit more challenging with Invisalign but not impossible and he would have no issues. Plus, I get the 3 refinements included. Hopefully, this will not be a big issue.

    As I’ve continued to search and read up on other’s experiences I have seen the term “elite preferred provider” as you have mentioned above. I looked up my ortho on the Invisalign webisite and he is listed as “preferred” although his assistant told me he was elite. The doctor told me had treated over 1000 patients, one of which is my sister-in-law. She is very happy with him and her results so I think that’s important. But I do wonder what the difference is status is? Length of time? # of patients?

    I am enjoying your posts and look forward to future ones!

    • How is your progress now? Mine is a similar situation. Ive had braces years ago as a teen I’m in my early 30’s now. Looking to move down two top right teeth, and move up two left teeth. Thats about it. Oh and the right out, and the left more in. Doctor said its doable. Wanted to know someone who has had a similar situation and if success, since you wrote this about two years ago. Please let me know. Thanks in advance!

    • Ahhhh! Welcome to the crazy Invisalign life! Okay, so it’s not really crazy but it certainly makes things different 😉 Thank you so much for reading. Please don’t hesitate to shoot me an email (link is at the top of the page) if you ever have any questions. I’m not a doctor but I do have the layman’s experience 😉 Good luck, Katya!

  4. Hi. Thanks for posting your invisilign journey. I going to have my set of my aligners in July. My case is a bit complicated. I am double-braced!! I have got normal ceramic braces with elastics and a removable brace (nothing can be worse than this damn brace). I will have these braces for 3-4 months to open my bite, then a retainer for 6 weeks while waiting for my aligners to arrive. I guess I will experience al types of braces (metal braces, removable brace, retainer and invisilign.. omg, this is comic).
    My orth told me I will have attachments and elastics. I don’t think the attachments will bother me much, but the elastics…. nooo.. I have got them no, and they are horrible. And they are noticeable.
    Anyway, I am glad I have started the treatment. I will love to see more of your posts and from other users. It is good to know that more people are in the same path.

    • Hi, I’m interested in your case. I have ceramic braces on now and want to explore moving to Invisalign. I had braces as a kid and this is my second go around as an adult. My teeth are now straight and just working on the overbite. If you could co tact me it would be appreciated. Chrisbyers920@yahoo.com.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m excited about my journey with invisalign and I’m only on tray 2. I’ve lost 5lbs in just the first 2 weeks and am loving it! Thanks for your candid reviews and the giggles. Cheers to the beer!

  6. I have a photoshoot coming up in 2 weeks, and am having my first Invisalign appointment in 2 days….I was reading up on attachments and am flipping out on what some people said about them being visible…..and I feel so much better now having found your blog. I actually laughed out loud twice btw. You’re hilarious. Thanks also for the information!

    • Thank you Lois! I know it’s been a while since you commented (sorry!) so I hope your shoot went well. I bet your attachments are hardly visible! And the good thing about photography these days is that something like that would be cake to remove in photoshop. 😀

  7. I drink my morning coffee and afternoon beer thru a straw. Everyone thinks I’m crazy. Little do they know I’m trying to keep from going crazy.

  8. Hi, i’m just in my second aligner, 5 weeks into it. I don’t know if there are many blogs out there but since the first night i got my first aligners i keep googling “invisalign” and “psychological problems” together :s :p So it was nice to read your story. I have will power and i don’t compromise keeping them on 21-22 hours… But boy, it is martyrish to avoid eating and drinking when you feel like it… sigh
    is it getting better psychologically down the road? (note: i used to binge all the time instead of having 2-3 regular meals and now when i eat i overeat… so it’s more likely to put on weight, not lose). go luck getting to the end of your journey 🙂

  9. You mentioned that you can use your aligners as whitening trays. Any particular brand(s) you used that you would recommend?

  10. Thanks so much for writing this. I’m trying to decide between Invisalign and clear braces and keep going back and forth. My ortho is Elite Preferred and has his own Invisalign tech at the plant, so the cost is the same, but treatment time (12 mo.) is estimated to be 3-4 months longer if I do Invisalign. I’m wondering if I’d be spittier (is that a word?) with Invisalign. I gag just thinking about it. Were you generating an insane amount of spit? I’m in grad school right now, so it’s already the unsexiest time of my life. But if I do braces, I’ll be out sooner. Argh.

      • Still on my invisalgyn journey and I’m sooooo glad I didn’t do clear braces. I’m a flight attendant and it can be a challenge at times with eating and drinking. However, my teeth have never been so clean due to all the brushing/flossing after eating. (Nothing like brushing my teeth in the lavatory). Thanks again for your blog!

  11. Thanks for writing such an awesome blog! I am just beginning my Invisalign journey wearing my first set of trays. So far not really a big deal. Eat.Drink.Brush.Floss. Repeat. I already see and definitely feel some changes going on. The biggest part is commitment – you MUST be able to wear them all the time or it’s just not going to work. Thanks again.

  12. Hi,
    I am on my second set of invisalign and today I had IPR and my attachments put on, I’m in sheer agony and achiness but I guess something’s happening!!
    My first set were a bit more easier to get in and out and now I have attachments I’m struggling with them!! Nightmare!!
    I’ve started doubting my treatment already, but I’m hoping it will all be worth it in the long run! I have a lisp from Invisalign too, it hasn’t gone 3 weeks down the line for me 😦

      • Hi, I’m coming to the end of my treatment now, my lisp never went away and I have always been so conscious wearing invisalign – I think I would have preferred train track braces in the long run as people seem to know what they are.
        On the plus side – my teeth are amazing and I would go through all the work I’ve had done 100 x over to achieve my results! I would also recommend if anyone is self conscious of their teeth to definitely go down the brace route!

  13. Hi! Awesome I’m glad to read this because it’s super informative and real. I am considering getting it done in the next week or so, but I am scared to DEATH. I am a wimp about pain, I mean it hurt my ears for a minute. Most people said it didn’t hurt-it did for me. I am a major wimp and most people say I don’t “need” it, but I have gaps between my upper teeth and have always been insecure about it. I am so scared about the pain, but want the better teeth. I am going into my first year of teaching as well which is supposed to be super stressful. I don’t mind the upkeep, I just mind the pain:(

  14. I am so glad that this is one of the first Invisalign blogs I stumbled upon. I don’t feel I need to scour the internet for much more, really. Your writing style is quirky but intelligent. Really enjoy your writing!

  15. Hey, great read! I had my first Invisalign trays put in yesterday and still adjusting. My teeth are very sore and I hate taking them out. I almost rather starve then take them out again. I hope eventually popping them in and out becomes second nature, but right now its a 5 + minute process. My question is when you’re out with friends is it okay to have clear drinks with a straw and brush later when you get home? I don’t want to carry my toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste with me on a Friday night. Also, have you been in a situation where you just rinse your mouth out with water and brush a few hours later when you get home?

    • Yes! It will very soon become second nature. You’ll also get to a point to where it feels awkward to not have your aligners in (probably difficult to believe at this point in time). And to answer your other questions, yes, just don’t make it a habit because it’s easy to do. I wrote an entire post about my experiences. Read it if you’ve got time 😉 Drinking Beer With Invisalign

  16. Hi, do we need to wear retainers after completing the seven sets of invisalign ? If needed can we keep the last set of invisalign as retainers (at night) ?

  17. Loved it! Truly hilarious I was taking a break from studying and had to keep myself from laughing out loud several times! 😂Cheered me up immensely have 10 more months to go and am already fed up with the constant oral hygiene 😢 On a positive note I have drastically cut back on my constant snacking and have resorted to chewing on my aligners whenever I’m stressed 😱 So will probably end up loosing some weight during this ordeal .
    👍🏻👍🏻

  18. Hi, thanks for your insightful blog! I am agonizing over the decision between regular braces and invisalign. I’m 50 yrs old and never had braces. – One thing I can’t glean from your blog : in the end, are you happy that you chose invisalign over regular braces?

    • Thank you so much for reading, Kat! Your question is a loaded one, in which I plan to address sometime in the future with a new blog post. Overall, I think I’m happy with my choice. I do regret not adding braces to the end of my treatment as per my first orthodontist’s suggestion. Everyone’s case is different though, of course.

  19. The fear of perhaps having lost your invisalign is a thing of its own. I would carry around the case but for some reason I can’t be bothered. Probably will be when I’ll have to pay good money for a new one.

  20. I’m the worst worry wort. I’ve read countless blogs and posts about invisalign and have been terrified of my journey due to the possible consequences… But I must say your blog gives me hope! It lightened up my mood quite a bit and reminded me to think positive and lighten up a bit. Thank you so much for that. Your light hearted post on this matter is refreshing.

    Also one question, do you feel your teeth’s health/enamel health is as good as it was prior to doing the invisalign?
    Haha sorry, I have to ask. My curiosity gets the best of me. 🙂

    • Sorry for the late reply. Thank you so much for reading, Bea! As for your question, I truly don’t think Invisalign had a negative impact on the overall health of my enamel. More to come about this at a later date, but I would definitely follow a semi-strict water-only rule.

  21. Just had my attachments done today and am wearing the second set of aligners – long way more to go but this has been such a good read! Thoroughly enjoyed it so thank you 🙂

  22. Hello, I am scheduled to get my first set in two days. I have a trip for memorial day and I was concern about the drinking affect. Is it okay to drink alcohol is this period and if so what are things I need to follow. Can I drink clear alcohol and if so do I do it through a straw?

  23. So not to be awkward but how is your experience romantically with Invisalign. I just got mine and and I’m curious. Do I take the trays out to kiss and do other things? What did you do ?

    • I’ll be honest with ya… more often than not, I’ll get up to remove my retainers these days just because they’re quite bulky. When I was in my aligners, I never recalled there being any awkwardness. Of course, when I got my first trays four and a half years ago, I had already been married for four years. Things might have been a little different if I were out in the “dating scene”. Thank you for reading!

  24. I am seriously thinking about doing this. My top teeth have gaps and bottom is crowded. I’m trying research all I can about it. Thank you for your input.

  25. today is my 3rd day of wearing my 1st aligner and i can really relate to what you’ve said in this post!!!! i really like your blog,, your quirky and hilarious HAHAHA 🙂 really enjoy reading your content

  26. I love reading first hand experiences with Invisalign. I’m always curious as to how others’ treatment with Invisalign went, as there are always mixed reviews online. Nice detail too!

  27. Hi, im wearing my 9th tray and im getting annoyed at them but i still had to do another 29 trays.!!i have no problem with removing, hygiene but the discomfort while Im wearing them. My tongue is also sore as I can’t help sipping the saliva that were trapped inside my retainers.
    I dont think i was following the 20-22 hrs religiously. There are times when I dont wear them for 3 to 4 hours straight on maybe 3 occassions. I was wondering if this is the readon why they feel uncomfortable until now.

  28. thanks for this, i just got mine 2 days ago, and I’m in the buyers remorse phase….the buttons on my teeth are pretty white, and lets just say my teeth are not that white, so it looks like i have cottage cheese in my teeth, my dentist was sweet saying she would change the color, as i ran back the next morning, starving as i could not get them out, and just in general humbled by my own vanity…did anyone else have an issue with the button or attachment colors?
    Im also so tempted to just suck down white wine with a straw, i find the thought of along dinner with wine is over…im happy you talked about it not dictating your social life…ive been trying to find a way to hide for 9 months!
    Thanks for the real talk, all this is quite overwhelming…

  29. Just started my Invisalign journey! Your blog made me smile as after the teeth filing left me looking so terribke I was devastated. Hoping to see some results soon. Should all be finished by July. 🙂

  30. Hi thanks so much for this post. I have been considering invisalign for ages to straighten just one tooth but its at the front top and have been told in order to do it all the others will need to move. All of the info online about lisp and look etc worried me but after reading your post i went ahead and booked an appointment for tonight so thank you!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s