What to Know About Getting Invisalign (From Someone Who Had It)
Whether you're past the age that most of your friends were when they had braces or you simply dread the thought of having metal in your mouth for an extended period of time, there are plenty of reasons to consider clear orthodontal aligners such as Invisalign.
However, this option isn't some quick-fix or magical alternative that will have your teeth straight in no time—it's still a time- and labor-intensive process that requires a bit of work on your end, too. If you're thinking about getting Invisalign and want to know more about what it's like to have it from someone who's actually gone that route, we're here to help. Here's your what-to-know guide about getting Invisalign, all from someone who actually had it:
1. You Still Have to Get Fitted for It
Unfortunately, Invasalign isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to straight teeth. You still need to get fitted for it, and this can be a slightly uncomfortable (but not painful) experience that involves a paste being put into your mouth to create a mold. This usually has to happen at an orthodontist's office, though some other aligner brands can send at-home kits (though we can't vouch for their effectiveness).
Also read about: 8 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Got Braces
2. They Can Hurt
If you ever had to listen to any of your friend's complain about pain when they to get their braces tightened, just know that that's the same kind of pain you might feel when you switch to a new pair of aligners with your Invisalign. Basically, the way that these aligners work is that you wear them as often as possible for two to three weeks at a time (depending on your ortho's recommendation), then you'll switch them out for a new pair that's a little tighter and makes your teeth a little straighter than the last, and so on. Because your teeth—which are basically made of bone—are literally shifting, you're probably going to feel some pain, discomfort or tenderness each time you change pairs. It's nothing unbearable, though, and it usually only lasts for the first day or so of a new set.
3. You Need to Take Care of Them
Your ortho should provide you with specific instructions, but a few first-hand experience pro tips would be to:
- Brush them nightly when you brush your teeth. Toothpaste and water will do!
- Carry a case with you everywhere in case you want a snack and need to stow them safely (it'll keep you from accidentally tossing them away with your cafeteria tray, too)
- Don't eat or drink anything other than water with them on, no matter how tempting it can be in times when you don't want to pop them out—take it from someone who accidentally stained theirs orange in order to sip a pumpkin spice latte and still had to wear them for two more weeks)
4. Wearing Them '23 Hours of the Day' Is No Joke
While an hour or so off won't make a major difference, definitely try to keep them on as much as possible. The golden rule is to wear them all the time unless eating or brushing your teeth, and remember that if you cheat and wear them less often, you'll pay for it when your next set hurts more because your teeth didn't get the full benefits of the last pair.
5. They Can Help Fix an Overbite or More Severe Dental Problems
Some good news: Invisalign can be super effective when you wear it properly! Even if you have some pretty major progress to make before achieving your dream smile, from experience we know that these babies can fix everything from an overbite to a gap to, well, both at the same time. Just have a little patience if you're working with teeth that might take longer to straighten out, and remember that it's still better than having to wear braces for the same amount of time.
Also read about: If You've Ever Had Braces, You'll Relate to THESE 14 Truths
6. You Might Have a Bit of a Lisp at First
Here's something we wish we'd known sooner: the aligners can cause you to have a bit of a lisp at first when you wear them. Don't panic—it's totally temporary, it just takes some time to learn how to enunciate with a literal layer of plastic covering your teeth. Our pro tip would be to practice saying words like "effervescent" out loud, as sounds that become difficult with the aligners on include "ff," "v" and "th."
7. You'll Have to Wear a Retainer Version at Night Even When You're Done
While we'd like to think that clear aligners are some incredible solution that fixes teeth for good, unfortunately you're not exactly "done" with them—ever. Remember that Invisalign is basically a clear, removable version of braces, so almost everything you'd have to do with regular braces, you still have to do with Invisalign—including wear a retainer. However, it's not so bad. It's basically your last set of aligners before you're done needing to wear them for the majority of the day, only now you only have to wear them at night. And yes, you should try to wear them "every" night, but your teeth won't magically shift back to their original placement should you forget to wear them for a night (or five). It just might be a little uncomfortable when you do remember to wear them again. It's all worth it though, as forgetting to wear your retainer ever will eventually lead to your teeth shifting back at least somewhat to how they used to be, and that's kind of the opposite of why you got the aligners to begin with.
If you'd like to read a little more on this subject before you head to your nextw orthodontist appointment (or before you start begging your parents to get you clear aligners instead of traditional braces), check out this article on what we wish we'd known about Invisalign before getting them by clicking HERE.