Thursday, July 31, 2014

Invisalign FAQ


(click the picture for full size)



Now that I’m on my sixth set of Invisalign® aligners, I figured it was time to answer some frequently asked questions about the treatment process! For those of you who missed my last posts (read those posts here), I'm currently receiving complimentary Invisalign treatment in exchange for sharing my experience, once a month. Talking to friends who already went through / are currently going through the process has helped me and kept me enthusiastic, so I’m hoping that I can do the same for anyone else who is interested in learning about it. If you have any additional questions, please let me know.

How much does Invisalign cost?
This is one of the questions I get asked most frequently, but since it varies according to the provider and individual treatment plan, it’s also the most difficult one to answer. According to Invisalign’s official FAQ page, it ranges from $3,500 to $8,000 in the US, with a national average of $5,000. I also found out that dental insurance typically treats Invisalign just like traditional braces (up to 50% of the cost may be covered) and Flexible Spending Health Savings Accounts can also be used.

Do aligners cut up your cheeks/gum/tongue? 
So far, I have only had one set of aligners (I’m currently on my sixth) that had a sharper edge in the back. It wasn’t enough to merit exchanging them for a new set, but a reader recommended putting a little bit of that minty dental wax on the offending edge. Worked like a charm! Otherwise, I’ve found that mine fit really well, and except for the first couple of days when I was constantly pushing at the edges with my tongue, I haven’t had any soreness or irritation.

Does Invisalign work on both minor and complex teeth issues?
I have friends who have gotten Invisalign to correct incredibly minor issues, requiring a much shorter treatment length, and I know others who have made drastic changes with the very same treatment. I used to think that Invisalign was only meant to correct slight imperfections, but that’s simply not true! I’ve seen smiles that were completely transformed by the treatment. It’s best to meet with an Invisalign dentist or orthodontist and find out if it will work for you.

How long will it be before you notice a difference in your teeth?
My orthodontist, Dr. Jenny Zhu at Manhattan Bridge Orthodontics, told me that I would start to notice a difference within a couple of months, but I would say that I noticed a minor change within a couple of weeks. My teeth still have a long way to go (I’m wearing them for about a year), but the first thing I noticed was a positive change in my bite. Ever since I got the attachments put on, I’ve been noticing more of a shift in my front teeth. I was really excited (but played it cool) when my friend Christine said my teeth are already looking straighter! If you’d like to see the intended progress of your teeth, I would recommend that you ask your doctor to see the computer simulation, which shows how each set of aligner trays will shift your teeth.

How do you clean your aligners?
You can just use some lukewarm water and a toothbrush (my doctor suggested adding regular soap), but I have had the best results with Fresh Guard soak (for nights and mornings) and the wipes (for on the go). So far, they have kept them as clear as possible. Note: don’t use hot water, or you might warp your aligners!

Do you wear them for the full 22 hours, as suggested? What happens if you leave them out for too long?
I wear them as much as possible, and actually prefer having them in, now that I have the attachments. But the truth is, there are days when it’s more like 18-20 and not 22 - and there have been a couple of times when I left them out for longer than intended. If you leave them out for an extended time, they might feel a little tighter when you put them back in, and there’s a chance you’ll have to wear them longer if you keep slacking. It’s important to wear them as much as possible, in order to let them do their work! It also pays to go for your regular checkups, so your doctor can make sure everything is on schedule. So far, mine are right on track.

Can I eat/drink with them in?
You can drink as much water as you want, but eating and drinking anything other than that is a no-no while wearing your aligners. But that’s not a problem, because they’re easy to remove. I carry along Wisps (those tiny toothbrushes) and floss to clean my teeth before putting my aligners back in, and always rinse the trays themselves. If you’re unable to give them a proper cleaning, the aforementioned wipes are very handy.

Do the aligners hurt?
They don’t hurt but there’s a bit of pressure whenever I start a new tray, so my doctor recommended putting the new ones in at night, before I go to sleep. By morning, the tightness has usually subsided. Dr. Zhu also said my first set with the attachments would be the most uncomfortable, but they didn’t bother me. My second set (pre-attachments) was the only one to give me any grief, because my jaw was adjusting to my new bite.

What are the “attachments” and why are they necessary?
Attachments are tooth colored enamel bumps that are fixed to specific teeth, in order to help the aligners fully grip the teeth and help them in their movement. It seems like most of my friends didn’t need any attachments, because their teeth required less movement, but mine required a total of 12. They’re mostly on the sides, but I have one right in the front. Click the photograph to see it full size, so you can get a better idea of what it looks like. When my aligners are out, they’re less visible (they’re in, in the photo). I have to admit that I was really worried about the attachments - and I was prepared to go home and cry in the dark when I got them - but they aren’t as noticeable as I thought they would be. Immediately after my appointment, we went to the Jazz Age Lawn Party - and as you can tell by my smile, I wasn’t very self conscious about them! Talk to your doctor and find out if and where you will need them, because it completely depends on the individual.

What do I do with my old sets?
My doctor recommended that I always keep the previous set of aligners, just in case I lose my current ones or need to backtrack in my treatment. So, I have two cases: blue for current and red for previous. I should also note that you need to keep them away from your animals, because they love to chew them up. Luckily, Miku has zero interest in them, but I’ve heard and read about dogs getting ahold of them. But if that happens, wear your previous set until you get a replacement.



p.s. If you are interested in Invisalign® treatment, you can request more info, here

I am an Invisalign Spokesperson and am receiving complimentary Invisalign treatment. All opinions expressed are my own. Full disclosure: http://www.invisalign.com/pages/ spokespersondisclosure

21 comments:

  1. I've been so excited to hear about your progress so far. I actually just got my first set last Tuesday and when I came home, I was adamant that I wouldn't be able to continue it for the whole year of my treatment as I was in so much pain. I have 19 attachments and I was a little worried about them before but I really don't notice them till I go to take my aligners out. Now I'm over a week in, they don't bother me at all. :)
    Have a lovely weekend!

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    1. I'm glad to hear that! I surprisingly didn't have any pain with the attachments, even though my orthodontist warned me that the first set would be uncomfortable. My worst was the second set, minus the attachments!

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  2. Great advice fome my gap...
    XOX, Gap.
    www.gaptoothedgirl.com

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  3. My second set was bad too, but they got really tight about midway through the process. I've had mine out now for several months and I am so pleased with the results. I notice one tooth still shifts during the day but goes back after wearing the trays overnight! Glad you are seeing results - it's exciting! ;-)

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    1. Maura,
      If you have a tooth that is still moving post-treatment go back and see your orthodontist NOW! I had that same thing happen to me post-treatment and didn't really think anything of it. About a year after my last visit with the orthodontist (which was a full year after starting the maintenance phase) I started having pain in the "shifty" tooth. Turns out it had what is called root resorption - basically the trauma of the tooth being shoved back in to place each night damages the root so much that it gives up and dies. I ended up having to go to an endodontist and have a full root canal on the tooth. The tooth is completely dead now and I may lose it later on in life (I'm in my early 40's), at which point I will have to get an implant. The possibility of root resorption is disclosed in the Invisalign fine print, but I don't remember my orthodontist ever discussing it with me. Not sure that knowing about it as a possibility would have changed my mind about going forward with the treatment, but it certainly might have made me think twice about just letting that shifty tooth move back and forth each day. Go see your orthodontist ASAP!

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  4. Hi again... I've commented before on my great success with Invisalign, and thought I'd share a tip for the future. When you are finished you'll get a last set that is super hard and is meant to last forever - basically the equivalent of a retainer - and you sleep with them. Obviously, over time these get pretty nasty and regular brushing doesn't do anything to get rid of the buildup. After lots of trial and error, I found that if I soaked them in a mix of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, they came out crystal clear the next day. All I did was rinse them and brush them with some toothpaste - good to go! Eight years in and it was still one of the best decisions I ever made!

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    1. Thank you for the tip! I was actually wondering about that and was going to ask my doctor. I wasn't sure if it was one retainer or a series. I kind of wish they would give a few, so they don't get cloudy!

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  5. I had braces 2nd grade through 9th grade and wore my retainers (similar to the Invisalign) like a champ for three or four years and then the week before my wedding my dog got ahold of them. And within three weeks my teeth were crooked again and they've only gotten worse. So frustrating! Someday I'd like to get Invisalign but for now it's not in the budget. Someday. This FAQ was really helpful, thanks!

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  6. Off topic, but I love the lip color you are wearing in this photo. Would you mind sharing what it is?

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    1. I'm not 100% sure, because it's a few weeks old, but I think it's Smashbox "primrose"

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  7. I had braces for part of middle school and high school, but they were taken off too early because of miscommunication between my dad and my doctor so my teeth weren't perfectly straight yet and they still needed to be pushed down to fix my bite. After reading this I feel like I'll eventually try Invisalign to fix them again, probably after I graduate though.

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  8. Invisalign has been always a very best choice for obtaining a perfect straight teeth in a very short time. Also, these Invisalign clear braces are virtually invisible and can be easily removed. So. it is difficult for anyone to find you during or after the Invisalign treatment process.

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  9. This post is rich of interesting info!!

    www.agoprime.it

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  10. you are so pretty!
    http://pnktree.blogspot.ru

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  11. As someone who went through an Invisalign program pretty recently, I thought I'd just throw out a little bit of my knowledge/experiences in case anyone is interested. For me, Invisalign actually ended up being cheaper than regular metal braces. Weird, right? If you're considering getting Invisalign but are worried about the price, go ahead and ask your dentist/orthodontist anyway. It may end up being more affordable than you originally anticipated!
    Something Keiko didn't really mention is the topic of how Invisalign works with over/underbites. From my experience, I don't really see how it would be possible for the adjusters to be able to correct that. In order to fix my overbite, my orthodontist placed tiny metal attachments to a few of my teeth and I had to wear rubber bands on them, just like my friends who wore regular metal braces. The adjustments were super tiny and since mine were towards the back of my mouth, they weren't noticeable when I smiled, with or without my Invisalign adjusters on. Just know that depending on what sort of work needs to be done in your mouth, you may end up having metal attachments on your teeth (in addition to the other attachments) and you may also need to wear rubber bands.
    Also, note: it's very possible to chip off the regular attachments so be careful! I was careless one day and chipped off one of my attachments when I was pulling my adjuster out. That meant another cumbersome trip to the orthodontist. Spare yourself the hassle by just being careful not to brush up against the attachments too hard!

    (Please note that I am in no way affiliated with the Invisalign company. I just wanted to share some thoughts in hopes of helping anyone who may be considering getting Invisalign.)

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    1. Thank you for the info, Alice! Question: how did the metal attachments work with the aligners? Did you have any issues getting your aligners in and out with them? And where did the rubber bands attach?

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  12. Hello! Just wondering what the requirements to become a spokesperson are! I tried looking for it on their page but couldn't find any info! Thanks!

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