After years of grinding and clenching my teeth, I started to notice a shift in my teeth and even facial asymmetry. Not to mention constant jaw tension and soreness. This eventually led me to see a top orthodontist in NYC to get a consultation on Invisalign. She immediately pinpointed the issue for all my problems and even noticed that the right side of my jaw was bigger than my left side because of my grinding (even my b/f never noticed!). Cosmetically my teeth are straight, however I had a problematic cross-bite that needed to be corrected. A cross-bite is when your top teeth are stacked directly on top or narrower than your bottom teeth. This can cause a myriad of issues like large, tense jaw muscles. So here we are!
My Invisalign Review
I want to share my Invisalign journey with you and share tips and tricks to make the experience easier. I did a considerable amount of research on clear aligner alternatives like SmileDirect, CandidCo, Byte, etc. Ultimately, I chose Invisalign with a dentist but I hope my experience is helpful for anyone with clear aligners.
Dentist vs Orthodontist for Invisalign
Invisalign is provided through a dentist or orthodontist which means the pricing varies drastically based on the provider. An orthodontist is usually more specialized to make adjustments on treatment. However, Invisalign has become so common that many dentists are equipped to treat patients similarly to an orthodontist. From my experience, dentists tend to cost a bit less but it depends on your case and what work you need done. It’s also important to find a top provider for Invisalign. I chose a top 1% provider dentist but depending on your location, it may not be that easy to find a top 1% provider. Fear not, you may see these badges other great badgers below when you research provider. I’ll break down what each means:
- Preferred Provider – Performs a minimum of 10 cases of Invisalign per year.
- Premier Provider – Has treated 50 cases of Invisalign total and performs 25 cases every 6 months.
- Elite Provider – Has treated at least 300 cases total and performs 50 cases every 6 months.
- Top 1% Provider – Has treated at least 800 cases total and continues to perform 200 cases per year.
How Much Does Invisalign Cost?
Invisalign usually costs $3500-$8500 total but it varies drastically between providers even in the same area. Personally, I would recommend going to a few different dentists and orthodontists to get an idea of your treatment options. For example, one dentist told me I needed to have several buttons on my teeth and the treatment plan showed 8 little pegs all over my front teeth. Meanwhile, a few other dentists told me my Invisalign treatment could be done without the pegs, which I preferred.
Invisalign Alternatives for Clear Aligners
SmileDirectClub is a growing player in the clear aligner market with millions in funding. They offer transparent pricing and promotional offers so treatment costs around $1800-$2000 regardless of your location. While they claim to use the same technology of Invisalign, you won’t be seeing a dentist. Some people may prefer this but it’s important to note that seeing a dentist might be crucial depending on your treatment plan. You can have an impression kit sent to your home or you can go to one of their retail locations. Being in NY, it was very easy to make an appointment and go to the retail location. There was no wait and I received my treatment plan within 48 hours.
Candid Co, Smilelove, and Byte are some other players in the market with similar pricing and treatment offerings as SmileDirectClub.
Clear Aligners aka Invisible Braces Considerations
While pricing is an important consideration, you might need a dentist to make sure your treatment takes into account your bite. The benefits of seeing a dentist/orthodontist is that they can make adjustments to your treatment plan based on how your teeth are shifting, reshape and shave teeth if necessary, and add attachments. Attachments are enamel colored pegs glued to your teeth to help shift troublesome teeth. In my case, I chose a dentist because my teeth needed shaving and considerable adjustments due to my bite issues. However, I have friends that are happy with their results after using the other companies like SmileDirect. I highly recommend seeing several providers before making a decisions because clear aligners are an investment in money and time.
Invisalign For a Crossbite – Before and After
This was the initial rendering of my teeth (the numbers indicate the amount that needs to be shaved from my teeth).
This was simulation’s final result showing my top teeth wider than my bottom teeth.
Initially, the difference seems minor but you’ll noticed my cross-bite is corrected and my entire smile is wider.
My top teeth show the biggest difference:
My bottom teeth are slightly wider but barely noticeable:
Treatment length varies for each person. Mine is set for 5 months, though each provider quoted different lengths of time for my treatment that ranged from 5 months to 12 months.
You’ll receive all your sets of aligners at one time. Each week you will switch to your new set. It’s recommended that you wear your aligners 22 hours a day, which means you should only take them out for eating and drinking.
Initially, the dentist told me that my teeth would be very sore the first few days and to stick to liquid-y foods. When I first put in the aligners and felt the pressure on my teeth, I thought it was quite bearable and that I’d still be able to enjoy crunchy foods. Boy was I wrong! Within a few hours my gums were throbbing and I was agitated. By day 3, I was even more cranky and sore. Ibuprofen helped me get through this and a few other things you can read about here.
It gets better
I promise, it gets better. Even though you’ll experience soreness with each new set of aligners, it’s not nearly as tough as the first week. It’s barely noticeable except when you take off your aligners and try to eat very solid foods.
You may have trouble speaking the way you normally do while wearing your first set of aligners. You just need to get used to having the aligners on your teeth. My speech went back to normal within 2 weeks or so.
Invisalign results after 1 month of treatment:
It’s subtle but I already feel a difference in jaw tension and the top teeth look wider.
I’ll continue to share my journey as things progress. In the meantime, check out my clear aligner tips and tricks!