All You Need to Know About Invisalign Braces

Should I get my teeth fixed?

Do Invisalign braces really work?

Will people think I’m self-obsessed?

If you’ve been going backwards and forwards over the above questions, then you’ve come to the right place. When I began researching the idea of invisible braces, I could not find the answers I was looking for. Before parting with such a substantial amount of money (we will come on to the cost of Invisalign braces a little later) I wanted to hear a real experience from a real person rather than a thinly veiled sales advertisement.

Since finally taking the Invisalign braces plunge, I am hoping that within this post, you’ll find all of the answers you are looking for.

How bad do teeth need to be for Invisalign braces to work?

I have hated my teeth for as long as I can remember. Not only did I have that one ‘proud’ (as my aunt aptly named it a few years ago) tooth on the bottom row, both the upper and lower sets were crowded and wonky in various places.

Wonky teeth before Invisalign

The first thing I noticed when I looked in the mirror were my teeth. As I talked, I assumed that everyone was looking at that one ugly tooth that stood out from the rest. Rather than getting used to my teeth as I got older, I was becoming increasingly self-conscious. In addition to that, they were proving difficult to keep clean and I was getting tooth ache on a regular basis.

When my dentist kindly informed me that they were likely to get worse as I got older, I began researching options. Five years later, I finally took the plunge.

What do Invisalign braces look like?

Invisalign is a set of invisible aligners that have been moulded to fit the shape of your teeth. Your dentist will be sent enough invisible aligners to provide you with a new set every ten days for as long as you need them. Each aligner will be slightly tighter than the last one.

What I didn’t know was that you will also have small enamel coloured ‘attachments’ that are glued on to your teeth (removable at the end of the treatment) to keep the aligner in place. You’re unlikely to have one on every tooth but you won’t get away with having none. My teeth were not considered that bad but I have six attachments on the bottom and six on the top. I think that this is fairly standard.

Although they aren’t unsightly as such, they do stick out and if you’re unlucky, some will be on your front teeth making it look a little more like you’re wearing a regular (albeit clear) brace.

How does Invisalign work?

As with a regular brace, each new aligner shifts the teeth in the direction that they should go, even rotating the ones that need it. I had a very twisted top tooth and this has completely shifted after 6 months. Your dentist might also need to do a little ‘shaving’ between the teeth when you visit. I’ve only had this done twice in 8 months and it isn’t painful, just a little uncomfortable.

You will have a new aligner every 10 days (some dentists say 7 days to speed up the process and others say 14 days).

Do Invisalign braces work for everyone?

The short answer to that question, is ‘no’. I got an assessment at a local orthodontist and she gave me the different options available based on the level of work that needed doing. You will only be offered Invisalign if it’s likely to work for you.

From what I understand, Invisalign only works if you don’t need major work (ie your jaw breaking or teeth removed) and the issues are largely cosmetic – teeth just needing to shift position.

Will wearing the clear aligners affect my every day life?

I think that everyone’s experience is likely to be different but I have not found them too bad. Initially I was very nervous about taking them in and out (they should only be removed for 2 hours out of every 24) and actually found it pretty difficult. I was scared that my teeth might come out with the aligner – for the record, they won’t! As the weeks progressed, I found it easier to take them in and out.

It is not recommend that you drink anything hot wearing the Invisalign braces so I only ever drunk clear, cold liquids (wine and gin included 😉). Your teeth should be cleaned after every meal in order to prevent build up (not always easy on a night out). You must wear your aligner at night and occasionally that has been uncomfortable – usually on the first day of a new aligner when it feels very tight.

How long will I need to wear the aligners for?

I was told that my treatment would take 12-15 months when in reality, I was wearing the aligners for a full 18 months. I think it can be anything from 6-18 months, depending on how your teeth are at the start and how they respond to treatment.

When will the Invisalign braces start working?

These photographs were taken before the treatment, after 3 months and then 6 months. As you can see, after 6 months the top teeth were pretty much completely straight. The bottom ones had a little way to go.

Invisalign braces after 6 months progress

What does it feel like to wear Invisalign braces?

Initially, wearing the clear aligner feels extremely weird. My mouth felt so dry all of the time and I was constantly thirsty. This feeling did calm down after about 2 months.

Occasionally, one of the aligners had a sharp edge to it, causing ulcers on my tongue and gums. I ended up trimming the sharp edge off and this helped.

People don’t seem to notice when I am wearing the aligner as they’ve had no effect on my speech at all.

One thing worth noting is that as your teeth begin moving, they will sometimes feel wobbly. Don’t panic! I was told that this is normal and that once they are fixed in a position, they will firm up again.

How much do Invisalign braces cost?

My treatment has cost a little under £4,000. Most dentists will do a payment plan spread across the year and occasionally you might find some special offers for the treatment. I was quoted just short of £5k by another local practice, so prices do vary.

Will my teeth be perfect when the Invisalign treatment has finished?

The teeth are still your real teeth, not veneers, which means that they will never be perfect. I think that’s something to be proud of by the way!

The treatment took a full 18 months for me and although not perfect, I am really pleased with the end result.

Will the changes last forever?

I am told that the changes will last forever as long as I wear my retainer every night for the rest of my life – time will tell!

Is it worth it?

I think the answer to this question depends on how much you hated your teeth in the first place. Yes I was glad when the attachments finally came off and I no longer had to consider when/how to remove my aligner without grossing everyone out 🤢 but overall, the experience wasn’t too bad. After 25 years of wonky teeth, they are finally straight!

Hopefully this has covered all your questions but if you’ve got anything else you’d like to ask, then feel free to leave a comment here.

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16 Comments

  1. October 13, 2017 / 8:46 am

    Wow, I’m very impressed! It sounds like a bit of a hassle, but definitely short-term pain for long-term gain.

    • Suzanne W
      Author
      November 22, 2017 / 5:23 pm

      YEs in the grand scheme of things, it’s a very short amount of time isn’t it?

  2. October 13, 2017 / 10:34 am

    This was fantastic – thanks so much for writing it Suzanne. Your teeth look so much better after 6 months – Your top teeth look pretty amazing to me from the outset! I’m now pretty nervous about starting my own treatment but hopefully it’ll go as smoothly as yours! x

    • Suzanne W
      Author
      November 22, 2017 / 5:21 pm

      It’s funny how many people have said that they didn’t notice I had wonky teeth in the first place but looking at the before picture, they really were bad . Now I’m almost finished and they are near perfect!

  3. Sandra
    October 13, 2017 / 2:09 pm

    Your teeth are looking great!…it’s amazing how quickly they move isn’t it?!..I’m about 8 mths into my treatment with fixed braces at the grand age of 52!!
    I originally wanted invisalign but they weren’t suitable for me as my top front tooth (i know there is a name but cant remember what it is…incisor??!)..was too badly rotated.
    I can empathise with all of the above and am impressed with the results this far down the line…I probably have another 8 or So mths to go though as my bite needs correcting too.
    I think it’s becoming more socially cceptable for middle aged ( hate that phrase!) Women to be seen with braces and you get used to the comments !
    Anyway, great post and for all those thinking about it, Do it!! Wish I hadn’t waited so long!! 😀

    • Suzanne W
      Author
      November 22, 2017 / 5:21 pm

      I think the results can be seen much quicker with a fixed brace. Well done at going for it at 52 – why not?!

  4. October 20, 2017 / 1:32 pm

    Your teeth are looking fab Suzanne! I had ‘train track’ braces for 2 years when I was a teenager. At the time I hated them but looking back it was the best decision ever to have them done. If your teeth have always bothered you the whole thing will really improve your confidence. The main problem I remember having with mine was the constant worry about food getting stuck in the tracks! xx

    • Suzanne W
      Author
      November 22, 2017 / 5:22 pm

      Yes I really think it will improve my confidence Gail, I was conscious of trying not to show my bottom teeth when talking. Do your teeth still look good now ? I know many people whose teeth have got worse again since becoming an adult 🙁

  5. November 22, 2017 / 11:45 am

    I really enjoyed reading this!! My bottom teeth are really starting to cross — it’s definitely getting worse with age — and now in my mid-forties I’m thinking I may like to get braces. It’s great to read your thoughts on these Suzanne. It’s such a costly things though isn’t it? Would you say it’s DEFINITELY worth the expense? xx

    • Suzanne W
      Author
      November 22, 2017 / 5:17 pm

      Hi Caro, mine I due to be removed on Monday and I would say they are now almost perfect! I had hated mine for as long as I can remember so I guess if you’re in that camp then definitely worth the money. I needed top and bottom set though. You may not. Worth getting a free consult in any case. x

  6. February 22, 2018 / 9:14 am

    Fantastic customer service; all staff are very friendly; and also really welcoming experience overall. Always feel better after my hygienist appointment and I know exactly where I am with my treatment plans. Couldn’t ask for more.

  7. David Carr
    May 11, 2018 / 2:00 pm

    and??? another 6 months gone by?

  8. July 21, 2018 / 5:23 am

    Great information. Invisalign is popular because it is invisible and easily removable. Thank you for sharing.

  9. October 31, 2018 / 2:15 pm

    You had me until “It is not recommend that you drink anything hot”!!! I’m not sure I could give up my daily tea, coffee, and various tisanes 😉 Great post. I’ve been thinking about various cosmetic upgrades for my teeth (whitening, straightening etc) but have heard that a lot of those treatments can lead to gum recession and sensitivity (which I already have). Did you have any issues with your gums from Invisalign?

    • Suzanne W
      Author
      November 1, 2018 / 12:17 am

      Hi Nipa, You can’t drink anything hot with the Invisalign braces in but of course you can take them out. It really helped with my tendency to constantly snack! I also had sensitive teeth and actually this has subsided. I’m not finally on my last few weeks – it took a lot longer than I thought. I’m going to post an update at some point 🙂

      • November 1, 2018 / 2:26 am

        Ha! No snacking would be a bonus for me. My kids are always saying “Mom’s got the blogging munchies” 😂

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