10. It’s not just the trays. It’s also these sort of sharp, notch-like things that are adhered to several teeth. Unsexy, yes, but that’s not really the complaint. The complaint is that they are annoying. And getting them drilled off at the end of all this was so painful that I almost asked the technician to hold my hand. (True story. I didn’t know what else to do.)
9. You’ll feel like you talk funny with your trays in, but people won’t really notice it. So don’t even bother prefacing every meeting or presentation by apologizing for your sexy Invisalign lisp, because no one would have even noticed it. And it’s not sexy.
8. Your teeth will hurt. All the time. It’s pretty much constant, in that anytime you eat something with any kind of crunch or chew to it, you’re going to feel soreness in the deep center of your teeth. Every day. Every meal.
7. Your teeth will move. Like, all of them. Easily. And soon. Even if you can’t see it, it’s happening. On day 3 of Invisalign, my old retainer, the one I’d been wearing for upwards of 15 years, would no longer fit. As in would not even go on my teeth. At all. The upside of this is there is potential for very real progress, and in relatively short order. The downside is you may get more movement than you want. Or at least feel freaked out all the time, to the point of nightmares, about things going horribly wrong. Oh, just me? OK then.
6. You’ll be annoyed with the trays (removing them for meals, cleaning them, not being able to chew gum, etc), but you’ll get so used to them that you’ll actually prefer having them in. As in you’ll feel anxious after a meal until you can brush your teeth and get your trays back in. Ah, all is right with the world. The little guys are all buttoned up tight. Also just me? Yikes.
5. Keep your trays with you (like on your person) when you travel, in case someone steals your suitcase from the overhead bin when you land at JFK for a business trip. You won’t have underwear, clothes, or shoes, but dammit, you’ll have your next set of Invisalign trays ready to go and your orthodondist will be so proud.
4. Your teeth won’t feel smooth after the Invisalign is over. Pretty sure when they drill the notches off, it removes the smooth top layer of tooth. Is this possible? It’s certainly what it feels like. Other than my front two teeth, which remained notch-free during this process, my other teeth feel a bit gritty. I’m obsessed with running my tongue along my teeth now to feel the contrast. This is kind of sick.
3. Your teeth will need whitening after.
2. The thing you were trying to fix won’t end up fixed. Not that this is the case for everyone, but just be prepared. They aren’t braces. Especially if you choose an “Express” experience like I did, it’s not as extensive as the full process would normally be. And sure, they took molds of your mouth and ran the whole thing through a state-of-the-art computer system that mapped out a plan that was then debated by and ultimately carried out by exceptional and watchful orthodontists, but what does THAT really mean?
And the #1 thing I wish I’d realized before Invisalign:
Your teeth are already straight.
I guess if I could sum up I’d call the whole thing overkill. I was told I was a perfect candidate (already had braces, just need a small correction), but the near-perfectness of my teeth meant that there was always a risk not only that the small correction wouldn’t fully correct, but that other movement of teeth would ultimately leave me worse off. Or at least liking my former smile better. Not that I’m saying this happened or that it was all bad. My bite is better aligned, that I can tell. And my teeth overall are probably a teensy bit straighter. The fact that the thing I wanted fixed really wasn’t fully fixed does sort of bum me out, but I have to keep this all in perspective and realize that my teeth were straight before and they are straight now. This is not a crisis.
(To be clear, I would readily recommend Invisalign to anyone wanting to straighten their teeth. It’s not as intrusive or life-altering as braces, and it does move teeth very effectively.)