I’m celebrating (weird word to use when in relation to dental work, I know!) half a year wearing my Invisalign aligners, and I’m just 6 short weeks away from my top set of teeth being perfectly straight – something I’d only dreamed about just a year ago when I’d automatically cover my mouth if a camera was around.
With that in mind, I thought it was the perfect time to share some of my most frequently asked questions for anybody else considering the treatment. I know the majority of these answers can be found on the website, but hearing them first-hand has got to be more than a little reassuring! Without further ado…
Can you see the aligners?
Until I tell people, they usually don’t notice my aligners at all. People might notice that something is slightly off, as wearing bits of plastic around your teeth isn’t exactly natural, but the more you get used to them, the easier it is to hide them.
Depending on the severity of your treatment, you will most likely have small attachments stuck to your teeth. These take the form of little tooth-coloured nodules, and often these are more noticeable than the braces themselves. I have around 11 attachments – they don’t really bother me, but it’s worth knowing!
Does it hurt?
My aligners are changed every two weeks, and for the first couple of days my teeth can be incredibly sore, leading to headaches. It’s easy to control with a painkiller or two. My number one tip would be to put them on at night before you go to bed so you’re not faced with a day of achey teeth. That way your teeth will shift into place when you’re asleep!
Crispy, crunchy food is always a no-no for me during those few days!
How long do you have to wear them?
In total, I will have to wear my Invisalign aligners for nearly two years. It sounded like such a long time when I began the treatment (my first thoughts when I got them were HOW ON EARTH am I going to put up with this junk in my mouth for two years?!) but time has flown by, and I can’t believe how fast they work!
Daily, you are recommended to wear them for 20-22 hours. This leaves enough time to take them out to eat. You wear them at night whilst sleeping, and throughout the day. The hour or so flexibility means that I can always pop them out for a photoshoot if need be! But now I almost feel weirder without them in.
How often will I have to go to the dentist?
I head to see my Invisalign doctor at Azamay in north London every 6 weeks. This allows her to check the progress, as well as perform any necessary procedures, such as IPR (or inter-dental filing).
How much does it cost?
This will vary from practitioner, and also on the severity of the problem. It might be that you only need a simple treatment, in which case you’ll be wearing them for less time, costing less overall. The website suggests that prices are usually around the £2,500 mark.
How do you eat with them?
It’s easy, you simply take them out! Just keep your case nearby, cover your mouth (strings of saliva aren’t usually considered attractive..!) and slip them out.
The first night I had them, I went out to eat. I was sure I would have to head to the bathroom every time I wanted to take them in or out, but now it’s as simple as reaching in and popping them out. People don’t even notice! And it’s always a conversation starter…
Is there anything I’m not allowed to eat or drink?
As long as you take your aligners out, you aren’t restricted at all. But if you’re a fan of sugary drinks/alcohol, smoking and chewing gum, this might be a great way to curb your habit, as they are all no-nos when wearing your aligners.
Are they easy to take in and out?
Yep! I’d watched a few YouTube vids prior to getting the treatment that panicked me slightly as the girl seemed to find it difficult getting hers out. I’ve had no problem at all. It’s not very comfortable removing them after they have been changed, but once your teeth have settled into their new position, it’s as simple as going from the back and slowly popping them off. I have only ever damaged one set by pulling them out too quickly, but thankfully this was the day before they were due to be changed!
Looking after ’em
How do I take care of my aligners?
It’s suggested that you clean your aligners daily with lukewarm water. I’ve found adding a small amount of toothpaste and brushing them like my own teeth does the perfect job, and leaves them minty fresh!
And please do remember to put them in the case when you’re not using them. I had one horrible incident where a dog decided to steal them from right next to me! Needless to say – they weren’t going back in my mouth!
How often will I have to brush my teeth?
You’re told to brush your teeth at normal times – so in the morning and before bed, but also after every meal. I started off doing this, but it’s just so difficult. Whilst chatting to a friend who had completed the process, she told me that she never brushed after meals, so I’ve now adopted the same approach. As long as my teeth feel clean, I’m happy to pop them back on. If you’re brushing thoroughly as well as flossing, you shouldn’t have any problems.
What if I lose a set?
If you lose a set, it’s important to tell your Invisalign practitioner straight away, and put in your last set. Make sure to keep them all safe, as you never know when you might need them!
I hope this is helpful to a few of you – just leave a comment if you have any other questions!