It may seem like a daunting prospect to some, but Invisalign has been one of the best dental journeys we have gone on. If you’re one of the ‘I’m super scared of the dentist’ types, knowing what you’re getting yourself into before starting the Invisalign journey is your best bet. We’ve outlined what we like to call the ‘5 P’s of Invisalign’ and it should give you a great blueprint of what your Invisalign journey will be like and also some insider tips & tricks that have helped us along the way.
First things first, you’re not even sure you need Invisalign? Your teeth are pretty straight and all seems to be going well, but did you know that Invisalign can assist with more than just straightening your teeth? Bec and I had relatively straight teeth (which you’ll see in our next Invisalign blog post showing our BEFORE ‘v’ AFTER teeth shots), however we both really struggled with TMJ (Temporomandibular joint dysfunction) pain and clenching our teeth while we slept. We found out through our consultations with Dr. Shawn from The Dental Room that using Invisalign as a corrective measure could alleviate a lot of stress on our jaw and save our teeth from inevitable cracking and chipping.
Our process was two-fold. One: opening our ‘smile’ up by pushing our top teeth up and our bottom teeth down, to create more space in between our bites – so that there would be less clenching and TMJ issues, and Two: straightening up our bottom teeth and creating a more symmetrical smile.
But what about your teeth and your journey? Here’s what you need to know before you start:
PRE-INVISALIGN: The Pre-Invisalign process is relatively straight forward and easy. First, you’ll need to book a consultation with your local dentist (in our case, we went with Dr. Shawn from The Dental Room – and have found them utterly amazing to work with) regarding the Invisalign process and they can assess your best steps forward and what the process may look like for you.
The next step is for your dentist to create moulds of your teeth, and take X-rays of your mouth to send off to Invisalign for them to create a ‘virtual teeth mock-up’ of what your teeth look like now, and how they will look after Invisalign. Through this step, your dentist will also let Invisalign know the changes you want made (including their suggestions based on your particular case) for them to consider when creating your ‘virtual teeth mock-up’.
Two weeks later your dentist will receive your teeth ‘virtual teeth mock-up’ and you will be able to see what your teeth will look like if you decide to proceed with the Invisalign treatment.
Up to this point, your Invisalign treatment is free, all you need to pay is your dentist consultation bill, and there is no requirement to continue the Invisalign process if you aren’t comfortable with it.
PRICE: Pricing and duration of the Invisalign process will differ for everyone, but you should budget $6,000 + for your Invisalign journey. NOTE: You can pay the full amount before your treatment, or a partial amount and finance the remainder and pay a per-month cost. Payment options are flexible and can be tailored to suit your needs.
PROCESS: So you’ve checked-off your Invisalign and are ready to start. Whats next?
Your dentist will book you in for another appointment where they will officially start your Invisalign journey! The first step is to attach your ‘buttons’ or attachments to the teeth which need to be adjusted and moved. These ‘buttons’ are what press against your Invisalign tray to help it move into the correct position. They’ll then put your first ‘aligner’ or tray in. NOTE: It’ll feel tight and they should get to you to try taking it off and then put it back on so you know how to do it.
You should aim to have your retainers in for as long as possible per day. Only take them out when you’re eating food and pop them back in once you’re done. The longer they are in per day, the quicker your teeth will move to where they need to be. Contrary, if you slack-off and don’t wear them, you could be extending your Invisalign journey and paying more to get additional aligners.
The aligners are changed weekly, and we suggest putting your new aligner in at night time before you head to sleep as you can sleep through the initial discomfort, as well as having the new aligner in for the longest amount of time possible before you take them out for your first meal.
PAIN: A lot of our friends (and followers) who have had Invisalign before warned us there would be pain during the process. We have to admit, they were right and you can definitely expect to feel some pain and discomfort for the first couple of days per new aligner you put in. Also, if you’ve never worn a mouthguard or splint it’ll take a week or so to get used to having something in your mouth 24/7. However, we can guarantee that the pain subsides and that the longer your Invisalign process is, the lesser the pain becomes.
PRACTICALITIES: Here’s where we answer some questions you still may have, and give you our tips for a seamless Invisalign journey.
– How do I clean my aligners?
Considering they’ll be in your mouth most of the day, they don’t need to be cleaned every time you take them in-and-out of your month. Depending on your OCD habits and care to keep them perfectly hygienic and clean we suggest giving them a rinse with water whenever you take them out, and then another rinse before you put them back in your mouth. If you’re feeling they’re a bit grimey you can brush with a little toothpaste, or soak them in Polident (denture cleaner) for a couple of minutes and they’ll come out sparkly new.
– Should I brush my teeth before putting them back in?
Ideally at least floss your teeth before putting your aligners back in, however if you’re out eating with friends – you may not be able to do this! We carried little floss sticks in our aligner containers and kept in our bags if we ever ate out, but it really depends on your personal habits. But definitely brush first thing in the morning and before you head to bed – for obvious reasons!
– My teeth are really sore when I put my new aligners in, can I take paracetamol to help?
Absolutely! We took a combo of 1 x paracetamol tablet + 1 x ibuprofen to help with the pain for the first couple of weeks. We soon didn’t need to take anymore pain relief as we got used to the pain and it lessened with time.
– How often do I change my aligners/How long will the process be?
You get a new aligner once a week, so the Invisalign process has actually halved compared to when you used to wear one aligner per fortnight. The length of your Invisalign journey will differ from person to person, however can be anywhere from a couple of months to 9-12 month process. Mine (Marissa)’s was 3 1/2 months, and Bec’s is 5 months in total. It really depends how much moving is needed for your teeth to get your perfect smile.
We hope that helps anyone looking to start the Invisalign journey, and a massive shout-out to Dr.Shawn and the team at The Dental Room for taking such good care of us (and our teeth)!