Invisalign tips and everything newbies need to know

In Beauty, Style by Kate Bayless0 Comments

So….I got Invisalign. You know… the clear braces. The ones you’ve been thinking about. Oh sure, you’ll make your tween or teen suffer through traditional metal braces. It’s something they just have to live through, right? But for you, as an adult, well, you know that there’s no way you can go a traditional braces route.

Whether you’ve never had to deal with teeth issues before or are wondering how you could have had braces as a kid and still have teeth shifting (me!), I’m here to share. I’m two months in and here to report the good, the bad and the ugly about getting Invisalign as an adult. Brace yourselves. (Get it?!)

Everything You Need to Know About Invisalign

I debated getting Invisalign for a looooong time. There were parts of my smile I just wasn’t happy about and I love to smile! Despite having had braces as a kid, my lower teeth were starting to crowd and turn and I had one upper tooth that was getting a mind of its own. It wasn’t awful, but it impacted how I felt about myself, how I smiled, how I felt about pictures of myself. But I just wasn’t sure it was “bad enough” to warrant a fix. Why is it that we moms often so easily do things for others and push our wants to the back burner? Eventually, I decided to take the fist step and get a consultation with Dr. Thomas Lee at

Eventually, I decided to take the fist step and get a consultation with Dr. Thomas Lee at Premier Orthodontics. Ironically, during that consultation, I found out there was a lot more going with my teeth than just those two issues! I also had problems with grinding and teeth starting to collapse inward, something that happens as we age. Getting straight teeth is often seen as just a cosmetic issue, but crooked teeth can also impact how you chew, jaw pain and tooth wear.

So I took the plunge and got Invisalign. Two months in, I’m here to report on what I wish I knew beforehand, what I’ve learned, and how to have the best (and fastest!) experience with your aligners.

It will take about two weeks to get used to them

The first two weeks the aligners just felt… weird. They felt big in my mouth (even though they are super thin). My lips would catch on them. I felt nervous about being able to get them out. I felt lispy and like everyone could see them. After two weeks, I barely even noticed them.

Invisalign

Invisalign is clear but not invisible

Some friends said they couldn’t see them, but I was acutely aware of them when I smiled and talked. Yes, they were clear on my teeth, but you could still see them. Especially with my “attachments…”

About those “attachments”

I thought Invisalign was just these clear trays I’d wear on my teeth. I did not know about attachments. According to my ortho, Dr. Lee, Invisalign has dramatically progressed since it was first released, meaning they can solve all kind of tooth issues they previously weren’t a good fit for. But, one of the ways they do this is with attachments — small little tooth-colored “dots” they adhere to your teeth with glue to help the aligners grip and turn a tooth and sometimes with rubber bands between your upper and lower teeth. Lucky me, I got to have both — 12 attachments in all and one rubber band. This makes the aligners more visible on my teeth and means that when I take my aligners out, I still have a bunch of these “dots” on my teeth. Not a deal-breaker, but definitely something I wish I’d known about ahead of time.

What You Need to Know about Invisalign

You can’t eat with Invisalign in

Was I the only one who didn’t know this? You need to take out your aligners any time you eat or drink anything other than water. This means a) you’ll need to get good at taking your aligners in and out, or b) you’ll find yourself eating less. Though I’m a 10 a.m. snacker, I found myself skipping it so I didn’t have to take the aligners out, eat, brush and put them back in. Calories saved, yes. But I would also be starving by lunch.

Must-haves for your Invisalign “toolkit”

You’ll need to build a “toolkit” to keep any place you’ll be taking your aligners in and out — one at home, one at work, one in your purse. You’ll definitely need a toothbrush (consider a small travel one!) and possibly a mini toothpaste. You’ll need to brush (or at least rinse really well) any time after you eat or drink. I also had trouble getting my aligners in and out with just my fingers but someone at Premier Ortho office told me to get a golf tee — genius! It saves your nails, isn’t too sharp so it won’t hurt your gums or damage the aligners and makes it a breeze to quickly pop the aligners out. Plus it fits it the Invisalign case!

What to Keep in your Invisalign "Toolkit"

You can make out with them in

I know you were curious. (Wink!)

How long you will have them will vary greatly

It will depend on your age — kid teeth move faster, but for adults, my ortho said he tells most people 18-24 months. It will depend on if you actually wear your aligners for the majority of the day (Invisalign says you should shoot for 22 hrs out of every day. Wear them less and you’ll get weeks added on. Be diligent and you may get done early!). And it will, of course, depend on how much work it will take to get your teeth from A to B. But, you can cut your treatment time in half if you do one thing…

How to Cut Your Time with Invisalign in HALF

Use the Acceledent

What is this sexy device I’m rocking? It’s the AcceleDent and if you use it with your Invisalign it cuts your treatment time by 50 percent! So what is it? A vibrating device that you put in your mouth every day for 20 minutes. Stay with me. Admittedly, it takes some getting used to. The vibration is very mild, but you do have to have this thing in your mouth for 20 minutes every day and it does look… um, a bit awkward, as you can see. The vibration helps to ease any pain you have from your aligners as well as increase the blood flow to the gums which allows your teeth to move quicker. While you normally wear your Invisalign trays for 2 weeks per tray, if you use the AcceleDent device, you change trays every week. So in my case, my 28 trays are taking me 28 weeks, instead of 52 weeks. Plus, since you only have each tray in for a week, you don’t have to deal with issues like staining or smells. So even though it’s a no-no, I drink my morning coffee with my aligners in and don’t have to worry about them staining. (I do rinse and brush afterward.)

Granted the AcceleDent is an additional cost on top of Invisalign, but if you have an upcoming event (wedding/graduation/reunion/etc.) that you want to get the treatment finished in time for or just want the whole process over ASAP, the AcceleDent is an incredible option.

Do not make plans to see a friend for lunch immediately after your Invisalign appointment

Because you’ll still be in shock from your Invisalign and your attachments and not knowing how to get the aligners out and you’ll only have water. Or so I’ve heard…

Tip for Invisalign Newbies

Curious to find out if Invisalign can improve your smile? Learn more about Invisalign here, find an approved orthodontist in your area, or check out more about the time-saving benefits of the Acceledent. Your smile deserves it!

SSM was not paid for this post. I am working with Invisalign and Acceledent as a reviewer and was provided with treatment. All opinions expressed are my own.

Meet the Author | Kate Bayless


Kate Bayless is a Southern California-based writer and editor with a decade of bylines in national glossies and around the web. She writes regularly about parenting, beauty, tech, travel and more. A mother of three boys under 8, she relishes the small joys in life -- drinking coffee while it's actually still hot, a clean sink, having a reason to wear high heels, beating her husband in Words With Friends, a glass of wine with girlfriends, and travels with the family.

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