As I believe is common with many people, I grind my teeth, particularly when I'm sleeping. I have had a night guard for a few years, but the real issue was that my teeth were not lined up properly on the left side so the pressure of grinding/clenching was causing some cracks in my teeth. My dentist suggested Invisalign to shift my teeth over and reduce that pressure. I decided I would try it.
For those of you who aren't familiar with this process, what happens is that you get a series of clear trays that snap onto your top and bottom teeth. You will have little "buttons" adhered to your teeth so the trays have something to clip onto. Each week you change to a new tray and your teeth are gradually shifted to where they need to end up. You are supposed to wear the trays all the time, except when you are eating. Technically you aren't supposed to drink anything when they are in, but I would drink coffee and other things, I would just avoid red wine when I had them in.
I started last September and my first set of trays took me to January. When they checked the progress, they said "look your crooked front bottom teeth are fixed!", and I said "that's great, but that wasn't my goal, what about the alignment of my back teeth?". They said, "well, that hasn't changed much, we're not sure what we will be able to achieve there, but if you want to go for another round, then we can try". I opted for the next round of trays. I was a little annoyed since it seemed like they were kind of dismissive and thought I would be happy with the cosmetic effect of the Invisalign. I understand that is what most people are looking for, but my crooked tooth wasn't that excessive and it wasn't really bothering me.
The next round to of trays went from end of January to the end of August. The ultimate result did move my teeth and reduce the pressure on the left side, although it did not completely fix the problem. However, I am happy with the results.
As some finishing touches, I did do teeth whitening and bonding. Bonding is when they close the "triangles" that ended up between my front teeth due to the new spacing. The whitening is recommended so the bonding material matches your teeth colour.
This is pre-bonding. You can see some darker spots between my four top teeth.
and this is afterwards. (Also yikes, close up!)
Now, I just have a night guard and I can do touch ups with the whitening at home if I want to. Although I probably won't, the whitening was really painful and I am a wuss!
The Invisalign itself was not my favourite thing to do, but not that bad and I would recommend it for people that want to straighten their teeth. It does cause your teeth to ache at times, and it's annoying to take them in and out for eating, I tended to avoid any mid-meal snacking. They can also get kind of grimy so I would brush and floss my teeth more option and clean the trays at the same time to try and freshen them up. When I first started I found they ripped up the inside of my mouth and irritated my tongue, but I didn't have the problem forever. I didn't love how my smile looked when I was wearing them, but it didn't stop me.
I'm not going to be singing Invisalign's praises anytime soon, but it does what it's supposed to do for most people.