Over two years ago, I started down this journey to correct the alignment of what I
scathingly lovingly called my creatively arranged teeth. You can check out the annals of this whole thing by visiting My Invisalign Journey page, which chronicles all my Invisalign posts.
In early June, I completed my 85th and final tray! It was so exciting to go in and get my attachments off. That process, by the way, is completely painless. More weird than anything because its basically a dremel tool in your face. No anesthesia needed, no pain. At one point a single tooth felt VERY cold but that was it. It’s awesome to feel totally smooth surfaces again! I can now use stuff like Whitestrips without having to fight with them and turn them into origami to fit my teeth.
I don’t have before pictures of my teeth that I’m willing to share (because dear god do the clinical before photos look like nightmare fuel) BUT this post shares the changes of my initial course. To the not-paying-entirely-too-close-attention eye, my teeth don’t look too different from the end of that initial course. So if you want an idea of before, check out this post where I share my ClinCheck. As for after? So I don’t take a ton of pictures of my teeth (…because that is weird) or selfies in general (…because I don’t millennial, “properly.”) but hey, look:
For now, I’m wearing my 85th tray at night as a wannabe retainer while I wait for my retainer fabrication. I pick up my real retainers next week and can share more about them once I know more about them.
Right in the Feels
I fully expected this to be incredibly emotional for me. In spite of what actually moved me to to invest in myself this way, I still carried a lot of baggage about it. I expected seeing my initial ClinCheck to be emotional. I actually expected to have a weird teary moment like in a stupid reality TV reveal (like in extreme makeover type shit). Curiously (to me), I didn’t.
During the process, once my teeth started to look, “straightish,” to me (around tray 25) – I expected to be weepy. Nope.
It’s almost like I didn’t react that way because its surreal. Even now, even though its been almost a year and a half since I’ve had what I would have previously deemed straight (enough!) teeth, it’s still surreal. It isn’t that I don’t recognize myself or anything; I do, this is my smile, and it’s pretty nice now! I just somehow skipped the reaction I anticipated.
I haven’t been shy about my teeth in what feels like ages now. Once I unloaded what felt like a lifetime of silly discomfort with it, which was pretty quick all things considered, it’s been easy. I smile and laugh freely, smile however I see fit in pictures, etc. It’s been super nice! Some of my friends and close colleagues didn’t really realize I had the behaviors I had about hiding my teeth and such; it was just a mannerism that was, “invisible,” to them and that they thought nothing of, so many assumed that I had okay teeth.
Fortunately, I was never concerned about the orthodontia itself seeming embarrassing. Some adults experience some embarrassment about pursuing orthodontia, though. My particular tribe of humans – family, friends, coworkers – were nothing short of wonderful. I’m so happy to have been surrounded by people who were supportive of and excited/happy for me that I was doing something for myself like this.
Other Life Impacts
Some lifestyle changes were necessary to accommodate the hygiene demands of Invisalign. I had to carry a little oral hygiene kit with me so I could brush and floss after each meal. That wasn’t a big deal to me; I carry a medium satchel-style purse most days and my kit fit in there without issue. It wasn’t a big deal to contend with air travel either (apart from it sucking to need to brush your teeth at the airport since airport bathrooms are gross). I didn’t find the change in routine to be a big deal, and I didn’t have problems with compliance overall.
The Bottom Line
It wasn’t cheap. The cost very nearly deterred me; I joked, early on, that it costs a kidney. I did it anyway. But after 85/85 trays complete, nearly two years, around fifteen orthodontics office appointments, and $5500 – you can bet your ass it was worth it.
I’ve eliminated a potential career barrier. I’ve found confidence in an aspect of my appearance that I never really had once I got my secondary teeth. I don’t feel like I need to carefully obscure my grins and laughter. For me, it was liberating and is probably the best money I’ve spent on anything, ever.
If you want it and can afford it, for the love of cats – do it. Full stop. In my wildest dreams, I didn’t think my teeth could look as good as they do. I couldn’t be happier.