Invisalign Update: ClinCheck

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign

Note: Although there are a TON of content creators with Invisalign sponsorship deals, I am not one of them. I’m too small to be of notice, ha! I plunked down a few thousand dollars of my own hard-earned money from my fabulous day job for this. Writing the check made me cringe – so don’t worry! No rose-colored lenses here; expect nothing short of brutal honesty of this process. Any affiliate links are my usual Amazon or Shopstyle links which you can reference the side bar regarding my policy towards. :)

On the 27th, I went back to my orthodontist to review my ClinCheck. ClinCheck is Invisalign’s digital treatment plan; a provider (orthodontist) logs in to their web application to review and approve the planned course of treatment. Since then, I’ve been trying to get into the habit of brushing and flossing after each meal in advance of my huge lifestyle change becoming mandatory. I’m not at my target compliance yet; if I’m not by the time I get my trays, I shall suffer the, “growing pains,” and adhere anyway.

On Adherence to the Care Protocols

I’ve seen forums and commentary from Invisalign patients who ‘fessed up to an overall lax approach to the care protocols. I’ve seen tales of people drinking coffee (or worse, soda!) with the aligners in, not brushing after eating, or not wearing them at least 20 hours per day and I can’t help but (silently, to myself) shout, “WHY?! What on earth is wrong with you!?”

Braces in general are expensive. Invisalign tends to be (but isn’t always) more expensive. I cannot fathom why you would spend thousands of dollars trying to correct a particular issue and then just opt out of the protocols that are critical to not only its success but to your health. I’m not saying people need to be perfect 100% of the time – that isn’t realistic; life happens, etc. But I am saying two things:

You aren’t the magical exception to the rule – your teeth aren’t the special snowflakes that can ignore your doctor’s guidance when it is convenient for you and still achieve the forecast results.

You spent lots of money on this. By doing whatever the hell you feel like during the process, you’re saying, “I don’t care about what happens to these thousands of dollars!” Which, hey, your money – but what a charmed life one must live to callously throw away something like that.

Okay, rant over.

Before My First Aligners

Before I get my first set of trays, I have to get a single extraction. My idiot jaw is too small for all the teeth I have, alas. To make space, correct my lower midline, and a whole bunch of other stuff, tooth 26 will be coming out on July 22. Here’s a diagram; teeth 17-32 are the lower teeth.

In my case, tooth 26 is rude and juts forward in front of its neighbors, 27 and 25 and causes 27 to be slightly turned. As a result of its extroverted nature, it has some gum recession – so it’s a perfect candidate to GTFO.


From my understanding, some Invisalign providers are able to offer in-house extractions if/when they are necessary. Mine does not, so it was on me to coordinate appointments. I had a narrow 2-4 day between appointments window to adhere to; fortunately, I lucked out on scheduling.

Time for Trays

After the extraction, I have a few days for the extraction site to calm down and stop profusely bleeding and being a jerk. For my case, my orthodontist advised my that my appointments needed to be about 2-4 days apart to make sure that a) I had some time to recover but b) Not too much time so that my teeth did not move unfavorably. Then, on July 25, I get my first set of Invisalign trays from my orthodontist. At that point, I’ll learn how to care for my trays, best practices, and all that jazz.

What’s Next?

A month later, in August, I go back to the orthodontist to have attachments applied. Attachments are little tooth-colored nubs that help the aligners snap into place; they help the tray provide more leverage which facilitates teeth moving. I have … a bunch of them. I haven’t received my own copy of my ClinCheck yet (Yes! They can send you one!) and I can’t remember how many I have in my future. I do know, however, that my orthodontist did not place them on my two front teeth so it’d be less obvious that I had weird buttons on my teeth.

Kit Update

I added another item to my Invisalign Purse Kit – this little $1> Nalgene bottle holds my mouthwash! It was super cheap and I love it. I also picked up this fragrance free, dye-free Method soap because I’ve seen it recommended for trays. If for some reason my orthodontist recommends I not use it, hey – I have some fragrance free hand soap now!

Invisalign X-Rays and 3D Scans

On Monday, I mentioned regular content was returning next week. I have an Invisalign update for now – so here’s this for today, then we’ll be post-less on Friday, then back on Monday.

A week ago, I went in for my Invisalign X-Rays and 3D oral scan that are used by my orthodontist and Invisalign to develop my treatment plan. X-Rays were taken like any are, but the scanner – man, if you appreciate technology, this thing is neat.

Instead of taking impressions with a weird goo that you bite into for a couple minutes (which I would have had to do, had I opted for SmileDirectClub), my 3D scan was taken via an iTero Element intraoral imaging device. A tech uses a small wand to take high-resolution scans of your mouth; it then assembles them into a 3D rendering of your mouth. It is weird and awesome all at once. I haven’t had issues with impressions before, but apparently using the scanner is better for people who have gagging issues.

My orthodontist says based on experience, my case will run about 18 months, require a single extraction, and require attachments. Attachments are small, tooth-colored nubs that they will affix to certain teeth to facilitate the process. The clear aligners will fit over the nubs. Patients report varying degrees of visibility of them; regardless, I’m fairly unconcerned. Most people in my life, including people I work with, know that I’m pursuing this. I’m not embarrassed by that much.

I return to the practice in about two weeks to review my ClinCheck – that’s what Invisalign calls the progression of their treatment plan. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to get a head-start on adjusting my eating and drinking habits to support my soon-to-be-restricted eating and drinking regimen.

In support of that, I’ve started assembling a purse-friendly care kit. Because I 1) work and 2) can’t just eat breakfast and dinner and still be a reasonable human being, at least five meals a week take place away from home. I need to be prepared.

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Kidney Be Damned – I’m Getting Invisalign

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign

I got my ducks in a row and have an appointment to kick off the (expensive) process to correct my teeth. I decided on getting Invisalign treatment; my case can be treated with conventional braces faster and cheaper, but the hassle isn’t worth it to me. Smile Direct Club never got back to me, but did spam the shit out of me with marketing pleas. I have since unsubscribed.


I’m excited and thrilled to be finally pursuing this, but it isn’t without nerves. After all, it is a big investment. It will be physically uncomfortable. It is also at least eighteen months of my life that I will be shackled to a fairly inflexible routine. I can handle routine.

The Invisalign Routine

For Invisalign and other clear aligner systems to be effective, they need to be worn for as much of our 24-hour day as possible. Literature varies slightly but conventional advice, including that from my orthodontist, indicates that 20-22 hours per day of wear is necessary.

The only time(s) the clear aligners should be out is when you are eating and drinking or when you are brushing and flossing. When you brush or floss, you need to brush and rinse your aligners as well to keep them clean.

After my treatment, I will have a retainer to make sure things don’t revert to their old ways.

Not all Bad

The routine sounds challenging, but it isn’t all bad. Aside from straight teeth, I expect to get a lot out of it:

Less random snacking or, “grazing.”

Because eating ANYTHING requires that I remove my trays then brush and floss before I put them back in, snacking cannot be a mindless activity. Time-wise, snacking will be expensive!

Eating Better (in general)

Since I won’t really be able to snack unless I’m prepared to spend five minutes after the fact, I need to eat better! I need to eat nutritious things that will stick with me and keep me from feeling empty, longer.


Drinking anything other than water subjects you to the same cleaning protocol as eating. I already drink a lot of water, which is good – but I’ll basically need to limit myself to having non-water beverages with meals.

The Plan

Next, I schedule an appointment with my orthodontist to take a 3D scan of my mouth. That scan is then sent to Invisalign. My provider works with Invisalign to develop a treatment plan that is returned as a digital time-lapse. I’ll then go back and approve it with my doctor. Once approved, they get to making trays and I get them a few weeks later.

My goal is to keep this blog updated with my treatment progress. Neither my orthodontist nor Invisalign know that I am a blogger or that I intend to document this process. There’s no incentive for me to document this beyond my own amusement.

Invisalign: It Costs a Kidney

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign

Good News:

Despite my woefully complicated case, I’m a candidate for orthodontic treatment via Invisalign. This is largely due to having selecting a ridiculously experienced provider.

Bad News:

Unsurprisingly, it does kind of cost a kidney. Some language in my dental insurance policy includes (shockingly generous!) coverage for adult orthodontic treatment, but it isn’t clear if there is an age cap or not. My treatment coordinator and I are tag-teaming my insurance provider to get clarity on this; obviously, I can begin treatment sooner if insurance is in play.

What Happens at an Invisalign Assessment

I couldn’t be more excited about this practice, honestly. It’s a little annoying to get to, but is a pretty damn cute office and everyone I dealt with was lovely.

Unflattering Photo Ops

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Talking About My Teeth

Aiming to correct my teeth

Everyone dwells on their flaws. For every bit of a(n over)confident jerk I am, there were two particular things that bugged me:

I’m blessed with what I humorously self-deprecatingly lovingly refer to as a creatively arranged smile. It’s a crowding thing; common, but nevertheless annoying. I did not see an orthodontist as a kid or teen, so it went untreated.

The Bad News

Frankly, failing to see an ortho in my youth a good thing because I had some dental health issues in the past few years. Those issues may have rendered the investment of time, money, and discomfort not as useful as it ought to have been. A year after I started this blog, I got some bad news from my new dentist – the news that made me realize that I was GLAD I didn’t receive orthodontic treatment as a kid. I needed:

  • A root canal (eek!) and crown
  • Three extractions of broken (weak, crappy) molars
  • and four fillings

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