Why did you choose Invisalign aligners in particular?
I guess for me, getting straighter teeth in later life, I wanted it to be quite discreet. There are times, especially at work, when you don’t always want to be seen wearing a brace, and I didn’t like the thought of having train tracks in photos for a year or so. So Invisalign aligners, which are clear and almost invisible, ticked that box. And I quite liked the fact that you could remove them and wouldn’t have any complications eating and stuff like that.
So, how do Invisalign aligners work?
The aligners are clear, plastic, quite soft actually and fairly flexible, and I had them for the top and bottom teeth. You have a course of aligners, I had about 25 of them, which gradually straighten your teeth until you get your result. Every week I changed aligner and moved onto the next set.
Wearing Invisalign braces
How did you find wearing the aligners?
My first set of aligners felt a bit uncomfortable, and alien really, but that was just for the first week, then they became part of my body, second nature. It was amazing how quickly you can adapt to wearing something. When changing from one aligner to the next, you can tell you’ve changed aligners for a few hours, as it’s a bit tighter, but that’s it really.
And then the only other bits that were a little bit uncomfortable at first, were the attachments. They’re tooth coloured, little blobs they put on some of your teeth, which helps hold the aligners in place. But by and large, I think it’s quite an easy and comfortable process. There’s nothing that would stop me recommending it to others.
Did people notice you were having your teeth straightened?
They were really discreet, to the point where I had to tell people that I had them in. So, I think they do exactly what they say on the tin really. People can’t tell you're wearing them. People that know you really well, like your other half, or your parents, or your best friend can tell, but you've generally told those people already that you're going to have braces.
How did you find speaking while wearing aligners?
It does make your speech go a little funny at first. I remember pronouncing certain words was a bit tricky, and I felt a bit spitty at times, but it’s amazing how quickly your mouth adjusts. I’d say after a week it’s like normal and you don’t even know you’re wearing them. It’s amazing.
In less than 10 words, what were the best benefits about Invisalign aligners?
Discreet, comfortable, removable, relatively quick and quite easy overall.
How long was your course of Invisalign treatment?
When I saw the dentist to start off with, they gave me a rough idea of how long it would take – about 8 months, I think. This obviously varies from person to person depending on how wonky your teeth are. I had aligners from December to the following September in the end, so 9 months in total, but it flew by!
Caring for your Invisalign aligners
What’s involved in cleaning and caring for aligner trays?
They give you some Invisalign aligner-branded sterilization tablets, for cleaning them. You take your aligners out, put them in a glass of water and just add the sterilization tablet. Morning and night, I’d also brush them with a separate soft toothbrush, and a little bit of toothpaste, under lukewarm water, just to kind of keep them nice and fresh, and clean by and large. So, for me, cleaning them was quite simple and easy.
As you get towards the end of the week, the aligners can discolour ever so slightly, due to food and drink, but people wouldn’t notice it.
Is there anything you can't do if you have Invisalign aligners?
No, not at all. You can take them out for up to two hours a day, for eating, drinking, and brushing, which is when I’d clean the aligners as well. And you can drink water with them in. You might need to take them out for some sports, but I wore them in for netball. They didn’t influence my game play or anything like that. I think, because it was easy and comfortable, I just didn’t feel the need to take them out, because you just forget you’re wearing them, you really do. And I think because of that, you have no desire to take them out, apart from to eat and drink.
The Journey with Bupa Dental Care
How did you find your initial consultation?
I went to Bupa Dental Care Gloucester Road, a practice in Bristol, because they were running a free smile assessment, where you get a free consultation and iTero scan. And it was really informative. I chatted to a treatment coordinator and the dentist about the treatment, what was involved, how long it would take and how much it might cost. And I was lucky they had an iTero scanner, which is essentially a wand they put around your mouth that takes a 3Dimage of your teeth. From that, I could see my teeth, how exactly they would straighten them, and the transition of the movement. It’s really clever.
After the scan I think I was just sold at that point. I was like 100%, I definitely want to have Invisalign treatment, I want straighter teeth.