I’m documenting my daughter’s and my experience with Invisalign clear aligners. I’m a member of the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board, and we’re receiving complimentary treatment as part of the program.
In my first post of this series, I promised to share my daughter’s and my real-life experiences with Invisalign — not just the cheerful highlight reel.
We’re about four months into treatment which is long enough for the excitement to wear off. I’m as enthusiastic as ever about Invisalign, but treatment comes with inevitable annoyances. Even though the downsides are minor (especially when I compare it to what it was like in braces), I thought listing them might help you get a fuller picture as you weigh your orthodontic choices.
Here are the downsides to Invisalign we’ve noticed:
1. Speaking with a lisp. A persistent lisp has been my #1 issue with Invisalign. It’s way better than when I began treatment, but I can still hear it, especially on the phone. (I said “synthesize” on a call the other day, then burst out in giggles because of how funny it sounded.)
Friends insist they don’t hear it. My daughter has no lisp at all (she didn’t have one when she began treatment, either). So maybe this isn’t even something anyone else notices, but it still bugs me.
2. Having to remove your aligners while drinking anything other than water. I have to remove my aligners while drinking coffee, which I do often. Because I can only be aligner-less for a total of two hours per day, I need to drink up, brush my teeth, and quickly pop those aligners back in. No more lingering over coffee multiple times per day. If you’re a habitual beverage-sipper (especially soda), keep this in mind.
This hasn’t been as much of an issue for my daughter as her school day (and access to food/drink) is more structured than my day working at home.
3. Weird bite. Because Invisalign moves your teeth, it changes your bite, so chewing feels different during treatment. I was not prepared for this and it feels really weird when I’m eating certain things. My daughter and I chew pretty gingerly because our upper and lower teeth don’t fit together like they used to.
The bite weirdness is temporary; once we finish treatment, our bites should be in better alignment than before.
4. Sore cheeks and teeth. With Invisalign, you change your aligners every two weeks. My daughter and I have both noticed that each time we change aligners, for about 24-48 hours, the sharp edges of the aligners rub the insides of our cheeks, and our teeth are sore. Irritating, but better than what I went through with braces (I remember regular brace-tightening being pretty uncomfortable, and I was always getting poked and rubbed by wires).
5. Dry mouth. I’ve also noticed having a dry mouth more often. My daughter hasn’t, though.
6. Forgetting to wear your aligners. My daughter and I have both walked out of the house without our aligners. It has only happened a couple times, but once we had to turn the car around and were late to an appointment in the process.
7. Losing your aligners. Neither of us have lost our aligners…yet. My daughter tends to wrap her aligners in a napkin at the table, and I’ve almost thrown them away more than once. Let’s keep our fingers crossed on this one.
Invisalign Teen comes with a limited number of replacements at no charge, so if you do lose aligners, it’s not the end of the world.
8. Weird kissing. Okay, so I said it. I really like to kiss my husband. Often. It’s not that I can’t kiss him while I’m wearing my aligners, but it was a little odd at first. He’s a good sport about it, but I’m just sayin’ it’s something to keep in mind.
* * * * *
Now our annoyances won’t necessarily be your annoyances. And overall, the downsides barely cast a shadow on the great experience we’re having with Invisalign. But hopefully this gives you a sense of some of the bumps you might encounter.