It all started with one bad decision. I decided not to wear my retainers in college. What could it hurt? I had been wearing them for years! My teeth wouldn’t move back, right? Wrong. So here I am with thousands in wasted orthodontic work (my parents are thrilled) and back where I started, albeit less two wisdom teeth. I needed a change, and I wanted my teeth to be straight again! My smile is the only thing I can wear that others can’t buy, and I wanted it to be perfect!
I met with Dr. Krieger for my complimentary consultation, and we talked about my options. At 26 there was no getting me back into braces, so Invisalign was the best option (the only one I was willing to work with). I started on the SimplyStr8 Program and at the time this article is being written, I am about 13 weeks in.
The aligners are easyto wear and I can tell a difference in my teeth so far. I go back to Dr. Krieger every few weeks for him to assess my treatment and make any adjustments. I’ve been asked if the trays hurt, and no, it isn’t a painful expereince, but you will be sore for a couple days every week when you switch to new aligners. They haven’t impeded any of my normal activities or foods I want to eat, and are straightening my teeth all the while!
How Does Invisalign Work?
Invisalign is a set of clear aligners that attach to brackets on your teeth. They are virtually invisible (Kale can’t even tell when I have them in most of the time!) and easy to use. They come with sets of trays that you are to change out each week. Each set of trays move your teeth slightly straighter than the last round.
On average an entire Invisalign treatment should take 9-12 months. You’ll need to wear your trays about 22hrs a day. That is, every moment you aren’t eating or drinking something hot. The time I typically have my trays out the longest is after I wake up in the morning to give me time to eat breakfast and drink my coffee. The other occasion they may be out longer than expected is when I go out to eat or to an event. I personally hate taking them out in front of people, so if I go out when I know I’ll be eating, I’ll take them out in the car and put them back in when I leave.
Invisalign vs. Braces
There are a few main differences between braces and Invisalign, the most obvious being their visibility. Invisalign being clear trays that are hardly visible, and the other being the metal brackets and wire. A set of rules come with both, but Invisalign puts more accountability on you to actually wear them. Braces typically impede your ability to eat certain foods.
In the grand scheme of things, they are about equally suited to perform the duties intended, i.e. straightening your teeth. The prices are fairly comparable depending on the scope of work (about $3000-8000). If you are a candidate for Invisalign, it comes down to personal preference. Many adults prefer for their braces not to be seen.
There are of course instances when someone is not eligible for Invisalign, or for other medical reasons, braces have to be worn. It’s not the end of the world. A ton of adults get them! My mom even had them on for a while, and you know what? It didn’t matter. No one but her cared, and in the end, even she didn’t because she didn’t have a choice in the matter.
Invisalign vs. Smile Direct Club
This is an interesting topic because there are a lot of opinions out there about Smile Direct Club (SDC). I have never tried it, so I’ll tell you the information I’ve gathered. There are a few main differences between Smile Direct Club and Invisalign: The first being that you visit an orthodontist for Invisalign and get a personalized treatment plan that adjusts with you all the way through your treatment. While SDC says they do provide a doctor-personalized treatment for you, you don’t actually visit a dentist or orthodontist. You can order the kit to take your own impressions at home, or head into a Smile Shop to get a scan of your teeth to be sent out and evaluated.
The second difference is in the trays. With Invisalign, you get a few anchors or attachments affixed to your teeth where they really need help moving. This is so that the trays can latch onto them and help them move with more force. SDC doesn’t affix any anchors because these need to be professionally affixed and removed by a doctor. SDC takes on very slight cases: “The aligners can correct a tilt, but can’t move a tooth’s orientation or position along with its root.” explains Grant Olson, a dentist in Springfield, Missouri in a Buzzfeed News article.
The third difference is the cost and time. As mentioned above, Invisalign aligners take an average of 9-12 months and range from $3000-8000. SDC claims to be able to fix your teeth in 6 months with a cost of $1850 + $99 for post treatment retainers.
While the cost and the time it takes to complete the cycle with Smile Direct Club is lower and quicker, should it be? When it comes to my teeth and my health I rarely look in the cheap and quick direction. At the time of writing, SDC has 605 complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau (notwithstanding their A+ rating) compared to Align Technologies’s 0 (Invisalign’s parent company). Note: Align Technologies has a 17% stake in SDC.
I asked Dr. Krieger his opinion on the differences between the service and he, like many other practicing orthodontists have their reservations. The main concern was that the time wasn’t there. This company is still new and with the way they are moving teeth so quickly and without supervision, who knows what will happen down the road?
These fears materialize in the “Aligner Risks” section on SDC’s website citing supraeruption and resorption. “If a tooth is not properly covered by an aligner, it may migrate outwards (supraeruption) leading to difficulty cleaning, gum disease, tooth decay and loss of tooth.” “The roots of some patients’ teeth become shorter (resorption) during use of aligners. It is not possible to predict which patients will experience it, but patients who have had braces in the past are at higher risk.” If this issue isn’t caught early enough to cease treatment, “tooth loss may occur.”
Where Can I get Invisalign?
If you’re in the DFW area, absolutely visit Dr. Krieger. He has been so amazing to work with! The visits are quick so Im not spending all afternoon in a waiting room. Dr. Krieger and his staff are so friendly and informative. They make sure I never leave with any unanswered questions, and they are always up front with their expectations on timeline and my job in this whole process.
You’ll first do a free consultation with Dr. Krieger to be sure Invisalign is right for you. In some cases, a person my be better suited for alternative methods depending on how much their teeth need to be adjusted. You’ll get your teeth scanned (No goopy molds!) and your trays will arrive in 3-4 weeks. From there Dr. Krieger will want to see you periodically throughout the treatment to make sure everything is moving correctly and there are no issues.
Contact his office today: (972) 899-1465