Invisalign before and after
It’s been about a year and a half since I finished my Invisalign treatment (you can see all of my past posts about the ins and outs of it, here), so I thought it was time for another update and an Invisalign before and after. My little sis Tessa is currently going through her own Invisalign treatment, and it made me realize how long it’s been since I updated you all. I was previously a spokesperson for the brand and received complimentary treatment, but this is just my own post to give you an up-to-date report and share a little more info. I won’t go into the full treatment details – I feel like I covered that a lot in my monthly updates and don’t want to bore you – but for a quick recap:
- I wore my Invisalign aligners for a little over a year (I think a year and 1 or 2 months?) on top and bottom.
- In addition to straightening my crooked teeth, it corrected my narrow smile by pulling my teeth outward to give a wider smile. Even though it’s a side view, you can actually see how my back teeth are pulled further out, when you compare the before and after. I used to bite my tongue on both sides, because it literally didn’t fit inside my bite. But now it does!
- I had 12 attachments (clear “buttons” that help the aligners grip and move your teeth). Most of them were on the sides, but I had them on my canines and one on that tooth next to my front teeth, in order to pull it down. It’s a weirdly tiny tooth in comparison to the other side, but now it’s a little more balanced.
Now that I’m done, I still and always will wear my retainers every single night. That will not change. If I stop wearing my retainers, they’re likely to shift back. It’s a lifelong commitment! They’re clear just like the Invisalign aligners, only a little sturdier. Dr. Zhu at Manhattan Bridge Orthodontics (highly recommend them – they were fantastic) gave me two backups in addition to the original, but believe it or not, I have yet to use a backup. I keep them clean and clear with mouthwash and hot water, and clean them every morning and night with a toothbrush. I wouldn’t recommend hot water for the regular aligners in case it warps them, but I’ve found that the mouthwash/hot water/toothbrush combo keeps them a lot clearer than the special solutions you’ll find in stores. They can make them a bit cloudy.
One thing I never really talked about was how much it affected my TMJ. I have horrible TMJ and Dr. Zhu was confident that the Invisalign would help relieve some of my symptoms, though that’s an off label perk. My jaw would fully lock up almost daily, and I would have to apply heat and massage until it loosened up. I have had it lock up for more than a week, and could only have liquids because I could barely open my mouth. It was absolutely miserable and I was considering surgery. At first, it honestly felt worse. There was a two week period when my jaw was locking up like crazy and I would email Dr. Zhu and ask her if it was related to the Invisalign. She told me that it was shifting my bite, which might have had something to do with the extra jaw issues (as if I didn’t already have that enough) but that she was confident it would get better. Well, it got better — way better. It wasn’t instant, but as my bite shifted, my jaw stopped locking up. I still have TMJ — and my x-ray showed that I’ve grinded myself a whole new joint, over the years — but it doesn’t lock up anymore, ever. And though it still sounds like grinding, gritty bone, it doesn’t click or pop out the way it used to. TMJ is the worst. But hey, being able to eat and yawn and talk without my jaw completely locking up is a major improvement.
All in all, I can’t tell you how happy I am that I went through with the treatment. It was so easy, and it really flew by. Yeah, maybe the attachments and clear aligners aren’t completely invisible, but they are so subtle, they didn’t bother me at all. And compared to traditional braces, it’s nothing! Now my teeth nice and straight and my bite is so much more comfortable. If you have any questions, please let me know in the comments!