This time last year I was just beginning my journey to a new smile with Invisalign, and whilst I had seen the 3D generated images of how my new smile would look by 2021 on the screen, I really had no idea of quite how much my teeth would change over the next 12 months, or more importantly, just how much more confidence this would give me in my own smile. It sounds like such a simple thing that most people would take for granted, but now that I no longer feel self conscious about my teeth it has quite literally made me smile a whole lot more.
You can read here about the very start of my Invisalign journey, but just incase you don’t fancy a rewind to last December, here’s a reminder of my starting point with my teeth, literally just a year ago.
I had actually been told by a dentist that the only way for me to achieve a straight smile with my bottom teeth would be surgical removal of two teeth and metal “train track” braces for at least 2 years to push the remaining teeth round to fill the gap…. And yet after just 12 months of wearing Invisalign aligners, I am now the proud owner of a smile I never thought would be possible for me:
So yes, you can probably tell that I am absolutely thrilled with my results. But surely such a dramatic transformation had some downsides and challenges? Honestly, for me personally? Not really. I actually found the whole process and journey of wearing Invisalign for a year pretty straightforward and during that time had no major issues. I had scared myself watching YouTube videos before I had my retainers fitted and seen videos of Bloggers complaining about the pain of new retainers, overpowering bad breath, and it taking so long to remove retainers they were going hungry as it seemed less hassle to skip a meal than take their Invisalign out. But I can honestly say I didn’t experience any of this.
I was changing my retainers every 2 weeks (I went to every 10 days in the last couple of months when only small changes were being made), and yes, definitely in the first 3-4 months changing to a new set of retainers felt tight for sure, and as a result my teeth would be a little sensitive when I removed the retainer to eat. But I wouldn’t say they ever caused me pain, or affected my speech or sleep. I actually enjoyed the tight feeling as it made feel like the Invisalign was actually moving and changing my teeth – kind of like that day after exercise gym ache – weirdly satisfying as you knew you’d done something! I also never had an issue with putting retainers in or taking them out, it literally took me seconds, so wearing Invisalign didn’t affect my eating or snacking routine.
One thing I will say is that the timing of my Invisalign journey was probably pretty good, in that for the easy majority of it we weren’t eating out or eating in company a lot because of Lockdown restrictions. I didn’t experience a holiday, or a big night out or huge social event as an Invisalign wearer as there were none during my time of wearing them…. So I can’t comment on how they affected my social life. In January/February of last year I just made sure I was organised and always carried a toothbrush and my retainer case around with me, and would plan ahead a little more when it came to eating or drinking. So for example if I knew I had a 45 minute commute to teach a class coming up and I wanted a coffee, I’d safely remove my aligners, and then make sure I went straight to clean my teeth when I arrived at the studio. Or if I needed to eat pre or post class I’d make sure I did it at a studio or home before setting off, so that I cold clean my teeth again before leaving and be good to go. As someone who is used to meal prepping, or making sure I have post workout snacks on me at all times this didn’t seem like too much extra hassle, but for anyone who isn’t used to that level of planning it may feel initially like Invisalign takes away food and drink spontaneity!
Now that I’m finished wearing retainers every day I have both a fixed retainer and night retainer to maintain the smile Invisalign has given me. On my top teeth (which had the smallest adjustment) I now wear am Invisalign Vivera retainer every night when I go to sleep – it is exactly like my Invisalign retainers but slightly thicker and feels pretty much the same when in. I keep the case on my bedside table and pop it in last thing at night, and remove it again in the morning, so I barely notice I’m wearing it. On my bottom teeth (the biggest movement and adjustment) I now have what’s called a fixed retainer – a very slim metal wire on the back of my bottom teeth that will now stay there permanently to make sure that the straight teeth I now finally have will stay that way (teeth naturally move, and if I now did nothing there’s a chance they would start to go back to the way they were at the beginning of my journey – after all this hard work by me and my orthodontist there’s no way I want that to happen!). I had my fixed retainer fitted this week and it took less than half an hour and was completely painless. I can feel it is there, but barely, and it hasn’t affected my eating or speech. You also can’t see it at all, it really is just one thin wire running along the back of my bottom teeth.
I really couldn’t have got through the past year as smoothly as I did without the support, guidance and advice of my wonderful orthodontist Dr Kyi. She’s an absolute expert at what she does, and believe it or not more of a perfectionist than me (!) so along the way we had a few tweaks when she thought maybe my teeth could move a millimetre or two in a slightly different direction instead of just leaving things I would get a new 5D Itero scan and a new set of retainers would be made for me so that the movement would be the exact precision she wanted. Even during full UK Lockdown when dental practices had to shut, we did video consultations and I regularly sent her photos of my teeth so she could check movement and progress. To anyone thinking of starting their own Invisalign journey, I can’t recommend researching a good orthodontist enough – they are literally the architects of your new smile – something you’ll have for life – so it needs to be someone who you can trust and who cares as much as you. I was extremely lucky to find that in Dr Kyi.
It hopefully goes without saying that I am thrilled with my new smile, and that I genuinely thought I would never have teeth this straight in my life. That in itself is amazing, but as I mentioned at the start of this post, I didn’t realise how much confidence a new smile would give me. Friends and clients have all said how much more smiley I am than a year ago, and people who I’ve only met recently have told me they find my smile infectious – 12 months ago I would never have inspired someone else to smile through the confidence in my own! I guess to look at it in another way, I didn’t realise how self conscious I was, and how much I held back from really, genuinely smiling before. So to have been given the gift of a real, confident and carefree smile – I’ll always be indebted to Invisalign for that. I’m surprised and amazed by the results, and completely blown away by how much happier and more confident I feel now that I’m at the end of my Invisalign journey. I genuinely just wish I had done this sooner!
If you’re interested in how Invisalign can give you the smile, and confidence you’ve always dreamed of, find your nearest Invisalign provider here.
Please note whilst these views are my own and this is my personal experience of Invisalign, this is a Paid Partnership with Invisalign UK.