A huge thank you to Metro Decatur Dental Group PC for sponsoring this post!
As many of you know, I currently have Invisalign. What you may not know is that I’ve had Invisalign before, and I’ve had braces before. (I would say I’m basically an expert on all things teeth alignment at this point.)
I searched the internet high and low for a breakdown of the pros and cons for Invisalign versus traditional braces and couldn’t find a comprehensive analysis, so I figured it was time for me to pull through!
A little back story… when I was about 11 years old, I had braces put on. (Now I’ll say, looking back, I know that this was way too young. I didn’t even have all of my adult teeth yet, and my mom probably got suckered in by the orthodontist’s cool hummer that they used to pick me up from school for appointments.) Either way, I got them. I had braces for about a year and a half, and my teeth were “straight”. I say that because they weren’t perfect, but they were good enough. When my braces were removed, I was given permanent retainers. These are the metal bars that are attached to the back of the top and bottom teeth to maintain their position. This is where things get interesting…
As I continued to “finalize” the position of my adult teeth, my teeth moved even though I had these permanent retainers. (Talk about strong teeth.) It got to the point that it hurt so bad that my dentist had to emergently remove the retainers. A couple months later, after several follow ups, my dentist decided it was time for me to have braces again. And I just couldn’t be bothered. By this point, I was 14, and I thought I was grown. I couldn’t be known as the brace face, metal mouth, etc. So I begged my family to let me get Invisalign instead, which is what we did. They weren’t too happy about it. Whereas my braces costed about $3,500.00, my Invisalign program was going to cost about $6,000. Even though my dentist’s office allowed for monthly payments, this wasn’t cheap, especially when so much money had already been invested in my smile.
Again, being 14, I thought I was so cool, but what would have been really cool is if I had actually worn them. And this brings me to my first issue with Invisalign: they aren’t attached to your teeth. For those that may not know anything about Invisalign, they are essentially plastic retainers that you change out every other week in order to slowly shift your teeth into another position until all of your teeth are in their desired position. The retainers are kept on the teeth my small, basically-invisible teeth-colored brackets, which definitely makes for a more “appealing” look than generic metal braces. And yes, even though my family was shelling out thousands for me to have this more “attractive” means of achieving a pretty smile, I took it for granted and basically only wore the retainers consistently for the first couple of months. After that, I got tired of taking them out in front of people in the lunchroom, taking them out any time I drank something other than water, basically taking them out at all, so I just never put them in. Slowly but surely, I went from only wearing them at night to hardly wearing them at all.
The problem here is that my retainers were already developed for my entire program. Therefore, when it came time for me to shift to a new retainer, my previous ones never fit (because I never wore them in the first place!) And finally, when it came time for me to get my final retainer (which I would keep for the forthcoming years,) yep, you guessed it, that didn’t fit either. Thousands of dollars down the drain, and I still had a crooked smile.
This crooked smile took me through the rest of middle school, high school, college, and part of law school. I couldn’t bring myself to do anything about it because I was ashamed that I’d let $10k go down the drain. Finally, I decided that I’d have a consultation with a dentist, explain my history, and get Invisalign – this time with my own money. This dentist is actually a friend of mine, so he keeps me honest, and we developed a plan for me to get another series of Invisalign and fix my smile for good. We even had my wisdom teeth removed before we started so that they wouldn’t cause a problem for later. But here we are, over a year into the process, and I still have a crooked smile because I don’t change my retainers on time like I should because (you guessed it) because I don’t wear them like I should.
Now maybe I’m just stubborn. Actually, yes, I know I’m stubborn, but I know I’m not the only one that can’t be bothered to wear a plastic retainer all day. Because yes, you’ll have a lisp, and yes, you’ll only be able to drink water, and all those things that you think you’ll be able to get past, yes, they’re there.
At the end of the day, if I had just gotten braces and worn the dang white rubber bands or gotten white brackets, I would have a perfect smile by now. So I say all of that to say, if you have the willpower of a donkey, get the Invisalign, sister. But if you like caramel macchiatos and have the need to enunciate yourself when you’re getting sassy like me, just get the braces. Your process will be over so much faster, and you’ll be glad you suffered through the brace face phase for a little while – I promise.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re a Georgia peach like me and looking for a new dentist, be sure to check out Dr. Gary Simms at Metro Decatur Dental Group PC. As the #1 Dental Group in Georgia, they offer a variety of services from regular teeth cleaning to professional teeth whitening that will give you those beautiful pearly whites! Going to someone that’s knowledgeable is the single most important factor in considering any dental work, and you won’t be disappointed by the work of Dr. Simms!