Brace Face Alert! Why I got Invisalign as an adult (and how it’s going)

Everything you should know about getting Invisalign as an adult

Guys, I did it. I FINALLY did it. After years of wishing, dreaming, thinking, and hoping…I finally bit the bullet (somewhat literally) and got Invisalign (clear retainer braces) on May 1, which was the first day of our Focus on Change Month (yes, that was intentional).

I quickly learned when I posted this decision on Instagram that many of you are probably thinking, “What?? Why?! What a waste of money! Your teeth are straight! What were you thinking??” and so on. I'm going to take a chance to tell you WHY I decided to get Invisalign (especially as an adult), HOW it's going, and hopefully answer lots of questions that you might have in case it helps anyone out there with their decision too! Oh, and don't worry…I have an entire post on how to afford braces (Invisalign included) coming up in the next few days so stay tuned!

And guess what?? Dr. Parker is giving away one COMPLETE SET OF BRACES! Be sure to check out the giveaway and enter while you can!

Ok, now to my story:

Why did I want Invisalign in the first place?

I had horrible teeth growing up (big buck teeth included) and went through the whole orthodontic shebang – retainers, braces, headgear, bands, spacers, and even a lip bumper (you don't want to know). When I finally got my braces off once and for all I looked in the mirror…

And was disappointed.

My front teeth were still sticking out. Sure, it was slight, and yes, they looked WAY better than they did before braces. …But it was noticeable. I remember asking my orthodontist, “Are you sure they're done? Are they all the way straight?” He explained that my bite looked great and the work of the braces was accomplished. It always bugged me slightly, but I got used to my new smile and went along my way.

The real issue began in college when I lost my retainer and my teeth started shifting almost immediately. Over the years my teeth have started crowding again, making it harder to floss and changing the look of my teeth and smile. But the main issue with all this shifting is my darn JAW! It pops and cracks constantly, and it's to the point where it can be painful and it feels almost like it's stuck once in a while.

Although slight, my crooked top teeth have always bugged me.

Although slight, my crooked top teeth have always bugged me.

Couple that with the fact that 80% of my job as a blogger is to be in front of one camera or another (have you ever been on High Def TV? It is NOT friendly to any flaws, let me tell you!) and the fact that my shifted teeth (especially my front ones) have always bugged me, and BAM. Enter the desire to fix it all.

Vain? That depends on how you look at it.

We color our hair to cover grays, or be more stylish. We wear makeup to enhance our beauty and add some fun pizazz to our faces. We go on diets or go to the gym to get fit, tone, and ultimately be healthy and happy with our bodies. Who says it's wrong or vain to pay to straighten our teeth, even if they are only slightly “crooked” or “off”, if it's something we desire to do to enhance the way we look? It took a big mindset shift on my part, but I'm to the point where I embrace it and think there's nothing wrong with it!

When it came to fixing my not-even-that-messed-up teeth it was always one of those sidelong thoughts like, “man, I wish I was taller…” or “boy, how fun would it be to have blue eyes.” Something that you'd enjoy, but isn't really an option – or even necessary to think or worry about. But then my gorgeous BFF Heather (no, really guys, she's a babe) got traditional braces.

Heather2

HEATHER! Gorgeous, model-esque Heather! We couldn't believe it. She had them on for 6 months, and then the pain was over and now we all hate her for being even MORE undeniably gorgeous, which we didn't think was possible. But more than the teeth was the confidence it gave her, in all honesty.

heather

It finally hit me…

“Wait, if Heather can get braces as an adult, why can't I? Who says you can only have braces once, and that you have to live with a popping jaw, shifting teeth, and crooked front teeth (albeit slight) for the rest of your life?” Seeing her take the leap gave me the courage I needed to look into it for myself!

Getting Invisalign as an adult

First day wearing my Invisalign

Why Invisalign instead of traditional braces?

I made an appointment with Parker Orthodontics here in Utah (highly recommended, by the way, they are AWESOME over there), figuring I would want/need traditional braces. I had heard that Invisalign takes longer and can't do as much, so I figured with my jaw issues I'd need the heavy artillery.

This is also why I took me so long to move forward. Who has time for braces? Especially me, that has to be in front of a camera all the time? But after meeting with Dr. Parker he told me I qualified for and actually recommended Invisalign.

Here are the reasons I chose Invisalign over braces:

  • They are less noticeable (by a long shot). Because they are clear trays! This is the main reason why I went with Invisalign vs traditional braces. And yes, you have clear little button things cemented on your teeth for the trays to grab onto, but for me, I only needed a few and you can hardly see them.
Getting invisalign as an adult

The blue squares indicate where my clear “buttons” are on my teeth.

The bigger noticeable things on my canines are hooks for my rubber bands to hold onto (more about that below).

Getting invisalign as an adult

Sorry for the awkward closeup! Here's a better view of the buttons.

  • They are removable. Though you should wear them all the time, if I was on TV or doing public speaking I could take them off and put them back on when I'm done. It made me feel better about doing orthodontic work with the job I have, and at the age I am.
  • They are more hygienic. You take them out to eat so you don't have to worry about nasty food getting caught for days in wires or hooks.
  • They are more comfortable. The plastic hooks on my canines KILLED the inside of my mouth the first few days, but a little orthodontic wax helped. Other than that, they are very comfortable to wear, unlike braces that shred the inside of your mouth. Don't get me wrong, it hurts like the dickens when you first start wearing your Invisalign because it's shifting your teeth. But that gets better after a few days and I hardly notice them now.
  • It forces you to drink more water, and snack less. I explain this more below, but you can't eat or drink anything other than water with the trays in so I'm drinking more water and snacking much less in my day.
  • The corrections are more accurate. Dr. Parker explained that the movement needed on my teeth is so slight, traditional braces would actually take longer to correct. They have to place braces brackets by hand which leaves room for human error. If the bracket is off even a fraction of a centimeter, it could pull the tooth ever so slightly out of place, then they'd have to go back and shift it back again. With traditional braces it's a lot of tweaking and shifting, even of teeth that didn't need to be tweaked or shifted in the first place. With Invisalign it's all done by computer, so it's exact.

In fact, Dr. Parker told me that they use this super expensive Itero Scanner thingie that is so smart it's creepy. It actually scans your tooth – from the inside out – and sends an exact virtual mold to Invisalign to make perfectly precise trays. He said there are only 7 or 8 of those machines in the state and 5 are older models (he forked out for a new one) so I'm not sure if your orthodontist would have one. But ask!! And if they do…use it!!

  • It will fix everything that needs fixing. Not only will it straighten my teeth (woo hoo!) but more importantly it will fix my bite which will help with my jaw issues. I have to wear thick rubber bands on both sides at night to help shift my jaw, but I don't mind…as long as it fixes the dang thing!

All about getting Invisalign as an adult

I have (I think?) 36 or so trays, and I will be switching them out every 7-10 days (they give me several trays at a time) so it will take be up to 10 months for the changes to happen. It's a little longer than I was hoping, but I'm willing to do what it takes.

The downsides to Invisalign

If you can't tell, I'm an Invisalign cheerleader…simply because that's what I'm using now, and it's working! But there are some downsides, to be fair to the Traditional Braces argument:

  • It's harder to be a good patient. The fact that you can take the trays out whenever you want can be tough. For me, I'm 110% committed though, and I'm trying to be good. But for a teenager especially, it could be hard to do it right (which is to wear them 22 hours per day).
  • You can't eat or drink ANYTHING other than water with Invisalign in your mouth. That's right folks, not even juice or a coke. Again, I'm sure you could cheat on this…which I actually did once (don't tell Dr. Parker!). I drank a Crystal Lite thing with my trays in and it actually made my teeth hurt! Why? because they fit so tightly that your natural saliva isn't washing things off your teeth like they normally do, so the sugars and food sticks right to your teeth and can cause cavities quickly. The upside? It's been an amazing diet! It's cut down my snacking and sugar intake immensely, and it's forced me to drink more water because it's kind of a pain to take out the trays. I'm being much more conscious about what I put in my mouth which has been an unlikely upside.
  • Retainers are annoying. And kind of gross. I feel like an awkward teenager taking my spitty trays out at a restaurant before eating. But I just carry my handy dandy super cool (not) retainer case with me and try not to throw them away in a napkin like I did as a teenager.
  • Invisalign is more expensive. All the upsides have a price tag. Invisalign is more expensive than traditional braces which is a bummer, but for me, has been worth it.

WHEEW! That was a long one. But there you have it! There's the background on why I'm a brace face now, in case you were wondering. 🙂

Be sure to check back because in a few days I will break down the cost for braces AND Invisalign, and how to work it in to your budget if it's something you want to do.

Ps Did you like this post? If so please subscribe to my email list so you don't miss another one!

XOXO

Jordan-signature1

Comments

  1. AvatarKerry says

    As I’ve gotten older, my teeth have shifted too and I have been wondering about Invisalign. This article was useful and informative. Thanks!

    • AvatarAmber says

      Thanks for sharing your story. Your situation sounds like mine. I experience jaw issues myself and my front teeth have shifted. I am looking into invaslign and was wondering if it has helped with your jaw issues? Did it correct the alignment of your shifted front teeth (the is my biggest concern since it’s noticeable)? I appreciate your feedback and any other information you could give me. Thank you!

  2. AvatarStarla says

    Thank you so much for posting this! Looking forward to the financial post. We’re a one income family of five and I would love more than anything to be able to figure out a way to afford this. My teeth are insanely crooked and it’s one thing I’ve never been able to get comfortable with. I hate smiling and showing my teeth.

  3. AvatarKristen O. says

    I TOTALLY had the traditional braces experience as a teenager. Ugh! I actually lost two retainers. My parents paid for the first one and when I lost that one; I had to replace it. I quickly lost that one as well. Now I wish that I had insisted on a permanent retainer in the first place. Best of luck with them.

  4. AvatarDanielle says

    This has got me thinking. I am 22 and never had braces. I was told I didn’t need them. My teeth are fairly straight. I do have a massive overbite and my jaw has always popped and cracked. I didn’t know that was a big problem. I think I’m going to ask about it at my next cleaning though. Thanks for sharing.

  5. AvatarMarcee says

    You said that taking out your trays is a pain. Can you elaborate on that a little? Is it hard to take them out? Also, how often do you take your out a day? I usually eat every couple of hours due to blood sugar issues and this is what is keeping me from doing Invisalign. I scheduled an appointment for a consultation the day I saw that you got Invisalign! Thanks for all of the info…it’s been very helpful!

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      I eat constantly because I’m pregnant, so every few hours for you shouldn’t be an issue! No, it doesn’t hurt or anything, they pop right out just like normal retainers. It’s more a “pain” that I have to take the step to take them out before eating, especially when in public. But it sure makes me more thoughtful about what I put in my mouth! haha!

  6. AvatarKate says

    I came across your blog and have to say that this made my day! I am on day 2 of invisalign (definitely a newbie) and am really doubting my decision. Like you, my teeth were not very crooked before but have shifted over time and I am nervously anticipating all the questions “but your teeth are so straight, why did you waste money on that?!” or “Thats so vain” yada yada yada. It’s something that has always bugged me and so I wanted to do it for myself and there’s nothing wrong with that! Thanks for putting my mind at ease 🙂

    However, I’m still trying to get used to wearing them in public, did you feel like thats all anyone was looking at when you first started wearing them?

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      It takes a little getting used to, but it doesn’t bother me much any more to wear them in public. In fact, I wore them today doing a TV segment! Since I have those gawdy hooks on my canines, it actually looks more funny NOT having my trays in, because I could see people thinking “why does she have those weird white things poking off her teeth?”. Whereas when I wear the trays they figure it’s orthodontic work so I’m less self-conscious about it, funny enough!

    • AvatarGary says

      I am on my 23rd of 24 trays for the past 10 months and no one has ever noticed other than family members who already knew about them. Love them!

  7. AvatarKelly says

    Good for you!! I also did Invasalign as an adult after having braces as kid and then retainer not fitting etc.. Very similar story. I didn’t like the way my teeth looked in my wedding photos (and before) so I finally did something about it about 6 years ago and I am SO glad I did. Best decision ever. I also lost weight from not snacking just like you mentioned! We used to joke that they should promote it for weight loss LOL. It has to really be worth it to take them out for a snack!! Good luck! Love your site, just came across it and I am devouring every word!! 🙂

  8. AvatarTori says

    I also opted for Invisalign this year, after having traditional braces as a kid. I just turned 28 and like you, I have had serious issues with TMJ (however, I haven’t had to use the bands, but I also haven’t had many jaw problems since I’ve worn my trays) and I have a horrible crossbite. My Orthodontist also had one of the newest machines, which is amazing…did you happen to get a video showing your change outcome? Mine was only about 5 seconds, but it’s fun to see what the outcome will be when treatment is completed. I only have 19 trays, but change them every 2 weeks…they told me it will be about 18 months though, so I’m not sure how that will work. Either way, I couldn’t be more excited. Good luck with your treatment!

  9. AvatarMary says

    Is the clicking and popping in your jaw caused by TMJ? My dentist told me I need to go to the ortho and I am dreading it. I have been told many times I need braces (my teeth are not very crooked at all. Slightly crooked and issues with my bite.) The clicking and popping in my jaw is AWFUL though. 🙁

  10. AvatarAmy says

    I just had my braces removed (I’m 29) and chose to do them mostly for jaw pain and bite problems. My teeth couldn’t be fixed with invisalign (boo), but my orthodontist used suresmile, a new technology that scans your teeth and uses a robot to bend the wires and show where to place the brackets so it’s super precise! I only had to wear traditional braces for about 13 months (long enough). It’s great that you could use invisalign, and yay for confidence!

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      No change as far as I can tell! I don’t see how it would affect lips, it just moves your teeth. Happy with the results!

  11. AvatarCindy says

    I just submitted my information today to my dentist for Invisalign and after reading your blog, I feel excited now about getting this process going. Thanks Jordan! ? <- Hopefully my smile when I'm done!

  12. AvatarPritha says

    I start mine soon too! I’ll poke around to see what your “after” looks like. I’ll have 40 trays so just a little longer than you! do you still love it?

  13. AvatarPhil K says

    Thanks for your experience. I am 49 and had metal brackets around every tooth as a kid, but I failed
    to wear the retainer after a few months. Back then, I think, the bone and teeth root system was not fully understood. As an adult, about 15 years ago I once again had brace, this time with the glue on type. After about a year I lost the retainers and my teeth eventually shifted, nothing horrible, but something I noticed. Also, over the past few years my oral hygiene has been, as I told one of the dental techs, ‘Piss Poor at Best’.

    Now I am on tray number 4 of 38 upper/lower and have made myself extremely aware of the importance of oral hygiene (WaterPik, SoniCare, Oral B 7000, and a variety of flossers). I do not want to be one of those old peeps with horrible teeth as I continue aging. BTW, I get very curious when I see wealthy actors, sports stars, and other wealthy public personalities with horrendous looking teeth. If I can afford braces (Invisalign), surely they can as well.

    I, too, have noticed how much less snacking and drinking sugary drinks (sweet ice tea, orange juice) since I started wearing Invisalign. I figure since I paid a lot of money, that it would be a financial and potentially fatal mistake not to follow the recommendations of the orthodontic professionals.

  14. AvatarAmber says

    Thanks for sharing your story. Your situation sounds like mine. I experience jaw issues myself and my front teeth have shifted. I am looking into invaslign and was wondering if it has helped with your jaw issues? Did it correct the alignment of your shifted front teeth (the is my biggest concern since it’s noticeable)? I appreciate your feedback and any other information you could give me. Thank you!

  15. AvatarDiane says

    I am 62 years old. My teeth have shifted years ago…so much one front tooth overlaps the other, but I could never afford braces I’ve hated my smile for years. Fast forward to an inheritance, so I’ve decided to go the Invisalign route, and am getting my first tray this coming Thursday, Dec. 7! It will be an 11 month journey, but after years of hating my smile, I’m ready to commit! I actually came online to see if there were ways to “snack cheat” with the Invisalign, being that the holidays are among us, but I think I’ll be able to be strong after reading your blog. I was wondering, though, if they affect speech…will I talk like Donald Duck or something? lol Thanks !!!

  16. AvatarJessica says

    Thank you for this post! I am going through basically the same thing! And getting Invisalign next week after having braces for years when i was younger 🙁 This post has put me at ease though!

  17. AvatarEunive says

    Hi my name is Eunice and I am about to get
    Invisalign and I’m 46 yrs old ? But my teeth are spacing ….

  18. AvatarMonica says

    Very helpful post! I know it was posted back in 2014 but the information was still very useful and informative! Thank you for posting! Plus, love your attitude, makes me optimistic about getting invisalign for myself.

  19. AvatarJamie Workman says

    I think your teeth were already really nice before, but I must admit they look even better now! I’ve been contemplating getting Invisalign for a while now but haven’t been able to make myself take the plunge. It’s just such a big amount to spend on something I don’t really “need”, you know?

  20. AvatarBrandi says

    I’m 45 and just had my “buttons” attached today. I will start wearing my first of 10 trays tomorrow evening. I also had traditional metal braces in middle school and several years ago had shifting and crowding in my bottom teeth. I have wanted to fix them for quite a few years now but didn’t due to the cost. I now have ortho coverage with my dental insurance and my out of pocket is only $1k!! I jumped at getting it done.

    My treatment plan is only 20 weeks. Love this and I will be finished before a cruise to celebrate my husbands 50th in September.

  21. AvatarKelly says

    Hey there! I miss interested in your progress. I had a consultation about 3 weeks ago and waiting to go back in another’s week or so for the f/u. The talk about pricing, how to finance it, how it works,… that sort of thing. I was told that I have one of the worst cases of TMJ ( the jaw grinding and popping) that my ortho has seen. My story is much like yours with the early teen brace face look. My specialist says that would only take about 5 months for me b/c I primarily just need the jaw realignment. I’m very nervous about a lot of things with making the decision to proceed. Can you go more into detail about how the plates work to realign your jaw? Rubberbands? ( they weren’t mentioned) and how to afford them. My dentist sent me to the specialist because if something is not done pronto, I’m going to need surgery on my jaw in the near future. A neurologist sent me to my dentist b/c he believes it where my migraines are stemming from. So, I’m anxious to learn more and don’t really want to wait until June 13th for more info and answers.

    Thx,
    Kelly ?

    • AvatarFunCheapOrFree says

      Hi Kelly! I have a few different invisalign posts that should answer all of these questions that you’re having! You can find them HERE. You can find the detailed post on how to budget for them HERE. I hope that it all goes well for you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *