Two Teens And Their Mama: Pros And Cons of Invisalign For Adults

Monday, March 13, 2017

Pros And Cons of Invisalign For Adults

For most of my life, I was fortunate to have straight teeth, not even needing braces as a teenager.  But seven years ago, things started to shift.  My dentist blamed it on our old friend gravity, which can push the jaw forward as we age. Thanks a lot.

As my teeth became more crooked, I found myself very self conscious.  I hated smiling for pictures, and said hello with a closed mouth greeting.  My front tooth was pushed so far back it looked gray.

My crooked teeth, the day I started treatment.

I finally made an appointment with my sons' orthodontist, and after a consultation, he told me I was a candidate for Invisalign.  I was surprised, as I didn't think Invisalign was an option for adults. Although I did plenty of research before starting treatment, I've learned a lot in the last twelve months, so today I'm sharing the pros and cons.  Let's start with the good news:


-  The most obvious pro is that the aligners are invisible....sort of.  While it's true that I don't have a mouth full of metal, necessary attachments and elastics are noticeable if you're close to me.  But generally, they're fairly invisible.

-  The aligners are removed to eat and drink.  This makes it super easy to clean your teeth, and there are no restrictions on popcorn or sticky foods.

-  Speaking of which, oral hygiene is improved, which is extra important as we get older.  My dentist loves me right now, since I'm flossing and brushing at least five times a day.

-  Advances in Invisalign treatment now allow for correcting other issues besides crooked teeth.  Overbites, underbites, open bites and gapped teeth can all be improved with Invisalign.

-  Since my teeth started shifting back to their correct position, I've experienced a significant reduction in the number of migraines I get.  While this isn't true for everyone, my orthodontist has seen this in many of his patients.

-  You can see what your teeth will look like when everything is complete.  Called ClinCheck, it's a computer simulation that shows the changes as your treatment progresses, and the final results.


-  The aligners have to be worn 20-22 hours a day for the entire treatment time.  In my case, that's 2 - 2.5 years.  It's tempting to remove them and leave them off sometimes, so you have to be disciplined and compliant.

-  The attachments and elastics are a pain in the butt.  Attachments are just that:  composite material that attaches to your teeth to help the aligners do their job more efficiently.  Elastics are used if there are any bite issues, which I have.  Both are uncomfortable at first, and clearly visible to others.

-  Invisalign is expensive.  It varies depending on where you live, but in the Seattle area, total treatment cost is about $5500.  In my case, however, the cost of traditional metal braces would have been the same.

-  The aligners are painful and hard to get used to in the beginning.  I never found it too terrible, and ibuprofen did the trick.  Aligners are changed out every few weeks, and the first two or three days are the most uncomfortable.  As my teeth have gotten straighter, this isn't as much of an issue.  It's an awkward challenge to remove the aligners at first, but you quickly figure out a routine that works.

-  There are some things that have to be given up during treatment.  For those who like to sip on coffee or tea all day, traditional braces might be a better fit.  Only cold water is allowed while the aligners are in, as other beverages can warp or stain the trays.  I also haven't been able to find a lipstick or gloss that doesn't rub off on the aligners.


It's a year into my treatment, and I'm about halfway done.  During the first few weeks, I wondered if I'd made a huge mistake.  I was in pain, the aligners were uncomfortable, and every time I wanted to eat something I had to go through a routine of flossing and brushing. But I think the results so far speak for themselves.

If you're thinking about Invisalign, I say go for it.  In the end, the pros outweigh the cons, and a confident smile can say so much.  I still have a while to go, but I have no regrets.  If you have any questions, let me know in the comments!


  1. Absolutely the pros outweigh, you have the sweetest smile, just look a those pearly whites!!

  2. I worked for an orthodontist for years and it was always adults who went for invisalign because they only needed to move a few teeth around and didn't want to look like they had braces. You are a shining example of how well they work!

  3. This is the second blog post I’ve read that's based on Invisalign, as I get older, my teeth are naturally shifting, and I want to fix it before it becomes a problem. Wow, you are flossing and brushing five times a day? I’m water picking and brushing at least three times a day, and I thought I was ahead of the game. I woke up with terrible migrants for a week straight only to find out I’m gritting my teeth while sleeping. That was one bad week. Great Pros and cons list Lana

  4. Wow, impressive results! Good for you! My oldest sister who has a tiny mouth went for invisalign instead of extractions as her teeth changed and crowed as she aged.

  5. Wow! I can see such a huge, huge improvement already. I do think it is worth it. One of my least favorite parts of it is the IPR (filing) that they have to do sometimes at appointments, but it is all worth it and I am 14 trays away from being done!! I was supposed to be done now, but my orthodontist wants me to do about 14 more trays to get it just right. We'll get there! I def. miss sipping hot tea! I do agree, my oral hygiene is SO much better now! I brush at least 5x a day, too. AND floss!


  6. yay for invisalign! While I was mad at myself for needing to correct my teeth after having braces as a teen, I was happy that I could fix it without getting more metal in my mouth. You have had such great results! Yay!

  7. I have braces rather than invisalign. The price of invisalign in the UK put me off but also my orthodontist said they wouldn't be as effective for me. I guess with metal I don't need discipline but I do keep breaking a bracket or two.

  8. Lana, this is wonderful! Not only are your pearly whites looking brilliant but your migraines are happening less often? Wow. I'd say that's a pretty good reason for opt for invisalign right there. As for me, my front teeth have always been crooked. My brother and sister used to say that they looked like Ed Sullivan's curtains! I wore a retainer for years and in grade 12 my father took me to an orthodontist who said I didn't need braces, if you can believe it.

  9. Lana, they look great... most things like this don't seem like they are worth it in the beginning but overtime the benefits outweigh the pain ♡

  10. I had braces for 2-3 years so the idea of being able to take them out fascinates me!! I think this is a good breakdown of the pros and cons!

  11. They look great! I'm still debating getting a consult... I would definitely struggle with the lack of coffee/wine though

  12. Looks awesome! I have always had an overbite but have definitely noticed some shifting lately. This info is so helpful! Not sure if I'm ready yet but I think I will be in the next ten years.

  13. Your teeth are looking so beautiful! I remember the beginning of this journey a year ago. I'm amazed at how far your teeth have come in that time. So glad you took the plunge on this for you.

  14. Looks great! I wore braces, but now my teeth are shifting again. May be an option for me.

  15. Holy crap- I didn't even notice how much your teeth have changed. Definitely worth it!

  16. I can't believe the difference! I'd say it was well worth it!

  17. Oddly enough I just made my initial appointment! I got there last week...decided then.

  18. WOW! I have been following Carrie's adventure in Invisalign but didn't realize you were using them, too. Your smile is lovely. So glad you have this new confidence. I would never ever have thought about doing this until now. Interested that overbite can be improved. I don't know if at 59 it is worth the expense but might ask my dentist. Thank you for sharing.

  19. I appreciate this post because I am in the process of getting braces. My dentist just recommended it because of a newly discovered shifting of my teeth. He made a referral to an orthodontist. Not looking forward to it. Braces at almost 46 years of age...Bah Humbug.

  20. My husband is getting this! Currently, our insurance won't pay for spouses to have it...I'm hoping when we switch over to United Concordia they will.


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