Tag Archives: Invisalign

All I want for Christmas is…some straightened teeth! #invisalign

woman smiling santa hat 1 It’s been nearly four months since I’ve started my Invisalign treatment and wanted to give you an update. So far everything is going very well. I’ve had no problems with the aligner trays and there hasn’t been any discomfort. But I’ve noticed a few things as well that I wanted to share:

  • Since my bite is changing with my Invisalign treatment, I’ve found that I’m frequently biting the inside of my lower lip when I eat. I try to be very careful when I chew, but still – ouch!
  • It’s a bit tricky to keep the Invisalign aligner trays clean. I brush them with a little toothpaste in the morning and at night. However, this means specks of toothpaste goes flying everywhere. You may want to keep some glass and sink cleaner under the sink along with some paper towels for a quick wipe down of your mirror and sink area.
  • I’m obsessed with toothpaste – really. It has to be Arm & Hammer Advance White. I received a sample of this at a blogging conference last year, and I love how fresh it makes my mouth feel. That fresh feeling is so important when you brush your teeth as often as I do!
  • It’s so nice to have to see my orthodontist only every six to eight weeks. Since moms and teens are so busy with work, school and sports this is such a time saver.
  • The changes in my teeth so far are pretty dramatic and things are straightening out nicely.

I’m looking forward to watching my smile change and completing my Invisalign treatment in 2012.

All I want for Christmas – great gifts for Invisalign and braces patients

Are you looking for some inexpensive gifts for teens and adults who are getting their teeth straightened with Invisalign or traditional braces? Many of these would make cute stocking stuffers and most are relatively inexpensive.

  • A cool pencil case or small makeup bag for their dental hygiene gear. Teenagers may want to have several – one for their locker, one for their backpack or purse, and maybe one for their gym bag if they do sports. Target and Walmart have cute makeup bags for girls. For boys, soft pencil cases work well or even small travel shaving kit bags. Check your dollar store, too!
  • Additional Invisalign cases. If you can’t get another set from your orthodontist, look into the cases athletes use for their mouth guards like these on Amazon.
  • Speaking of cases, your teen may want to personalize their case by gluing on rhinestones or pasting on stickers. If they’re crafty this could be a fun project to do over winter break.
  • Extra toothbrushes including a small travel sized one for a purse or backpack.
  • Small tubes of their favorite toothpaste. Travel sized toothpaste is fine to keep in a backpack or purse. But look for small regular sized tubes for lockers and gym bags where storage room isn’t as much of a concern. Those mini tubes are expensive for the amount of toothpaste you get!
  • Extra dental hygiene stuff like dental picks (for wearers of traditional braces) and floss for the Invisalign patients.
  • Lip balm. My mouth and lips get drier now that I’m wearing Invisalign at night. I keep some on my night stand, some in the car, and some in my purse.
  • Nail polish or a manicure gift certificate for former nail biters. I can’t bite my nails when I’m wearing my Invisalign aligners and actually have longish nails for the first time in years!
  • A gift certificate for a professional portrait once their braces are off or their Invisalign treatment is over. Show off that smile!

New Year’s resolutions

If you or your teen considering Invisalign or traditional braces, maybe that’s your present to them (or yourself) this year.

  • Make it your New Year’s resolution to book a consultation with an orthodontist. (See my post, How to pick an orthodontist, for tips in finding a good one in your area.)
  • If you have dental insurance, look into your benefits. Do they cover braces and how much will they pay? (Every plan is different!)
  • If you’re self-insured, talk with your insurance agent to find a dental plan that covers braces.
  • If you have a health savings plan at work, discuss with your HR person how it can help you cover the cost of braces.
  • And while you’re at it, make sure to make an appointment with your regular dentist for a cleaning!

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2012 and big, straight smiles!

Disclosure: I’m a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own.

How to pick an orthodontist

orthodontist Finding an orthodontist that’s a good fit for your family’s needs and budget is crucial. After all braces are a big commitment and you’ll be seeing this person for months if not years.

So what’s the best way to pick an orthodontist?

Ask for a referral

Don’t just ask your dentist for a referral. Ask for orthodontist recommendations from everyone you know! Start with relatives, coworkers and neighbors. Try friends and acquaintances from scouts, church and the PTO, too.

Go ahead and ask the parents of your children’s friends where they go for orthodontic treatment. Don’t be shy asking them questions about everything from costs to their doctor’s professional manner. Inquiring minds want to know!

Check out the orthodontic practice before you make an appointment

Most orthodontists have websites these days. Look for details about the practice such:

  • Office hours – Are they convenient for you?
  • Location – You may want to choose a practice close to your work or to your child’s school since you’ll be going there every four to six weeks depending on what type of braces you get. However, if you pick one close to school or work, how will you handle emergencies on the weekends and appointments during school vacations?
  • Staff – Is it a small or large office? What do you prefer?
  • Board certification - Orthodontists are dentists who have undergone extra years of training, clinical experience and peer review. They may also have additional training to become certified Invisalign providers.
  • Treatment options – The website should mention the types of braces and treatment the practice offers. Do they offer only traditional braces or other services such as Invisalign?
  • Community awards – Many local newspapers and magazines give out “best of” awards based on editors’ and readers’ votes.
  • Testimonials – Does the website feature client testimonials and before and after pictures?
  • Financial information – Do they offer month to month payments? Do they accept credit cards and your insurance plan?
  • Personality – Does the orthodontist share pictures of his or her family? Do they mention community involvement, charitable work or hobbies? Their website is a great place to get to know them before you meet them.

You should also check online review and consumer protection websites like Yelp.com and your local Better Business Bureau.

Make an appointment for a no-obligation orthodontic consultation

Consultations with orthodontists are usually free, but make sure to ask when you’re making the appointment. Your initial meeting is the time to discuss what you hope to get out of treatment as well as the various treatment options you or your teen has.

While you’re there, ask to meet with the office manager or treatment coordinator to discuss payment options and insurance policies. Many practices offer discounts if you can pay for the full treatment up front. Others offer the convenience of month to month payments taken from your bank account or charged to your credit card.

Also, while you’re in the office, look around. Is it clean and organized? Is the waiting room snazzy or shabby? Is the dental equipment in good shape or does it seem old and beat up? Is the restroom clean?

Get a feeling for the orthodontist’s personality. Is he friendly or all business? Does she answer all your questions or brush off your concerns? Do you (or your child) feel comfortable with him or her?

What about the office staff? Are they helpful and friendly? Or do they seem too busy to take time to answer questions or to get to know you or your child?

Hurry up and wait

Your doctor should take full head and mouth x-rays during your initial consultation to determine the course of action. (For adults, mouth x-rays are usually enough.)

If you’re seeking treatment for your teen, an orthodontist may recommend that they have some teeth pulled before getting braces. They may also recommend that your son or daughter wait a few more months or even years before they start treatment depending on if they’ve lost all their baby teeth yet and how their jaw is developing.

Some adults I know have had to get cavities filled, teeth crowned, or root canals done before getting their braces. Not only did this delay treatment, but it was an additional, unexpected expense. However, it’s important to make sure your dental health is in tip top shape before attempting to get braces. So be glad when your consultation uncovers some hidden dental issues that send you back to your regular dentist. It all goes toward having a healthy, beautiful smile!

Get more than one opinion

Since there are so many options when it comes to braces, you should compare different treatment approaches as well as prices and office atmosphere. Doctors may recommend different treatments for you or your child’s teeth straightening needs. Some doctors are into newer treatments like Invisalign, while others only offer old fashioned, wire and bracket braces. What kind of treatment are you looking for?

If you’re looking into getting Invisalign, use Invisalign’s Doctor Locator to find an certified Invisalign orthodontist who treats adults and teens near you. When you meet with your orthodontist for the first time, ask how many patients they’ve treated with Invisalign.

Disclosure: I’m a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own.

My two months with Invisalign #invisalignmom


I just passed my two month mark with my Invisalign treatment and wanted to share my experience with you. Overall, I’ve been incredibly happy with wearing the Invisalign aligners and the progress I’ve seen so far. (Yes, I already see changes after two months!)

Getting over the hump - the first week

I went to Dr. Going’s office almost six weeks to the day of my initial Invisalign consultation. The dental assistant gave me my first three aligner sets, which would cover the initial six weeks. She explained how to take care of them. I also practiced taking them on and off. It was a challenge at first as I’m a nail biter and didn’t have any nails to pull my aligners off with.

(Ironically, since I can’t bite my nails with my Invisalign aligners in, I actually have long fingernails for the first time in years. It’s been one of the fun side benefits of getting Invisalign, though keeping up a nice manicure can be a bit of a chore.)

Confident I could take the aligners on and off easily after practicing, I left the office. That’s when the first – and biggest – Invisalign challenge began. You see, I had a headache and my teeth hurt for the first four days. Ibuprofen helped as did a glass of wine in the evenings.

For awhile I wondered if I had made the right choice getting Invisalign treatment. However, I know I’m one of those people who get a headache from a new eyeglass prescription, wearing iPod earbuds, or if my hat is too tight. Face it, I’m a bit delicate. (OK, maybe wimpy is a better word.)

So I learned to take breaks from the discomfort by taking the aligners out long enough to enjoy a drink or a snack. I also took them out when I was cooking dinner, since I like to taste the food I’m cooking. (You’re not supposed to eat or drink anything but water when wearing your Invisalign aligners.)

Yet, I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to sleep with my Invisalign aligners in. In fact, those first few days I felt best when I was sleeping and looked forward to turning in each night.

Week two through six

After the first week, the discomfort and “weirdness” wore off and wearing my Invisalign aligners was a breeze. Then it was just a matter of getting into a good routine to make sure that I wore them as much as possible – 20 to 22 hours a day is optimal.

There were a few things I learned along the way:

  • You’re given two cases for your Invisalign aligners. Keep one in your purse or backpack and the other in the kitchen. (By the sink is best). You may also want to get a little dish or bowl to put next to your toothbrush, too.
  • If you’re leaving home for an extended amount of time (to school, work, etc.) make sure to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste with you. It’s best to brush your teeth after every meal so your Invisalign aligners don’t get yucky from food particles and plaque. (If you can’t brush right away, at least try to rinse with some cool water.)
  • Your close friends and family won’t mind you popping out your Invisalign aligners (or snapping them back in) at the dinner table or even when you’re out to eat. However, if you’re with people who are more acquaintances than friends, take your aligners off in the bathroom or at least try to be a discreet as possible.
  • Keep a sports bottle filled with cool water with you at all times. Sometimes I have dry mouth from the aligners. I especially get this at night, so having a water bottle on my night stand is essential.
  • Read the little booklet that comes with your Invisalign beginner kit. It’ll give you tips on how to care for and clean your aligners. I use a little bit of toothpaste and my toothbrush. I also received some cleaning crystal samples from my dental assistant. The cleaning crystals can be ordered at the Invisalign store, but it’s pretty pricey. Instead, ask your orthodontist if she or he has any samples or if they have any cleaning tips for you.

Week seven and beyond

AMN Oct 2011

I had a follow up appointment with Dr. Goings during week seven. That’s when the dental assistant applied little “bumps” to several of my teeth. These fit into little “holes” in the aligners to position and straighten my teeth more accurately. Getting the bumps applied wasn’t a big deal. It took 40 minutes and the process was a bit yucky tasting at worst.

The bumps feel a bit weird since I now have rough little pebble like things on my teeth. Still, it’s amazing that almost no one can tell that they’re there. In fact, above is a picture of me a couple of weeks ago at a blogger event. You can kind of see the little bumps if you look closely. (I had taken my Invisalign aligners out since I was eating.) But you probably wouldn’t have noticed them without me mentioning it.


Feel free to ask me any questions about my experiences with Invisalign in the comments section below. That’s what I’m here for!

You can also learn more about Invisalign at Invisalign.com. Or ask Invisalign your questions on Twitter or their Facebook page.

Disclosure: I’m a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own.

Joining the Invisalign Mom Advisory Board #invisalignmom

Nathan at the orthodontistLast month I was invited out to the headquarters of Align Technology, to learn all about Invisalign and Invisalign Teen as part of my training to be an Invisalign Mom Advisory Board member.

I was very impressed with everyone at Align Technologies, from the legal and marketing teams to their CEO, Tom Prescott, who took a minute out of his busy schedule to stop by to welcome the Mom Advisory Board members.

I was even more impressed with Invisalign’s technology, from the plastics they use, to their computer modeling and manufacturing, to their latest improvement. After viewing several case studies and hearing about the benefits and drawbacks of Invisalign for both adults, teens and their parents, I was convinced that Invisalign would be a great fit for my family.

Off to the orthodontist

When I got back from my trip, my 11-year-old son, Nathan, and I had an appointment for a consultation with Goings Orthodontics, a Premier Preferred Invisalign Provider here in Colorado.

Back in June, I wrote that I thought Nathan wasn’t ready for braces yet. However, he had lost what I thought was his last baby tooth. So I was hoping that we’d get the go ahead for him to get the Invisalign Teen treatment. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The full head x-rays that were taken showed he has a few more adult teeth that need to come in.

Nathan was so disappointed, that he cried a little. He had seen how difficult it was for his older friends to have braces – the broken wires, the cut up lips, and the forbidden foods. Both of us knew that Invisalign Teen would be perfect for Nathan. He could still join band and play trumpet. He wouldn’t have to worry about getting hit in the mouth while sparing in karate class either.

I liked the convenience of less office visits that would take away from school and work. Both of us appreciated that he wouldn’t get gunk in his braces either (gross!) while eating since you take the Invisalign aligners out before meals.

I'm so positive about the product that I told Nathan he'd be getting Invisalign treatment eventually. However, he'd have to wait.

So guess who’s going to get Invisalign treatment? Me!

Getting as perfect a smile as possible

As I wrote previously, I’m very self-conscious about my bottom teeth and wanted them straightened. Here’s why:

crooked teeth

Now I know they’re actually not that bad - at least according to my husband. But I hate them and they make me self-conscious. So I’m getting them fixed and making sure I have the best smile I can possibly have.

After I went through the x-ray and picture taking process, I met with Kathryn, the treatment specialist. She explained the Invisalign treatment steps and what to expect. And she also gave me a quote - $5795 for 8 to 12 months of treatment. The average cost of treatment is $5,000 so I wasn’t surprised.

Kathryn also told me something I didn’t realize. While you can drink water with the Invisalign aligners in, you’re advised not to drink soda, coffee or tea as that will stain them. I then realized I won’t be able to bite my nails either while wearing Invisalign – probably a good thing.

Dr. Goings then sat down with us and we chatted about next steps and what to expect. First, I’d have impressions (dental molds) taken. Then it would be around six weeks before I’d start treatment. I was excited to get started.

The costs of a beautiful smile

If you’re considering Invisalign treatment, you’ll need to get a consultation to find out your costs and how long you’ll be in treatment. Many Invisalign providers provide free consultations, but not all so ask when making your appointment.

When you’re having your consultation ask the orthodontist if they offer discounts for paying in full in cash up front versus monthly. Some also offer better discounts if you pay by check than if you pay by credit or debit card.

If you have dental insurance, find out if it pays anything for orthodontic services. One of the other Invisalign Mom Advisory Board members said her insurance pays $1,000 for kids and $500 for adults.

Other dental plans pay a percentage up to %50. However, they’ll pay a monthly portion over the time you’re in treatment. So if you’re in treatment for a year and your cost is $5000, with such a dental plan, they’d pay you about $208 per month. So even if you’ve paid your orthodontist in full to get a better price, they’ll still pay you back month by month.

So when calling your dental insurance provider, make sure you ask if they cover Invisalign and how they’ll reimburse you or the orthodontist.


Disclosure: I’m a member of the Invisalign Teen Mom Advisory Board. I’m receiving complimentary treatment from Invisalign, but all opinions and experiences expressed are my own.

Getting your facts – and your teeth – straight with Invisalign and Invisalign Teen


Did you have braces growing up? I did and remember it vividly. I’m from the generation where they put bands around each tooth instead of gluing an attachment to the outside of your teeth. I also remember how painful it was. It was so bad that there were nights my dad would let me gargle with scotch to dull the pain. I wish Invisalign was around then, but more on that later.

I got my braces in ninth grade and had them until my senior year of high school. Then I got a retainer, but my bottom teeth moved, probably due to biting my nails.

I’m self-conscious about my bottom teeth because I’m a firm believer that people do notice your smile. If you have crooked teeth, it affects your self-confidence or maybe even your employment prospects. Case in point, I’ve had friends get braces later in life because they knew their unattractive smile was causing people to think less of them. These same friends are making sure their teens get braces, too.

I see braces in our future

Both Nathan and Lucie will be getting braces since their teeth are so crooked that I ask them to smile with their mouths closed when I’m taking pictures. Even my mom looks at Lucie and asks, “Poor thing. But her smile will get better with braces, yes?”

Since Nathan is only 11, his orthodontist wants to wait another year for his few remaining adult teeth to come in. (He’s already had five baby teeth pulled.) That’s fine with me since I feel he’s not mature enough to take care of braces yet, since he’ll have to brush several times a day and avoid foods that could break the wires. Since our doctor is 45 minutes away, I’m not looking forward to those extra trips!

There are other concerns. Both my kids are missing several adult teeth, especially Lucie, and neither have wisdom teeth. This means they must take extra care of their remaining baby teeth since they’ll have them for the rest of their lives. In my case, my braces “stressed out” my lower left first premolar. I had a root canal on it when I was 19. At 39, the tooth got infected and had to be pulled. I have a very expensive tooth implant there now and wonder if the trauma of braces caused all the issues I had with the tooth over the years.

Why Invisalign and Invisalign Teen are a clear alternative to metal braces

Seeing that the kids (and maybe me) are getting braces in the next few years, I’m interested in alternatives to traditional teeth straightening methods. That’s why I’m posting about Invisalign.

When I was approached by their PR representative to write about Invisalign and Invisalign Teen, I thought it was a good opportunity to learn more about what they had to offer for both adults and teens, and wanted to share that information with you!

Here are some facts about Invisalign and Invisalign Teen:

  • Invisalign are nearly invisible, removable appliances or “aligners” that are used to straighten teeth. They can be used alone for comprehensive orthodontic treatment or as a part of restorative or cosmetic dental work.
  • Invisalign has specific products for treating both adults and teens.
  • Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable aligners to gradually straighten your teeth, without metal or wires. After detailed impressions are taken of the teeth, the company utilizes proprietary 3D computer imaging technology to map your complete treatment from start to finish. You wear each aligner for about two weeks. During this time, the aligners gradually move your teeth until they achieve the prescribed final position.
  • Patients typically visit their doctor once every six weeks or so to ensure that treatment is progressing as planned, and to receive their next few sets of aligners. The total treatment time with Invisalign averages between nine and 15 months and the average number of aligners worn during treatment is between 18 and 30
  • G3 is the third generation of Invisalign. With the arrival of G3, it’s now possible for people with very complex cases (over/under/cross bites, widely spaced or overly overcrowded teeth, and severe misalignment) to be treated with Invisalign.
  • Invisalign is removable. You can maintain normal dental hygiene during treatment and eat whatever you want.
  • Invisalign looks great and is nearly undetectable. This is important, especially for adults who want to maintain a professional appearance or for those self-conscious teens who want to “fit in.”
  • In the US, the cost of Invisalign treatment ranges from $3,500 to $8,000, with the national average at about $5,000. Invisalign has a monthly payment cost calculator on their website to help you figure it out.

Is Invisalign right for you or your teen?

First, take the Invisalign self-assessment. Then find a doctor in your area who is a Invisalign Preferred Provider. Contact them to find out if they offer a free consultation. Once the doctor confirms that an issue can be corrected with the Invisalign system, he or she will write a detailed treatment plan that determines how each of the aligners will change throughout the program.

You'll find that each doctor may have different pricing, patient interaction and treatment recommendations. So meeting with more than one doctor increases the likelihood of finding one you feel most comfortable with. Remember, you’re the one who decides which doctor works best for you and your circumstances. Once you find the right doctor and make your choice, you've taken that first step towards actually starting treatment – and getting that gorgeous smile.

For more information go to www.invisalign.com

So are braces – or maybe Invisalign – in your future?

Disclosure: I was compensated to share this information with my readers. All opinions are my own.