The Most Experienced Invisalign Wearer In The World™?

Two and a half years in, I think I must be close to being the world expert on wearing Invisalign.

I was undoubtedly the most complicated case that my orthodontist had ever taken on when I started, and I believe I’m still his longest running case. Most of his patients swan in and out of his offices every few weeks, visiting him for six months to a year, and then wander off again, retainers in hand, to carry on their lives the same as before; just a little bit better looking.

Not me. As I amble into the surgery, apologies in hand about whatever the current month’s misdemeanour is (forgetting to change the aligners on the right day, mostly) he sighs resignedly. It isn’t that I want to make my treatment longer than it is, or that I can’t bear to end our six weekly visits, it’s just that after all this time the thrill of changing to the next set is almost gone and some weeks when I’m supposed to change aligners, I simply forget.

The good news about this, I suppose, is that it goes to show exactly how comfortable Invisalign really are. I don’t think about them at all these days, my mouth is as comfortable with them as without, in fact, sometimes when I’m not wearing them my mouth almost feels strangely empty. And therein lies the problem really. I need to think about them just a little bit.

This visit, as I confessed that I had again slipped an aligner behind, so that I only needed two, not three new aligners to take me through to my next appointment, my orthodontist shook his head and said “You’d have been finished if you were in metal braces, you know.”

The truth is though, as I told him, that I would rather wear Invisalign for 10 years than wear metal braces for one- a sentiment with which he heartily agreed. To me, there is simply no contest.

And whilst I sometimes forget to change, and wear my Invisalign sets for three weeks instead of two, I take comfort from the fact that at least I wear them too much, and not too little.

Of course, there’s a very good reason why my treatment has taken so long; we always knew that it would. My orthodontist made it very clear from the beginning that I was right on the boundary of being suitable for Invisalign treatment. You can see the offending tooth that has meant that I have been pushing at the limits of Invisalign’s capabilities on my original clincheck:

Whilst my upper teeth are now in retainers, and my lower teeth look almost perfectly straight from the front, that wayward tooth on the lower arch is still there, strewn across the bottom of my mouth. I’m currently about five aligners short of the gap being large enough to start moving it into place, and I can’t wait to try.

My orthodontist is not by any means convinced it will ever move, he fears it is somehow fused to my jaw bone or in some other way completely stuck, and that ultimately I may have to simply remove it. I however remain deliriously optimistic; my treatment has gone so well and so easily this far that I’m simply not ready to concede that anything could go seriously wrong at this point.

Let’s hope I’m right!

14 thoughts on “The Most Experienced Invisalign Wearer In The World™?”

  1. Hi 🙂 I was searching for Longest Invisalign Treatment and it lead me here hahaha 2.5 years…massive! I’m about 1.5 years in, just got re-scanned, and found I have a whole lot more to go unfortunately. 36 trays originally, got to about 33 and was reset with another 22 AHHHHHHH Dr. said probably only 16 needed of new set, but still… hard to swallow. Eye on the prize! How has everything been since finishing?

  2. My son needs braces soon. He wants to get the Invisalign system. I feel like those ones are for people who are very diligent about their orthodontic care and progress. How well do teenagers deal with the diligence that Invisalign requires?

  3. Hello,
    i am most likely getting invisalign teen and if i do i am getting my impressions in 2 weeks. i came across this blog and it really helped. Can you please post about retainers. I don’t know how they work for invisalign.

    1. Hi there,
      I have just posted about retainers. However, if you are younger there might be more flexibility about how often and for how long you have to wear them so please ask your orthodontist.

      Thanks and good luck!

  4. I am finally on the home stretch with my aligners and will be getting my retainer molds made before xmas. Had no idea there were different retainer brands? Would love to see the pics of different options and will ask my dentist about them…

    Would obviously like to have the ones that hold up the longest and are the most comfortable. 😉

    Keep up the great work with your teeth, it WILL be worth it in the end. 🙂

  5. Why wouldn’t you just get that offending tooth removed and invisalign to fill the tiny gap and center the rest of your teeth? Sounds like it would have been much less time with the invisalign.

    1. Hi there,
      I did try! Unfortunately the root was trapped between the two next to it and so it couldn’t be removed without surgey that might also make me lose the two teeth next to it. It was pretty horrific as it was. The dentist (not my dentist now) spent an hour trying to get it out, which was awful. So, I really had no choice.

  6. Oh my, what a long commitment. Many patients would have given up by now – even within the year. Compliance is a problem for not too few.

    Clearly, Align keeps improving the technology, viz. the latest 4th generation aligners. Yet it remains to be seem whether some of the more challenging orthodontics, such as rotation of canines (such as your case), will be corrected in shorter order with the latest version.

    Good luck and please post some before-and-after pictures.

  7. Hello !

    My name is Heather. I recently came across your story and re-stumble on it every now and again while I meticulously look for other people with invisalign. I admit I am a bit obsessed to see the before and after pictures. I qualified for Invisalign Express and only have 10 aligners (I am on my 8th on top and 6th on bottom due to my dentist not paying attention to when i needed IPR (sanding in between my bottom teeth) done and set me back four weeks on the bottom. But regardless I know exactly what you mean. I forget my invisalign are in all the time, i sometimes find myself drinking soda and then go “Oh NO!” and take them out. I am sorry that you keep forgetting to take out your aligners but maybe you should set up an alarm on your phone like I did, and then change your aligner before you go to bed. That way you won’t have to deal with the soreness because you will be sleeping. That’s what I do and it works great. I am sorry that you have SO many aligners but stick it out and try to be more disciplined and it will all be over before you know it!

    Good Luck! I will keep checking back! Heather

    1. Hi there Heather,
      Wow, only 10 aligners! How I envy you….

      That’s a great tip about setting the alarm on my phone. I can’t believe I never thought of it. Doh!

      Let me know how you go with your teeth, I’d love to hear how they turn out.

  8. Just stumbled upon your blog and can understand your thoughts exactly. I’m wearing Invisalign since October 2009 and still have 13 aligners to go. Good to know there are other ones too 🙂 Best wishes from Germany!

  9. That’s cool that your ortho was upfront from the get go about everything though. I would be pissed if it was totally unexpected and you thought you were going to be in them a year and then that turned into two in a half. Look at the brightside, you will have perfect teeth!! I hope everything’s is well and thank you so much for the posts. I’ll keep checking in with ya! 🙂

  10. That’s great that you are in retainers now (at least for the top row)! Did you go with the Vivera or the standard Invisalign retainers? Do you have to wear them all day or just at night?

    1. Hi there,

      I have Essix retainers for the top.. I’m actually going to write about them soon and post some pictures just so people can see the different retainer options… I love them though, they are just like Invisalign but more comfortable!

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