So, I’ve kind of been putting this post off for a few reasons, but it’s been a full year since I finished my Invisalign treatment and I did originally say that I’d post an update so here it is! This is seriously way too many photos of me in one post, but alas, it’s the only way to show you my teeth. (Lady Gaga song, anyone?)
Reason #1 for the delay – I still had a couple of things to do post-treatment, including having my final retainers made, so it didn’t feel like I was officially done. Ever since I finished treatment I’ve been wearing the last set of aligners at night when I go to sleep, which is how I’ll wear the retainers as well. (I think I have to wear them at night for life?! Sigh.) And once I have my final retainers, I can do some at-home whitening with prescription whitening gel, so I thought I’d just do the follow-up post after that. Long story short, I had to have some other dental work done before my final retainers could be made and life got in the way, so I’m only just now getting around to finalizing things. Also, reason #2 – I don’t really like talking about my teeth (or my flair). Annnd…I realized I’d have to post before-and-after photos, and that means people will be staring at my teeth, and the images might even show up in a Google search related to Invisalign. So that’s weird!
Lastly, reason #3 – I haven’t taken any official “after” photos. I think photographers are pretty bad about having their photos taken. I keep meaning to do an updated headshot/portrait, but I haven’t made it a priority, which is awful considering how often I encourage other people to have their photos taken! Do as I say, not as I do, right? I don’t even have many travel snapshots or iPhone selfies from the last several months for some reason. Oh right, because I’m always the one behind the camera. I need to be better about stepping in front of the lens more often I guess. But I promised an update, and maybe it’ll be helpful to anyone considering Invisalign, so here goes. I’ll start with some photos of me before I started wearing Invisalign, although none of these were taken with the intent of being official before photos.
I didn’t have a super dramatic case to begin with, but from a health perspective my bite was pretty misaligned to the point where it would eventually cause problems and I wanted to be proactive about that. And to be honest I was really starting to dislike photos of myself, especially if the photo was taken from a certain angle. Eek! As much as I don’t really want you to inspect too closely, here are two photos where I felt like my smile was wonky, especially the one on the left (where the camera flash made my hair look like tinsel for some reason). You can see the sides of my upper teeth leaning in, my top teeth didn’t line up over my bottom teeth, I had a pretty significant overbite when viewed from the side, and one of my two front teeth stuck out more than the others.
Next, these are some iPhone snapshots of me during treatment, about a year into wearing the aligners. I did start to feel better about how my smile looked in photos (except for the attachment “buttons” glued on my teeth). The first one on the left below even shows how my aligners looked while wearing them, including the tiny rubber bands that attached from top to bottom. Those things hurt, but they really pulled my overbite back into place. I didn’t wear the bands in public, only at home and overnight.
And finally, these last two photos are images taken after being completely done with Invisalign, attachments removed and all. I promise to try to have a headshot done that shows a better close-up of my smile, but in the meantime hopefully you’ll get the idea. I think the first photo shows my new smile pretty clearly. (Ha – I just realized Chris might be subjected to having his face posted in Google images under an Invisalign search since he’s in a lot of my photos! He has a great smile though, so no harm done.) My overbite is hugely improved, the sides don’t lean in as much, and my two front teeth are pretty much in alignment.
Oh and just for fun, here are the computer models of my teeth so you can see where I started and where I was projected to end up, and I think we were able to get pretty close. If you look at the left-hand photo for the uppers, you can see that one front tooth that wanted to hang out in front of the others. I hated that!
As for how I feel post-treatment, I’m pretty darn happy with the results! Do I think my teeth are absolutely perfect? Nah, but that’s totally okay with me. I feel like the alignment is maybe at 90-95%, and the improvement over the before feels so much better to me. I have debated continuing orthodontic treatment to try and correct that last 5-10%, but I’ve decided it’s probably only noticeable to me. And anyway, I’m finally starting to realize that there are some things that just make me ME and there’s no need to try to fix everything. I’m just happy that my bite is properly aligned now which will alleviate future dental health issues, and as a huge bonus I feel like my smile looks better in photos. I would still recommend Invisalign to anyone interested in correcting the alignment of their teeth as long as they understand the discipline required to keep the aligners in 20 or so hours a day AND that Invisalign might not get you to 100% perfect (this was my expectation after doing my research and reading Invisalign patient reviews). For more info about the process, see my original post here. And definitely let me know if you have any questions about Invisalign! I’d absolutely be happy to help. Happy smiling! Smiling’s my favorite. 🙂