Like many people, I underwent years of orthodonture, only to have my bottom teeth begin shifting years later. In an optimistic, spontaneous turn of events, I'd had my dentist remove the cemented-in retainer bar I'd had "installed" post-braces about ten years ago. In the last few years, my teeth started telling a different visual story, one that didn't evidently involve a past fling with orthodonture. After researching InvisAlign, I heard about SmileDirectClub, the first digital brand for your smile. The company makes it easy and far less expensive to get invisible aligners via a safe, user-friendly, direct-to-consumer experience. At $99 per month or a $1,500 flat fee, it's more affordable than the industry average of $5,000. It's also convenient; there are no visits to the orthodontist's office, just regular online consultations. Best of all, it's quick, cutting treatment time by up to 30 percent (three to ten months). Here, the eight things to know about trying out invisible aligners for a photo-ready, fabulous smile before your wedding.
They hurt—at first. Yeah, these aren't exactly a walk in the park, but the good news is that they hurt because your teeth are moving. They're not quite as painful as traditional braces, but the first day of a new tray (that's what a new set of invisible aligners is called) can be a bit rough. With SmileDirectClub, you get three new sets of trays per month. My tip: Put on your new trays at night first so they can sort of settle overnight; by the time you're awake, you'll already be past the breaking-in period.
You may lose some weight. This was a happy accident. It turns out that because it's such a production to take out, store, and put in the aligners, I wound up passing on many an hors d'oeuvre, snack, and nonclear cocktail. The annoyance of not wanting to remove them in public or seek out a bathroom meant I'd avoid unnecessary snacking. Score one for the easiest diet yet.
You'll be well-versed on all clear liquids after the first couple of weeks. Colored food and drinks can stain your liners, which you wear up to two weeks, so it's mandatory to keep them in when you're consuming only clear stuff. Conveniently, Crystal Pepsi is making a comeback, but for those of us who perhaps overdid it with that the first time, water and La Croix will quickly become your hydration go-to's. Vodka sodas work well for a night out.
You'll have an unsexy lisp, but it's temporary. The first few days take a little getting used to, but eventually you'll learn how to speak around the implement in your mouth. Try saying "scent savior" without lisping. It's not easy, yes?
Twenty-two hours a day is a lot. And you actually have to wear them all of that time. To budget for three meals a day, a couple of non clear liquids, and maybe a snack or two, you'll learn how to make the most of your sans-aligner time.
You'll have to carry a mini toothbrush and toothpaste. In addition to your aligner case (provided by SmileDirectClub), you'll need to keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in your purse to clean your teeth before putting your aligners back in after every meal or snack. Trust, you do not want to put them back in only to have a piece of food stuck in there.
But you use dishwashing liquid to clean your trays. Many people think you can clean them with toothpaste, but that can actually stain them. It's best to stick to cool water (hot can melt them) and a little dishwashing liquid.
It works quickly. After 22 hours of wear a day (#committed), my teeth shifted back to where they needed to be after one month. But you have to keep up the good work, plus wear your retainer aligners post-treatment to maintain your good results. At the end of your prescribed tour of aligner duty, you'll be psyched to don that smile.