Braces Or Invisalign

Last modified on February 8th, 2012

A few people know already, but I’ve been considering getting a set of braces or possible Invisalign sometime in the near future. As a kid I had approximately two years of orthodontics between the ages of 14 and 16, but since then my teeth have slowly shifted. It’s at the point now where if I don’t do something soon they are probably going to revert to what they looked like as a kid (not good).

The good news is that they haven’t really shifted *that* much yet. So I am hoping that the treatment time I need will be relatively short. Since I pretty much spend a lot of my time by myself in coffee shops, that will hopefully mean I’d have them on and off again rather quickly. So we’ll see.

I just got back from an Invisalign consultation. Invisalign is basically the latest and greatest thing where they take moulds of your teeth and then give you a set of nearly invisible trays to swap out every two weeks. Each tray represents a fractional shift between your crooked teeth and ultimately your straight teeth. It’s appealing to me for a few reasons. First, they are really hard to see. I met a girl in Buenos Aires with a set and the only reason I noticed them was because of a slight lisp she had at the table (most people quickly adjust to speaking with them in). But you really can’t see them unless you are looking for them. The second reason is that they are pretty compatible with travel. In theory I can simply take a few trays with me when I go somewhere and just change them out on my own. If you have a hot date or a dinner with friends, you can simply remove them for a few hours and put them in after.

The good news is that after my consult they said I was probably going to be in the Express category. That means it would only take 20 weeks to get my teeth back to being straight (as opposed to the 104 weeks or so it took when I was a kid). The price they quoted for that was $2,600, which isn’t really out of the ballpark of where I was hoping it would be.

The only catch to all of this is that they won’t know for sure if I’m in the Express category until they take moulds of my teeth and send them off to Invisalign HQ. Express is anything that takes 10 trays or less (10 trays multiplied by 2 weeks per tray gives you the 20 week estimate). If it’s 11 trays or more, it’s no longer Express, and the price jumps to around $6,400.

After being presented by both estimates, $2,400 and $6,400, I told her I would obviously like the first one. But she said they don’t know which it is until you get your moulds done and sent off, but that the price for the moulds is included in the total cost. So I said one price was acceptable to me and the other wasn’t. And then she said we could take the moulds, which is included in the cost, and see which price comes back. I went around with this circular logic for a while until I basically just pointed out that I would pay the $2,400 but not the $6,400, so if it didn’t come back as Express I would basically have to decline to move forward. So I asked how much the moulds would cost (assuming I had to walk away), but she didn’t really have an answer. So I guess that means free.

I have an appointment with my previous orthodontist (who is still in business) and am going to go over the options of braces with him. You can actually move teeth faster with braces, so it might be something I’d consider. I wouldn’t go with the ugly metal ones nowadays, most likely the white ceramic ones if I were to get them. But right now I’m leaning towards Invisalign, assuming I qualify for the Express option.

5 responses to “Braces Or Invisalign”

  1. Keira-Anne says:

    Don’t ask me – I went the instant gratification route and shelled out stupid huge cash for veneers. But if it is between braces or Invisalign, I think the choice is clear (pun very much intended).

  2. Duane Storey says:

    I didn’t know that! I thought about vaneers, but my main problem is my two front teeth impact my smile (my top lip kind of gets hung up on them). So they really need to be rotated slightly back to a more front facing position for me.

  3. Jen says:

    I’ve been thinking the same thing. I also had 2 years of teenaged braces, and my teeth are slowly moving back to their previous crapitude.

    Funny thing is, Invisalign was coming out when I was finishing up my ortho, and I was given an invisalign tray as my night-wear retainer. Which I didn’t wear, because I was a teenaged idiot. And it’s long-since been lost (and had stopped fitting, since my teeth moved even before I had lost it).

    They are really nice to wear, and maybe if I could get the “express” option, I’d consider getting them again to straighten things out.

  4. Duane Storey says:

    I had a nighttime retainer too but stepped on it about ten years ago in Ottawa and never got it replaced.

    The crappy thing is you don’t really know if you’re express or not until you get the moulds done. It’s sort of a weird system. The orthodontist said I probably should be since my back teeth are all straight – it’s mainly an adjustment to the six front teeth on the top and bottom. I’d pay $2600 to get them done, but I wouldn’t pay $6400 at this point. Five months goes pretty quick, so to have straight teeth after that length of time would be pretty sweet.

  5. Alan says:

    I did the traditional orthodontic braces (metal) as an adult around 7 years ago. Took around 18 months of religious adherence to elastic applications and watching what I ate to get it done. Given the magnitude of the changes I needed, I was not even offered the ‘retainer’ style invisible option. I was even warned that at some point a ‘post’ might be needed that was ‘anchored in my skull’ for providing a force reference. Yikes. In the end, by following directions and doing everything I was asked, I think I wrapped things up in 18 months. I am delighted I did it and I STILL wear the retainer nightly. (It looks like the invisiline product you are describing). For the 5-6K I invested in the treatment, I’m highly motivated to keep my retainers in use. It was not a fun 18 months, but the outcome was well, well worth it for me. Whatever direction you choose, follow the guidance you are given and I’m sure you will be pleased with the outcome. If only I had that discipline when I was teenaged and the treatment less harsh and less costly (to me).

    Good luck Duane – drop me an email if you want to discuss anything further – happy to relate my ortho experiences.

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