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Tempted by Invisalign for straighter teeth? Read this...

·6-min read
Photo credit: Invisalign | Cosmopolitan UK
Photo credit: Invisalign | Cosmopolitan UK
Photo credit: Invisalign | Cosmopolitan UK
Photo credit: Invisalign | Cosmopolitan UK

Is it me or are other people’s teeth looking really good? Perhaps I’m spending too much time on Instagram, where you can whiten your teeth and blitz your blemishes with the swipe of a finger? Or maybe people are actually spending more money on their dental these days?

If you’ve been tempted by Invisalign in the past but were unsure exactly what the treatment involved, what results you could expect or how much money it was going to cost you, read on. I visited Invisalign diamond provider and go-to dentist to the influencers, Dr Teki Sowdani, who gave me the lowdown on exactly what to expect...

"You only have one set of teeth, and people are living longer these days," says Dr Sowdani (referred to by his clients as Teki). "So what you do to them and how you look after them has become more important than ever. A lot of new patients with veneers tell me that if they had known they could get the results they wanted by straightening their teeth and having composite bonding, they would never have gone down that route."

Invisalign v Tracks

Braces were once synonymous with Ugly-Betty-style train tracks - an absolute vibe on some people (and available on the NHS), but not for everyone. Invisalign is, in part, so advanced thanks to the 10-million-plus patients it has treated over the years - allowing it to work in an almost algorithmic way to treat varying cases in the same amount of time as traditional braces.

Although I’ve never been horrified by my teeth, the front two have always sat slightly crooked, with some crowding at the bottom. “When we grind our teeth, the muscles we use push the back teeth inwards over time ” explains Teki. “Therefore the front teeth have less space and eventually become overcrowded."

I visited his chic north London clinic, Teeth by Teki, which feels more like a spa reception than a dentist. And the man matches the mood, with a calming presence I can only imagine is a tonic for tense dentist goers (I’m unsurprised he has thousands of followers on Instagram and a year’s waiting list for his services).

Photo credit: Image Source - Getty Images
Photo credit: Image Source - Getty Images

After a consultation and check-up, Teki informed me I would need the Lite treatment (there are three altogether, the other two being Express and Full). I was told my treatment would involve wearing 14 different aligners over a seven-month period. The custom-made aligners are made of a thermoplastic material and worn for two weeks at a time, the next one continuing the straightening process where the last one left off.

How are they made?

I had a follow-up appointment to scan my mouth for the made-to-fit aligners. With bad memories of having traditional moulds taken as a child (there was a lot of gagging involved), I found the scan stress-free and relaxing. A rubber nozzle was moved around the inside of my mouth, slowly building a detailed image of my teeth on screen, which could then be turned over and viewed from different angles. It felt strange seeing my own teeth so clearly, and made me realise just how wonky they actually were!

Photo credit: Invisalign scan
Photo credit: Invisalign scan

Seven weeks later, my first three aligners arrived, along with some cleaning crystals and a storage pot (although they shouldn’t be in there a lot – you need to wear them for at least 22 hours a day or the treatment might not work). You can take them out to eat and drink hot beverages, but it’s important to floss and brush before popping them back in, for obvious hygiene reasons. I found my teeth were quite sore after the first day, and there was some rubbing against the inside of my lips to begin with, but by day two the pain had gone and (slight lisp aside) It was as though I wasn’t even wearing them.

The attachments

During my third appointment, Teki added some tiny attachments to four of my teeth using composite bonding. "The shapes, sizes and placement of these attachments is determined by the clever computer software," he explained. "They allow pressure to be applied to the teeth so that they move in a controlled and precise way." I was worried they would make the aligners more noticeable, but due to their colour and size, I found them barely detectable.

Teki also carried out some IPR (interproximal reduction), which involved him filing very small amounts of space between my teeth to allow them to move as needed during the treatment. The Invisalign software measures exactly where the filing needs to happen and how much. For example, if one tooth is wider than the others, that one can be filed and the others left untouched. But if all your teeth are identical, the space needed can be divided exactly between each tooth. It’s also worth mentioning that you don’t feel a thing during this very gentle filing process – in fact, I found it rather relaxing.

How much does Invisalign cost?

It's priced according to the individuals treatment plan, but costs start at around £1,500, and can go up to £5000 depending on your teeth and treatment level. Invisalign is ultimately controlled by your dentist, and a good one will know that there’s no point rushing the process, otherwise the teeth won’t have time to move. From start to finish, mine took about six months, but bear in mind that’s probably the shortest possible treatment time, with some taking closer to a year or more.

Before Invisalign

Photo credit: Invisalign scan
Photo credit: Invisalign scan

After Invisalign

Photo credit: Invisalign scan/ Cassie Powney
Photo credit: Invisalign scan/ Cassie Powney

Below are some more before-and-after pics (it’s worth noting that the second has been finished with composite bonding and whitening to give the teeth a more uniform look).

Is it worth it?

If the look of your teeth affects your day-to-day life and you're able to budget for it, then absolutely! My attention is no longer drawn to my teeth during a Zoom call, and I know for some people, a smile transformation can be life changing.

"To give your teeth the best chance of staying straight following treatment, I always advise wearing the night retainers sent to you following your final appointment," says Teki. "In some cases - where there is a higher risk of the teeth moving back - we can also add a discreet metal wire behind the front teeth in addition to the nighttime retainers. This is what I recommend for life - or for as long as you want to keep your teeth perfectly straight!"

I nearly went for an at-home kit before finally deciding on Invisalign, and although I can't comment directly on the effectiveness of those kits, I would advise people to undergo a treatment like this under the watchful eye of a good dentist. I visited Teki's clinic almost monthly throughout, receiving personalised attachments, interproximal reduction, and detailed scans to check the progress of my teeth.

Teeth By Teki has a wait list but is constantly releasing new appointment slots. Or you can visit the Invisalign website to find out more about practitioners in your local area.

Follow Cassie on Instagram

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