Did y’all catch my insta-story last week? If not, then the subject of this post probably threw you for a loop, but yes, I have Invisalign now! My teeth have had some crowding and I’ve also had an open bite for years, but it all just got worse with both pregnancies. It’s not something that bothered me like crazy, but I knew that it wasn’t going to magically get better on it’s own and would likely worsen with age. So I was really eager to look into fixing these issues with Invisalign. Today I’m going to chat with you guys about what to expect from the very beginning, from choosing a dentist, to the cost and length of treatment, to how it feels once you’ve got the aligners in!

I’m going to assume we all know what Invisalign is, but if you’re unfamiliar, it’s basically a series of clear, removable aligners that will straighten your teeth over time. It’s a great alternative to metal braces if you’re looking for a nearly invisible option. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, your first step would be to find a provider near you. For me, I chose to work with Dr. Vicki Tatum of  Tatum Dentistry—and for a variety reasons.

As y’all know, I live in Charleston and although I know the majority of you do not, I still have to gush for just a moment on how much I recommend Tatum Dentistry. Here are a few quick reasons why, then I’ll get back to the Invisalign chat. First, they are SO on their game with advanced technology. (More on that later, but they have all the bells and whistles you could ever need to make your experience at the dentist as pleasant and efficient as possible. You can read about some of the fun tech stuff they have here. I truly did not know my previous dentist was so behind the times until I saw Dr. Tatum!). Next, the office is just off the crosstown (with a parking lot!), so it’s very convenient no matter where I am in town. Also, Dr. Tatum has been in practice for 27 years and her practice has won “Best Dentist” by Charleston City Paper for 5 years in a row, so I knew they must be GOOD. Finally and most important, they are some of the nicest, warm and welcoming people! I’m sure I’m not alone in saying I don’t love going to the dentist, but going to see Dr. Tatum, Dr. Celeste Grainger (their new associate, who is so incredibly personable and has Friday and Saturday hours!), and the rest of the team is honestly a really fun experience.

 

Once you find a dentist office you love (or maybe you are still narrowing it down), the next thing you’ll want to discuss is of course the price of your Invisalign treatment, given you’re a candidate. To determine pricing, your dentist will need to figure out the extent of the treatment you’ll need, so a consultation would be necessary. Tatum Dentistry will do a completely free, no obligation consultation and simulation where they will create a 3D image of your teeth in just minutes using an iTero scanner, a tool that has taken the place of those terrible impressions you may have had done when you had braces as a kid. This is technology that not all Invisalign providers have and it was honestly the coolest part of the whole process so far! Honestly, I can’t begin to tell you how happy I was to not have to hold that giant tray of goo in my mouth for impressions. (I still have PTSD from that when I was 12 years old getting fitted for metal braces.)

Here’s Dr. Tatum using the iTero scanner, which simultaneously created 3D images of my teeth.

 

 

Just minutes after they scanned my teeth with the iTero tool, I was able to see a 3D image of my mouth. Then just minutes after that, I was able to see how my teeth could be transformed by using Invisalign.

Here’s the image that came up on the computer just minutes later.

 

 

Once your scans are complete, you can start chatting about price. Pricing of Invisalign is very similar to what you might expect with metal braces. It will vary from case to case, but you can expect it to start around $5,000 or so. You can pay by month or all at once and if you have orthodontic coverage with your dental insurance, you may find that your insurance will pay up to $3,500 for you. Your dentist will be able to give you an exact amount after that first consultation. And maybe you’ll strike it while the iron is hot after finding that your dentist is running a promotion on Invisalign, making it more affordable. For example, Dr. Tatum is running a special on Invisalign Lite right now, which is the “express” version of Invisalign (1-42 weeks of treatment). It’s on sale for $3,995 through September 15th, making it as low as $99 per month.

So by now, you’ve found your dentist, had your consultation and scans done, and determined the price. What’s next? For me, I waited a couple weeks for the team of professionals at Invisalign to analyze my teeth using the scans that were instantly sent over during my initial consultation and create my exact treatment plan. Then they fabricated my aligners and sent them over to Dr. Tatum!

This brings me to last week, when y’all saw me sitting in the dental chair on insta-stories. I was there to get my teeth prepared for putting on my aligners. What? You can’t just put them on your teeth immediately? For me, no… a couple things had to be done first. Dr. Tatum had to put attachments on my teeth. “Attachments” are tooth-colored ridges that stick to your teeth to help your aligners work properly. Some people need more than others and each person will need them in different spots. I have these little ridges on about eight bottom teeth and eight top teeth—the ones that would be visible from the very front were put on the backside of my teeth.  I’ve heard someone compare “attachments” to the door knob of a door. It’s a lot easier to open and close (or MOVE) a door (or tooth!) when you have a door knob to hold onto, or in this case, an attachment on your tooth. I mean, this makes sense to me? haha!

In this photo below, Dr. Tatum is creating the “attachments.”

 

 

After all the attachments were put on—an absolutely pain free process Dr. Tatum has perfected and made as seamless as possible, it was time for a little Interproximal Reduction. This is a fancy term for making your teeth more slender—and I mean ever-so-slightly more slender.  Since I have crowding, this was necessary to create a space for my teeth to move. It sounds absolutely terrible, but I promise it was nothing. Dr. Tatum had a special tool that accomplished this in just seconds and I didn’t feel any discomfort whatsoever.

Then we slid on my aligners and voila! Ready to go. Well, almost.

Dr. Tatum showed me how to use AcceleDent. Ok, what the heck is that? That’s what I thought too, but it’s actually the coolest little device that you use at home. AcceleDent is this little mouthpiece that gently pulsates just a touch and by biting down on it for 20 minutes per day, you can speed up your overall Invisalign treatment considerably, usually by half. It’s totally optional, by the way. There is an extra cost for AcceleDent, but if it will speed up the time I need to wear my aligners, then hello, sign me up! (I also found that it helped with the initial discomfort I had during those first few days of wearing my aligners as my teeth started to shift.)

 

 

Before heading out, we went over a few general tips, including how to take the aligners in and out (easy!) and I learned how important it is to wear the aligners for 22 hours per day.

 

 

Dr. Tatum and I also chatted about the importance of keeping my teeth as clean as possible, especially during Invisalign. She recommended a Phillips Sonicare DiamondClean Professional toothbrush and offered to give one away to all of you! It’s worth $270 and comes in black, pink, or white—the winner can choose! In addition, the winner will receive a Phillips Sonicare for KIDS worth $50! Watson is the proud new owner of one and actually gets excited to brush his teeth now. Both of these toothbrushes are enabled to work with an app that shows you where to brush and tells you when you’ve cleaned your teeth properly.

 

If you’d like a chance to win BOTH of these toothbrushes mentioned above, a $320 total value, find the giveaway posted on my instagram feed! All you have to do is follow my account and Tatum Dentistry on Instagram, like the giveaway photos, and leave a comment. Easy peasy! Also, you can leave a comment on this post telling me your instagram handle for an extra entry!

Ok. In an effort to spare y’all the lengthiest read ever, I’m going to stop here, but I’ll be sharing a few more informational blog posts throughout my journey with Invisalign, so stay tuned. If you have any questions or things you’d like me to address in these future posts, just leave that in the comments below! I definitely plan on giving you an update post sharing my experience once I’m a few months into my treatment. By then, I’ll surely have a list of tips and tricks for Invisalign and hopefully we can do an FAQ session with Dr. Tatum!

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway here! And leave a comment here telling me your instagram handle for an extra entry!

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44 Comments

  1. August 20, 2018 / 9:15 am

    I LOVED my experience with Invisalign, so I am sure you will too!

  2. Jennie Martin
    August 20, 2018 / 9:30 am

    This is amazing!! Seem less and easy!

  3. Spenser
    August 20, 2018 / 9:49 am

    I have wanted to get Invisalign for a couple years now too! This post was so informative on what to look for in a dentist that does it. Thank you. Cannot wait to see your results.

  4. Jennifer Kovacs
    August 20, 2018 / 10:01 am

    My Invisalign experience was great and worth every penny! It only took me 4 months and now I have a smile I’m confident in. jennifer_kovacs

  5. Sarah Sandlin
    August 20, 2018 / 10:11 am

    Excited for you and your experience with Invisalign!
    Insta: sarahts0219!

  6. Catherine C
    August 20, 2018 / 10:22 am

    I had braces when I was a pre-teen but definitely noticing some shifting now and annoyed by a gap that didn’t close. Invisalign is something Ibe recently been thinking about doing so this post is so timely!! My IG is @catecrain

  7. August 20, 2018 / 10:54 am

    I have the same issues after my girls! I need to start the process of looking into this! @myperfectlyprettymess

  8. Emily
    August 20, 2018 / 1:21 pm

    Can’t wait to watch your Invisalign journey!
    Instagram: __emily_harris__

  9. Natalie
    August 20, 2018 / 1:39 pm

    Can’t wait to see how it turns out! I’ve heard great things.
    @natcmatt

  10. Catherine
    August 20, 2018 / 1:41 pm

    Can’t wait to go to her for my consult!!

  11. lauren schryver
    August 20, 2018 / 2:12 pm

    @laurendumasnowschryver- can’t wait to see your results!

  12. Susan
    August 20, 2018 / 2:12 pm

    I am so glad to read this post and learn more. I really want to hear about how they feel to wear them, has it affected your speech, etc. Thank you!

  13. Jerica Parlier
    August 20, 2018 / 3:12 pm

    Excited for you! I hope you love the end result ❤️
    Insta: jericabp

  14. Leah
    August 20, 2018 / 4:10 pm

    Love that you’re doing this and talking about accoeladent. That was game changer for me! I’m always curious how other dentist instruct how to clean Invisalign! 🙂

  15. Taylor
    August 20, 2018 / 4:30 pm

    I’ve been thinking about doing this, excited to hear how it works out for you.
    @Taylormadison1

  16. Shawn St Romain
    August 20, 2018 / 7:14 pm

    Can’t wait to see the end results!
    Insta: shawn_stromain

  17. Katie
    August 20, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    I start my invisalign treatments on september 11th. A little nervous so this blog couldn’t have come at a better time! Thanks and good luck!
    Oh! I have heard that you can and should put a permanent retainer on you teeth afterwards. Apparently it is just a metal bar that prevents future shifting? Have you heard of this? What are your thoughts?
    🤞🏻I get the toothbrush! I have been wanting these for years!

  18. Katie
    August 20, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    I start my invisalign treatments on september 11! So this blog couldn’t have come at a better time. Have you heard of a permanent retainer? I’ve heard that these are a must in keeping your teeth from future shifting. What are your thoughts?

  19. Marley
    August 21, 2018 / 10:46 am

    I had braces as a teen, but I have noticed some shifting recently. I am excited to follow along, and see your results! @marleypearce11

  20. Abby
    August 21, 2018 / 10:54 am

    My electric toothbrush just broke on Friday after five years! They are the best.
    Instagram: abbylauerkelly

  21. August 21, 2018 / 11:01 am

    I had braces in grade school but my teeth have shifted so much since then! I’ve considered doing invisalign over the past few years. Hope you love your outcome!
    Insta handle: @yogabarreista

  22. Ashley Smith
    August 21, 2018 / 11:23 am

    ashley122225 Is my Instagram handle

    It is so awesome y’all are doing this giveaway!!!

  23. Anya
    August 21, 2018 / 11:58 am

    SO glad you’re sharing your Invisalign journey! My husband and I have both thought of trying it. Would you recommend, though, waiting until you think you might be done having kids? My first pregnancy didn’t effect much but I know every pregnancy is different!
    Insta: ammcconn24

  24. Maranda
    August 21, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    @madams423

  25. Sarah Vick
    August 21, 2018 / 12:09 pm

    I’ve always wanted an electric toothbrush but never have invested in one.. would love to win this! And to have an extra for my baby’s teeth that will be coming in soon would be great!
    @sarah.k.vick

  26. Brittany
    August 21, 2018 / 12:16 pm

    Great post, very informative and looking forward to seeing what you think.

  27. Kim
    August 21, 2018 / 1:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing this! I have also considered Invisalign, and as a fellow Charlestonian, now I know where I should go!

    IG @krjenkins34

  28. Paige Lemon
    August 21, 2018 / 1:40 pm

    This makes me really want to get Invisalign seeing how simple it was! I have crowding now even though I did braces too.
    Ig: Paigelemonwhite

  29. Nicole Ierardi
    August 21, 2018 / 1:47 pm

    Love love Dr Tatum. She is the best. Cant wait to see your results! Exciting!
    Insta: @nicoleierardi

  30. Katie Chou
    August 21, 2018 / 2:41 pm

    Thanks for sharing the process!! Can’t believe they have technology to replace those awful molds-thank goodness! IG: @chouse_rules

  31. Diane
    August 21, 2018 / 3:25 pm

    I am definitely interested in hearing more about your experience. Those toothbrushes would be awesome to win.
    @l_diane59

  32. Ashley Daniel
    August 21, 2018 / 3:47 pm

    ashleyvdaniel 🤞🏼 I’m a dental hygienist so I would LOVE to win this! I have been needing a new one but have been putting off buying one 😆 great giveaway!

  33. Ashley
    August 21, 2018 / 3:52 pm

    instagram: ashleyvdaniel

    I am a dental hygienist, so I would absolutely love to win this awesome toothbrush! I have been wanting to buy an electric toothbrush for a while, but just haven’t gotten around to doing it! Keeping my fingers crossed 🙂

    Ashley

  34. Ashley
    August 21, 2018 / 3:54 pm

    ok i think i have accidentally submitted two comments because i thought my first didn’t post but now im realizing they probably dont post immediately… ha oops! sorry!

  35. Madison Putnam
    August 21, 2018 / 4:24 pm

    Excited to see your results! – @madison.paige

  36. Shannon Pfisterer
    August 21, 2018 / 4:51 pm

    I want Invisalign so bad!
    Insta: s_pfisterer

  37. Kayla
    August 21, 2018 / 7:21 pm

    This is a great giveaway!!

  38. ashley perez
    August 21, 2018 / 7:46 pm

    My Instagram is @breelovesfashion8. I have been wanting a Sonicare!!! 🙂 So awesome!!

  39. Megan Champion
    August 21, 2018 / 8:52 pm

    I have always been so interested in Invisalign! After not wearing my retainer like I was supposed to after having braces for two years my teeth have shifted, especially on the bottom. Thank you for posting this and being so informative! I will definitely be looking into it at my dentist here in NC!

  40. Rachel
    August 21, 2018 / 11:49 pm

    I’ve been wanting to re-fix my teeth for several years and you’re making it look so easy. It may be the time for me to take the plunge again. @recalhoun

  41. Nicole Ierardi
    August 22, 2018 / 10:25 am

    Love love Dr Tatum! She is the best. I can’t wait to see your results with the invisalign!
    @nicoleierardi

  42. Ashley
    August 22, 2018 / 10:39 am

    Good luck! I did Invisalign a few years ago and am so happy I decided to do so. My Instagram handle is ashleynescio.

  43. Invisalign
    August 22, 2018 / 7:07 pm

    What a beautiful Invisalign smile! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us.

    Would you approve of us using your photo (with photo credit) on our official Instagram account and/or other social networks? If so, please reply with “Invisalign Smile”. Check out http://bit.ly/2rw3Buf if you have questions on how we use user generated content.

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