I am going to start this very first Invisalign post with telling you this: we got used to our lives with Invisalign in no time. I intend to share my journey every step of the way the same way I do with my CPA journey. However, unlike with CPA, I am doing this with Eric. Eric and I got our first Invisalign trays together but he is going to be done way before me (my case is borderline ineligible for Invisalign).
I have had friends being surprised when I told them I was getting Invisalign “this old” as they thought braces were for children. The reality can’t be further from that as you might still require braces even if you have gotten braces as a kid as teeth shift (especially if you didn’t wear your retainers). For us, the primary goal of getting Invisalign was to ensure our teeth will be taken care of as best as we could to minimize dental problems down the road. One of my teeth was getting increasingly tilted and it was crowding the rest of my teeth. There was also an issue with my bite so I have been wanting to get these issues fixed for years. Eric had the same bite issue and crowding of teeth (but no tilted tooth so no extraction was required).
How Much Does Invisalign Cost in Vancouver, BC?
Both Eric and I have been wanting Invisalign for years but we have been holding back due to the high costs. Our online research told us to expect somewhere between $5k to $8k CAD per person. Since then, we have gotten the actual estimate from our dental office. The whole treatment, including the permanent retainer at the end of the treatment, will be $6,246 CAD per person. Note, we are both on the Comprehensive Invisalign Plan (formally Invisalign Full). My understanding is that for very minor cases, there is a cheaper plan called Invisalign Lite. However, you will not know which plan is best for you until you have a free consultation with your dentist or orthodontist (not sure if it will be free with them as well). For us, we went with our dentist as we have been going to his office for years and have complete faith in their treatments.
We have done a free consultation with the same dentist a couple of years ago but we did not proceed with the treatment then. We finally pulled the trigger when I started my new job last year and my benefits plan covered orthodontics for adults! The most common benefits plan through work would cover orthodontics for children only so I was really happy when I saw that adults were covered under my new plan. The maximum amount was $3,000 per person so that means close to half of the Invisalign treatment would be covered. That effectively brought our costs down to just over $3,000 per person. On top of that, we can claim our out-of-pocket portion as a medical expense on our tax returns which will save us some taxes.
Also, your dental office can also come up with a payment plan. For us, we were required to pay just over $800 per person at our third Invisalign-related appointment (read the next section for the series of appointments). We chose to pay more than that but that was a personal choice and not required. They then broke down the remaining cost excluding the retainer cost (~$600 CAD) into monthly payment on your credit card.
What Is The Process of Getting Invisalign?
Appointment 1 – Free Consultation
We first made an appointment for a free consultation with our regular dentist. Note, not all dentists are certified to do braces (regular metal braces or Invisalign) so some would refer you to an orthodontist. If in doubt, check with your dental office. For convenience, Eric and I actually considered getting it done close to home (our regular dentist is one hour away from us) but we decided to be safe and go with our regular dentist instead. For some reason, I thought we would have to go see the dentist every month but we actually only need to go back every 12 weeks.
Our dentist took a close look at our teeth (in-person and via x-rays) and confirmed that we were both eligible for Invisalign. However, I was warned that I will have to follow the rules and process closely as my case is more severe. I had to get a tilted tooth extracted before I can start Invisalign. Eric did not but he started at the same time as me anyway.
The appointment was pain-free and took about 30 minutes per person.
Appointment 1.5 – Tooth Extraction
This appointment was just like any other tooth extraction appointment. I did not go under so it was local freezing for me only. I got dry socket (when your extraction site lost the blood clot too early so the bone was exposed) when I got my wisdom teeth extracted and was beyond worried about it happening again. Luckily, I was fine this time. I ate soft food for about a week before I was back to normal again.
The appointment was pain-free until after the freezing wore off. I took the painkillers my dentist prescribed but they were way too strong for me so I had to stop.
Appointment 2 – Teeth Scanning
Once we have decided to proceed with Invisalign, we made an appointment for teeth scanning. Since I had to get my tooth extracted before that, we waited a month after the extraction before returning for the scan. I am not sure if the one-month wait was required but because of the one-hour drive, we almost tried to book our appointment on a Saturday (the busiest day at the dental office so it was harder to book).
This appointment was painless. All the dental hygienist did was to take several photos and use a scanner to go over every single one of your tooth. The appointment took about an hour per person.
Appointment 3 – Getting Attachments & Trays
We went in again a month after we got our teeth scanned. This time, we got these tooth-coloured plastic things bonded to our teeth. Eric and I both got about 20 in total. They get glued onto your teeth to basically help keep the Invisalign tray in place once you snap them on. At the end of the appointment, they helped us put on our first Invisalign tray (hooray!!!!). We felt no pain or pressure at first but were told the pressure will build up and we might feel pain later that night or the next day. It turned out they were right – I got a very slight headache that same night and slight soreness the next day.
This appointment was once again painless. It took about an hour in total as they also went over the instructions with you.
What Was My Experience Like For The First Two Weeks?
It Has Not Been As Painful As I Expected
I got 2 minor headaches during the first 2 weeks. The first one was the first night after my appointment 3. The second one happened sometime after I put tray #2 on. I hardly felt any sharp pain or pressure during the first two trays so the discomfort all came from the constant manageable pressures being applied to your teeth. We both felt extra sore teeth on some days so we would avoid eating really chewy (gummy candy) or hard food.
Overall, it has not been as painful or unmanageable as I feared.
You Get Used to Brushing & Flossing Your Teeth Three Times A Day Rather Quickly
The rules are you wear your aligners for at least 22 hours a day and brush and floss every time you eat or drink anything (except for water). I have been pretty good about brushing right after every time I ate at home but I flossed only once or twice a day. We also work from home so that made it easier to basically brush on demand. We had eaten out several times now and we usually made sure the washrooms were decent. However, we had not brushed our teeth outside yet. We would put our aligners back on after rinsing our teeth vigorously with water and brush our teeth as soon as we got home. That also meant that we had to plan our day so we would go home after a meal. It has not been an issue so far.
I Had Not Lost Weight As I Previously Feared
One worry I had was that I might lose weight. I monitor my weight regularly (usually minor fluctuations) and think I am at my preferred weight. I was used to eating small portions many times throughout the day so I was worried that the Invisalign life would hinder my diet. Luckily, I have been able to manage to eat bigger portion each meal instead.
You Can Drink Black Coffee If You Don’t Mind The Stain
I used to drink the same cup of coffee for hours. Back when I was in the office, I would finish my morning commute coffee long after lunch. When I started working from home, I was a bit quicker but still took the entire morning to finish my coffee. I struggled with finishing my cup of joe in a rush when I first started my Invisalign. Ideally, I would only drink non-water with my aligners off to avoid staining and cavity (from the sugar in the beverage). However, I have since come to the compromise of switching to black coffee (no sugar) with my aligners on and brushing my teeth after I am done. I have noticed a lot more staining on my aligners than Eric’s but I decided my happiness should still come first.