As a dentist, one of my duties is to keep up on the latest technology and techniques. I have been using Invisalign on patients for several years now, as it’s a great alternative to traditional braces, and I have recently finished using Invisalign on myself. Whenever practical and applicable, I think dentists should use the same products on themselves as their patients.

When I was a teenager, I wore braces for a couple of years.  When I finished I didn’t understand the importance of wearing a retainer and I honestly hardly used it at all until it was too late. I had my wisdom teeth extracted soon after braces and I had all of my permanent teeth, so I thought my bite would then be permanent. I was wrong. Teeth continue to shift and move throughout life with most people and I was no exception.

In my twenties, I started to work as a dental assistant and as I helped with teeth cleanings I noticed a common occurrence. Lower crowded teeth usually had more build up and were harder to maintain both with home care and in routine dental hygiene visits. I wanted to keep and maintain my teeth for life, so I thought I’d better address my then re-crowded crooked teeth. I went to an orthodontist that was the son of the orthodontist I had as a teen and asked what he could do.  We decided to correct the crowding with ceramic brackets and a traditional braces system. It worked effectively but it was even less comfortable than I remembered as a teen.  Food always got stuck in the brackets and flossing was a real pain, but my teeth straightened out and that made it worth it to me. I then went to dental school for 4 years and wore my retainer faithfully.

In dental school I learned about invisalign and received the necessary training to become a provider of the product and system. I started my first case out of school on our receptionist here in Boise. It was a huge success and she loves her new straight smile.  I then continued to treat crooked teeth and malocclusion on many many patients.

However, I noticed my own teeth continued to shift a bit, especially as I clenched my teeth at night. To correct this movement of my teeth, I decided to use Invisalign on myself. Because I had relatively little movement, my treatment was brief, about three months, while the average is about a year.

The results have been as good for me as they have been for all my other patients. I can honestly say I like Invisalign much more than traditional braces. At night, I continue to wear the Invisalign trays to keep my teeth straight and to prevent clenching and wear.

As someone who has gone through Invisalign himself, I can honestly say I like them much more than braces. Traditional braces are difficult to keep clean and flossing is particularly challenging.  Braces are a lot more noticeable and I remember how they really bothered my cheeks and lips. Invisalign is has its limits of course and while braces are still necessary in many cases, I think anyone is going to be better served whenever Invisalign is appropriate.