Invisalign progress update and Q & A

Invisalign Progress Update | Tatum Dentistry

It has been a while since I first posted about getting Invisalign, so it’s definitely time for an update! Cutting to the chase, I have been blown away by the results so far. I honestly didn’t realize how bad my teeth were. I thought I just had one tooth that was starting to hide behind another tooth, as well as an open bite. But now after not quite three months with Invisalign, I’ve seen my bite shift and I’ve noticed a change in literally every single tooth’s alignment. I had no idea so many teeth were out of place, but my entire mouth has changed!

Not only does my smile itself look completely different, but my profile has changed since my bite is no longer as open. I’m incredibly excited to see how my results continue to progress.

I see Dr. Tatum at Tatum Dentistry about once a month or so, which gives her a chance to check my progress, complete any additional inter-proximal reduction if needed, and then send me home with a new set of aligners.

I switch to a new aligner once a week, which is about half the time that Invisalign recommended for me to leave each aligner in. But, wait a second—how am I switching to new aligners so quickly?

To help speed along the rate at which my teeth move, I use my Acceledent device every single night. It’s an extra cost when you get Invisalign, but I swear by this! It has a timer for 20 minutes, then shuts off. This device has been proven to help your teeth move quicker. It also helps tremendously with any tenderness you may have when you switch to a new aligner. I talked about it more here.

I went to see Dr. Tatum a couple weeks ago and we did another scan using the iTero machine, which shows a 3D image of my teeth. This is a totally painless scan—it’s just a little camera taking constant pictures.

Here’s what it showed!

The rendering on the left is my before. The image on the right is where my teeth are today. Can you believe this can happen in under three months?!

This technology is so cool. It even has an option that will show which teeth are moving just as scheduled and which teeth are a little behind. The green teeth in the image below are the ones that are moving on track. This tool is great for Dr. Tatum to see because with Invisalign, you can do as many revisions as you need at no extra cost. A revision is when brand new aligners are made based on the current state of your teeth.

Because of this technology, we were able to see that I needed further inter-proximal reduction in between my bottom teeth to allow more room for those teeth in yellow to move. (See how important these dentist visits are? This is why I believe those “mail in teeth aligner” companies aren’t the smartest move.)

I am going to do a few more sets of aligners and then in a few weeks, we will scan again and see if we need to have a revision done in order to get those teeth back on track! Again, revisions are just new aligners that Invisalign creates for you (at no additional cost) based on the current status of your teeth. Because, just like with anything… your teeth aren’t always going to move perfectly according to plan. Sometimes you’ve got to revise a few things. Dr. Tatum said this is totally normal and most everybody needs at least one revision!


I asked you guys if you had any questions for me or Dr. Tatum about Invisalign. Turns out you did! Y’all had some great questions!

Is Invisalign covered by most dental insurance plans?

Invisalign is covered by some dental insurance plans. You’ll want to check with your provider to find out if you have coverage. If you’re under 26, you may be more likely to have coverage than an adult, but that’s not always the case!

How long does it usually take to straighten out teeth?

It usually takes between 9 and 16 months to straighten the teeth. Once they are straight, you’ll be asked to wear your retainers for 3-6 months so that the teeth can remain in that position. Then, you’ll switch to wearing them only at night….for as long as you want your teeth to stay put!

Do you have to go to an orthodontist to get it?

No, you don’t! Many dentists are trained in Invisalign as well. My dentist, Dr. Tatum, is a general practitioner dentist and is a gold provider of Invisalign. (AKA: She’s a rockstar at it!)

Invisalign vs Smile Direct Club/Mail-In Aligners?

If you’re interested in using clear aligners, Dr. Tatum definitely recommends that you do it under a dentist’s supervision because some serious things can happen if not monitored closely. Teeth can become loose and actually move out of the bone if they are moved too far and you can also get gum recession, which has to be treated by a Periodontist.

How do you keep the teeth straight long term after you’re finished with the treatment?

After the teeth have completed their movement and have stabilized, you’ll switch to Invisalign Retainers for 3-6 months. Dr. Tatum recommends to her patients to wear their retainers at night for the rest of their life to maintain the results.

How much does Invisalign cost?

The cost of Invisalign will run between $2,000 and $6,000 depending on how many teeth you need to move and the length of treatment. If you only have a few teeth that need shifting, you can expect the price to be around $2,000. (This is information from Tatum Dentistry. It may vary in your area!)

Does it hurt?

The first few weeks were uncomfortable! It wasn’t terrible, just an annoying aching pain. But my Acceledent helped a lot with that. After the first three aligners, there wasn’t any pain at all. There may be a little slight tenderness after switching to a new aligner, but it always goes away after a day for me. I also switch my aligners each week before bed so that the first eight hours in the new aligner are spent sleeping and not while I’m awake thinking about how tender my mouth feels!

Disclaimer: I was seeking Invisalign and Dr. Tatum offered to provide treatment if I shared my experience. Absolutely all opinions are my own, although the photos and results speak for themselves. She is our dentist for general dentistry… she’s amazing! If you’re in the Charleston area, I highly recommend Tatum Dentistry. It’s located downtown on the crosstown—with a parking lot! 

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