Today we’re featuring an interview with Brandy Morales, a University of Texas student who’s currently undergoing Invisalign treatment. She’s on her 28th tray now and will be done in just a few short weeks. She’s agreed to share her experiences to help others who are considering undergoing orthodontic treatment.
First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what treatment you’re going through?
My name is Brandy Morales. I am 21 years old and I live in Austin, TX. I am currently attending the University of Texas at Austin to earn my bachelor’s degree and I use Invisalign. I had very crowded teeth so they were very crooked, especially the front six. Getting my teeth straightened was never a major priority when I was younger, so when I moved out on my own, I decided to take it into my own hands.
I ended up getting Invisalign, which is a series of clear plastic trays. These trays fit right over your teeth and you normally wear each tray for 2 weeks before moving onto the next one. You wear the trays at all times except for when you eat or drink anything but water and when you brush your teeth. Each tray moves your teeth into a straighter position little by little, so the change isn’t noticeable from one tray to the next, but the overall change can be tremendous.
When I was deciding on my options, I actually did narrow it down to Invisalign, Damon Braces, and Lingual Braces because they were obviously the least visible options out there. I was almost 20 when I was doing my research and 5 years ago I would have been fine with wearing traditional braces, but I didn’t want to have that look going into my 20s, which is why I wanted something less noticeable. In the end, I decided on Invisalign because not only did I feel like it was the least bulky of the 3, but it’s also less of a hassle.
Brushing and flossing don’t become difficult because the trays are removed for these actions. I could also go on eating everything that I normally did. It just seemed like Invisalign impacted my daily life the least, so that was pretty much made me choose it. I did question whether I would be a candidate because of the complexity of my case so I tried to find examples online that may have been similar to mine. I didn’t really find anything, so I figured I would just go in for a consultation because only the orthodontist would be able to tell me if I was in fact a good candidate.
How did you decide on your orthodontist? Did you visit many before you decided on this one?
In total, I visited 3 different orthodontists. They all had different levels of experience: one was a Super Elite Preferred Invisalign provider, another was a Premier Preferred provider, and the last was a Preferred provider. I wanted to hear what each had to say about my case and of course get different prices.
I ended up choosing the Super Elite provider because he gave me the best experience of the 3 and made me feel comfortable. He was the only one who actually sat down with me and explained everything to my face and even showed me cases that he had done that were similar to mine. He took X-rays at no charge and he also quoted me the shortest time of treatment. He was the most expensive, but in my opinion, it was worth every penny. The others barely said a word to me and really only spoke to their assistants, which made me feel like I was just wasting their time.
How much did you end up spending on everything?
My final price was $5,750, which was only about $300 more than what the other orthodontists were charging. This price includes everything other than replacing a broken tray, which would be $100 per tray should I need a replacement.
Any tips or tricks you used to make them more affordable?
My orthodontist offered a payment plan in which I gave a down payment of $1,450 (they offered to break this down into 3 monthly payments, but I didn’t need to) and monthly payments thereafter of $215 for 20 months. I’ll actually finish my treatment before I even finish paying, which shows how much this orthodontist is willing to work with his patients to make straight teeth affordable.
Ok, think back to getting that first tray – what advice would you have for someone considering Invisalign?
When getting Invisalign, you should really know how consistent and responsible you have to be. The trays have to be worn for 20 to 22 hours a day so you can’t constantly forget to put them on. You also have to be able to brush your teeth after every meal before you put the trays back on or else you’ll get cavities. It’s a good idea to take a travel size toothbrush and toothpaste with you or at least some mouthwash when you go out. Also, be sure to put on a new tray as you are going to bed so that it won’t hurt as bad during the day, and yes, you will experience some pain.
How did people react when they found out you got Invisalign?
Most people actually don’t even know that I have Invisalign because they can’t tell when I talk to them. When I do tell someone that I am using Invisalign, they seem surprised that they never noticed the trays before and I tend to get a lot of questions because they were considering getting it for themselves. Everyone has been really happy for me when they found out and it’s never been a major issue. I’ve never been embarrassed and I am so glad that I chose Invisalign.
Editor’s note: A very common concern for people is that others will notice their braces. Brandy’s experience is fairly typical so don’t let self-consciousness stop you from getting braces!
How has your life changed since you’ve gotten Invisalign?
I recently went to Sea World with my family and it was amazing to be able to really smile for pictures because I’ve always been too embarrassed by my crooked teeth to smile. I always covered my mouth when I laughed and now I can laugh all I want without having to worry about what other people are thinking.
In fact, I’ve had people say “You’re a pretty girl, you just need to get those teeth fixed” and it wasn’t a good feeling to have that pointed out when I was already so self-conscious of them. Getting Invisalign certainly didn’t save my life, but it has definitely made the small things so much more enjoyable and I couldn’t be any more pleased.
Did you have any complications?
I got lucky with my treatment. I know that some people have complications with Invisalign that cause them to have to wear traditional braces, but I haven’t had anything like that happen. I have just 2 trays left before I complete my treatment (I had 30 trays in total). My teeth aren’t perfect yet. There are still a few adjustments that need to be made, but those will be made by my refinement trays. Some people don’t want refinement trays, but I figure, if you paid for them, you might as well use them.
Any final words of wisdom for someone just beginning this journey?
Well it is indeed a journey. The changes aren’t going to be immediately visible, and it can get frustrating because you want instant results, but stick with it. The time and effort you put into this will all be worth it when you have a beautiful smile to show off.
Thank you again to Brandy for sharing her story with us.
Be sure to visit her blog at brandysinvisalign.blogspot.com where she’s posted a progression of her teeth from the start to the end. This is definitely one of the more complicated Invisalign cases that we have seen and as you can see from her smiles, the results have been great!
Her orthodontist is Dr. Randy Kunik in Austin, TX. His website can be found at http://drkunik.com.