I recently finished straightening my teeth with Invisalign. I absolutely love the results and during the treatment, I was raving about it to all my friends. Before I started, it took me a long time to take the plunge. I spent months going back and forth and doing endless online research, so I thought I’d do my own write-up of my experience for anyone else who’s considering getting Invisalign in Bangkok.
I’ve always wanted braces. I remember the specific family trip to the dentist when my dentist told me I couldn’t have them. It was shortly after most of the dentists in our area were privatised, having lost NHS coverage. This meant if I was going to get braces, my parents would have the shell out for them. To my mother’s relief, they didn’t need to because the dentist said I didn’t need them. I begged to differ. I hated my teeth and my life-long insecurity about them means that there are almost no photos of my showing them when smiling. As an adult, having still not shaken my hang ups about them, I once again considered braces, and that’s when I came across Invisalign.
Medical tourism is a big thing in Bangkok. Lots of tourists come over here just to get dental work done because of the low prices and high quality of service. There are private clinics everywhere you go, and the high competition keeps the prices much more reasonable than they are back home. I wasn’t aware of this until I went to get a chipped tooth fixed, and was shocked to be billed only 500 baht for it. A few years later, I had two wisdom teeth removed, which cost me just 2,000 baht. I figured that orthodontic treatment might also be cheaper here, so thought I might as well get Invisalign in Bangkok.
How Much Invisalign Costs in Thailand
While it’s true that I would spend less in Thailand than I would at home, Invisalign is an expensive process wherever you go. I had consultations with a few different dentists and was quoted from 150,000 – 180,000 baht. Most of those clinics wanted the full payment up front before even beginning treatment, too. That dampened my plans a little bit, but eventually, I found Denta-Joy, who quoted me 130,000 baht and offered me a manageable payment plan to make it less eye-watering. They were much more helpful there than in the other places I visited, and they have a reputation for being one of the best Invisalign providers in Thailand, so I was sold.
Here are all the different steps I had to go through during my treatment.
The first step towards getting my Invisalign was having a scan. It used to be done by using horrible putty to take impressions, but technology has moved on from that. Now, a weird scanner machine is put in your mouth to map out your teeth, and as it’s being moved around, you can see a 3D image of your teeth being generated on the screen. It was all very cool, although it did feel like I had a big dildo being pushed around in my mouth! After that, I had to get an X-ray and some pictures taken, then wait three weeks for a treatment plan to be made.
When I was called back for my next appointment, they showed me my ‘ClinCheck’. It’s a 3D model of my teeth, showing how they would change throughout the treatment. Being able to see the results I could expect and how my teeth would move with each aligner made me even more excited to get started. They also emailed it to me, so I can open it any time and take a look at it or play around with different views.
At the end of that appointment, I gave them my next payment and the all-clear to start making the aligners. Then, I only had to wait a few weeks to start wearing my first one. My first consultation was in November, and I started wearing my first aligner just after the start of the new year.
When my aligners arrived, I was given the first four sets to wear. I wore each one for two weeks, then went back to see the dentist for a checkup and to pick up my new ones. It was all very easy. They also gave me some cleaning tablets and two cases. The idea is that you keep one for your current set of aligners, and store your previous set in the other one in case you ever lose the other one and need to wear it. I never did that, though. I never lost any aligners. If you do, you have to pay a hefty fee to get them replaced.
If you’re constantly travelling or don’t actually live in Bangkok, Invisalign is ideal. You only have to see the dentist every few months, and you can pick up as many aligners as you need each time. I went back every three or four months, but you don’t need to go that regularly if your schedule doesn’t allow for it. The dentist can create an individual plan for you.
After my first six weeks, I had to get some attachments. This meant getting what they call ‘buttons’ bonded to some of my teeth, which are made from a tooth-coloured material similar to what they used for fillings. They help the aligners grip to your teeth and move them more effectively. They are more obvious, so after I had these, people started noticing my teeth and asking about them. By then, all my insecurity about them had been replaced by excitement, so I didn’t mind. After that, my new aligners had grooves in them to for the buttons to slot into.
Halfway through my treatment plan, I had to start wearing a rubber band, too. This was due to a crossbite on my left side, which meant my molars didn’t line up. They attached two tiny hooks in the back of my mouth for me to slip the elastic onto and told me to give it a try. I thought I was going to be in the dentist’s chair all day trying to get it on, but I managed it after a few tries, and after a couple of weeks, I had perfected the technique. At first, I wasn’t particularly happy about this aspect of my treatment, as I figured that having a bunch of attachments in my mouth defeated the point of paying for invisible braces. But the band was right at the back of my mouth, so it wasn’t obvious at all. I got used to this pretty quickly.
Below is a photo of what my Invisalign looked like while I was wearing it. You can tell there’s something there, but it’s not obvious.
As with normal braces, you have to wear a retainer afterward to make sure your teeth stay in place. I was expecting to have a standard retainer with a wire across the front, but it’s actually just a thicker version of an Invisalign tray. This is great because it’s not noticeable at all.
For the first 6 months, I have to wear it for 16 hours a day. After that, I’ll have a checkup to make sure everything is normal. Then, I can cut down to 8 hours a day. After a year, I’ll only need to wear it three nights a week.
What Does Invisalign Feel Like?
I read lots of online reviews that said the aligners feel awkward, make your mouth sore, and give you a lisp. I was quite concerned that they would be really obvious, especially as I had to do so much talking for my job as an English teacher. Luckily, I didn’t have any of those problems. The first aligner was painful for a few days, and there was always initial tightness every time I wore a new one, but that was it. They were barely noticeable, too. In fact, some of my students didn’t realise I was wearing them until six months after I’d started!
Wearing Invisalign means that you have to brush your teeth and floss after every single time you eat. While this stopped me from snacking for a brief period of time at the start, that didn’t last long. Some people see it as a huge inconvenience, but I found it completely fine. It did mean that I couldn’t grab quick bites between classes at work, but I got used to that. My friends and co-workers also became used to me taking my aligners out in front of them or running off to brush my teeth after meals.
Keeping the aligners clean is really easy. I just brushed them every time I took them out and soaked them in water with denture cleaning tablets at regular intervals. At one appointment, the dentist made a comment about how clean my aligners were, which made me a little worried about what some people’s might look like!
Invisalign and Muay Thai
My Invisalign caused no problems for my Muay Thai training whatsoever. It didn’t interfere with my breathing at all and never cut up my mouth when I got hit. The only difference it made was with my mouth guard. I previously had one professionally made-to-measure by a dentist, and of course, that stopped fitting pretty quickly. When I could no longer wear that one, I bought a Shock Doctor boil and bite mouth guard instead.
After 15 months and 30 sets of aligners, I finished my treatment in March 2018. It went by really fast!
I’m really happy with the results and have no complaints about the treatment at all. While it was definitely pricey, I think it’s some of the best money I’ve ever spent. Having always been really insecure, it’s given me a new boost of confidence. I was always awkward in photos, refusing to show my teeth. Now, I’m happy to flash a smile whenever there’s a camera around. Here’s what my teeth look like after Invisalign.