This post is designed to share my personal experience of traveling with invisalign. It should not replace professional advice, it is simply my own experience.
As a remote worker, I'm never in one place for long. My home is where is set my pack down for a couple of months before I move on.
I'd started to consider invisalign while in Thailand a few years back, but psyched myself out thinking it couldn't possibly work with my lifestyle. After all, how would I attend appointments? check-ups? collect new sets of trays?
What is invisalign?
Invisalign is a teeth straightening treatment using a series of clear aligners which are changed weekly or bi-weekly depending on your orthodontists recommendations. Each tray is worn between 20-22 hours a day and shifts your teeth little-by-little until treatment is completed.
My invisalign journey
I'd never had braces as a kid, I thought I didn't really need them. But into my adult life I started to experience overcrowding and it began to bother me.
In November 2019, I took the plunge. I found an orthodontist in Bangkok (I was based in southern Thailand at this point) who was open to me traveling with invisalign. So I did it.
I carried 36 trays across 4 countries in 6 months - that's more the $3000 worth of invisalign in my pack! I wore each tray 22 hours, only removing to eat, I changed trays every week and completed invisalign in May, 2020.
Is it recommended to travel with invisalign?
In an ideal world, I'm sure doctors would prefer people to avoid excessive travel with invisalign.
Luckily, I didn't lose any trays. However, I lost my invisalign case within a day. If you lose yours, you can get an affordable replacement here.
However, based on my experience, if you can find an orthodontist who is willing to adjust treatment to travel plans, then go for it.
Getting invisalign in Thailand
I was a little hesitant at first about getting invisalign in Thailand. However, everyone at Dentajoy was very professional and helpful. In fact, I felt they were more willing to work with my travel schedule than an Australian dentistry would have been. I was also given their Whatapp number, which they personally responded extremely quickly to each little question I had. All round, I had no issues getting invisalign in Thailand.
The biggest problems of traveling with invisalign
Invisalign is a pain, whether traveling or not. But traveling with invisalign can be frustrating at times.
1. Eating out
I spend a lot of time in Southeast Asia, where eating out is the norm. This constant eating out on roadside stalls and busy night-markets doesn't work well with invisalign.
2. Being outdoors
Unlike back home, my lifestyle abroad involves more time outside, which makes brushing teeth and keeping up with dental hygiene even more difficult.
3. Carrying a small fortune in trays
Normally patients are given a few weeks worth of trays, get a check-up and receive their next bundle. I was given two boxes containing 36 trays. At first this took up a lot of space in my backpack, and I had to be very careful of damaging the trays. Also, losing my pack would have cost me thousands, so I was incredibly conscious of my pack at all times.
4. Goddamn tumeric
I love Indian and Sri Lankan food. During my invisalign treatment, I was based in a small town in Sri Lanka for two months. Almost all the local food there is cooked with tumeric, and turmeric stains. Even with keeping up strict brushing and teeth cleaning, the trays would turn yellow quickly. To counter this, I would travel with these invisalign cleaners.
5. Travel photos
If you're traveling, the chances are there's going to be photos involved. And while invisalign is pretty inconspicuous, it's not completely.
6. Store trays in filtered water
Tap water in third-world countries can discolor trays. When not wearing them, leave them in filtered water not local tap water as this will discolor them.
7. Hard to replace lost items
I lost my invisalign case my first week of starting treatment. As I was overseas and on the go, it was difficult to get a replacement case, unlike at home where you can simply order a replacement invisalign retainer case.
Would I recommend traveling with invisalign?
Every situation is different, but for me traveling with invisalign was mostly fine. As long as you can wear invisalign trays for the recommended time per day, keep up with dental hygiene and keep your stash of trays safe, then there shouldn't be any issues.
No one likes to think about it, but traveling the world comes at a risk. By covering yourself with the right travel insurance, you can enjoy the world without worries.
I recommend World Nomads as my favorite travel insurance provider.