Sorry for the lateness of my reply, I've just undergone exam season at Uni.
Thanks Libbylou! I'm sorry you had to pay for your daughter too, it's silly that they would treat a child for the same expense as an adult. The NHS cuts are definitely making things more expensive for a lot of people, and it's unfortunate as obviously living with crooked teeth is something that affects self esteem as well as health. I hope things go well in your own choices and your daughter's treatment, and it's great to hear that your dentist has begun expanding the options available to you.
Hello Jem, thankyou for your comment.
I noticed that there wasn't much about the aligners before starting this. I did the opposite; asked about fixed braces and was told that the aligners would work better for my specific problems. The aligners work only on your front 4-6 teeth, depending upon your problem area. This often means that severe issues in rotation or back teeth are not affected by the aligner.
The appliances felt bulky for the first 2 weeks. They push your lips outward somewhat, but this is much more visible to the wearer than other people. I often have stretches where I forget that they're even in now, although sometimes I will feel twinges of pressure or a little scratch on my cheek which is uncomfortable but not painful.
My speech was affected quite badly at first, although I was legible and people could fully understand what I was saying. I had a phone conversation with them in immediately after getting them and I was understood. I had a very heavy lisp which has gotten better over time, and people say that they've noticed my speech improving. I have a slight whistle when I speak now which is due to my bottom teeth uncrossing; I'm not used to having a gap there.
If you work a lot with phones then they may be somewhat of a hindrance, although they can be taken out quickly and conveniently enough. My speech is normal when I only have the bottom aligner in.
They're more discreet than typical braces and hard to spot on a photograph from an average distance away. My family and friends have often reprimanded me for 'not wearing my braces' when I actually have them in. It's important to clean them well though because things can get in to the plastic bar (I wear a lot of bright lipstick).
I hope this answers your questions. Please feel free to ask whatever you want.