For as far back as I can recall, I've had "issues"...
For as far back as I can recall, I've had "issues" with my teeth. I can vividly remember practicing my smile in the mirror the night before school pictures. Hoping that somehow I could create an illusion of a smile that I could live with. Thinking that if I parted my lips just enough and showed a perfect sliver of enamel, that I could manage to look natural and not rehearsed as it was. Growing up in a lower middle class family with two other siblings, closing the spaces in my teeth wasn't exactly a priority to my hard working, penny saving, beauty is on the inside, preaching parents. The fact that "the gap" is an hereditary trait on my father's side of the family, probably put fixing it in even farther down on the list of must do 's. To be honest, I can only remember being teased or spoken to negatively about my teeth a handful of times as a child. The crazy thing though, is that I remember those few incidents like they happened yesterday. Kids tease each other all the time, but when someone is teased for something that they are already self cautious about....ouch. It made me feel like my insecurities were valid. I'm not trying to paint the picture of a depressed or withdrawn child. In fact it was just the opposite. I was a cheerleader, I sang in talent shows (even though I couldn't hold a tune in a cup). My teeth never held me back from doing anything I wanted to do. I just smiled less and was probably misunderstood as a result. Fast forward to 2002. I was 21 years old, in college, and also starting my career as a professional cosmetologist. A client came into the salon that had recently closed the spaces in her teeth with composite bonding. As she talked about the procedure, it's price and simplicity, I became more interested in this easy fix. The next week I had a consultation and one week after that...a new smile. The bonding did close "the gap" but my new teeth didn't look natural. They were big and somewhat bulky. The color wasn't a perfect match, and I always had a fear that I would break one. Now I'm 33 and while the bonding has held up a lot longer than I expected, I know that it's time. Time to finally fix my teeth the right way. I've worked really hard, and have dedicated my life to serving others. I deserve this, and the $1000 off coupon that I found is a sign from the heavens, right? The only thing is, the coupon is only good if you have your consultation and commit the same day. On May 1, 2013 I went in for my consult where I was told that I was in fact great candidate for invisalign. I would however have to have the bonding removed and some scaling done before my impressions could be made. BIG LET DOWN! I'd read where invisalign could be done with the bonding in place. The process is a little more complicated because the bonding is progressively removed and trays might have to be altered throughout the treatment, resulting in more cost $$$. My dentist wasn't willing to do the treatment this way. So on the 6th of May, I was to go back to the dentist office for bonding removal, scaling, and records. The entire appointment took over 4 hours! They started with the cleaning, followed by the bonding removal, then the impressions, x rays, and pictures. The putty they used to make the impressions wasn't so bad at all. I'd read that some people wanted to gag while having impressions made. I didn't have such an urge, thank God because I had to attempt the impressions about 6 times before we had a viable sample. It turns out that I have all four of my wisdom teeth and a huge mouth. The trays didn't go back far enough for the putty to cast over my wisdom teeth. The kind female dental assistant was very apologetic and determined to get it right. I didn't mind as the gas I was given during the cleaning was still working. She also brought me a blanket and made me a pea nut butter and jelly sandwich before we started, so I was very comfortable. Once everything was done the dentist handed me the mirror and I saw theses teeth that a I hadn't seen in 12 years. I wanted to cry:(!!! How was I going to explain to my employees, clients, and boyfriend what happened to my teeth. They knew about the invisalign, but they didn't know about the bonding. I was not mentally prepared to face them all. On top if that, my dentist doesn't seem to know the answer to any of my pressing questions. How long before my trays come in? How long will my treatment take? He didn't know the answer to either of those questions but he did know the price! $5,200-$1000= $4,200.
Thank you God
As I was checking out at the dentist office on May 6th, I was able to get a time frame for the arrival of my alligners. The receptionist said I should expect them in 3-5 weeks. Wow, 3-5 weeks of "the gap"!!! How am I going to deal with this? Going to work on Tuesday was like pulling teeth, lol. Anxious was not the word to describe how I was feeling. In case you couldn't tell from my first entry on this site, I'm a talker. In fact I probably talk too much. This Tuesday was different though. I found myself not wanting to talk, smile or laugh. The funny part is, most people opt for invisalign because they want to be inconspicuous. I have told any and everyone that will listen about my invisalign. Party because I'm bursting with excitement and partly because I find myself wanting to explain "the gap" before anyone asks. Ironically, most people say they didn't even notice. How could they not? I notice everyone's teeth! Especially now! So I went on about my work as normal as possible. Still feeling sorry for myself and hanging my head low. I decided to go to my local Merele Norman store to get some new makeup. While I was there I had a major breakthrough. An elderly woman came into the store, asking for a particular sales rep. She went on to explain that she needed help styling her wig. Her unit was blonde and kind of ratty looking. It hung right below her chin but I'm not confident it was on correctly. Anyways, she said she was looking for the sales rep because she was so kind as to help her style her wig "last time". She said the wig had been in a box for two years and she didn't think she'd ever need it again. She put her hand up to the wig, and in one swift yank, it was off. There she stood, right in the middle of the store, bald, proud, and strong. I immediately took notice and darted over to help her with her wig. I learned that this was her second bout with cancer. Your talking about feeling small and insignificant. Here she was fighting for her life, yet she was still smiling. And there I was, doing something elective and feeling like it was the end if the world. The Lord has a funny way of doing things, and let's just say he whipped me into shape that day. Thank-you God.
Clin check is in, yay!!!
3.5 weeks after my records were taken, my clin check has finally arrived! I'm so excited that I'm not even upset about the fact that I had to call my dentist office to hear this encouraging news. Clin check is some amazing technology!! It turns out that I'll only have to wear my alligners for 8.5 months. I have 17 trays for both upper and lower. The spaces in my bottom teeth should actually be closed by tray 9. The additional 8 trays on bottom will be correcting my bite. I'll have too many attachments or buttons to count. I don't recall how many exactly, but I do know they will be on my front teeth as well. According to my dentist, my trays should be in in a week or so. We shall see. I did look him square in the eyes and asked him to promise to call me as soon as they arrive. He did agree, but I had to call him twice about my clin check before he realized it was ready for viewing. I have to admit, at this point I don't have much confidence in his ability to be compassionate with his patients. The jury is still out....but I sure am excited!
I'm wearing my first aligners!!!
On June 10th I went to the dentist for a follow up visit after my scaling. I'd previously asked my dentist to call me as soon as my aligners arrived as I was anxious to start my treatment. While sitting in the waiting area, I asked the receptionist if my aligners were there. It had been over a week since I approved my clin check and the alligners were ordered. To my surprise they were in!!! I was so excited I could barely contain myself. So after my check up and quick cleaning, the dentist came in and applied the dreadful buttons. I have 14 total, 9 on top and 5 on bottom. I even have them on my front 4 teeth on top. The process of applying the buttons was painless and pretty quick. I was surprised at how sharp they actually are.To be honest they're really sharp, and they scratch the iside of my lips and cheeks. Of course it's not as bad with the alligners on. That's a good thing because it encourages me to keep the trays on. So off I went, trays on, feeling good, one step closer to spaceless teeth. Then the paib kicked in...boy did they hurt. Over the course of the day I took 6 advil and was fine. Luckily for me, I had no problems getting the trays off and on. Eating has been a cchallenge. My teeth hurt so bad so I've resorted to eating mostly soft foods. Cutting my food up and not biting into food directly helps. As painful as the past few days have been, I find comfort in knowing that the trays are moving my teeth.
I'm already on tray 4
19 Jul 2013
2 months post
It's been a busy couple of months for me and I've had some interesting things happen. I went to visit my aunt in Atlanta and had to eat and brush my teeth in the airport. At this point I've gotten so comfortable with my braces that I can pop them on and off in a few seconds. I tried to be discrete when removing them at the gate waiting for the plane. I noted my failed attempt when I caught a glimpse of a gentleman watching me as the first one came out. That was a little awkward to say the least. Then I had to run to the bathroom to brush and floss. I have to admit that I was a little uneasy about it. To my surprise, I wasn't the only person brushing in the public domain. Seeing the other woman definitely made me feel better. In the end it wasn't a big deal at all. Coincidentally, one of my girlfriends started straightening her teeth with regular braces about 1 week before I begin my journey with Invisalign. She and I went to dinner after work last week. I have to say that eating with Invisalign was much easier for me then eating with regular braces was for her. I was able to pop my trays out in the bathroom, and enjoy my hamburger. She on the other hand, had lots of problems eating her burger. By the end of our meal, the inside of her mouth was sore from her braces. I felt so bad for her. I'm starting to feel much better about my choice to proceed with invisalign. I'm even seeing a noticeable difference in my teeth. When I went to the dentist yesterday, I was given trays 4, 5, and 6. It's really exciting to see the projected progression.