When I was in highschool, I had traditional metal...
When I was in highschool, I had traditional metal braces. I can't remember the exact cost, but I think they were around $4,000-$5,000 (in 1995). I wore them for two years. After I got them off, I wore my retainer religiously until the day when my orthodontist said I didn't need to wear them anymore. BIG MISTAKE! Ten years later, I found myself needing braces again as my teeth shifted back. The truth is you have to wear your retainer for the rest of your life!! So at the age of 33 I got Invisalign. The cost was $4,200 as I had a $1,000 off coupon. I'm almost done paying this off almost two years later.
When I went in for my consultation with Ms. Joyce, they took before photos and an impression of my teeth to send off to the invisalign makers to see if I was a good fit for this. When the results came back, I was a good fit. I could start my treatment when my trays came in. So, I receive three sets of trays at a time. Each set is to be worn for two weeks unless otherwise told to wear them longer. Therefore, I need to get a new set of trays every 6 weeks. I typically go during my lunch break as it doesn't take that long for them to give me my next three sets and for me to try on the next one to see if it fits.
My first set of trays felt like they weren't doing anything. I personally think that it was to get you used to wearing a plastic tray in your mouth versus actually doing any moving of the teeth. The second set of trays, which you put in two weeks later, was tighter. It took about two days to get used to the tightness and for my lips to get used to the plastic. At first my lips were getting sore like they did with traditional braces. I went to the store and bought wax strips to wear on the parts that were cutting my lips. I only had to do this for the first few sets of trays. I'm almost two years into wearing them now and no longer need the wax.
During my initial treatment, I was told that I probably would only need invisalign for only 6 months to a year. I've been wearing them now for 1 year 9 months. I received 33 sets of trays total. Around tray set 12, I was having trouble with the buttons lining up with the trays. (Tell you about buttons shortly). At my 15th tray, I was told that I needed a mid-case adjustment as the trays and teeth with buttons weren't lining up correctly anymore and to back track would not help. I was thinking that I would just need to get new impressions and that I would get a new set of 15-17 trays. However, that was not the case. I now had to "start all over." The new set of trays I got was now 33 more!!! I was very upset as you can imagine. I thought I'd be done in 6-12 months and here I was having to wear them even longer!!! I'm okay with it now though as I barely notice you I am wearing them. I've gotten so used to them that now it may be weird when I get them off! I don't know off hand which tray set I'm on, I'll have to update this again later. I can't wait to get them off though as I'm ready!
As for the buttons I mentioned above, certain teeth need buttons glued onto them to help shift the teeth with the help of the trays. The buttons look like little white squares or shark fins. They match the color of your teeth. The trays have button grooves in them that match up with the buttons that are glued to your teeth. They are annoying at first but once they grind down a little from wear and tear, you don't notice them much. I only notice when I take my trays off and feel them against my bare gums.
Notes on the trays themselves.... They discolor easily so be careful about drinking colored drinks like kool-aid. I mostly drink water and iced tea and I don't have a problem with that. I change my trays every two weeks anyway so even if they did discolor some, it's okay cause I'll be changing them soon. Hardly anyone notices you are wearing them! They are almost invisable except for the buttons. I think those get more notices than the trays. The trays are tight the first few days you put a new set on. They may scratch your gums up a little. You may also get headaches at first like I did but take a few advil and you should be okay.
I don't regret getting them. I'm not sure if I like them better than traditional braces... However, as an adult, I defintely recommend them over braces. I don't want metal in my mouth at age 35! I do not recommend these trays for children. They are easy to misplace, throw away, etc. You have to really be dedicated to wear them all day and night except for when you are eating. I wear mine about 22 hours a day.
I will add more later when it gets closer to my 33rd set! I'll post photos too of what I have so far later.
Photos of my teeth before and during Invisalign before mid-case adjustment
These are photos of my teeth before and during my treatment. It was winter time and my lips were very dry as you can see. I will post photos of my teeth after the adjustment shortly.
More recent photos at 1 year 9 months
These were taken this week. I am pointing out certain buttons as you can see. My teeth didn't have major problems to begin with as I had braces before but a few things moved and needed to be fixed. My main concerns were my front two teeth overlapped slightly but don't anymore! The tooth next to my right front tooth has always been crooked and hides behind my front tooth. That one has gotten better but still needs to move over and down. My bottom teeth were pushed back and jumbled and that's fixed but I have two teeth that are still crooked. My bite is getting better and I have less headaches. So for some they might say I didn't needed this to begin with but I did it for me.
I should be done my treatment in four months near Christmas if everything goes well! I have only 9 trays left to go.
Revision- I had only 31 trays total not 33 and I'm on tray 22 now. I pick up three new trays on 8/26. I'll let you know what the dentist says.
Photos of trays
When you get your first set of trays, they come with cases. One is for travel and one for home. I keep my trays in there when I am eating. The trays come in bags. I get three bags a visit. They suggest keeping all trays just in case you need to back track or to keep track of the tooth movement. I like going back to tray one and comparing to my current tray to see how far I've come. I had 15 trays the first time around and am on tray 22 of the new set. So I've worn 37 trays so far and have 9 trays to go. I'm hoping I won't need any adjustments my next visit. I really want these 9 to be it.
Possible Adjustment Needed Again
So yesterday I visited my dentist to pick up the next 3 sets of trays. During my visit, the dentist noticed that my one top tooth and one bottom tooth have not moved in 6 weeks (since my last visit). With that said, he was concerned about giving me the next 3 sets as they could do nothing or make things worse. So he decided to take more photos of my teeth as they currently are with and without the trays in my mouth. He would send these off to the makers of Invisalign and ask them what the next steps should be since they aren't working any longer. The buttons are all lining up with the slots but these two teeth just don't want to move! I pointed these two teeth out in two of my photos. It's the top one next to the front tooth and the bottom pointy tooth.
I only have 9 trays left so I don't want to start all over like I did the last time I had a mid-case adjustment! I shared my concern with the dentist and he said most likely they will just made adjustments to the remaining 9 and possibly add a few more. I said the last time they said that that they gave me 31 more trays when I had already done 15 out of 32 the first time. He assured me that it would not be like that this time as my teeth have moved a lot in the right direction since then. So I'm awaiting a call from the office to see what the makers of invisalign have said. I'll keep you posted. Fingers crossed that I don't have to get another 30+ trays! I don't know if I can mentally take that!!
3 Options For Next Step - What is your suggestion?
My dentist called me today to give me the verdict of what the invisalign makers said. They gave me thre options on how we could continue my treatment.
OPTION #1 - Keep my current trays (which I only have 9 left to go) and add more buttons and some rubberbands to pull the two teeth that aren't moving. Waiting time - one week to get the new buttons and rubberbands in after ordering. No extra charge.
OPTION #2 - Do another mid-case adjustment where they take new impressions of my teeth and get a whole new set of trays. I could end up getting just 9 trays or maybe 15 trays or maybe like last time 31 trays. Wait time - a few weeks or more to get the new set of trays made and sent to my dentist from invisalign. No extra charge.
OPTION #3 - Stop the invisalign treatment altogether and start a new treatment of fast braces, which could last about 4-6 months. No extra charge.
I did not want to go through another mid-case adjustment and possibly get another 15-31 trays so I am leaning toward option 1 and option 3. I told the dentist that since I have come this far with my trays that I'd like to give them a chance with the extra buttons and rubberbands. If that doesn't work, then we'll try one of the other two options.
Do you think I made the right choice? What would you have done?
New buttons and rubber bands
I went to the dentist yesterday, and he placed two new, large buttons on the front and back of my two trouble top and bottom teeth. Rubber bands were placed on each tooth by attaching them from the back to the front button. See photo. They are clear so not that noticeable, but are outside of the trays so you can see them more. The trays had to be cut where those two teeth were to allow for the large buttons to pull the teeth with the rubber bandsinto the correct tray spot. I can feel slight pain as I usually do when I get a new set of trays. I go back in three weeks to see how it is working.
Week One With Buttons and Rubber Bands
It's been one week since I've been wearing the buttons with the rubber bands on those two teeth. I went to the dentist today for a cleaning and x-rays and he checked the progress of my teeth. Doesn't look like they moved much since I got the rubber bands on but then again it's only been 1 week. I go into the office again in two weeks (on the 30th) so will get an update then. I'm supposed to get those two buttons off and continue wearing the next set of trays. Hopefully that's what happens.
Movie Clip Of My Teeth Movement
Finally figured out how to add the clip of my teeth moving from beginning to end. Buttons are attached.
Which Retainer Option Should I Go For - Fixed or Removable?
Although I have some time before I finish my Invisalign treatment, I want to start considering which retainer option I should go for. My options are: A) Permanent (fixed, bonded) retainer OR B) Removable retainer - Essix (Vivera®) or Hawley. I was leaning more toward the fixed retainer as I wouldn’t have to think about it as much. I would only have to be concerned with flossing with threaders. That seems annoying but if I could put up with Invisalign for 2 years, I would do that! My other main concern was cavities. Would having a fixed retainer make cavities on my teeth from the bonding, more saliva or something else? When I had regular metal braces, afterwards, I wore the Hawley retainer. This was plastic and metal. I can’t remember but I think the plastic part that touched the roof of my mouth was annoying. I don’t mind the metal piece in the front as I would only wear these at night most likely. The Essix option is more like Invisalign trays but thicker. This could be a good option, too. I’m kind of sick of wearing my trays though so I’m thinking one of the other options might be best.
What are your thoughts? Do you think the fixed/bonded option with curves would irritate the gums?
I found this website helpful. It talks about retainers, braces, invisalign, etc.
Rubber Band Progress
I went in for my three week check up since I had the larger buttons placed on my two problem teeth and the rubber bands added to those two teeth. I have noticed that the bottom tooth has moved up into the tray more. The dentist and assistant noticed the top tooth moved down into the tray more. So, I guess I'm having movement improvements since the buttons and bands were added. I received my next tray set. The dentist fitted it to work wtih the bands and large buttons. I am to wear this for two weeks and then go back for another check up. They are paying close attention to those two teeth to make sure they are tracking right and that we are making progress in the right direction. They know I don't want to waste time doing something that isn't helping. The only thing I disliked about the last visit was that they did some filing to the top and bottom problem teeth to help them move as they had friction and less space to move from the other teeth. I hate that sound when they do it! Other than that, good visit. Will update you in two weeks.
Paid Off My Invisalign Bill!! Dentist Visit Today
This past month I paid off my Care Credit Card which is how I paid for my Invisalign treatment. Took me just under 2 years to pay it off! :) I'm very happy about this! Just wish my treatment was done already.
I go in for my next tray today. The dentist is going to check out the two teeth that have buttons and bands on them to see their progress. I hope they see a difference. I see my teeth every day so I don't see a big difference. I'm getting anxious about when this is going to be done. I feel like it never will! Two years when I was told 6 months is a long time to be patient. My patience is running thin but I'm trying to be strong. I am not the type to just give up because it's taking long. My dentist is very good and he's doing everything he can without going outside the invisalign "box" / guidelines. I'll update you once I have my appointment.
Coming Along Well
My dentist appointment went well. Both the dentist and assistant said they see a change from two weeks ago. The two problem teeth are filling in the space in the tray better than before. They still have more to go though so I'm not done yet with the big buttons and bands. I got my next tray. Dr. Bruni cut them where needed to fit the big buttons and bands. I am to go back again in two weeks. They are only giving me one tray each visit instead of the three they used to give me as they want to monitor my process more closely and sooner since I'm on my last trays. I'm on tray 25 out of 31 so we're getting close to the end. I'm hoping things go the way they are supposed to and I won't need any revisions. I'll keep you posted in two weeks.
I'm still thinking about which retainer would be best for me. I haven't gotten to many responses from people to give me their experience or opinion. I'm was leaning toward the tray style like invisalign as I think I grind my teeth at night and that might help but then again I am not sure I do want this one as it stains easily and also breaks after a while. With that said, I think the permanent one or the Hawley one might be best. I'm just concerned that with the Hawley one, it's not around all your teeth. The metal is mostly just on the front teeth with metal "hoops" that go around a few back. The permanent one I also think is just on the front so not sure which is best.
Please give me your opinion. Thanks!
Getting Tray 26 Tomorrow
I'm excited. I'm getting close to the end of my treatment. I'm very pleased with how the rubber bands and big buttons are helping my two problem teeth. The teeth are almost completely where they need to be in the trays. I have 31 trays total so I have 6 trays left. I'm just hoping my two problem teeth will go to their final destination before the last tray. It's been long enough for me that I'm really hoping I don't need any revisions in the end. It's gonna be weird for me not to have these in my mouth all the time since I've been doing it for two years now. I'm so used to them. However, I'm looking forward to them being out so I don't have to go through all the hassle when I want to eat or snack. I'll keep you posted of what my dentist says at tomorrow's visit. I'll try to post new pics, too!
5 Trays Left but May Take Longer :(
I went to the dentist on Monday to get my next tray set. I'm on my 5th to last tray so only 4 more left. My problem teeth have moved more to where they are "supposed" to be but not to the point where the dentist thought it would be okay to remove the large buttons and rubber bands. After careful consideration, he said I should wear them for at least another week. Since I'm getting close to the end of the treatment, it's possible I may have to get impressions done again and get an end of case adjustment to finish it up properly. Having holes cut into the trays to fit the big buttons and rubber bands prevent the trays from properly moving those teeth right or left. They only move up and down with the bands and buttons so the process of the whole teeth moving where they need to be has been prolonged. I'm disappointed about that cause this will be my third impression/tray sets since I started and the day before Thanksgiving will be my 2 year mark. I'm ready to get these off but am so close to my goal. I don't want to take a short cut and not do this the right way. I will follow the dentist's lead and recommendations.
No More Rubber Bands or Large Buttons - 3 Trays Left!
I went to my dentist yesterday to pick up my next set of trays and to check the progression. I've been going every two weeks as we are closer to finishing. Surprisingly, they took off the two large buttons and bands! I hate the feeling and smell of getting those buttons sanded off! I also had to get some filing on the bottom problem tooth to help it move into place. The two problem teeth have moved up or down to where they needed to be. They now just need to get flush with the other teeth. I was given my LAST THREE TRAYS instead of just one set! I have to wear my current one for two weeks then I'll move on to the third to last tray. Very exciting. We are crossing our fingers that another adjustment won't have to be made after these trays are done, but you never know. After taking the photos attached, I realized that my bottom two front teeth are not aligned with the front. I thought the "line" between the two front are supposed to line up with the "line" in between the two bottom teeth. Mine do not. I'm going to ask about this next visit. My next appointment is in January so you might not hear from me much during the holidays.
Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
I posted duplicates of the same photos instead of adding these. These show my problem top tooth and how my top and bottom "middle line" isn't lining up.
Uploading 2 Pics from the other day
One Tray Left - Disappointed
I'm on my second to last tray right now and I change it out soon for my last tray. I'm supposed to be happy and jumping for joy but I'm not. I'm disappointed. My two problem teeth have not moved or gotten better or to the point of completion to where they are supposed to be at end of treatment in my opinion. I DO NOT want to do another mid-case adjustment and get another bunch of trays. With my luck, I will get another 31. I went two years wearing these and my teeth weren't that messed up to begin with. Why has it taken 2 years to move these two teeth? Very disappointed! I have a few options from this point on.
1. DO NOTHING. Keep my teeth as they are at completion and just be satisfied with them (which I will not be)
2. At the end of treatment, get new impressions made and have anther set made to keep going (not sure how many I would get so this could take another year or more - who knows)
3. Get Fastbraces. Have the buttons removed for my invisalign, not have any more trays made and get fastbraces. This takes 4-6 months typically for minor cases but could take longer. Should have gone with traditional braces instead of invisalign as I may have been done already.
What do you think?
As for a retainer afterwards:
I talked to someone who has a permanent retainer and essix and who works for an orthodontist. She does not recommend the Hawley. She highly recommends the lingual permanent retainer on top or and bottom and essix overtop of that. Her office does the permanent retainer and essix. I paid for essix already I believe with my treatment but the lingual would be extra. Gotta get a quote.
Finished my Invisalign Treatment - Not Happy So Changing Over to Fast Braces
On 1/20 I had my last Invisalign appointment with Dr. Bruni. This was supposed to be my last day of any kind of treatment; however, my expected end results were not what the results were. See the photo I posted of the diagram and my 2 year 2 month results. I have had some chages; however, my main tooth problems were not fixed fully. The main reason why I got invisalign was to fix that top tooth next to the main front tooth. It is still crooked and behind the front tooth. My bottom tooth was not nice either.
My dentist gave me two options. I could do more trays (which could take another 7 months) or I can do fast braces for about 3-6 months. I chose fast braces. They are METAL though! I get them on 2/3.
Waiting Patiently for Fast Braces - Metal Mouth at 35
I am scheduled to get my fast braces on 2/3. I'm excited but nervous. I'm excited as it's one step closer to fixing my two problems teeth that I got Invisalign on for in the first place. Two years later and those two teeth are still not where they need to be but have moved a little. I'm nervous because I'm 35 and will have a mouth of metal for 3-6 months. I'm really hoping that this treatment finishes sooner than later as I really didn't want to get metal braces again. If I wanted that, I would have done that to begin with instead of the trays as they are both the same price. On a positive note, my new doctor for the braces is cute and has a great personality so I won't mind going to see him every 4 weeks. With braces you have to go every 4 weeks instead of 6 like Invisalign because your teeth move faster and they have to track them sooner then. I have been whitening my teeth some while I have the buttons off and before I get the braces. I only did it once so far but was hoping to do it a few more times before my appointment. I left it at work though and had off the last two days so I'm losing days. I'll have Thursday - Sunday to do it. My dentist actually gave me the whiting gel to use in my Invisalign trays. I only tried it once so far but I think it's working. I'll probably not post again until 2/3 but may the day before. Wish me luck. Metal mouth at 35!
Got My Fast Braces Yesterday - Ouch
Yesterday I went in to have my fast braces placed on my teeth. It took 2.5 hours. There wasn't really much pain other than when the dental assistant burnt my lip with the curer. See photo. I now have a blister. She didn't even apologize. Makes me mad! Since this posting is supposed to be about Invisalign, I'm going to continue this on my Fast Braces Review. Please go there to follow me.
I absolutely love this office and my dentist. Everyone is so friendly. They even know me by name! Dr. Bruni and his wife are great. I highly recommend going there.
5 out of 5 stars
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