I'm a 45 year old mother of 3, overcrowded crooked...

I'm a 45 year old mother of 3, overcrowded crooked teeth for as long as I can remember. Couldn't afford braces as a child, consult at age 15, dentist said insurance wouldn't cover them because it was cosmetic so that was the end of that. Decided to start this journey now because of a few things. My 2 girls wear braces which made me start paying more attention to my own mouth. Also, I started having gum issues...turns out that crooked "cosmetic" tooth is experiencing some bone loss due to its positioning. I decided to do a review because reading these reviews have helped me so much so far. and I haven't seen or read much about Invisalign with patients who have some gum recession. I'm starting out with the dreaded "black triangles" due to gum surgery to reduce the pockets that I had. I think it will be interesting and helpful to share my journey for those that might have this issue as well. I'm hoping my end result will be worth it.

Started tray 3 on 3/19/14...

My Invisalign treatment consists of 31 trays, upper and lower. I was instructed to change them every 12 days. My treatment is a little different from what I have been reading here. I had IPR done before I had the imaging done for my trays. I also had 13 attachments put on at my initial fitting- 7 upper, 6 lower. I wanted to cry when I saw myself with the buttons on my already prominent front teeth... And with the trays... Ugh. I called them Inspitalines for the first two weeks or so because I was a mess! The first three days were the worst but it slowly got easier. I am very compliant, only taking them out to eat, then brush, floss, and use my waterpik water flosser. Oh and clean my aligners. I average 22+ hours a day. I cheated once due to a wedding, but it was my last day of aligner1 so I didn't feel so guilty! Tray 2 was very difficult to get in initially, I'm not sure if it's because my aligners were out about 5 hours before I put it in. These first photos are right before I started tray 1, and then immediately before tray 3. No difference as of yet that I can see.

Oh, and...

I find the waterpik to be invaluable. Even after brushing with my electric toothbrush and flossing, there is still somehow debris left behind. Gross. I don't even want to imagine what would happen if I put my trays in without getting that crap out! I also use mouthwash in the water well. I am experiencing some staining on my teeth... Not sure if it's because of the trays... My oral surgeon said the dentist could remove it at my next cleaning in a few weeks. I'm only eating twice per day on average. It's just not worth the trouble of the whole rushing to eat then clean regiment... On the bright side I may be able to finally rid myself of that last 5 pesky pounds I want to lose! I'm starting to feel more comfortable with the trays in rather then not...

Waterpik Water Flosser

Staining and stannous fluoride?

I'm starting to think the brownish staining that is developing on my teeth is due to the stannous flouride products I've been using. It's not permanent, but annoying as can be. I will talk to my dentist and Ortho and see if they concur. Problem is, I have tooth sensitivity that I believe is helped with the fluoride. So I have to figure it all out.

Starting Tray 4 Tonight!

Tonight, (after Walking Dead), I will start on Tray 4. Tray 3 was the first tray where my teeth felt real pain. I think it was working on my two front teeth because they were very tender and it was hard to bite with them for the first few days. I actually thought I saw a little bit of shifting with them until I took some pics this evening :( Not so much... I think what's happening is that my top is being broadened out now. It feels like my front teeth have pushed in some. I'm actually liking the shape my smile is taking on. The last four days of so I've been experiencing intermittent pains, mostly on my upper right side. Almost a throbbing pain that goes away as soon as I decide I need to take something for it. Not sure why. Hopefully this resolves itself with the next tray.

My next Ortho appt is on April 22nd. I was given 5 trays to start with. When I go, it will be about my last day of tray 5. I know I have more IPR in my future so maybe then(?). I took my daughter the other day for a brace appt and asked one of the gals if they used chewies and she said yes and got a few packages for me. She said they give them to patients that have trouble seating their aligners. I had been using a pen at home but the aligners are much more fun! I have been experimenting with different toothpastes and mouthwashes and have concluded that Sensodyne is doing nothing for my gum sensitivity. The only thing that seems to work is the Crest ProHealth toothpaste and mouthwash so I will be using that from now on, even if it means I have to deal with some temporary tooth staining. I have to get cleanings 4x yearly anyway so I will try to stay on top of it that way. I started using baking soda and warm water to rinse my mouth after eating, as per PreOrtho's regiment. It really soothes my teeth and makes it easier to get back into the aligners with as little discomfort as possible as soon as possible. I still haven't made my cleaning appt but should have it done before April 22 so I will update with any info I get in regards that might be helpful.

Did want to say that two people at my gym have commented on my recent weight loss ( in a good way)! Seems this Invisalign diet is working! On the not so great side I'm still having trouble talking for extended periods of time. I start out ok but then it's like that episode of Spongebob when he tells Sandy he can breathe air and goes into her habitat and slowly dries out, gasping for air. Well that's me when I talk too long. I mostly just smile and nod my head a lot now. This better be worth it!

I noticed I was wearing the wrong aligners..

Tonight after dinner I picked up my aligners and noticed some lipstick or something on them. Upon closer inspection, I see they are tray 3. I'm on tray 4 now. Not sure when I mixed them up. I do know that last night I was completely miserable, kept waking up in pain and then had to end up sleeping sitting up. Lower right pain. I'm back into tray 4 trays and don't have the pain again (please don't let that come back). So since I'm completely confused I'm starting over and making this day 1 of tray 4 again. Moral : don't keep the old aligners around. I was drying them off before storing and somehow mixed them up.

Tray 5--no real change seen yet...

I won't post pics this time as the teeth look the same, only the tiniest change. This is a little discouraging, but I'm sure I will see something soon. I wanted to clarify that my teeth were very overcrowded. My before pic shows spaces in between a lot of them. Every space seen is due to IPR performed by my Ortho. I never had the slightest space, my problem was the opposite--- teeth so close that flossing was extremely difficult. So I've been measuring my progress by those man-made gaps, and they are all still there. My top arch has widened out for sure but the problem area ( that front left tooth and the one to its left) is still a glaring blazing pain in my arse...I think that when those two teeth are actually straightened out I might actually cry tears of joy! Those are the teeth that have bothered me since the age of 15, the ones my mother couldn't afford to fix for me. So it's been 30 years...of taking pics from the other angle... So I will definitely be celebrating when that happens, and I am looking forward to that. My bottom crowding happened gradually over the years. It only became obvious to me when one started migrating upward a few years ago... Which became completely unacceptable really quick. I found myself not wanting to talk much because I felt like it was so unattractive.

I consider myself blessed to have a wonderful husband who works his butt off so that I can stay home and raise our children. We are also blessed to be able to afford ( although just barely, lol) to get both daughters' teeth straightened now, and one at age 15, so they never (hopefully) have to struggle with self- esteem issues about their teeth. And because, thanks to him, and all on his dime, I can see a future where I am all smiles again. I applaud the many on this site who take the time out of their busy lives to share their journeys ( the good, bad, and ugly) because it helps to remind us that we are all human....

Starting Tray 6 tonight!

I am exactly two months in treatment now. I just got back from an Ortho visit. Received my next 5 trays (6-10). Next appointment not for another 60 days. I won't be posting pics for this tray since movement not very visible. I was able to review my clinichek (yay!). Just what I needed to boost my morale! My Ortho is awesome, I was instructed in how to view my video online. And now I can't stop looking! So it appears that by tray 15 or so my upper tooth will begin to noticeably rotate, and by tray 20 or so the upper and lowers will be almost completely straight! By Christmas it will be looking like a new mouth.

An attachment popped off yesterday on my front tooth...

I called Ortho and they told me to come in today to reattach one. No pain involved and it took all of five minutes. I asked about whitening and they told me to wait until the end of treatment so it wouldn't whiten unevenly due to the attachments. Whitening not included in my treatment package.

Clinicheck Tray 1 and 31

Cleaning done today

Pleasantly surprising, I didn't experience any sensitivity pain during my cleaning. I have been using a prescription product called Colgate Gel-Kam for two weeks that one of the hygienists said worked for a patient with extreme sensitivity. This product works!!!! But I believe it stained my teeth ( it has stannous fluoride). So I got a prescription for Colgate Prevident 5000 Sensitive instead. It took awhile to sandblast the brown stains off of my teeth. Hygienist ran out of time so there is still some left on back teeth. I may go back in 3 months as suggested. Tomorrow night I switch to tray 8. Still nothing exciting to report about my tooth movements. Will post pics at tray 10, as this will be 1/3 done then. The trays after 10 up to tray 17 show the most dramatic progress so I will post regular pics then.

Starting Tray 10 tonight!

This is about my 1/3 of the way mark. 31 trays in all. The next 5 to 7 trays should show the most dramatic movements so I will be posting pics for each tray regularly for awhile. My progress so far is not so dramatic or visible, but I can see many things happening. I can't wait to see the top tooth that's pushed back align. And the tooth on the bottom that's sticking up higher than the others... Can't wait to say good riddance to that! Still have some staining on some teeth. It's not bothering me much right now. I think I am developing an abscess over one of my top right back teeth. I have been using peroxide and salt water rinses, but I've never had a lump like this so not sure what it is exactly. It doesn't hurt, and seems to quiet down when I'm not eating or bothering it. Guess I should see the dentist(?)

Regarding bump on my gums...

I was able to show my Ortho the lump on my gums during my daughter's visit today. I'm sorry to say I can't remember what he said it was-- the clinical term-- but he said it wasn't an abscess that needed antibiotics. He said it should clear up by itself in the next week or so and that it is caused by stress and diet... I wish I could remember the name! I have an appointment next Tuesday so I will have him take a look then. Hopefully it will be gone.

Starting Tray 11!

Just back from orthodontist. Aphthous ulcer--that's what it is, and it is slowly softening away or so it seems. Ortho said it looks ok just needs a little more time. I received trays 11-16. I will probably be getting IPR done with tray 17. My Ortho is wonderful. I called after I left because I noticed that on the package for tray 13 it included IPR, but I wasn't scheduled to come back for 2 months. So I thought I needed an earlier appt. I was able to speak with him directly and he advised me that Invisalign's estimate is not always correct, and that he had indeed checked my mouth for possible IPR soon but that it wouldn't be feasible until my teeth are rotated properly-- otherwise he'd be shaving the wrong surfaces of the teeth, and I would look sort of like an alien or something when he was done! Lol! Anyway, the journey continues.

Starting Tray 12!

Just put tray 12s in... And they are TIGHT! I usually wait until evening but was eager to get started with the new trays as the old ones were quite loose. I make sure to wear each new tray for as many continuous hours possible the first couple of days into a new tray. I find that this slacks off the longer I am in the tray now. I still eat only two meals daily but now feel comfortable keeping trays off a little longer to enjoy coffee afterwards. Still averaging about 22 hours a day. And still losing weight! Lol! I'm actually concerned that I am eating too little on this Invisalign diet, and am overcompensating by overeating on my meals....leaving me feeling too full afterwards. It's definitely an evolving thing. Trying to figure out what's most comfortable for me. Trying to keep it as stress- free as possible. But I can't wait until it's all done! My Ortho was right about the ulcer, it's almost completely gone now. Slight swelling but barely. I started using Arm and Hammer Healthy Gums toothpaste with baking soda and peroxide. The ulcer cleared a day later. Not sure if it was a coincidence or what. I'm still hating the barnacles on my front teeth. It's hard to look or feel sexy with them! Glad I'm not single! Lol!

Starting Tray 13 today!

The only thing of note to mention is that the lump I thought was gone seems to have reappeared or is re- forming further up on my gums. I feel a small lump with what feels like fluid or something in it. Will show Ortho at my next visit if it doesn't go away on its own. No pain or anything around it. Seeing progress albeit slight. By the end of tray 17 it should look much better.

Comparison pic

Before treatment vs. right before Tray 13. I can see many improvements when comparing the photos.

Another comparison before vs. tray 12

Starting Tray 14!

No major change seen from 13 to 14. 14 through 16 are supposed to push the wayward tooth on top into alignment, and align the bottoms as well.

Bad News this morning.

So that "aptheous ulcer" is actually an abscess. It kept almost going away then coming back so I decided to let the dentist take a look. She took an xray and said that it appears I have a possible crack on tooth #3. I have an appointment with endodontist on Monday to evaluate. I just filled a prescription for clindamycin 300mg. I have to take it 4x daily for 7 days. I am so frustrated. My lesson: listen to your body/ heart. Something didn't feel right and I waited much longer than I should have to get a second opinion. So this infection has probably been festering for at least two months. I took x-rays in May and there was nothing showing then. But the lump started shortly after that exam and cleaning. The thing that bums me out most is that the dentist said if it is a fracture they can either do a root canal and crown, or if it's too damaged and can't be saved it will have to be extracted. After all of this extensive and expensive dental stuff ( including gum work that I'm still paying for because the dental office made a mistake and told me my charges were $2500 less than what I was quoted). So that's around $3000 for gums and then the Invisalign fee. And I may still be left with a hole in my mouth or an expensive fix.

Just had root canal done.

I went to endodontist. He repeated the X-ray taken by dentist. Said I have a crack on one surface. Told me only two options: root canal or extraction. Also told me it wasn't wise to wait; the antibiotics I'm taking would probably clear up the Infection but it would surely come back. I called my Ortho and he said to get it done but to hold off on the crown for now. I would have to go back to my dentist for that. The endo put in a temporary filling. He said my dentist should do a build up or post filling then crown. My out-of-pocket expense for the procedure was $383 after insurance. Good thing I can't eat hard food now because I'm seeing a lot of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for us in the immediate future. It didn't hurt at all and I'm still very numb. Have a feeling I will be in pain later so I will take some naproxen soon. Got prescription for Tylenol #3 (with codeine) . Not filling that right now.

Starting Tray 15!

I was going to wait a few days to change aligners because I was afraid that the root canaled tooth would hurt. But it doesn't. Thank goodness. It's been a crazy week and I'm just happy that so far this little hiccup is not affecting my Invisalign treatment. My next Ortho appt is Aug. 5.


These are not the clearest but best I can do for now.

Ortho Appt was today.

I spoke with Ortho about the crown and he advised me to go ahead and get it done ASAP as the tooth will be brittle and will need the protection. I will call tomorrow to schedule my crown procedure. He said that when I get the crown put on I will then go back to him and get molds done and this would begin my refinement period. So I may have to wear tray 19 for a little longer while I wait for the new trays to come in. No problema. I was supposed to have IPR done today as well but I had to leave because of an MRI appt I had to run to. He said he would do the IPR at my next visit instead. Next visit Sept. 20. I will try to plan my crown timing to coincide with this date. I was hoping things would proceed the way they did today. I am very happy with my progress so far. Abscess is gone. No pain anywhere. He said I have a lot of IPR in my future to close the triangles. Also said it was ok to use the opalescence whitener in my trays. I bought some on Amazon because I have a few functions soon and the teeth need a boost.


Ortho office uses the imaging not molds for Invisalign. My orthodontist is an Elite Invisalign provider.

Starting Tray 16 today!

This is my half- way point!Yay! My teeth are tracking just like the CliniChek progression. However, I am uncertain about a few things. Since I didn't get the IPR the other day, my two lower central incisors are clanking against each other trying to align which is getting annoying. There just isn't any space for them now. I have a dental appt this Thursday to hopefully get my core and post if needed, and a temporary crown. I'm not sure how things will progress in the next few weeks. I have to get my crown. Then go back for refinement trays. I'm also scheduled for surgery around the same time and will not be able to do a whole lot for awhile. I'm going to just have to take it a day at a time for awhile until all is resolved. I'm not concerned about wearing my trays longer at this point because I'm realizing life gets in the way of our plans sometimes and it's ok. I am happy with my progress and optimistic nevertheless.

Got temporary crown today.

It was such an ordeal. Took around 3 hours. Temporary kept getting stuck on my tooth then breaking when they tried to remove it. 4 times. They finally did some more shaving then got it right. My trays are just fitting over the temporary. But it feels weird. They put a stronger adhesive on it to keep it intact with the trays and also because of my upcoming surgery. My crown should be ready in about 3 weeks. My out- of- pocket expense for the crown was $416. I only paid half today because I lost a lot of confidence in the dentist with all of the drama with the temporary. I will pay the remainder when the job is done.
Was this review helpful? 11 others found this helpful

Comments (97)

Sort by

Ugh!  When I got my crown, they had trouble cementing it in as well, though in my case, they just stuck it in there so hard it was permanent.  They had to drill it totally to pieces to get it out when time came to put the perm in.  I hope getting the perm is a walk in the park compared to today!
  • Reply
Your teeth are progressing nicely! Sorry about the root canal. I've had three root canals and they hurt a lot more before than after. I'm praying that I don't have any other teeth problems during my Invisalign treatment.
  • Reply
Yes it sucks! And dental insurance is a joke, at least for me. I am praying as well. Eating softer foods only, no nuts or chewy or sticky stuff.
  • Reply
Oh, those incisors are tight!  But I agree that your progress is great.  In the grand scheme, an extra few weeks or month isn't that much, and it's to be expected for sure, just like you said.  Stuff happens.  I ended up spending over a month in one set of aligners a couple of times.  It felt terrible the first time it happened, but by the second time I was over it.  And now it's just like, I don't even remember it unless someone else mentions it.

Good luck with the possibly Core & Post!
  • Reply
Thank you. I'm def not looking forward to spending more money and having more done to my poor tooth, but I guess I have no choice. I'm kind of happy that this will mean my refinement period will begin soon. I am thinking about asking Ortho if it's possible to finish with less attachments. As in, none on my upper front fours! Ah, wishful thinking! Lol!
  • Reply
I LOVE your "Can't wait..." title! I am only beginning my journey (one week into a 22-tray treatment...it's going to be a long year). I was so much regretting my decision to do this the first couple of days. I felt sort of claustrophobic, for the lack of a better word. Thank God I'm better now! Anyhoo, just wanted to tell you how spot on your title is! And, that I lived in Tampa - Temple Terrace to be exact, liked shopping in Brandon - until 2005. I have close friends there and go back often for visits. Your teeth are gorgeous, btw!
  • Reply
I was regretting it the first few days as well, almost to tears, but it does get better quickly, and having the trays in will become almost comforting. Thanks for appreciating my humor. If only my kids would! 22 trays is easy!! It goes so fast when you start seeing changes. Yes, I love Brandon!! Spend a lot of time at that mall with my girls. Thanks for the compliment. I find it so surprising. I never heard anyone say that before!
  • Reply
So glad to hear that there's no pain!  I'm wondering if you have profile shots from the ClinCheck?  I went back and looked at your other entries and I only saw frontal shots….
  • Reply
Come to think of it I don't remember ever seeing a profile shot. I will have to ask to see on Tuesday.
  • Reply
Darn I forgot to ask to see side profile ClinCheck! Next time!
  • Reply
That was a much better price than I feared!  Congratulations on at least starting to get that taken care of.  I hope it doesn't start hurting.  I've never had one, but my husband said the pain was in the doing, not the after, since they kill the nerve or something.
  • Reply
Oh no! :(  I'm sorry this happened, but so glad your dentist found the crack.  I also hope that it will be an easy fix and that it doesn't cost too much.  Will your insurance cover it?
  • Reply
I hope it will! I know they have a limit up to which they will pay yearly. I don't know if they cover crowns but I suppose they should if it's necessary(?) I'm wondering if I should wait for the crown until my Invisalign treatment is done. I see most people do that. I also want to ask about a " foundational filling" in the meantime. I already have a large filling on the tooth and not sure if that's what's on it now.
  • Reply
My crown was covered at just over 50%, so like any necessary dental work (as opposed to cosmetic work, which isn't covered).

I don't know what a foundational filling is--definitely sounds like something you should ask about.  I got my crown during the retainer phase, and the retainer only fit after they shaved the crown down a lot and it still ended up moving the tooth.  But everything looks fine--the tooth is just a bit smaller than it should be, so it left a bigger black triangle.  I had given them the retainer and everything so they could mold it right.
  • Reply
I looked at your crown review and it looks just like the rest of your teeth-- beautiful. I am anxious to hear what the endo doc says tomorrow. The tooth isn't causing me any pain so I find it puzzling that it might be fractured. Maybe I ate too many damn nuts trying to be all healthy and crap! I have since given that up because it hurts too much in general to do all of that chewing.
  • Reply
Oh no!  Nuts are awesome!!!  Some are softer than others--cashews are pretty soft :).  They're not the healthiest but they're still healthy if they're not salted, right?

Maybe the fracture is minute, but big enough for bacteria to get in there?  I assume they're going to do more analysis before you have to make a decision.  I hope so!
  • Reply
Let's hope it will be fixed easily and you will shortly continue the treatment. Anyway even if the dentist extract the tooth, it may no show . Keep hope , your invasilign treatment is going so well, focus on the positive :-)
  • Reply
Thank you, Mil ou. I am trying. I got an appointment with a different endodontist for this Thursday. They referred me to one who they said they were sure was in my insurance network but something told me to double check and sure enough, he wasn't. So I avoided that costly mistake. So frustrating that no one really cares unless it's their money involved. And I'm reading that endodontists are extremely expensive and that dentists can perform root canals so I'm wondering why they don't. But yes, I will focus on the positive!!! Which will be the beautiful smile I have been dreaming of! ;)
  • Reply
My teeth were crowded when I started, so I felt a big difference in ease of flossing.  Have you noticed a difference in the opposite direction?
  • Reply
No I haven't, not since the beginning of the treatment, after the IPR. It's very easy to floss still. Also, I still have quite a bit of black triangles. So flossing is not enough there for me. Stuff will get stuck so the waterpik is my savior. I noticed though that even with all that attention to my teeth I still developed a little tartar at the gum line on the lower front teeth, which I scraped off with an instrument. Not sure if this tartar is being exposed now because of the tooth rotations there or if it's newly developing.
  • Reply
I have black triangles too and was wondering how to deal with that.  I guess I may have to splurge on a waterpik too :-/.  My dentist told me tartar builds up from a reaction of saliva and…erm, something.  Heh.  I'm even more forgetful than you.  Anyway, she says right behind the front bottom teeth is the place it happens first.  So I always have some there when I go to the dentist, even when it's nowhere else.
  • Reply
That was always my problem area as well. My teeth were all jumbled up there so it got pretty gross if I went too long without a cleaning! Much easier now. I would have thought that the waterpik and flossing would almost eliminate the tartar but that stuff is tenacious!
  • Reply
Sure I will end up with some black triangles but if my Ortho can get rid of as many as possible I would be happy. The ones in the back teeth would just continue to need extra attention to make sure food doesn't get stuck, which is a pain but it'll make for a more hygienic mouth overall I guess.
  • Reply
LOL!  Just the difference in confidence is huge, not even to mention the improvement in your alignment.  You're smiling with teeth now!  So beautiful to see.  Keep up the good work!!!

By the way, what are you using to do your photo collages?
  • Reply
Thank you! So much more teeth showing! Lol! I think it's my bite or something else changing that's contributing to some of the toothiness now. My chin and smile look different now. My Ortho said these trays would push my mouth out some to accommodate the tooth that's trying to align on top. After that everything would shrink or fall back into the position it should end up... If that makes any sense. And yes, getting more confident now as I'm finally seeing something. I use Pic Stitch, a free app for IPhone. Easy to use.
  • Reply