Long Process About to Start - Cairns, Australia

I have been self conscious about my teeth all my...

I have been self conscious about my teeth all my life, and lately have just been fed up with large chunks of food becoming wedged in the gaps, some of which were made when I was about 10 to correct overcrowding (didn't work!), and some from permanent teeth that never emerged. A few months ago my dentist suggested I explore orthodontic options and referred me to a specialist. I sought two opinions and thought that I was going to have to resort to traditional braces but the second specialist suggested we investigate the possibility of Invisalign as that is really a better option for my worklife where personal appearance is a consideration. It was something of a process to get the impressions right, about four attempts top and bottom I think, however I tell myself that it is worthwhile getting it right from the beginning!

A few days ago I went for the ClinChek, and it looks like a series of 44 trays, both top and bottom, which seems like a lot! However, the time frame is pretty much what I expected, after all it has taken my teeth about 55 years to get to this point, so they are not going to be changed overnight! The goal is to define the gaps more clearly and then insert prosthetic teeth to fill those gaps. At the same time both arches will be realigned as they are both well off-centre in opposite directions.

I have found this forum to be most helpful in understanding the day-to-day experiences of users, as really there were a lot of gaps (so to speak!) in the information I got from the orthodontist. I hope to be able to start the trays at the end of the month, so have taken the advice of many of the users here and have built up a stash of toothbrushes and paste, as well as mental notes on private bathroom locations. I am not a great snacker and mainly drink water, however I'm hoping the process will also allow me to shed a few kgs as other users have mentioned!

Today I have started my first set of trays. My...

Today I have started my first set of trays. My orthodontist has decided not to put the attachments on just yet, probably in two weeks when I change to the next set. So far the trays are quite comfortable - for some reason I was concerned that they would have sharper edges, probably as a hangover from the trouble I had with the impressions but no problem yet. I am having some difficulty getting them out to eat, but I'm sure that will become easier once I refine the technique. I'm glad I watched a couple of Youtube clips on removing them before I started so I had some idea of what is involved. I purchased an electric toothbrush a few days ago and I think that works really well for me: as I have a small mouth it does get into tight spots better than the manual one with the larger head. As I am not very good at flossing I also bought a waterjet flosser, but haven't tried it yet.
I am happy that the trays are not particularly visible, but I'm not sure whether that will change once I get the attachments. I'm not really sure how much my speech is affected; as yet it doesn't seem too bad. I have an interview for a new job on Monday so I will decide then whether I take the trays out for a short while or leave them in.
My orthodontist did recommend the Acceledent sytem in conjunction with the aligners to significantly shorten treatment time, but it is also significantly more expensive, so I am doing some research and thinking about that one...
Today I was very happy with the preofessional attention and treatment I received from the whole team at my practice and I feel confident that I have made the right choice. At least we were all able to laugh at the pools of spit that accumulated as I struggled to get the trays out for the first time!

I am now on aligner #6/43 and things are...

I am now on aligner #6/43 and things are progressing well. I started the Acceledent in mid-December and I think it does make a difference. I am hoping this will cut the treatment time by about 50%, and I that I will be able to get a reasonable resale value on the machine which cost me $1500. I had the first trays in for two weeks but now that I am using the vibrator I change them weekly. The Acceledent is easy to use though I have to remember to recharge it and take the recharger base with me when I travel as it only lasts three days between recharges. At first I was using the Acceledent first thing in the morning but decided to change to after breakfast as I often have hayfever first thing in the morning and it is hard to breathe with the thing in your mouth and a blocked nose! Also I was thinking that perhaps I would get more benefit by leaving the trays in after the vibrating treatment rather than removing them straight away. I can see significant movement in my teeth and I already feel a lot better about them; the constant brushing and jet flossing has made significant improvement in appearance as well. After a couple more trays I will need to make arrangements for the placement of the first of the implants to replace a canine that never emerged. I will be getting the attachments later this week so I expect that it will then become more of a challenge to get the trays in and out.

I got my attachments, (9 of them) a few weeks ago,...

I got my attachments, (9 of them) a few weeks ago, which gave me a hard time for a couple of days but they are OK now. It was hard to get the trays out when I first had them fitted, but I soon developed the knack of starting at the molars and working round as others have suggested. A couple of the attachments were also quite sharp so my cheek felt lacerated for a couple of days but eventually settled down. From aligner #10 I have a pontic lateral incisor on the right side to fill the gap made by the movement of the teeth - I have never had a lateral incisor on that side and my orthodontist felt I was better to make a space and gain an implant rather than remove the exisiting lateral incisor. Having this gap makes me very self conscious about having the aligners out, so eating in public is something I now do reluctantly. On the upside, I am happy with the way the teeth are looking with the aligners in, which is an added incentive to wearing them. I am still using the Acceledent and vary the length of time I wear the aligners according to the orthos advice, usually between 10 - 14 days depending how well the aligners are sitting. Noone knows that I am wearing them unless I tell them, and I find even the attachments are more discreet than I had expected - I was worried that I was going to have one right in the front but that turned out to be a 'power ridge' in the moulding of the aligner. So I am happy to say that I am almost 1/4 way through the treatment and pleased with the results so far. Probably the only thing that I don't like is the inability to sample things while I am cooking - it is a pain to go through the cleaning process just for a taste! Also if I do take the aligners out for a leisurely coffee on weekends I have to set a reminder to put them back in! I will add some photos shortly.

I had a check up last week and the orthodontist...

I had a check up last week and the orthodontist was not happy with the way the aligner was fitting on the upper central incisors so I now have some additional buttons on the backs of these teeth and elastic bands round to the front of the tooth. Not much fun at all - I can get one elastic attached no problem but the other always takes me several attempts, and the buttons make it very difficult to chew successfully. Hopefully these buttons are a temporary measure which will be removed next week; after 10 days the teeth do seem to be fitting better into the aligner though one is twisting more than I would like; again I hope this is a temporary movement bought about by the aligners not quite sitting properly. Also I find the bands on the back of my teeth affect my speech quite significantly - a bit annoying as I am doing some teaching at the moment. The bottom aligners are still going well, and I am very happy with the way the arch is widening and the teeth are lining up there. One downside of the extra attention to the top aligners is that the syncing of the aligners is now out - I am up to 15/40 on the top and 17/43 on the bottom - probably to be expected as we never know until we start just how our teeth are going to respond to the treatment. New photos will be taken towards the end of next week so I will put them up then.

Glad to report I no longer have the buttons and...

Glad to report I no longer have the buttons and bands though the problem with the one incisor tilting sideways is persisting. The new strategy is to use 'aligner chewies' which are little rolls of polyurethane foam which you chew on to help the aligners sit more snugly on the teeth. I hope this works to get that maverick tooth under control! Next assesment in two weeks, so we'll see.
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I visited two providers and chose the second one as I was really a lot more comfortable with the treatment plan which involved replacing missing teeth rather than removing extra (perfectly healthy) teeth, which the first provider suggested. The plan I have chosen is a lot more expensive that the other one, but I think it is better for me in the long run. In the leadup to the initial visits I accosted any mature people I saw wearing braces and questioned them about their experiences, and they were all very happy to talk to me.

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