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Finally Treating Myself to Invisalign! - Charlottesville, VA

I want to start by saying I've never had braces....

I want to start by saying I've never had braces. In fact, I'm pretty much terrified of anything having to do with teeth. It's a borderline phobia for me. The idea of having metal attached to my teeth, and the adjustments, is anxiety inducing. I had researched invisalign quite a bit to see if it was really any different from braces before I even considered it as an option. After a lot of internet time, some financial planning, and serious mental preparation, I took the plunge.

And now I'm finally getting started, and so far I couldn't be more pleased. I'm still on my first tray (Day 6), so this is still pretty new. The pictures I have with this post are from my very first appointment. I had two appointments before I received my invisalign on the third appointment. My first visit included taking pictures of my teeth, discussing my options (I knew invisalign was the only option I'd consider), how much it would cost, and approximate treatment time. My orthodontist wasn't playing around. He let me know that until very recently, my case couldn't be managed with invisalign due to the level of crowding I had, but with the new material that invisalign uses and his experience he was confident it could be done. He also told me that it could take up to 2 years! I was all for it though. My second appointment was for imaging. I got xrays, impressions, as well as scans of my teeth so that Invisalign would get 3D images. The scans were uncomfortable, but painless. A whole 5 WEEKS LATER (it took so longggg!) I went to my appointment to receive my aligners.

This was the big appointment. First of all, I realized that with my level of crowding I would likely need attachments, or "buttons", on my teeth. Again, mental preparation is key. When we were getting started, the assistant broke the news that I would be getting 13, count 'em, 13 attachments on my teeth. And that I would be getting more half way through my treatment! Ok, I could handle that. Then they said I had 27 trays! In all my internet wanderings I had never heard of someone needing 27 aligners! The orthodontist must have seen my face as I was attempting the mental math of how long this treatment would take. He came over to inspect how things were going, and what happened next really made my day. He says, "You look really enthusiastic about this. I can tell you're going to stick to it and do well. How about we change these aligners every 10 days instead of every 2 weeks?" Uh, YES PLEASE! I can do that math! That alone cut down on my treatment time tremendously. Now my treatment time is approximately 9 months! Fantastic. I was given my next 5 aligners that I will change out every 10 days.

The next part of the appointment was putting those attachments on. Not painful at all, but unpleasant. The cleaners and preppers they use taste horrible. They used a "template" that looks like an aligner to get the buttons in the right place. The scratching off of the excess composite (the stuff that the attachments are made up of) was like nails on a chalk board. Ugh. I just tried to put on my big girl pants and got through it. It wasn't bad once they were on. Honestly, you can't really see the buttons without the aligners on, which is great.

I made sure to get practice getting my aligners on and off a couple times before I left the office. I've heard horror stories about how people get home and can't get them off. The assistant was really helpful at giving me tips to get them on and off easier over the attachments. The first couple of days were kinda rough with getting these things on and off. The aligners were tight, making movement on and off over the buttons pretty tough. I would just have to take a deep breath and think about what I'm doing. I tried using a removal tool that I bought in preparation for these struggles, but honestly, it wasn't worth the $3 I spent on it. On day 4, I noticed it was finally easier to get my aligners on and off. On day 6, it's easy peasy.

One big thing that has been super helpful for me was that I made two on-the-go kits that I could use for work and travel. You see, you can't eat or drink anything but water with these suckers in. So, every time you eat/drink something, you have to take off your aligners and clean your teeth before you put them back on (to avoid cavities and staining). In my kit I have a small toothbrush (it's actually a kid one), travel size toothpaste, floss sticks, mouth wash, and a container to hold my aligners when they're out. It's been SO helpful when I'm eating lunch at work, or over the weekend when I was out with friends and needed to brush after going out to dinner.

As far as price of my treatment, luckily, my insurance covered $1,000 of the cost. Awesome! I also managed to pay the rest in full, which meant the practice took a percentage off for a "bookkeeping fee." (Again, I did some financial planning to make this happen!) In the end I ended up paying $4,500 for my treatment.

Overall, I'm pleased so far with the process, and I'm excited to see the results!

Trays 2 and 3

I'm actually surprised that I've been seeing a difference in my teeth already! Tiny differences of course, but they're there! I really wasn't expecting to be able to notice anything until tray 10ish, but I'll take it!

I haven't had any pain with switching to the new trays. In fact, when the trays are really tight the first two or three days, it's kind of nice... my teeth are being pushed in the right direction! What I have noticed that is pretty annoying is that my teeth feel so loose. I suppose that's to be expected as they are in the process of moving around, but I didn't realize the impact it would have on my diet. I knew I'd probably want to stick to soft foods the first couple days of a new tray, but it's pretty tough to eat solid foods at any point! If I do it has to be something somewhat soft, and I have to cut it into bite size pieces because I can't take a bite out of anything with my front teeth the way they are (actually, I have been successful at biting into a PB&J). I'd rather not lose weight, so I've been trying to figure out ways to drink my calories or come up with meals that are easier to eat that doesn't include soup. I can't take any more soup. Anyone else have this problem?
Dr. David Hamer

I'm really please so far with the whole practice. They answer all of my excessive questions and seem ok with my neediness for information and demonstrations to ease my anxiety.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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