My Invisalign Journey - Columbia, SC

I first would like to say that this site has been...

I first would like to say that this site has been very helpful in providing info and feedback on on experiences with invisalign. I like many had braces when I was a teenager but did not continue using my retainer. Over the years my teeth shifted and the end result was all the spacing which I absolutely hate. I've been wanting to do something about it and I finally am able to make it happen. I didn't want to have metal braces again as an adults so I made up my mind about invisalign after talking with my dentist and the having a consult with an orthodontist. He stated that I was a good candidate for it. My dentist stated that I should have all for wisdom teeth removed before beginning invisalign. I didn'thave a problem with them but one was impacted and the two on the bottom did make it difficult to floss due to the angle at which they came in. He said they could really cause me trouble down the road. I had the wisdom teeth removed in September 2013 by an oral surgeon because they had to be cut out. That pain was actually not bad at all. I was really afraid but I do not remember the procedure after they started my IV. Recovery was not bad it just took a while for the holes to close completely. I must say that I followed post op instructions exactly because I did not want any complications like dry socket (which I've heard is extremely painful).

So my invisalign consult was on 3/25/14. As I stated I was told that I am a good candidate. My biggest goal is closing the gaps but he sure he can correct my bite as well. He referred me to a periodontist to examine gum recession on one bottom tooth. I saw the p eriodontist on 3/31/14 and he has not stated that I need have a frenectomy or frenulectomy (not sure which is correct) on my lower lip and a gum graft. He stated that the frenulum is causing stress on that gum tissue/tooth. That is now scheduled for 4/15 and the gum graft can be done two months after that. I'm afraid to have both done but I'm really dreading the gum graft. He said the frenulectomy will only take about 15 mins and they basically numb the area. The gum graft will take about an hour or two and he took a mold/impression of my upper teeth for a try that looks similar to the aligned but extends to cover my palate where the tissue will be harvested from. He says it will protect the palate and it will feel like a bad pizza burn on my palate. Well I dont know about anyone else but I hate the feeling of having a burn on my palate. My appt for the digital scans/impression for my a ligners is scheduled for 4/22. Im a little nervous now and I will gave to find out at my appt how the gum graft will affect my treatment since the periodontist states I need to wear that clear stent as he called it. I dont see how I could possibly wear my a ligners amd that stent. I will be sure to ask my ortho at the appt on 4/22.

Another step closer to starting my treatment

I'm now a few steps closer to getting started with my treatment. I had my frenectomy done a few days ago. The procedure was not as bad as I expected. It only took about 5 or 10 minutes for him to do it. I didn't feel any pain during the procedure. I was advised to take 3 ibuprofen 1hr before my appt. The dental assistant gave me some Peridex to rinse with and then she put numbing gel on my lower lip area where he would be doing the frenectomy. The periodontist came in and explained the procedure again. He then gave me some O2 and then nitrous oxide to help me relax. I felt a little pressure when he used the needle to administer Lidocaine but that was the only thing I felt. After the procedure they applied this gum like dressing over the lower lip area (looks like I'm hiding gum in my lip). The dressing is applied over my lower teeth. It's actually still on. I have a follow up appt scheduled on 4/24. I have to use the Peridex rinse each morning after breakfast and at bedtime. They area is still slightly tender at times but it's not constant.

Frenectomy

Frenectomy

Given the OK to start the invisalign process!

I had my follow up appt (post frenectomy) last week. The periodontist stated that everything looked good and that I am healing well. He discontinued the Peridex rinse and advised me to use warm salt water rinses 1-2 times per day to help the healing process continue for a few more days. I have no pain or tenderness in the area. I have been given the green light to start the invisalign treatment process. Both the orthrodontist and periodontist agreed that I could get started. I have an appt on 5/6 to have my impressions done for my trays. I am really excited to get the process started. I will likely have the gum graft done prior to wearing my 1st trays though. The orthro office and my periodontist have calculated that I should be able to have the gum graft done and wear the stent (used to protect my graft area) for a few days and have my post op appt before wearing the aligners.

Impression completed today!

I just wanted to report that I had my appt today to have the scans/impressions done for my aligners. I am really excited to be another step closer to starting my treatment. I was at the appt for about 45 mins total. The scans were done digitally. It was painless but it does make your mouth extremely dry because of the air that blows from the wand. The assistant/tech stated the air is to help prevent the camera from fogging up and to prevent any bubbles from accumulating which could interfere with the scans. Before completing the scans of course I signed the paperwork (contract/financial agreement). My insurance does not cover orthodontia for adults so I will be paying for treatment out of pocket. My total cost is $6880. I paid $1500 down and will make monthly payments of $224 (interest free). My total includes the aligners, x-rays/scans, office visits, any refinements, retainers, and office visits 6 months post treatment. I am also very happy with the orthodontist I chose. He is an elite invisalign provider and has had a lot of experience with invisalign which is comforting. The staff is very nice. The customer service provided was definitely a plus.

My trays have arrived!

I received a call from my ortho's office today to inform me that my trays came in. It only took about 2 weeks for them to come back. I am so anxious to get started. The bad news is I will not be starting treatment until I have had the gum graft. My ortho is certain the graft will not affect the scans that were done for my trays so he is on board and thinks I should have the graft done prior to starting treatment. My pre-op appt for the graft is scheduled for 6/15 and I'm hoping to have the graft done shortly after if all goes well.

Gum graft done!

I haven't posted in a while but wanted to write about the gum graft since I said I would. The gum graft was done on Thursday, 6/26. I was advised to take 1 Halcion at bedtime the night before and 1 one hour before my procedure along with 3 ibuprofen. I took all 4 pills at 7am as instructed. My procedure was at 8am. I was advised to have someone drive me there due to the medication impairing my abilities. I was also given a script for Lortab for pain and the Peridex rinse at the pre-op appt a week prior. I had all scripts filled except the Peridex since I had some from the frenectomy that was done several weeks ago. So my procedure began at 8 am as scheduled. The assistant 1st checked my blood pressure and then she gave me some peridex to rinse my mouth. Then she swabed my mouth with a q-tip to numb the lower tooth area where the graft would be done as well as the upper left palate area. I was aware of what she was doing but was also feeling drowsy from the Halcion by this time. The doc came in and injected novocaine in the lower area and upper left palate. I did feel a slight pinch when he injected the novocaine and that is the only pain I felt. They put some glasses over my eyes (not sure why but my eyes were closed anyway because I was feeling drowsy). After the areas where numb he performed the procedure. It sounded like he was simply cleaning my teeth (sound of tools heard at the dentist office). I didnt feel anything. Once he was done. The assistant inserted the stent for my palate. He took pictures and I'm hoping to see them at my follow up appt. They called my mother back and gave us the post-op instructions. I was advised the use ice packs on and off the day of procedure (day after should be moist heat which promotes blood circulation), take pain meds consistently before pain starts and I was told to keep the stent in. I used the ice once home 2-3 times but did not feel a need to after that. I didn't have any swelling. I did take the pain meds twice the day of procedure to prevent any pain from setting in but I was never in any pain. My upper teeth were sore from the stent. Similar to when I had braces tighten as a teenager. I have not taken any pain meds since the day of the procedure. I removed the stent once the night of to rinse it and immediately placed it back in. It seemed that I had so much saliva accumulation (similar to what is described in the reviews on this site when wearing the aligners). I was given a soft toothbrush to use near the donor site (palate) amd advised that I could brush and floss all areas except the graft site. I was also instructed to use the peridex rinse twice a day beginning the day after the procedure and to use warm salt water rinses 3-4 times per day. Although the mouth care took a while because I was afraid it would be painful it actually was not. I thought the peridex rinse would burn but it did not. I have been able to eat soft food that have required no chewing with the stent in. I have not attempted trying to eat without the stent yet. I will have the stitches removed on Wednesday, 7/2. I was advised not to pull my lip down to see the graft area as it may cause the graft to fail by disrupting blood vessels, etc. I will post before and after pictures when I am able to. I plan to try to eat semi-solid food tonight. Im going to try eating with the stent removed because it is difficult to chew with it covering my teeth. I was instructed not to bite into anything because that could also disturb the graft area and cause it to fail. I will post a picture of what the stent looks like. I am happy to say that if all this goes well I will be able to start my invisalign treatment in 6wks.

1wk follow-up post of gum graft

I had the stitches in my palate removed today. So happy to have them out! They became loose a few days ago and I could feel them dangling with my tongue (that drove me crazy lol). The stitches in the graft area will be removed in 2wks. The periodontologist told me that he would be out this week on vacation during my graft so he arranged for the assistant to remove my stitches today so that I would not have to wait until next week. The assistant stated that the graft site looks very well. She advised me to continue using the peridex rinse twice a day and salt water rinses 3-4 times per day. She also reminded me not to bite into anything. I was going to ask her to take a picture today but I forgot my phn (left it in the car). I felt two sharp sticks when she used the tool to snip the stitches to pull them through (she stated it was because the area is still tender). She said the palate site also looks good and will continue to heal.

I have not been in any pain. I began chewing on Sunday night (3 days post graft) and I ate without the stent. I cut the food into small pieces and ate slowly. I did not have any problems with pain at all! I was actually surprised because of all the horror stories I have heard/read. I have been eating a regular diet since then without any issues.

Started my treatment today!

It has been a while since I've posted an update but I'm happy to say that I was able to begin treatment today. I received my first set of aligners today. I have 22 trays for upper and 25 lower. I will receive the attachments in 6wks at my next appt. I was received trays 1-3 today. I have not felt any pain or discomfort so far. Just feels a little weird until i getvused to them. My mouth had been dry so I've been drinking more water than usual which is definitely a good thing.

My graft was completed 6wks ago. At my 3wk follow-up the periodontist advised that all looked well and that I could begin the ortho treatment 6wks post gum graft. I intended to post pictures pre and post graft (for those that may be interested and/or considering a graft) but I accidentally erased the picture prior to the graft. I will post a picture of the area as it is now. It does look a lot better as it was really bad (nearly exposing the root) before.

Two weeks into treatment now on Aligner #2

I haven't posted since getting started but thought that I would check in to say how everything is going. I had been so excited to get started with treatment but after the first couple of days I wondered what I had gotten myself into (like other reviews I've read). I hated how the saliva seemed to collect in my trays and I was constantly having to suck it out (I know very gross). Thankfully the excessive saliva collection in my trays has stopped. My mouth does still get dry. I haven't had much of a lisp. I was actually hoarse for the first 3 day of treatment so no one would have noticed if I was talking weird anyway. I guess I am finally adjusting to the routine of racing to eat, brush, floss, and get the aligners back in. I have been averaging about 22hrs per day. I started my 2nd set the night before going to my dentist for my 6 mo check up/cleaning. Big mistake! I wasn't thinking about the initial soreness. Only the upper teeth were very sore. It felt like my two front teeth were in a vice grip lol. I took some ibuprofen prior to going to the dentist to help with the soreness which did help a bit. I wanted the hygienist to be able to clean my teeth thoroughly and it went well. Of course there have not been any changes yet since it is so early but I am looking forward to continuing this journey in hopes of seeing changes soon.

Btw I know that there are a lot of mixed reviews on what to use/how to clean the aligners. I soaked my first set of aligners in Fresh guard by Efferdent (saw it in the store and thought I would try it) twice and day and I brush them with a soft toothbrush and dawn dish detergent (the dawn was recommended by my ortho). I did noticed that they started to turn a bit yellow and slightly cloudy so I am not sure if it was because of the Fresh guard or what (I only drink water with them in). So far with the new set I have been soaking in peroxide and brushing with the dawn. It has only been a couple of day but they still look like new. I will continue using the peroxide with this set to determine if it was the Fresh guard that caused them to discolor.

Attachments/Aligner #4

I received my attachments on yesterday. I have 15 total, one on almost every tooth except the front bottom four and the very last molars on top and bottom. I know the attachments are needed but I am having a difficult time removing my trays now. The bottom tray is no problem actually but the top is almost impossible to get off. My teeth are very sore. I tried to skip eating today because I did not want to bother taking out the top tray but I became too hungry and had to give in lol. The assistants at my ortho's office said it would get easier to remove them like I was able to prior to getting the attachments but im very doubtful. I really hope that they are right. I cracked my phone so I will post new photos when I'm able to.
Dr Richard Boyd

I love the office. All of the staff is very courteous. The atmosphere is very warm and friendly but professional. I have been very pleased with with the care and service provided. The customer service I received here was the deciding factor in selecting this ortho office.

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Comments (37)

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I found that, despite using the peroxide, that my trays still got a little bit yellow, even when I only drank water.  My ortho said some people's mouth chemistry just made them do that.  But it wasn't very much and it didn't bother me as much as when I was using toothpaste in the beginning.  I like that H202 is also super cheap :).

I'm sorry you had to go through those rough days in the beginning--almost everyone goes through it, but knowing that it will happen just doesn't really prepare you for it as well as you'd wish--at least that was my experience--pretty-much with everything, actually! LOL

Anyway, stoked that you've finally gotten started--it's been such a long road!
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I also use a 50/50 (or 25/75) mix of hydrogen peroxide and water. It helps to keep the aligners clear and prevent yellowing. Between meals I brush with hand soap and rinse well -- I don't want any soapy taste in my mouth!
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Congrats on finally getting to start!! Whoo!! I look forward to reading about your progress!
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Congratulations on finally getting to start your treatment!!!  So exciting!  And you've provided so much extremely useful information even before :D.

Don't be surprised if the discomfort starts creeping up on you over the next 12-24 hours, but it shouldn't be too bad :D.
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Thank you! You are absolutely correct! I began to feel the soreness today but nothing unbearable. My tongue is also a little sore even though the edges are not sharp. Guess l'm just getting used to them. Trying to stay positive because I'm looking forward to leaving the "gap band" lol.
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You're gonna see really quick results, too, I think.  We're gonna start seeing things by tray 6 with you.  I have hope!!  LOL!
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That woud be great! Hope you're right! Lol
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It still sounds terrifying to me, LOL!  You're an inspiration for sure!
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Lol. Honestly it sounds worse than it really is. I was very anxious about it because of all the horror stories I heard. Surprisingly it has been a breeze!
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Fantastic update!  This really gives me hope.  I can't wait to see how it looks, and to hear whether the pain starts later and how the healing goes.  Thank you so much for writing all of this!
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Probably a good idea to heal from the graft first.  The trays can be very irritating, especially in the beginning, and you don't want to be going through that while trying to heal from the graft!  Plus, if you're swollen at all, the tissue will likely hit against the top of the trays.  

Still, it's always disappointing to have to wait for something when it's right there.  I wish you patience and a good outcome from your graft!  You're going to have amazing results after all of this! :D
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Thank you so much for you're encouraging words!
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Sounds like you have a great Doc. Look forward to hearing and seeing about your progress
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He is great! I'm really happy with the choice I made in choosing his office. Good luck with your treatment and I look forward to following your journey also.
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Awesome!  I can tell you, I used my office visits for two years post treatment.  If you have post-treatment complications that show up more than 6 months later (like bite issues or reversion or anything like that) will they charge you per visit?  Just something to consider.  And if you lose a retainer, do they replace one for free or do you have to pay right away?
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I'm so glad you mentioned that (post treatment visits) to me. I called this am and spoke with the treatment coordinator and she said those visits will be covered. I will be charged if I have been noncompliant causing issues or delays in treatment. I do know from my appt on yesterday that they will replace one retainer only. I will be charged for additional replacements. Thank you for all your advice and support it is so helpful being a newbie to this treatment process.
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No problem!  I just saw the price (which is very close to what I paid, by the way,) and wanted to make sure you'd get long-term help if needed.  Your doctor's policies are the same as mine, basically :).  Your teeth are a little more difficult, though :D.  So excited for you!  Is it gonna be about two weeks before you get your aligners?
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She said it could be 4wks but they often come back in 2wks.
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:D!
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Wow!  Everything is moving so fast!  Even though, I suppose, it wouldn't feel that way to you :).  When will you start the gum graft procedure?  I hope you can walk us through that step by step, since we only have that one description here on RealSelf that I pointed you to before.  I hope it's not too painful for you!

Good luck!!!!!!
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The gum graft is tentatively scheduled for mid June. I will definitely be sure to post about. I hope it's not as bad as I'm thinking it well be :/
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Okay, so you have some time to get your brain around that, at least.  Although I'm not sure that would help me!
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Thank you for explaining the frenectomy!  I'd love pics, too, even of the dressing, if it's not painful.  Otherwise, don't worry about it :D.

I hope everything heals quickly!!!
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Thank you! I posted pics of the dressing. Once it's removed I'll try to remember to post a pic of the area. I forgot to take one before the procedure.
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Wow.  Talk about service!  You rock!!!  And thank you…that is a much larger dressing than I was expecting--but that's good, since it means it's covering everything! LOL.  
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