Day one: 05/16/14. My 55th birthday was yesterday...
16 May 2014
Day of treatment
Day one: 05/16/14. My 55th birthday was yesterday. I grew up in a rather poor household and my mom knew I needed braces but didn't have the money. I had a lot of teeth pulled out to make room, and the remaining teeth settled into position. At least they were no longer stacked literally on top of each other.
The left side got straighter than the right, but the center top incisors were out in front, and that didn't change. The first incisor on the right next to the center stayed back, but the canine teeth at least dropped down into a semi-normal position. They were way high and nearly sticking straight out when I was a kid. I have no photos because I wouldn't allow anyone to take pictures that showed my teeth.
So I got aligners 1 today and am supposed to wear them 20-22 hours a day and go back in 2 weeks for the attachments. I really have a hard time getting them in, and out, and I'm sure this gets easier with time.
I'll be back to report more when there is more to report!
I thought I should mention that I have a treatment plan of 48 aligners and my expected treatment is supposed to be 17-18 months.
Work from home today lasted for about 2 hours, then PG&E turned off the power for maintenance. I was prepared for this. I’d already showered and dressed, so I just grabbed my computer and went to Starbucks.
What I wasn’t prepared for and I’ll have to get used to, is being out all day and having to deal with taking the Invisalign out to eat/drink and then put them back in. It doesn’t hurt to put them in, and I’ve got pretty good at it, but I do have to use the special tool to remove the lower one. Both of them are not real comfortable to remove but to put them in is fine. Interestingly enough, I can feel when they’re not in, like when they’re in I definitely know they’re there, and my tongue is getting a little bit sore on the right so I think my tongue has to get used to them being there.
I’m really nervous about them becoming an incubator for bacteria and getting cavities, so I sat there at Starbucks sipping my water for as long as I could and at noon I just couldn’t take it any more and I took them out and ate half of a sausage sandwich. I went to the restroom and used the Colgate Wisp I had in my bag on my teeth and the aligners, and then rinsed and spit several times before putting them back in. The power was still out when I was ready for dinner so I followed the same procedure. Now I’m home and I’m headed in to clean everything and put them in for the night.
I guess this all gets easier and more automatic with time, huh?
Day 10...still tray set 1
So I have had no issues. No pain, no problems whatsoever with wearing these. But, I accidentally threw them away. Twice. My dentist office did not give me a container of any kind, and both incidents were ones where I took them out for a meal and out them on a napkin, then covered them with another napkin since I wasn't eating alone. The first time I was at the kitchen table and after putting the dishes in the dishwasher I wanted to brush and put them back in and realized what I'd done. No biggie...still on too of the trash. But the second time was at a fast food place and I (fortunately) caught myself before dropping the tray's contents because fishing in a public trash can is just...well...icky to out it mildly and then the thought of putting something in my mouth afterwards is just nasty. I have the ziplock pouch they came in and now, no matter where I'm sitting down to eat, that's where they go.
Potential problem: the farthest back left lower molar is next to an empty spot since I'm missing a tooth there. Two issues and I'll check with the dentist on Friday when I go back for visit #2 but that one has never felt like it sits well. It actually looks like it's folded over and I don't know if it's always been that way or if I did it. Second issue with that part of the tray is the spacer looks really nasty inside of it and the brushes of the toothbrush don't get into that space. I've tried rolling up the corner of a washcloth, and that doesn't fit. Any ideas what I could use to clean that space?
Day 15, Tray 2, now with attachments
Got attachments yesterday. Not fun. The thing they put in my mouth to hold it open is very uncomfortable, I thought my lips would crack and fall off.
They discovered that the problem I was having with the tray fitting on the left rear molar is probably a manufacture defect and they may have to have the lower trays remade. I'm supposed to let them know how this one fits, and it is already torn so on Monday I'll notify them that they will have to have a warranty remake. The tech who was applying the attachments couldn't get the template on that tooth, so it's a mistake apparently on all of them and it wasn't just me putting the bottom tray on incorrectly.
Anyway, now I know what ache is. I can tell which teeth are being worked on, as there is a bit of a constant ache there along with PAIN when I brush that tooth, so I am on my way to having straighter teeth. I will be more careful to make sure the hard part of the handle of the toothbrush doesn't bump against that tooth again .
I'm excited to be on this journey. I am getting married on February 15, and that will be month 9 of my treatment so only halfway but I am hopeful that these front super crooked teeth will be in a better position so I won't be self conscious about smiling.
For the person who mentioned they clean their aligners using polident: I got my starter kit now, with 2 cases...YAY for not throwing my aligners in the trash again...and in the brochure it specifically states NOT to use denture cleaners. It says to use plain old toothpaste and no mouthwash...I was using a drop of mouthwash (the whitening kind) in each aligner thinking I could cheat myself some whitening so I won't be doing that anymore. Just toothpaste folks and a soft toothbrush, nothing more.
Tray set #3 - June 13, 2014
Well, set #2 was somewhat achy the first few days but then no big deal. Tray set #3 has been in all day and the only time I feel them is when I go to remove them. I think the teeth that ache a little upon removal are the ones that are feeling the shift.
I see no difference, but I don't really expect to yet.
I did get my engagement ring today though! We picked it a couple of weeks ago and it was being sized. It's still too big! I can't part with it for another 2 weeks for sizing again (yet) so I'm going to wait and before the wedding in February I will definitely have to have it sized down. For now, the jeweler put a ring guard on it for me.
Tray set #4, Day 8
I didn't take any photos when I changed on Friday the 27th because we were on our way out for a kinda sorta vacation. My fiancé had a conference in Seattle and my company was closed for a week so I went along. I wanted to make sure I got tray set 4 started so I put them in Thursday night even though I technically wasn't scheduled to change until Friday morning.
I'm really too early in this process to make any judgment calls on this process, but so far the pattern I see is a little bit of ache, more when I take them out than when they're in, for the first couple of days. I think that's because my teeth get right with the program and move like they're supposed to!
I'm supposed to go back a week after I put in set 5 to get evaluated and pick up the next 4 sets.
The one thing I find weird, and I'll check with the doc when I get there, is the fold that keeps happening on the molar part of the lower aligner. These are the teeth that have a space in front of them that is being kept open for future bridges, and the aligners crease on both sides right in front of the existing molar.
The upper tray of this set felt weird for the first 3-4 days because the upper right rear molar didn't seem to be in the aligner. I could feel it moving. It's a good thing we don't eat with these in because the way this one seemed to move it definitely would have been a catch-all for all kinds of nasty stuff. Anyway, that only was the case for about 4 days, now it seems to fit fine.
So to those of you who've been with this process longer, is it common to have one tooth seem to not be in the aligner at all for a few days? I understand the aligners don't fit at first because the whole point is to force the teeth in line, but it honestly felt like this tooth wasn't in the aligner at all. When I go to set 5 on Friday I plan to go in right away if it feels like that on that set too so the dentist can see it and tell me if it looks right.
All is well with this 55-year-old finally getting her teeth straightened while planning her wedding!
Tray Set #5 Day #1
11 Jul 2014
2 months post
Today I went to tray set 5. I had an appointment with my regular dentist for a cleaning, and I told the hygienist that I kept feeling something stuck in between my two center bottom teeth. I'd tried floss, wisp, regular brushing, and even the little brushes and it was still there. Nope, nothing there. She said I was feeling tooth movement, and there's a bit of a ridge that wasn't there before.
So this is working!
Then I went to the invisalign doc this afternoon and showed her how the upper right doesn't seem to fit right and she said that's normal, that the fact that it didn't fit right the last time for the first few days and then it did is more confirmation that it's working. She told me to bite down on it as I think of it and gave me a supply of the little round gauze things.
So all is well! I feel like I see a little bit of a difference...I definitely can feel the difference. After about 4-5 days in a new set they are no longer hard to put in or take out because my teeth have done what they're supposed to. I asked her if I really had to wait a full two weeks between trays and she said that I could go to 10 days, as long as they are nice and snug. She showed me pictures of aligners that weren't seated well and she said if they look like that not to move forward, that they have to be snug.
Picked up tray sets 6-11 and I go back in about 60 days! All is well and I'm really glad I made the decision to do this.
Tray Set #6 Day 4
27 Jul 2014
2 months post
So, I changed trays on Wednesday July 23 at day 12 even though I'd been given permission to change at day 10. I waited until the prior set was not achy at all for a minimum of 3 days before changing because I was afraid pushing it would end badly.
Last night, on day 3 of the new set, I was at a dinner party with my fiancé about 40 miles from home and I realized during appetizers that one of my molars felt sharp, and after my tongue explored the situation I realized I'd lost half of a tooth. Damn! I called my regular dentist and since I wasn't in any pain to warrant an emergency trip back home, she's going to see me first thing Monday morning. Her concern is same thing she told me when I had my regular cleaning a couple of weeks ago, and that is when Invisalign is happening you can't change the surface of a tooth. I am really concerned that whatever happens tomorrow will cause the trays to have to be redone and that would seriously suck.
I also wonder if the pressure put on the teeth during Invisalign treatment could have contributed, if not caused, the tooth to break. The Invisalign dentist told me that the treatment moves the back teeth first, to make room for the front teeth to move into proper alignment.
Tray Set #7 Day 1
8/4/14: I went 12 days on tray set #6 because I was afraid to go 10 after having the tooth break last time. I placed set #7 in this morning and they were really tough to get in, but settled quite fast. When I took them out for lunch I could feel a distinct ridge in the lower front teeth that I didn't feel last night. I realized that floss is much easier to get in between all of my teeth and I'm definitely getting some movement. I think maybe this actually loosens teeth a bit, which makes sense, and I just hope that I don't have any more dental issues like broken teeth during this process.
I think I see a difference now. Not much of course, since this is only tray set #7 out of 48, but I think I can see a change.
25% there. Tray set #13 - 10/15/14
15 Oct 2014
5 months post
A milestone. I just started tray set 13 of 48, so I'm 25% through.
I don't see a difference, but I feel a difference. I can definitely tell the last set was beginning the process of pushing my 2 front incisors back a bit. When the process starts moving the really crooked tooth on the right, that sits behind the others, I have a feeling that one will really let itself be known!
Overall no problems. The one broken tooth from a couple of months ago has held with the seal. The orthodontist told me that if my general dentist felt it needed to be crowned before my Invisalign treatment was complete, that it can be done by giving the most recently finished aligner to the lab that makes the crown. They'll custom make it to fit that surface. Yay!! Come March when I have double dental coverage I will proceed with that exercise.
Tray set 19 of 48
10 Jan 2015
8 months post
I haven't updated in awhile. I had tendon repair surgery on my right foot in October and 8 weeks of non-weight bearing cast took its toll for sure. Then I had a setback with the aligners. I went to put in a new set (I think it was set 16) and the top aligner wouldn't fit - not even close. I looked more closely and saw that it was perfectly straight teeth! So aligner 16 was made incorrectly. My dentist gave me the option of staying in 15 until she got the warranty replacement, or skipping 16 on the top and moving on to 17 for the top while wearing #16 on the bottom for 10 weeks, then staying in 17 on the top while moving to 17 on the bottom for 10 days. I opted for the latter. I must say that skipping one made for a pretty painful first couple of days, but it really was only about 2 days.
Once I got back on track, dealing with the pain of the foot and the arthritis flare-ups in my knees (probably from using only my left leg for 8 weeks and then walking funny and unlevel in a boot for another 4 weeks), I honestly put the Invisalign on hold. I was forgetting to put them in after breakfast, and would go all day without them.
I'm now back on track, and started tray set 19 of 48 two days ago. I'm back on my 10-12 day cycle. My dentist gave me permission to move every 10 days, but if I'm still achy at 10 days I wait until there is no more ache. When I told her that she said it was perfect - I'm listening to my body say it isn't ready.