Invisalign...at 55!! - Concord, CA

Day one: 05/16/14. My 55th birthday was yesterday...

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!

Day 4

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

Hi all,

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

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

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.
Name not provided

Concord Dental

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Hi!  I'm hoping things have been smooth sailing since your last update, since you haven't come back :).  Are you in tray 9 or 10 now?
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By the way, I was so surprised about the whole ring sizing thing, that I didn't even notice the ring!  Beautiful!  Are those all diamonds???
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Yes, they are. It isn't an expensive ring though - it's a Vera Wang that we got at Zales.
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:D.  It only matters that you love it!
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I'm sorry too, of course.  I can tell you, I got a crown after my treatment, while still in retainers.  It's probably not impossible.  It's just that it's hard to make the crown fit just right, and your tooth ends up having to move to fit into the aligners.  I don't know how dangerous that is.  I hope they have a good solution for you :(.
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Oh no, sorry to hear about your molar, that sounds like no fun at all :( Keep us updated as to the cause and how you're going to deal with it.
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Great that you got confirmation, and nice to be able to switch trays early! :D  
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I think you have a great idea about going to the doctor right away next time it happens.  I've read experiences like yours on here before, and some of them were fine and others were bad trays, so I think people have trouble describing it.  Letting the doctor take a look is your best bet!
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Are you losing weight or something?  Is it that difficult to size a ring?
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I haven't really lost any weight, although I'd like to. I remember my first wedding ring was a size 5 and it got too tight when I gained a few pounds so I sized up to a 6 and it was too big. This time it started out a 6 1/2 and was way too big. I tried on the sizers they have and 6 felt a little big but 5 1/2 felt a little tight so we went with 5 3/4. The jeweler put a guard on it so I can adjust it and it was very strange to wake up this morning barely able to get it off. Now, later in the day, it's loose again so I think my fingers fluctuate suring the course of the day and I don't think I will have it resized again. On the invisalign note, day two of aligners 3 and no aching whatsoever. YAY!
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Congrats on the no pain!  :)
 
I think it's super normal for finger size to fluctuate during the day, and especially in hot vs. cold weather and stuff.  I can't stand wearing rings.  Hubby and I wore ours for less than a year before we gave up. :)  But we've been married 14 years now so it's all good!
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So happy to hear you got your starter kit.  That was disturbing.  As for the cleaning regimen and stuff, different doctors here on RealSelf have recommended various and sundry things that both agree with and contradict the Invisalign stuff.  If you do use toothpaste, make sure it's not at all abrasive, because the little microparticles make little microscratches in your trays which trap bacterial and grow plaque and are really difficult to clean.  But a non-abrasive toothpaste is fine.  You can also just use soap.  Some of the doctors on here do say denture cleaner is fine.  I've never tried it, but some of our community members have gone through their entire treatment using it without problem, so I don't know what's causing the differences.  Some mouthwashes stain, but if you wanted to get whitening in the trays, they sell regular whitening gels that you can use in the trays even with attachments on your teeth.  So you can ask your doctor about whether that'd be okay for you :).

I don't know whether you want to spend the money, but just in case you didn't already know, there are a couple of products used to accelerate treatment, if you wanted to be done by the time of your wedding.  They are AcceleDent (non-invasive and very expensive) and Propel (slightly less expensive but invasive).
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When you talk about the spacer, is that a pontic?  Like a little fake tooth they put in there?  Are you planning on getting an implant there in the future?  Otherwise I'm not sure why they're working to keep the space open.
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The space is being kept open for a future bridge, and it's just part of th I have one bridge upper left and at some point will have two more, both on the bottom, so the spaces are kept open for that. I kept messing with the area that appeared to be folded and sure enough, it's really soft right there and wants to just bend rather than go over the tooth. I un-bent it but I have to keep doing that. I'm going to see if I can get in before Friday to have them look at it. So far not impressed with this dental office...no cleaning instructions provided, no case, really no information other than the written checklist. I'll be having a conversation at the next visit I'm sure as it will be longer. She's doing the attachments that day.
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Good luck, be strong during your visit, and let us know what happens!
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You should have received a case. Two, in fact. Next time you visit your dentist, ask them where your case is. Not having one can be problematic, for the exact reasons you posted here.
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Yep, what she said.  I've never heard of not getting at least one case.  It comes inside the box.
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Cheap way of cleaning and most effective, bicarb soda and white vinegar. Good luck :)
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Hi there, I am 57, on tray 23 of 29!!!! I didn't have toooo much work to be done, but I did have a pretty good overlap on my two front upper teeth. That's gone now and the bottom, which only needed 14 trays have been done for a while and look great. Every night while I eat dinner, I put my trays in Polident 3 minute for 30 minutes or so. I brush my teeth then brush the tray, and they seem to stay better that way for me. I tried several things to clean them, and this works the best for me with the least effort. My ortho also said water was enough, but that was not doing it for me to keep them relatively clean for 2 weeks. My first week I went out and bought two little pouches that I keep a toothbrush, paste, floss in. One bag goes in purse to go out with and the other stays in my drawer at the office. It's a hassle, but after lunch I brush and put them back in. I never put them back in without brushing first. I certainly don't snack as much anymore because of the hassle of brushing... If we go out to eat, I just take them out and brush up in the restaurant restroom. It's not the best, but I can live with it for now. I am really happy with the outcome so far. There is very little pain past the first 15-20 minutes these days with a new tray. Glad to be past those first few days. They were pretty miserable and I had serious doubts about my decision. Hang tough, you will be glad you did!
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I'm glad to hear the Polident works daily. I was just using it weekly because I was afraid to use it too often since the professionals don't appear to recommend its usage.
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I'm 57 and I got my first set of aligners on May 15th. So far, I haven't had any problems. I've read a lot of invisalign blogs but I have one unanswered question: Can you use the cleaning crystals, and then leave the liquid in the container and put the aligners in that same liquid throughout the day, starting fresh once every 24 hours?
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I haven't bought any special cleaners. Dentist just told me to rinse them, but I feel better if I rub them with toothpaste. When I go back a week from Friday I'll get clarification on exactly what the procedure should be.
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Hi, and welcome! :)  I just wanted to chime in and say that I've tried it, but it got kind of slimy for me. You can always try it and see how it works for you :).  I usually just used the hydrogen peroxide solution for daily soaking, then I'd use the cleaning crystals every once in a while and I'd used them all day for that day before going back.

Are you going to start your own review?  Then you can tell us how it works for you :D.
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Thanks for the replies! One more question: The only way I can get the aligners out is with my fingernail, which is ruining my fingernails! And I imagine it will only get worse when I have attachments. The tool they gave me doesn't work at all---it's too fat. Has anyone thought of something that can be used like a fingernail?
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Sadly, I use my fingernails, too. I tried a tool and it didn't work. I try to keep my nails just long enough to pry aligners out, but not too long that they snap off when yanking. And I keep them well filed as they work so hard. As for eating out, I must admit it not my favourite thing to do anymore. If you don't soak the aligners they get all yukky. I always take a small Tupperware-like container with one squirt of anti-bacterial clear soap. Then when I take the aligners out, I pop them in the container, add warm water, and snap it shut. When my time is up I rinse them again and if the washroom is not crowded I swallow my pride, brush my teeth and aligners, floss, and then put aligners back in. Much easier to do at home, but life is for the living.
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