Straight Teeth - Happy 50th Birthday to ME! - Ellicott City, MD

Today's the big day--after work I get my...

Today's the big day--after work I get my Invisalign. Very excited to review the plan with my dentist, looking at the progression week by week. I had braces in the 6th and 7th grade in the 70s, but soon after high school I stopped wearing my retainer. My bottom teeth quickly shifted out of line. I figured no big deal, I still had an overbite so no one would see my bottom teeth when I smiled. Then, about 3 or 4 years ago, I noticed my top teeth shifting and a gap starting between the two front teeth. No idea why this was happening, I figured I was grinding them in my sleep and something was moving a bit. I really started disliking my smile. Everyone else said it was fine, but that's all I could pick out from a picture. The teeth mattered...to me at least.

Why did I decide to do it? Well, first of all, I switched to a new dentist who suggested I consider it. Oh no! SHE sees it! After I stopped my private freakout that my crooked teeth were NOT my imagination, I started thinking, ok, I need to do this. Then, my mom passed away and left me enough to be able to afford the plunge. It was time. Well, tonight it's time.

So--my treatment plan. You'll see from the photos that my bottom teeth will take longer than my top. The total plan is for 23 trays (46 weeks). The top teeth will take about 11-12 trays to get things straight and gap-free. You can see it's the bottom teeth that will need the full amount of time to get the canines moved out and the teeth in front in line. When it's done the crowding and the crookedness should be in the past. The actual number of treatment trays is 20, with the last 3 to overcorrect the jet just a bit and hold.

Worries? A few. I teach and I'm worried about lisping and doing other unpleasant and embarrassing things in front of my elementary school classes. I think I'll just come out and tell them and try to make it some sort of sharing moment. They all either have sibs with braces or have them themselves. Eating--I'm actually looking forward to it restricting my snacking. That can't be a bad thing. However, it seems to be a pain to have to carry the cleaning gear on me all the time but I think that's just something to get used to. The pain--yes I remember the pain from my younger years and there was no Advil back then. Please let Advil be enough, ok?

One thing that wasn't fun but I understand why it had to be that way--the impressions. They take the standard putty goop in the tray ones, but then they fill THAT mold with a liquid latex, and your teeth must be completely dry. You hold THAT in place for another five minutes and it creates a much more detailed impression for the molds to be built. I can see why they want the tiny details of your teeth for everything to fit closely but wow, that was not a ton of fun. And then when the five minutes are up, they've got to get in there and pry the latex mold off your teeth. Yowza! But I and my five decades of dental work survived.

So I'm excited, nervous, worried, the whole thing. The next few days will be kind of messy I fear. But I'm confident that next spring I will be a lot more confident overall :-)).

Week one...rolling along!

Today I'm at the near-end of my first week of treatment, and it HAS been a week of adjustment and some discomfort, but mostly just adjustment. The biggest change has been in routine. No more grabbing a bite here and there...and that's a good thing. But eating DOES have to be planned. You want a private spot to yank your trays out and some water to rinse them with, and of course, something to store them in. Hopefully the case! And then, after eating, you want to clean your teeth before putting them back in. Easier said than done. I teach at two schools so I keep a plastic container with toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, and small cups in a workroom near the sink. Luckily I have workrooms only I and my immediate coworkers can access.

Hygiene--ok, I recall not being NEARLY as grossed out by things caught in my braces when I was a kid...as an adult it will drive me over the edge so in a pinch, in a public place, I can get by with a mouth rinse of water but it's got to be SEVERAL GOOD rinses and even then I'm paranoid something's there, and obsessing on all that invisible plaque rotting my tray-covered teeth. Funny how you don't dwell on that when you're 11. Much more comfortable socially knowing I brushed and flossed good before popping these babies back in. I guess it's just part of being more socially conscious as an adult ;-))...

I survived my second day of Invisalign chaperoning my daughter and her friends on their 8th grade class trip to Philadelphia. Had to smile when before lunch we chose an out of the way restroom to wash up and she kicked all her friends out and left so I could have some private time wrangling the trays!

Discomfort-- I never thought my teeth could have an attack of claustrophobia but on the second day they did. Yes on the field trip. Of course there was no place to take them out on the bus so I couldn't wait to get home to get the trays out. They didn't hurt...they just couldn't stand being confined anymore! It's only happened that time. It was a strange feeling. Uppity teeth felt trapped. Like they're not used to being trapped in my mouth all the time?

And finally, do they hurt? Gums and tongue were sore from adjusting to edges and rubbing of trays but that was only a nuisance for a day or two. But I haven't had the active trays in yet...we'll see in another week when tray two goes in...

Uh-oh...something's snapped off...

Of course, it's the start of a 3 day holiday weekend...and a big attachment on one of my upper canines snapped off. Is this an emergency? Can I wait for the office to reopen Tuesday to get it rebonded? It can't wait four weeks to my next regular check, can it?

SO worth it!!!

Hi everyone, six trays into my treatment and I've noticed the changes and so has everyone around me. This has been totally worth the expense and inconvenience...and to be honest there hasn't been too much inconvenience. I got used to wearing the trays, and a routine down to handle them in when I take them out to eat and clean them. That really seems to be the biggest thing--working out what you're going to do when you're out and about and want to eat. I do like to be able to clean them well as well as my teeth before putting them back in. However, in a real pinch, I do make sure I have at least a sandwich size ziploc bag to slip them into to slide into a safe inside purse pocket. I'm not real wild about the containers that come with them, they're not watertight so if you rinse off your trays any leftover water can leak out.

But other than that....and that's minor...I've been really really happy with this process....take a look at my tray six photos (and 17 trays to go!) and compare them to my originals---I feel like I'm off to a great start!
Dr. Jennifer Enlow

So far, so good. She's been very clear in explaining what will be done. Looking forward to continued good experience with actual treatment. Will use star rating later in treatment when I have a better idea how it's going.

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