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Involuntary Invisalign Customer - Falls Church, VA

I'm undergoing this procedure because my dentist...

I'm undergoing this procedure because my dentist says I need to in order to deal with the wearing down of the backs of my upper front teeth. About ten years ago, my dentist addressed this problem by adding composite to the worn-down areas, but now the composite apparently has worn down. I'm pretty angry about having to go through this:

- I don't think I've gotten a clear explanation as to why another round of composite can be added. I'd rather do that every ten years than have to go through this.

- I'm not quite sure how moving my teeth around will fix the problem. If the wearing down is caused by teeth grinding at night, the solution should be for me to to consistently wear a mouth guard. I don't think any grinding is going on while I'm awake.

- I don't understand why this costs $6,000 for 8 months. (They are knocking $500 off after I complained a bit.)

- It's incredibly disruptive. They say I have to wear them 22 hours a day (removing them only to eat and drink), and floss and brush my teeth and the aligners every time I eat.

- They don't tell you about the on-teeth buttons ahead of time.

I started on March 15, 2013. I'll go through 15 sets for the upper teeth and 16 sets for the lower teeth, going through a set every two weeks. I was shown a picture of the buttons they'll be affixing to my teeth. I thought it might be 4, and off to the sides. Nope. It'll be 6 to 8 (don't remember from the picture), including two smack-dab in front, on my two upper-front teeth.

The first sets are button-free. There was some pressure/soreness on the first day, and a lot more on the second day. Today (the third day) there's significantly less pressure/soreness. In two weeks I'll get the buttons added on. I'm using a stopwatch on my phone when I take the aligners out to eat. So far I've managed to essentially hit the 22-hour mark both days. (I went over 2 hours without them in by just a little bit.)

I'm 37, male, single. Right now I see this as just one more thing to endure. I think this will be a very tough year for me.

One question for people out there is: Is there any way I can speed this up? From what I understand, most of the movement happens when a new set is first worn, and the remaining time (before the next set arrives) essentially keeps the teeth in their new place. Is it possible to shorten that maintenance period and go to a new set earlier?

3/14/13 update: I've had the first set in for a...

3/14/13 update: I've had the first set in for a bit over a week now, and it feels like a long time already. I use a stopwatch on my phone whenever I take the aligners out to eat and drink. So far I haven't dipped below 21.5 hours each day (and closer to 22 hours), except last night, when I was out at a social gathering and had forgotten to bring a toothpaste/toothbrush/floss/container kit. That day clocked in at 19 hours. On Friday I tried going out to eat at a restaurant, and it was pretty annoying trying to floss and brush everything in a men's room with only one sink, and other customers coming and going. Drinking socially seems to be out. I'd thought I'd have to give up coffee, but if I make a cup first and let it cool a bit before taking the aligners out, I'm able to drink it pretty quickly.
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Comments (5)

Charlotte, I really feel for you. 47 aligners? Is that almost two years? Ugh. I don't know about the difficulty in taking them off. I haven't had the buttons put on yet.
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Detente, I started mine in January, and am on my 5th set as of today. I wish I had asked more questions before starting the Invisaligns, because they are more difficult than I thought they would be. Taking them off, especially the lowers is very very difficult for me which is something I didn't know would happen. I have a few buttons on the lowers, but only one on the uppers because I have a bridge on uppers so I only need 8 aligners on them, but about 47 on the lowers, which I can't imagine going through for such a long time. Eating outside of the home is so disruptive for me. I'm just trying to hang in there. I keep mine out longer than two hours a day, because I just have to have my snacks because I can't afford to loose weight. Good luck to you. Charlotte
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Charlotte, I really feel for you. 47 aligners? Is that almost two years? Ugh. I don't know about the difficulty in taking them off. I haven't had the buttons put on yet.
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I would strongly encourage you to ask the questions you have posted to your dentist. Invisalign (or any orthodontic work) takes a lot of dedication, so if you aren't motivated to do it, it might not go well. Its one of those things you kind of have to want to do. If you are still feeling the way you described you might want to talk to your dentist about discontinuing treatment. :-/

Please keep us posted on how you are doing, what you find out, and what you decide to do.

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Thanks for responding, Megan. I did ask my dentist these questions, and sort of got an answer, but he's been saying I need to do this for a few years now and finally I bite the bullet and began. I realize there's a problem with wearing down my back front teeth; I'm just not sure why another round of composite to buy another 10 years isn't doable. I've already started and not going back, but it can't hurt to keep asking my dentist these questions.
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