Thank you for following my Invisalign Journey. I...
I have a severe case of Dental Phobia. I have no idea where it stems from, but it is as real as anything you can feel. I am 25, graduated from college, have an amazing job, and am doing well for myself. One of the few voids in my life has been healthy teeth. I have not been to the dentist since I was able to drive. I would always make excused why I could not go so my mom would not make me. It carried over into college and after graduation. But I have finally come to the conclusion that I want to fix my teeth and overcome my fear.
I originally found a sleep dentist in my town that specialized in Dental Phobics. I never knew that existed! I LOVED that place. I felt as comfortable as I possibly could and everyone from the receptionist to the dentist knew who I was when I walked in the door. They were prepared for me and my fears... But HOLY COW were they expensive. They recommended a ton of work, 4 or 5 crowns, 13 or so fillings, wisdom teeth extraction, and then Invisalign. $7,000 for dental work and $5,000 for Invisalign. Grand total of $12,000. Please do not get me wrong, I was more than happy to pay that right then to get my treatment. They did not finance so I would have to come up with the funds on my own.
Things changed soon after that consultation and I moved to a new job. That dentist was no longer in network, so I decided to try another sleep dentist just outside of town. Since my XRays were recent, they used the same ones the other dentist used. Their recommendation was wisdom teeth extraction, and 5 fillings. I asked about the crowns and he looked very confused. He could not figure out where they were going to put them. So, $1,300 for dental work and $4,500 for Invisalign. Grand total is $5,800. That is a big difference! They do not finance either, but much more obtainable!
So, I am getting my wisdom teeth extracted Dec. 27th. And my fillings will all be completed by the 27th of January. Then I will be ready for ORTHO! :)
So, since they are not in town for Invisalign, and you need to go in many times throughout treatment, I decided to see what my options were here in town for the Invisalign part of my treatment. This is where I am at now in the process.
The first place I priced I really liked. She is a cosmetic dentist. She understood I had a fear of being there and she seemed to be understanding. Her price is $4,700 ($750 down and payments can be made for the length of your treatment). She predicted about a year for me, but we would know more once we had an official treatment plan. I like this option so I do not have to come up with everything at once.
I have an appointment with two more places next week. One with a cosmetic dentist and another with an orthodontist. I know this is a big debate as to which is better. I would love to know how everyone feels about this.
Also, I have a few concerns about Invisalign along with my fear. Since I have been able to face my fears and go for these consults, I have been able to figure out the main thing that triggers my anxiety. The sounds. It is by far the worst part... Are there many tools used that would make the drill sound? I will probably need attachments and I have been told I need to grind some of my teeth down in order to allow them to move correctly. Any help with that would be greatly appreciated!
I will update when I have more information about what direction I am going to go. Thanks for following my journey! :)
Note about the dentist I saw: I told him about my anxeity and he passed it off like it was nothing. He immediately looked in my mouth using a mirror and a pick - HELLO, I have a ANXEITY! He just said 'you are alright' and kept going. While I was proud of myself for not jumping out of the chair, it still was not good practice.
I have another consult this afternoon with an Orthodonisit. He is actually rated on this site. We will see!
However, I did like what the doctor had to say. He was very nice and I could tell he knew his stuff! He was saying things to the assistant I had not heard anyone else say when I had a consult. He was the most thorough about expaining what Invisalign is and what they do. He recommends 18 months and is $5800. It is the longest and most expensive treatment I have been quoted for so far, however, I trust it for some reason?
Widom Teeth Removed and Other Dental Work
Then yesterday was the first appointment to have my other dental work done. For those of you that do not remember, I am a dental phobic, so I have SEVERE dental anxiety. I would not even call it anxiety, really. I would more so call it being completely terrified over something you can not get over. It is a very hard feeling to describe. But none-the-less, it is a very real and scary feeling.
So, my dentist prescribed Triazolam to calm me down. For those of you that do not know what this is, it is a medication perscribed for people with severe insomnia and for people that have to go through very stressful situations. It is for relieving anxeity... Well, let me tell you... I think these pills were made of sugar or something. It did absolutely NOTHING for me. They even doubled up on the perscription to help calm me down. After I took double the normal dose, they took my blood pressure. (I have naturally low blood pressure - usually upper 90s over upper 60s) My blood pressure after the double dose was 145/110! Yeah, that was insane!!!
However, I was already there. I was crying hysterically because these meds did nothing for me. But I was so determined I decided to go through with it anyway. So, they did as much work as they could and then scheduled me for my final appointment on the 28th. I do not know if I should even bother taking these meds. I was 100% stressed, alert, awake, and whatever the pills where supposed to do. I do not see the need. I am not sure how I am going to do it, but I just have one more appointment and I will be ready to take my impressions for Invisalign!
I AM DETERMINED!!
Ready for Invisalign!!
I am still shopping for the right Invisalign provider. Karen Shaw turned out to be a bust. Because my anxiety was getting better, I thought I could handle not going to a sedation dentist and have her complete my treatment, then I could start Invisalign with her right after. She sends me an email telling me my 'anxiety is too confusing' so I need to go elsewhere for Invisalign treatment.
I was devastated. I tried calling her to talk about it and she would not talk to me. He staff said "it is not possible to talk to her." While I was very upset, I actually realize now that it was a blessing. Who would want someone like that working on my teeth! I have come so far to battle my anxiety and I felt confident enough to have her complete my treatment. What is so confusing about that?!
Instead I went to my sedation dentist and was not sedated. I completed the dental work and I am now ready for Invisalign!!
I went to another consult. I really liked them. They quoted me $5800 including a retainer and refinements. They require $500 down and payments for 12 months.
My sedation dentist also offered me Invisalign. $4500 including refinements, retainer, and whitening. $2500 down and $200 per month until paid. The problem with them is they are 45 minutes away. Do you think that would be worth it??
Also, there is another option. I saw a Groupon coupon for $3000. They are an hour and 20 minutes away, but that is potentially thousands of $$$ in savings. I looked up the dentist and they have great reviews... What do you all think about that?
I have a few more consults the next couple of weeks. I will be ready to start everything this month. So wish me luck!!!
Also, here are the first "before" photos!! I will post more when I finally get my first trays.
My current dentist is one I can trust. He is not an orthodontist, but I have seen before and after photos from his practice and they are beautiful. That is what I want my teeth to look like!! :)
As a dental phobic, any dentist that can gain my trust to work on me without any type of sedation deserves an applause. I would also like to acknoledge the Dental Assistant, Alisha. She spends the most time with me. She takes care of me, explains things, and even gives me a hug if she feels like I am in a freak out mode. Dr. Boles called me "the bravest person he knows" and while I know he is just saying that and does not truely mean it, it reminds me that I am doing a great job.
So, here is the breakdown of how it is going to go financially... They charge $4500 including refinements and whatever retainer I would like. I am thinking I will get the permanent, but I will ask about that when the time gets closer. The practice is about 45 minutes away from my home, so it is quite a hike. But I have been to MANY consults, and I just do not feel as comfortable as I do with Dr. Boles.
I will try to take photos of taking the impressions. If I can't, I will update with everything I can remember.
Okay, for those that are reading this that are trying to understand the Invisalign process this is how it goes... When you go for a consult, the dentist/ortho will tell you a guess of how long they feel the treatment will be. However, you do not KNOW until you get your ClinCheck back from Invisalign. A ClinCheck is an animation of your teeth. It shows a video of how your teeth look now and how your teeth will look. It is only then when you know how long your treatment will take. I was given an estimated time from 12-18 months. When my ClinCheck came back, it turns out my treatment will only take 15 trays/30 weeks (about 7 months)! That was a wonderful surprise!!
So, I did some INTENSE research before getting my trays to make sure I was prepared. I have attached a photo of my "survival kit". I keep one in my purse, car, and at work. I have used every single item in this kit. I would recommend something similar for everyone getting Invisalign. In this kit is a travel toothbrush, floss picks, toothpaste, tray container, wisps, lip balm, and dental wax. Let me explain the wisp, lip balm, and dental wax...
Wisp - you will get caught in a place from time to time where a full toothbrush/floss treatment is impossible. It is good to be prepared.
Lip Balm - Not sure why this is, but your lips will dry out like crazy! I am constantly applying lip balm. CONSTANTLY.
Dental Wax - This was a life saver for me. There will be places that will irritate the inside of your gums and cheeks. In my case, my tray was cutting the bottom of my tongue. I got some of this wax, placed it in the bothersome area, and BOOM! No more issues. It works better than I could have imagined! It is a MUST for your survival kit. I cannot stress that enough.
Okay, back to the experience so far - It has only been a few days, so I will be happy to share more once I know more. But here it is right now... I have 19 attachments. You can barely see them. They are must better than I thought they would be (especially with 19!). I have attached a photo. Even in the photo you can barely see. I have to point them out to people that are looking for them. It is crazy...
I am having issues with a top tooth hitting an attachment when I close my mouth when my trays are not in. This is causing my teeth not close all the way which makes it hard to chew things. Impossible, really. So I am in a mashed potato and soup diet until that tooth moves. The ClinCheck shows that tooth as being one of the first to move, so I am hoping it will fix itself soon.
Pain - It isn't that bad really. I thought it would be wayyyy worse than it is. What was the most painful (by far) were the cuts on the bottom of my tongue. The dental wax solved that issue instantly. Other than being alittle sore, the pain is nothing. I am not taking any pain killers at all.
Brushing your teeth in public - embarrassing. Most people ignore me and they are probably thinking I am OCD about my teeth or something. I did run into a lady at Olive Garden last night that had braces too. It was refreshing to meet someone that understood what I was doing. :)
Well, I will post photos of my progress and let you guys know how it is going!
Actually, the dentist I decided to go with is Dr. Boles III in Wilson, NC. Do NOT go to Dr. Karen Shaw for treatment. It was a horrible experience.