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My Invisalign Journey -Greenville, NC

Thank you for following my Invisalign Journey. I...

Thank you for following my Invisalign Journey. I have been reading the posts from many others and I wanted to share my experiences. I have not yet started the actual treatment. I am still in the process of finding the right doctor for the job. I have had a few consultations and I have a few more scheduled for the next few weeks. Let me give you some background on why this is so important to me...

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! :)

Another Consultation

Yesterday afternoon I went to a Consultation with a dentist that uses ClearCorrect, which is an off-brand of Invisalign. He took a look at my teeth and said that any clear tray aligner (ClearCorrect or Invisalign) would not work to straighten my teeth. I am a case that would need braces. However, I have already been to 3 consults that have determined I am a good case. Has anyone had this happen? He said that he believes my bottom teeth will not to be rotated more than 30 degrees so it can not be done using a tray. He also said he guarantees I will not get the results I want is 99.9% sure of it. Thoughts?

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!

Othodontist Consult

I had a consult with an ortho yesterday evening and it went very well. The way the office is set up is not very 'dental phobia' friendly, as it is all open inside and everyone sits with everyone. I did not like it too much.

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

Hello everyone! Sorry it has been so long since I updated. I would like to tell everyone about what has been going on so far... I had my wisdom teeth removed at the end of December. It went perfectly. I had no issues at all.

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!!

Okay, so here is the latest - I have completed all dental work necessary to get Invisalign! My last appointment was last Tuesday. And here is the best part - I went through with the whole thing with no anxiety meds! That is one of the biggest accomplishments I have ever done for myself. I know people do not understand, but that is up there with graduating college and buying my house... It is crazy to think of just a year ago, I had anxiety attacks calling the office to make an appointment. And now (while it was difficult), I had 2 fillings and a cleaning with NO medication. I am so proud of myself!!

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.

IMPRESSIONS TODAY!!

I have finally made a decision on where to go. It may be a hasty one, but nonetheless, I am ready to get started. I have waited a year to just start the treatment. I have gone through so much to push through my fear and I feel like I finally have.

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.

FINALLY STARTED!!

I received my first trays on Feb. 27th. Assuming all goes well, I will complete treatment at the end of September of this year!!

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!

Before/After Photo of Tray 1

Started Tray 2 last night... WOOOOO is it tight!! I will be in pain this weekend. :) Here is a before photo of my teeth before treatment and an after photo of the end of tray 1. Enjoy!

After Tray 2...

Tray 2 of 15

Here is a photo of the progress (or lack of...). I know my clincheck shows my teeth moving up and down more than "straightening" but I would still love to see progress... :) It will come soon.

2 trays down... 13 to go!!
Raleigh-Durham Cosmetic Dentist

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.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait tmes
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Comments (26)

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Woohoo!  And I just looked at your ClinCheck again.  So exciting!!!  But yeah, two trays would be a bit soon to see results with the naked eye ;).
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Well done for facing your fears! As for going for a dentist or orthodontist, I think it depends on how complex your case is and as cliche as it sounds, your gut instinct. I chose a ortho because I have an overbite and overjet that I want to try and fix and the one I chose has extensive experience in similar cases and my dentist (who is lovely) has limited experience in comparison. Good luck, look forward to following your progress! And who knows by the end of your treatment you may conquer your fear all together and if not at least you will have proven to yourself that even though it terrifies you, you can do it if you really have to. I think that having a dentist you can trust that makes you feel comfortable Is fantastic!! Go you!!!
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You may want to ask your dentist for chewies--it may help you settle your teeth into the new trays a little faster, so that you can get over the pain faster.  You can also get them online, but your doctor may have them for free. :)
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I have thought about that. It helps with the pain? I am in! lol
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Some people have said it does.  Some people use OTC medication every tray.  The people doing AcceleDent seem to feel it helps with the pain as well, but that's, like, a thousand bucks for pain relief. :)
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Awesome survival kit!  Remember that the ClinCheck only goes so far--if your teeth don't move exactly as predicted, you may end up with refinements--which is common.  But overall, it shouldn't take longer than the initial estimate you got.

So glad to hear you're settling in so well!!
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Is that Dr. William B. Boles, Jr.?

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Hi! I just got your message... The dentist is Dr. William Boles III.
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Oh!  *LOL*  Father and son and sister in the same practice!  That's adorable!
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I've switched it, and he was even in our database already, so his picture popped up! :D
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YAY! That is awesome. :) Does he have other reviews on here?
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Nope, you're the first!  He'd better do a good job or his reputation will be totally shot ;).  Does he know you post on here?  My orthodontist had never heard of RealSelf, and I'm pretty sure she still has very little clue. :)
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I feel for you on the anxiety! I'm so lucky that my dentist has a whole "relaxation" treatment set up for situations like this. I'm like you, terrified of the dentist and the procedures, which is why I wanted Invisalign over metal braces (other than the whole looks thing). I was so terrified, I lived with broken teeth (really broken, pieces breaking off for years) instead of having them fixed. When I finally went in to have the teeth pulled, the Valium I took had NO affect on me, they ended up having to give me laughing gas and I still freaked through the whole thing. The next time I went in to have 6 cavities filled, they gave me 4 milligrams of lorazapan (2 the night before and 2 an hour before). Totally worked for me. And I was able to get the buttons put on without an issue. I'm excited for you to finally be able to handle it (since I know how hard that is). And wish you luck on the Invisalign. I'm on my third tray and am already excited about the results I'm seeing.
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Thank you for letting me know I'm not the only one with this crazy fear. Do you feel as silly as I do about it?
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Some days yes. Especially since it's something I need to take care of. And even though the process has started and I'm on my way to a better ending, my heart still starts to race at the thought of an appointment to get the next three slingers (where nothing is going to happen but a quick look at the placement). And I still get lightheaded at the thought of a cleaning in May (even though my dental hygienist is a super sweet, calming, patient person). I'm hoping I can just eventually get at least ok about the visits.
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*aligners not slingers. Oops.
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I feel bad that Dr. Shaw was rude to you; I don't like when dental offices treat their patients poorly. But I'm glad you finally found the right doctor and you're going to start treatment.
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It's a shame it's so far, but you really don't have enough options where you live, so in that context, it's not so bad.  And it's wonderful you've found someone you work well with!  Invisalign has become such a powerful tool, I hope your dentist can make it work.  Has he diagnosed you?  It looks like a slight overbite and crowding but dental stuff is so hard.  :)

Looking forward to your next update, and finding out the specifics of your treatment!
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Thanks for posting pictures of your teeth!  You remind me a little of fightingthefear24, though he also has a slight overjet.  

Anyway, I can't give you advice.  I wouldn't do a groupon for orthodontia, because it's a long-standing relationship.  I would go by communication and proficiency.  And I wouldn't necessarily trust most review sites either.  I've had terrible experiences with Yelp for example, with fake reviews for plastic surgeons and architects.  Unfortunately, we don't have lots of orthodontists on here, and even fewer in your area.  In fact, when I tried to look up orthodontists in within 50 miles of Greenville, I got four names, none Elite providers.  Here, you can't throw a rock without hitting an elite provider.  I don't know where you actually are, of course.  You've probably already gone to the Invisalign site anyway.  Is that how you found your names?
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That is exactly my problem!!! Despite our Dental school here at ECU, there are not that many practices here. I have been looking, but either I think their price is too outrageous or they will not work with me due to my anxiety. :(
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Oy!  

I have no right at all to be proud of you, but I kind of am anyway, LOL!  You rock for going through with it.  And yeah, why take useless medication--it can't possibly be good for you.

Which work did you get done?  Fillings or crowns?  Or some of each?  I just cannot even imagine what it must be like for you.  When I was doing my intake for the Army, I think I had anxiety like that.  My blood pressure is normally the same as yours, quite low, but I kept failing the blood pressure test that day because it was in the 150s over 90s, I was so terrified.  It took four hours for me to calm enough to pass, and that at just barely 120/70-something.  But the dentist doesn't do that to me.  

Except the wisdom teeth.  Which is why I haven't done them yet :(.

Did you end up getting knocked out for the removal?  And what was the aftermath like?

And when is your next appointment?
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I just had fillings done. 3, actually. I have two more and cleaning on the 28th. I did get knocked out for my wisdom teeth. No way would I have done that awake! But honestly, wisdom teeth did not scare me at all. I'm scared of the drills and sounds. That doesn't apply with wisdom teeth. Especially if I'm knocked out! :)
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That's the exact way my orthodontist's office is set up.  But I'm the opposite of you--I love going to the dentist.  I get so relaxed, I nearly fall asleep every time, and nearly everything feels so good to me, that when something hurts, I just dismiss it as being a fluke.  There are a few things I'm scared of (like a root canal!  And removing my molars!!!) but definitely no phobia.  But I still felt it was a little strange being in an open room like that.  I got used to it quickly.  I think it's because orthodontists spend relatively much less time with their patients, so they can take lots of patients at the same time, and who has space in their office for that many patients (at least, in Northern California--rent here is expensive!)

Anyway, I'd reserve judgment until the end, but it's great that you're writing down your impressions as you go along, so you'll remember how you felt about everything.  Do you know how much your insurance will cover?  Mine cost $7,000 and insurance covered $2000.

Oh, and apropos PreOrtho's comment below, you might want to note what level each of your possible doctors is.  The Invisalign designations “General”, “Preferred”, “Premier Preferred”, and “Elite Preferred” only refer to how many cases the doctor has treated, not how successfully those cases have been treated; but at least the designations tell you how much experience the providers have had.

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According to my ortho, rotations can be done with Invisalign, it's just more difficult (will likely require attachments) and takes a long time as Invisalign can only rotate teeth a bit at a time. I wouldn't allow that dentist's opinion to make me rethink getting Invisalign. Look at me, other orthodontists said Invisalign wasn't for me (and I believed them), yet my current orthodontist basically dismissed them with a wave of his hand, "They only say that because they don't have the experience."
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It's extremely common for different doctors to have differing opinions about whether a certain treatment will work for you.  You kind of go to different doctors and get the spread to see where most of them fall.  I would definitely visit more orthodontists than dentists, though, if it were me.  And if someone says they wouldn't use aligners, don't go to them for aligners ;).  I'm sure they wouldn't do them anyway.  If you're able to post a picture of your teeth, others might be able to chime in who feel they have a similar case to yours.  Mine was relatively mild so I didn't question when my orthodontist said I was a good candidate.  My husband went to three different orthodontists and got two recommendations for orthognathic surgery+braces+palatal expansion+extractions and one for just damon braces.  He went for the damon braces.  Anyway, in the end, you make a decision based on what the doctor says and how much you feel you can trust them.

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