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Crowding with Extractions - Indiana, IN

I've had crooked teeth since I can remember. My...

I've had crooked teeth since I can remember. My parents couldn't afford braces when I was young. Several of my baby teeth never came out, and I am missing my top lateral incisors. I wore a retainer when I was 12 after they pulled most of my retained baby teeth, but they kept my top baby canines to fill in the space by my missing lateral incisors. I always hated my teeth, but eventually started to care less about it, though I remained self-conscious when I smiled.

Fast forward, I'm 32 and can afford braces. My baby teeth were still in place, but I (and my dentist) was concerned they'd eventually come out b/c they no longer had roots holding them in place. So I decided it was time to finally get my teeth straightened.

I knew I didn't want traditional braces, but as my teeth are really crowded, wasn't sure if I was a candidate for invisalign. I went to an elite preferred orthodontist, and he surprised me by saying I was a candidate! Hooray! But... I would need extractions. :/

I knew the baby teeth would have to go, otherwise whats the point... but in order to get my bottom teeth to line up with my top bite, two on the bottom would have to go. (Begrudgingly) I went to an oral surgeon and had my top baby canines and my bottom lateral incisors removed. Needless to say, I look very gappy and awful.

Fortunately the invisalign trays had pontics built in, but the missing teeth make me very apprehensive to remove my trays in front of others. One of the assistants in the office actually gave me the okay to eat with them in if needed, but I have to brush my teeth and the trays right afterwards very thoroughly. When I'm at home I take them out to eat, but if I'm at a work function or out with friends, I leave them in and just eat very soft room temperature foods. Its worked fine so far.

I'm on my first tray, 12 days in. I have 14 attachments, which made getting the trays out the first day extremely difficult. I also went in for the trays and attachments the morning after I had the four teeth extracted. What can I say, I'm a glutton for punishment. So not only was I in pain from the extractions, I was in pain from the attachments and the new trays. The first four days were pretty rough. On the second day the attachments on my front bottom teeth came off. D'oh. It made it a lot easier to get the trays off, but the attachments had to be reattached.

I still have a lisp. I think my coworkers have noticed that I'm talking differently, and the pontics look a little different from my original teeth. I'm really hoping as my teeth become more aligned that the lisp goes away.

I have 40 trays on top and bottom, yikes! My orthodontist has been trying to talk me into the acceledent, but I've already spent so much money as it is, I can't afford another grand. It'd be great to get it done in half the time, but I just can't justify the cost.

I use a timesheet app on my phone to track the time I'm wearing the aligners so I know when I hit 300 hours. I'm very eager to see some results. I have my next two sets of aligners, and those already look a little different. According to my clincheck I should see a noticeable difference around the 7th set, which is really exciting.

My ortho already warned me that I'd probably need further refining after the first 40 trays. He's been very good about giving me the facts and not sugar coating how this process will go, for which I'm very grateful.

So I'm moving onto tray 3 tonight. The second tray...

So I'm moving onto tray 3 tonight. The second tray has been much easier than the first. I'm certain that most of the pain from the first tray came from the fact that my gums were still healing from the extractions. I put in tray two before I went to bed, popped some advil, and the next day only a few of my teeth felt tight, but definitely bearable.

I still have a bit of a lisp, which comes from the aligners, but I think its exaggerated by the fact that one of my front top teeth is a little longer than the other, and my bite doesn't close the same way that it did. So I'm hoping that as my teeth get more aligned, the lisp will improve.

I have talked myself into the acceledent. The gaps between my teeth, the way the trays look and the lisp make me so self-conscious. I dread going out to eat, I hate eating in front of anyone but my husband, b/c my teeth look so bad without the pontics. According to my clincheck, its not until about tray 18 that I'll feel comfortable having the aligners out. I don't think I can wait 9 months to be able to go out to eat. 4.5 months is a lot more doable.

I just had my first 6 week checkup, and everything...

I just had my first 6 week checkup, and everything is going well. I picked up the acceledent, and have been switched from 2 weeks to 7-8 days on each aligner. I'm so thrilled. I changed to my 4th aligner Tuesday night, used the acceledent that night, yesterday and today, and my aligners already feel loose. It definitely cut down on the pain and tightness. The vibrations from the acceledent are a lot lighter than I was expecting. My daughter has a vibrating teether, and I assumed the intensity of the vibrations would be more like the teether (which I have to admit, I used to ease some of the pain of new aligners, it helped ;) The only thing I don't enjoy about the acceledent is that the mouth piece is just a little too big for my mouth, I've been told before by my dentist that I have a pretty small mouth, and I assume the mouth piece on the acceledent was made to fit standard to large mouths. So it isn't an entirely comfortable experience, but its just 20m a day, and if it gets me out of my aligners faster, I'll do it.
I have noticed a slight change in my teeth, theres definitely a lot more space between them, which makes flossing easier. The pontics are getting smaller in each successive aligner, which is nice to see. Can't wait to be done with those, I look forward to being able to eat, without the aligners in, and not look like a toothless hobo. On set 6 my bottom aligners will have just 1 pontic instead of 2, thats pretty quick progress.
I find myself obsessive about brushing my teeth, which in turn means they look nice and white now :) I was always good about brushing my teeth before bed, rinsing in the morning and flossing, but now I'm brushing like 5-6 times a day! I don't mind it, hopefully I'll stay as good about brushing after meals when I'm done with invisalign!
I've posted a few more photos, I just put in aligner set 4 in these, so they are still fitting a little off, but you can see the pontics and the slight change in my teeth.

I just had my first 6 week checkup, and everything...

I just had my first 6 week checkup, and everything is going well. I picked up the acceledent, and have been switched from 2 weeks to 7-8 days on each aligner. I'm so thrilled. I changed to my 4th aligner Tuesday night, used the acceledent that night, yesterday and today, and my aligners already feel loose. It definitely cut down on the pain and tightness. The vibrations from the acceledent are a lot lighter than I was expecting. My daughter has a vibrating teether, and I assumed the intensity of the vibrations would be more like the teether (which I have to admit, I used to ease some of the pain of new aligners, it helped ;) The only thing I don't enjoy about the acceledent is that the mouth piece is just a little too big for my mouth, I've been told before by my dentist that I have a pretty small mouth, and I assume the mouth piece on the acceledent was made to fit standard to large mouths. So it isn't an entirely comfortable experience, but its just 20m a day, and if it gets me out of my aligners faster, I'll do it.
I have noticed a slight change in my teeth, theres definitely a lot more space between them, which makes flossing easier. The pontics are getting smaller in each successive aligner, which is nice to see. Can't wait to be done with those, I look forward to being able to eat, without the aligners in, and not look like a toothless hobo. On set 6 my bottom aligners will have just 1 pontic instead of 2, thats pretty quick progress.
I find myself obsessive about brushing my teeth, which in turn means they look nice and white now :) I was always good about brushing my teeth before bed, rinsing in the morning and flossing, but now I'm brushing like 5-6 times a day! I don't mind it, hopefully I'll stay as good about brushing after meals when I'm done with invisalign!
I've posted a few more photos, I just put in aligner set 4 in these, so they are still fitting a little off, but you can see the pontics and the slight change in my teeth.

So I'm on aligner 8 now. Its going along just...

So I'm on aligner 8 now. Its going along just fine, I'm down to three pontics, one of my lower spaces is too small for a pontic now, but its not too noticeable. This aligner hurt a little more than the last few, I noticed that this one is starting to move one of my bottom incisors back a bit, which is odd to see, but that seemed to hurt more than side-side or rotating movement. I put in this aligner set on Wed night, and by Friday afternoon the pain was gone, most noticeably after I did the Friday acceledent session, it really does help.
I can tell a big difference in my top incisors, they look a lot less crooked. Its nice to see some changes, tho they're still a little crooked, its definitely an improvement.
I'm still not very comfortable eating in front of others with the aligners out. There's a noticeable difference in my speech when I have the aligners out, the gaps between my teeth affect it a lot. I'm less bashful about brushing them in the public bathroom though.
I'll be on aligner 9 this coming Wed, (3/20), and I have my next appt with my ortho on the 27th, when I'll receive my next bundle of aligners. Hopefully they'll be happy with the progress and the movement from the acceledent, and it'll be a relatively uneventful appointment ;)

So far this is going well! I'm really glad I got...

So far this is going well! I'm really glad I got the acceledent, I'm on tray 10 right now, going on 11 tonight. I feel the tightness for the first day, then after using the acceledent on the second day (i use it daily) the tightness is pretty much gone. I haven't needed to take any pain medication. Its also nice going week by week, it really feels like I'm making progress, not a slow slog to the finish line. I see a huge difference in my teeth, one of my lower gaps is closing up, and my top front teeth are nearly straight. If only they were the same length, it would look so much better. I'm wondering if the invisalign will correct that, or if the longer one will need a little shaving at the end. My lower front teeth are making some big movements, according to my clincheck, they're being moved backwards one at a time, so right now one is further back than the other, and will continue to do so for a little while.
I'm pretty used to them by now, I don't suck on them anymore, my lisp isn't as bad, tho still there a bit. I still eat with them in when I'm around other people, the gaps are still too obvious to expose to the world. I just stick with really soft foods, and them brush my teeth and the aligners right afterward. So far its working, tho I also have to consider the color of the food, b/c the food will get stuck under my aligners, and anything dark is pretty obvious. I've added new photos of me in aligner 10.

I'm on aligners 15 now. My bottom aligner no...

I'm on aligners 15 now. My bottom aligner no longer has any pontics, though you can see a bit of a gap where the most recent pontic has gone away. I'm hoping that gets closed up quickly. One of my bottom incisors is getting pushed back toward my tongue, while the other is staying in the same spot, so they're pretty uneven. Which makes removing the bottom aligner a little trickier now, I've had to pop the front off the attachments with a little more care now than I did before. I also had some rough edges that I had a hard time smoothing out, and it irritated the inside of my lips. I found rubbing some burts bees lip balm along the edge of the aligner helped _a lot_.

My top front teeth are getting a lot straighter, but now I'm noticing a new issue. One of my front incisors is longer than the other, and about 10 years ago I had it shaved down to be closer in length to the other. Fortunately my dentist at the time had the foresight that I would one day want to straighten my teeth, and didn't shorten it enough to be perfectly even, but did shave it straight across. Now that my tooth is straightening out, its being tilted to straighten out correctly, and the shave line is now crooked (does that make sense?) You can kind of see it in the photos I've attached. So the tooth is uneven in length, but not so short at the shortest edge that it cant still be shaved a little more to be made even with the other tooth. So by my dentist leaving a little length on it, I'll still be able to even them out, without having to shorten the other one to match. Its not too noticeable when I have the aligners on.

Added some before and afters at this almost-half...

Added some before and afters at this almost-half point, because before and afters are fun :)

Half-way there

I started aligner set 20 three days ago, it feels great to be at the half-way point! I know odds are good that I'll need to do some refinements after the initial 40 aligners (my ortho warned me of this) but who cares, woohoo 20! I couldn't have gotten here so fast without the Acceledent. It was the right decision, it works great. I change my aligners on Friday nights, and by Saturday evening most of the tightness and discomfort is gone. Its awesome switching out once a week. At my last ortho appointment they did x-rays to check the progress of my roots and they're right on target. I know some people are skeptical of the Acceledent being too fast for the roots to keep up, but fortunately that hasn't been an issue for me.
As my teeth get ever so straighter, each aligner set is becoming easier to get on and off, although my bottom aligner can still get a little tricky. I have learned to first pop off the sides, then get my finger nails underneath the front to pop off, that works well.

The top pontics are now gone, and really I don't miss them. They were far enough back in my mouth that the gap thats left over isn't too obvious with the aligners in. I'm still not that comfortable about having the aligners out in front of others. When I have them out and I talk, "S" sounds really weird, with the gaps that are still next to my lower front teeth. Can't wait for those to close up.

Refinement #1

I made it all the way to tray 33 out of 41 and it was determined I needed a refinement. My right upper canine was not moving the way it needed to, and my aligners weren't fitting as well as they should. It took about 3 weeks after removing the attachments and rescanning to get my new aligners. I thought, oh I was on 33 of 41, surely I won't have -that- many refinements left to do. HAH. Joke was on me! I now have 46 new aligners, even more than I started with!
Good news, my bottom teeth no longer have attachments, which is great. The new aligners are made out of a new material, which is *much* more flexible than the previous aligners. So at least now that I'm practically starting over, the aligners are a lot more comfortable and easier to take off and on. They're also more clear, and I think a bit less noticeable. They haven't gotten cloudy or filmy as quickly as the old ones, and I don't notice much of a smell in the morning before I clean them. Nice improvement.
With this new set of aligners comes a different plan, and I think my teeth are going to end up looking better than the original plan, but its going to be a little more complicated. Eventually I'll have to have buttons and bands attached to bring my lower jaw forward a bit. As it stands now, I'll end up with an over-jet if that isn't corrected.
I'll try to post some photos soon.

edit to Refinement #1

When I said I no longer have attachments on my bottom teeth, I should have specified, I no longer have attachments on my bottom front teeth (incisors). I have less attachments on my top teeth too, they also seem to be a little smaller.

almost a year later...

I'm on aligner set 11 of 46 of my refinement. Going well so far, they are still fitting nicely. I'm a chewy maniac now, I've noticed that it really really makes a different how much you use your chewies. I've finally remembered to take some photos which I have attached, the spaces between my bottom teeth are getting smaller and smaller, and I can already see a difference in the stubborn tooth that caused the refinement. I have a long way to go, but at least I don't feel as self-conscious when I have the aligners out. Still using the acceledent, still a big fan. I really really like the new material that they're using on these aligners now, so much better than the old ones.

When I look back at photos of my teeth before I started this process, I can't believe I went as long as I did with such crooked teeth.
n/a

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 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 times
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Comments (28)

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I can't believe I never found your review!  Thanks for being such a great resource!!
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Wow that's a lot of aligners...and I thought my 30 was a lot. This is the first I've heard of "acceledent" though, I don't think my Invisalign provider offers that, I wish they did, I would do anything to speed up my progress, seems like it's doing you wonders! Anyways, good luck on your treatment!
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its a pretty new product in the US. They've been using it in other countries for a little longer. My orthodontist heard about it at a convention he went to and highly suggested I try it given how long my treatment would be. I can't imagine doing this many aligners (it will be 79 total if i don't need *another* refinement) on a bi-weekly basis. I'm glad I took his suggestion, 1.5 years is much easier than 3!
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Hey Melissa, I couldn't believe it when I read that you have 46 more trays to go! YIKES! Good thing you used the accelerator. I'm on 20/23 finally. I'm interested to see if I'll need more trays as well... Best, Renee
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I've noticed that these aligners don't hurt as much as my old ones did when I'd first put them on. So I wonder if that's why I have so many more, maybe the Dr slowed down the movement a bit? Since I had to do a refinement because they were no longer fitting as well, maybe he's being more conservative with this batch... totally speculating :)
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Horray for having attachments removed! Wish I could say the same but mine will be with me for the remainder of my treatment. Great progress!
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Thanks Charlene! It was a nice surprise to see some attachments missing :)
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wow. looking great.... im going to get invisalign too and this has been very helpful reading your reviews and seeing your progress! keep it up :) thanks
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Love the before and afters! Great progress!
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Wow the progress you are making is awesome! I'm excited to see your results :)
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Melissa, as you may remember I had one lateral incisor removed and we commiserated on how we felt the two front teeth were unstable--yours even more so than mine. I'm now starting to see a space between my bottom front teeth and and the bottom front tooth next to the gap is a little loose-- I know it has to be loose to move, but it's concerning. Did you experience this at all? I know when I wrestled aligner 3 into my mouth, it felt like my bottom teeth were going to snap off... I'm scared to see what happens with #4... Thoughts?-- Renee
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I'm definitely more careful when it comes to removing the bottom tray. one of my canines is starting to close the gap, the pontic isnt there anymore b/c the space is too small, so that's helping to make it feel a little more stable. But I still tilt the tray forward, rather than upward, to remove it, that seems to help. I haven't experienced any looseness, though I haven't tried to wiggle the teeth... I remember when they were extracting the laterals that it took a lot of effort, b/c the roots are pretty sizeable, if that makes you feel any better. I don't think they'd easily come out, even if your tooth is a little loose. never hurts to run it by your ortho
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Hi Melissa, very helpful, thank you! You are in the opposite situation to me, though our problems are similar! I didn't start with the pontics but I have one now, a lateral incisor, which I got at aligner #10, I am now on #11. I had a problem with a pontic disappearing so I just filled the gap with a little dental wax, which worked ok, though I had to replace it just about everytime I cleaned the aligners! Like you, I now don't like going without my aligners because of the gap that is forming, and it will be a long time before I can get the final implants as I have at least 43 aligners. I have been tempted to try some soft foods with them in but I will wait and run that idea past my ortho in a few weeks time. It is a good incentive to keep the aligners in when you feel better than you do without them!
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dental wax - great suggestion! i just had *another* pontic pop out. i considered super-gluing it back in, then realized thats probably not the best chemical to have in my mouth ;) I havent had any problems eating soft foods with my aligners in, i even at soft-shell tacos. food got stuck in the aligners, but i just went into the bathroom afterwards and cleaned them really well. its still better than looking like a toothless hobo in front of my coworkers.
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Melissa, your progress is amazing and I'm incredibly envious--and very happy for you. I go to my ortho on Saturday to see if get to move on to tray 2. She kept me in tray 1 for 2 extra weeks because they weren't as loose as they should be. Unfortunately, they're no looser now than they were two weeks ago. Needless to say, the gap of my missing tooth hasn't changed a bit. Sadly, I'm back to being discouraged. --Renee
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when you had your impressions done, did they do the old fashioned sticky material impression, or did they do the new thing where they take a 3d photo of each of your teeth? ive heard that makes a difference. one of my coworkers is going to the same orthodontist as me, but she started about a year before, and they were still doing the old style impressions. when i started mine, they did the photos to make the aligners. she ended up having to redo her treatment plan b/c her aligners weren't working as well anymore, and they had to start over with the 3d photos. its working a lot better now.
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i just thought of another thing from my post... before i started the acceledent, i'd bite down on my (infant) daughter's vibrating teething toy, and i think that helped in the same way that acceledent does. it definitely helped with the pain, i wonder if it wouldnt also help with the tooth movement. im sure you would be apprehensive to drop another 1k on an acceledent since you're feeling discouraged by invisalign, but maybe a $6 vibrating teething star might be worth a shot...
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I had regular impressions done... I guess the next tray or two will provide more answers.
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LOL! My family already think I'm nuts. Teething on a star-shaped baby's toy will just help them commit me that much sooner ;)
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hehe, yeah i always did it in the bathroom, not an image i really wanted my husband to see of his wife ;)
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Melissa, I FINALLY found someone who has something similar to me--though I only had one lateral incisor removed and that was aweful enough--i totally sympathize with you for having two. I got my extraction, buttons and trays all on the same day too. I have a pontic in my tray, but it kept falling out everytime I removed the tray. I finally gave up wearing it after I found it floating outside the tray while I was wearing it. I change to tray 2 (of 23) tomorrow, hopefully that pontic stays in because it looks SO much better when it looks like you have all your teeth. So, here's something you can probably relate to. I have about 6 buttons on the bottom teeth which are trying to pull the other teeth toward the gap of the extracted tooth. It's rather painful and difficult to remove the tray because of the buttons and all of the pressure gets put on the front bottom teeth and the tray gets stuck there. I haven't figured a way to get them off easier, have you? Do you also feel like you're going to pull out the front teeth trying to get the tray out? I feel like the front teeth are less supported somehow with the missing tooth. I'm hoping for a quick closure of the gap, but my ortho said about 7 months... -- Renee
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I absolutely relate to your issue with your bottom tray. I'm changing to tray 3 tonight, and the bottom tray is still very tight on the front teeth b/c of the attachments. I have found if I get the trays off all the other teeth, then tilt the tray forward, it slides off easier. Its a strange sensation to put any pressure on the front teeth by tilting it forward, but its easier than trying to pull up. I also feel like the bottom teeth are a lot more fragile being unsupported on both sides, I actually eat a little differently now, less crunchy foods with my front teeth, because of that. On my first tray one of the pontics came out, I was very happy to get to the second tray to get the pontic back. I'm glad you found my entry helpful! I felt especially motivated to write it b/c I also couldn't find anyone else in the same boat as me. I have my 6 week check up in a few weeks and plan to get the acceledent then. I have 40 trays, and after these first two trays, I can't imagine going 20months + with aligners. I'm ready to have the gaps fill in so at least I can eat with the aligners out and not feel completely self conscious. I hate trying to hide the fact that I look like a toothless carny ;). Let me know how your progress goes!
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I tried tilting it forward, too, but it's uncomfortable and again the fear of tilting the teeth... I'm eating differently as well--that is, when I eat... I am not able to bite into something straight on, like a hamburger or a burrito. I find myself trying to bite from the side, which is awkward. I will change to tray #2 tonight, and it's hard enough to think about 23 trays, much less 40, so I don't blame you. LOL, I feel like a carny as well :) I'm glad I found your post; I wrote mine for the same reason, I couldn't find anybody like me. I will definitely continue to follow your progress. If you'd like to follow me it's titled: Invisalign: Miracle or Mistake? http://www.realself.com/review/staten-island-ny-invisalign-miracle-mistake
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I forgot another trick that helps, that my ortho told me about. its especially helpful when you start new trays and they're very tight. Warm them up with hot water, it will make them a lot more flexible. Not so hot that it burns your hands or mouth, but at least warm enough that it helps soften them up just a touch. i'll swish warm water around in my mouth for a minute or so before i try to take out new trays, i notice a big difference.
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Thanks for reminding me about that. I tried that in the beginning and it didn't help, but I tried again just before removing my bottom tray and I think it helped a little. I'm going to my ortho tomorrow because my 2nd set of trays didn't fit at all. I'll see if she can shave down the buttons a bit without compromising their effectiveness.
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