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8 and 1/2 Months into It, Fabulous Results!

I'm 17 and I waited the longest of times for my...

I'm 17 and I waited the longest of times for my baby teeth to fall out. Unfortunately, the last one fell out only three or so years ago. By then, it would not do me well to walk around high school and get pictures with a mouthful of metal. I heard about Invisalign and thought it would be a good idea to inquire about.
I went to an orthodontist in my area, and needless to say, I was extremely impressed. He knew what he was doing and how to correct my problem (a cross-bite and several twisted teeth). He said that Invisalign would produce a great result, and indeed, it has.
I signed up in early October of last year and my aligners were in by late December. I went in and the doctor put my first set in on January 1st. The pain was there, and my mouth would throb, especially in bed. The only other soreness was in the gum surrounding my front upper teeth. For about the first two or three weeks, it was very sore and hurt to eat hard foods and drink soda. I got used to it... until the buttons and slenderization.
I came in on my two month appointment, and the doctor had to put buttons and slenderize my teeth to make room. The procedure, itself, was painful and my mouth was sore afterward.
Then on, it was radical changes in my teeth. Within about 3 or so weeks, I noticed that they weren't my teeth anymore. They started to feel out of place, which made eating quite uncomfortable.
As the months progressed, the change in my teeth reached a peak, and then slowly declined. Now the changes seem minimal, but I can tell they're doing something.
I have 8 weeks of active treatment left and then passive treatment for a few years, I suppose.
As much as I like the Invisalign system, the limitations and cons must also be addressed:
It is not a product for everyone, for some with severe tooth misalignment should go the route of traditional braces.
Cleaning and maintenance is a pain. I now spend about 45 minutes cleaning my teeth each morning in preparation to go another day without the aligners getting gunked up. That is extremely easy to do.
->Recommendation: Get a hand brush and metal dental pick as well as some 15 minute denture cleaners (they work for these too). Use the brush with some normal soap and generously clean the aligners; don't be afraid to use a little pressure. Then use one of the denture cleaners and drop the aligners in and remove when instructed. The cleaner will also kill the bacteria on the aligners, which substantially improves your breath! From then on, if there is any white buildup in the aligners... plaque, I believe. You can easily dislodge it with the metal dental pick, much as dentists scrape off plaque on teeth.
->Maintenance of teeth is also extremely important. I recommend an electric toothbrush, flossing, and mouthwash. In addition, I'm one to get tonsil stones... nasty little buggers. I also use a manual toothbrush and brush my tongue, that at least tries to keep them at bay.
Cost: Another large part of Invisalign is the cost, about 2,000 dollars more than traditional braces. However, if you have insurance, it may cover some of the cost, as it did with me.
Time allowed to have them out: You're only allowed to have your aligners out for 2 hours a day, so that means you have to wear them 22 hours a day. Sometimes it can be difficult, but you get into patters that adjust to it. Probably the most difficult part is when you go out to a restaurant. I tend to have my appetizer, swish with a glass of water and then put them in waiting for my main course. Of course, it's not the end of the world if you leave them out for an extra 30 minutes.
That's all I can think of, if I have any other comments I'll be sure to edit.

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Dr. Chavez and Chase (Arch Orthodontics)

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