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Invisalign Process for 40+ Year Old Professional - Seattle

I'm a 40+ year old male who has decided to finally...

I'm a 40+ year old male who has decided to finally address crooked teeth, fangs, and other unhappy aspects of my smile. I've just started the Invisalign process.

I began by going to 3 consultations with reputable orthos in Seattle. All of the doctors arrived at the conclusion that Invisalign would help me get a substantial improvement in the orientation of the teeth, but would not help with the bite. That would take braces.

Given my job (and age, I suppose), I'm just not prepared to have metal mouth like I had in my teens. I picked my orthodontist based on referrals from 2 friends and my dentist (Dr. Zerngast on Mercer Island).

Today I had my first appointment (think it cost $400) to get panos and other xrays, as well as molds that are used to get my first set of Invisalign aligners (not retainers, as I keep calling them). I'll keep updating along the way, but I'm looking at 2 years of this!

Attended the consultation where I was shown the...

Attended the consultation where I was shown the movies (below) of how my teeth should move after 18 months, 26 aligners. Back teeth align nicely, so it's all the upfront teeth that will get moved around...oh, there's some widening that happens near the end. They'll require shaving off .3mm on the fronts to get better alignment.

Pretty amazing if they can close my bite with plastic!

I'm on aligner 5 and learning along the way that...

I'm on aligner 5 and learning along the way that Invisalign requires a lifestyle change. There's the dreaded, how do I get these things out during a dinner or party. There's the no tasting the samples at Wholefoods, because the damn things are in my mouth. There's the constant feeling like I'm going into a hockey game, teeth guard in place.

This better be working!

On aligner 8. Realized that when inserting you...

On aligner 8. Realized that when inserting you shouldn't throw the aligner in, then chomp down. Causes rough edges that cut the tongue. Found out that I need even more attachments on the teeth when I hit aligner 14. Not at all looking forward to that

7 Things I learned about Invisalign ~ 1 year of treatment

I'm done with my final aligner, and now onto retainers (top and bottom). A few lessons and insights:

1. My teeth got stained very quickly while using the aligners. I'll post a picture showing the nasty looking staining. I recommend you get teeth whitened before getting the attachments. I assumed once I had the aligners I could easily whiten using the devices as whitening trays. I hadn't contemplated that attachments on the teeth would prevent me from doing this...

2. My overbite correction was slight. I was told that I would have limited bite improvement, but my expectation was still to get greater gap closure. No one notices the difference except my dentist.

3. It's hard to pull teeth down; Invisalign is best for shifting crooked teeth. The orthodontist was seeing cases where my canines were not tracking to get pulled down (the attachments failed). At around aligner 20 they added attachments that could accommodate a rubber band. They then modified the aligner so a slot could hold the rubber band. This hack of the Invisalign system was ridiculously awkward, caused a few aligners to crack in half. I demanded the removal of the canine attachments after weeks of toying around in my mouth with tiny rubber bands.

4. The aligners are gross and unsanitary. I constantly had to put them in pockets, table tops, anywhere but sanitary location. My office colleague swears she got colds much more often while with Invisalign. I agree that I was sick far more often last year.

5. The most embarrassing aspect of aligners was the lisp. I had a clearly detectable lisp when wearing the aligners. As a result, I was constantly removing them during conference calls and meetings.

6. My teeth moved A LOT in 1 year. It appears to have accelerated gum recision, but the xrays show that the roots are in good shape

7. I can't imagine a teenager using these devices. I was very conscientious about taking care of the aligners, soaking them, never misplacing them. As a teen I would have lost them every week. Invisalign is a lifestyle change (as are braces) that requires a commitment from you to make it work.

Worth it? Yes, but I certainly learned a lot along the way.
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