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Ongoing Invisalign experience

Only in 2nd month of a 10 month program. 58...

only in 2nd month of a 10 month program.

58 years old, never had braces, teeth are pretty crooked and set in their ways. I've been on Invisalign 7 weeks, am in the middle of my 4th set of trays, scheduled for 21 sets. I was not informed of the buttons ahead of time. Buttons is a euphemism. They are barnacles attached to the teeth which help the trays to turn the teeth. Mechanically, it makes sense. There are matching pockets or depressions in the liners that fit over the barnacles. I have 8 barnacles on the upper teeth and 4 on the lower teeth. The barnacles are fairly jagged. The first week of barnacles, I developed an open sore where one of the barnacles was cutting into my cheek when I chewed (with the trays removed). I eventually formed a callous, or maybe the barnacle was worn down slightly. By the way, with the buttons on your teeth, Invisalign is about as invisible as a tree. I'm a smoker, so I am taking the trays out much more frequently than nonsmokers. I was not told that the trays can develop cracks and begin to tear. This happens when you try to remove them and the barnacles don't want to let go. I started a crack in the second liner (upper only), nursed it along for a week, it finally split in two. I jumped to the next set of trays. I'm on my 4th set of trays now, I started a crack the very first day I took them off. I've been nursing it along ever since, trying to find a different way to pry the liner off with uniform pressure. I was told not to smoke with the liners in. (I was also told not to smoke, period). Because of the tear in my current liner, I decided to see how much staining would result with the trays in. Surprisingly, not that much, and you change out trays every 2 weeks. It cuts down tremendously on the tray removal frequency, which minimizes the further widening of the tear. I'll get a lecture on my next visit. Separate issue. I scrub between my teeth religiously, and I've always managed to avoid discoloration between dental visits. What I've noticed with the trays is that I develop brown patches between the teeth very quickly at the gum line, and I have a devil of a time getting rid of it. I wonder if it's a dental reaction to the plastic material. Or it may be because I always chewed xylitol gum, and now I can't. Very annoying. The bottom line is, I wanted to straighten my teeth. The buttons, the rips in the trays, the dark spots between the teeth are hassles, but I still believe they are minor in comparison to conventional braces. I didn't expect it to be painless. Total cost was/is $5,000.00 I can't recommend the product yet, but I'm only into the second month of a 10 month program.

Three other quick comments. My trays do affect my speech. How could they not? Public speaking would be difficult. I think I'd have to start a presentation with an explanation of my dental condition and hope for tolerance. Second item, the trays give one a dry mouth sensation. I'm drinking more water as a result.  Third item, yes, they do file between your teeth to give them room to move.  I thought this felt like being flossed with sandpaper, it was not unpleasant.

Updated 11/23/11

Update. I'm on tray set 9 of 21. They are working, slowly. You don't need to count minutes. If you want to snack, take out the trays and have a snack. Whether you have them in for 19 hours a day or 22, they will do what they're designed to do. I bought a cleaning product (Retainer Brite) that works well once a day. Fill a 10 oz ( or 9 oz or 8 oz) cup with warm water, drop a tablet in, put the trays in, let the solution work. I do this during supper. If you're a smoker, and you were led to believe you can't smoke with the trays in, it's not true. I took the trays out while smoking for the first 6 weeks, there was still some discoloration over 2 weeks that I'm sure even nonsmokers experience. The staining isn't that much more if you smoke with them in. For everyone, smokers and nonsmokers alike, here's how to keep the trays unstained. Put a couple of ounces of bleach in a cup of water and soak the trays in it for about 20 minutes. All stains disappear. It does not damage the trays. I do this once a week and have been doing it for months. I tried the removal tools and they did not work for me. I have more luck slipping a fingernail under the tray near the front teeth (on the side you'll be removing from), then slip a second nail under the tray at the back tooth. It's easy to get them started at the back tooth, and the second finger near the front keeps you from putting too much torque on the front teeth and from putting too much torque on the tray. They can tear.

8 Comments

I have the first 3 sets. You're right. I'm going to try the Clorox a day or 2 before I start the 2nd set. Thanks a lot. Your comments were really useful. I also took mine out to smoke the 1st day. I stopped after reading your blog !
  • Reply
I'm new to this. I just got the first set of aligners 3 days ago. I'm scared to try anything not in the instruction booklet. Bleach? As in clorox bleach? Does that really work? And does it not damage the aligners?
  • Reply
It doesn't hurt the liners. I did it a couple of times a week for 10 months. I used a couple of ounces in bleach in 6 or 7 ounces of water and soaked them for maybe 30 minutes. The rest of the time I used Retainer Brite, which you can get on Amazon and (I suspect) several other places. Keep in mind that you're only using each set of trays for 2 weeks. However, if you're just starting out, I understand your reluctance to deviate from the book. Nothing wrong with that. You'll have plenty of time to experiment. Maybe you should wait until you get your second set of trays, then experiment on the first set. Good luck.
Dr. Shetty

prior experience.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
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