No More Old Lady Teeth - Lansing, MI

After paying for my two, now adult, children's...

After paying for my two, now adult, children's braces the last thing I wanted to do was jump back on THAT monthly payment plan but as I watched my bottom front teeth shift at ever odder angles each year, I decided that I could not face my 60's with a mouth that looked 90. I am a teeth grinder so I have worn a bite splint (while sleeping) for over ten years. That fact alone made my introduction to Invisalign much easier as I was used to having an appliance in my mouth. However, I did struggle, that first week, with a sore tongue as I adjusted to the "edges" of the appliance. I was confident my mouth would adjust, and it did. Other challenges include the appliance cleaning ritual (I purchased a sonic cleaner and it is SO helpful) and the constant (I eat a lot) teeth brushing. I purchased a toothbrush made for people with "sensitive" mouths because I brush so much even a "soft" toothbrush made my gums sore. I am lucky in that I only have a few "buttons" on my top and bottom teeth, so getting the appliance out is just a mild struggle. It can be a little embarrassing too because once in a while I have forgotten to take my appliance out before being seated at a restaurant or family event. A restroom is not always conveniently located so there I am trying to remove it without grossing everyone out (Carry hand wipes!)
I am on set four of twenty-eight, so I am sure I will have a lot more adventures to share.

Oh so subtle

In a few days I graduate to set eight of twenty eight and the change is very subtle, so much so that I am a little concerned about my progress. My husband reports that he can begin to tell the difference, but as I stand at my mirror holding my week four photo next to my face, my reaction is a heartfelt "meh". My orthodontist gave me set eight and nine to take home, so I do not see him again "officially" until November, but he encourages patients to stop by any time with their concerns...just may do that. Now I realize that this is half science and half art and thus I can't expect clockwork type changes, but I would like some confirmation of my efforts. I am diligent about cleaning and wearing the little tusk traps.

Old Lady Teeth In The Flesh...I Mean Pixels

I decided to swallow my shame and go ahead and post my reference photo. I took this photo after my first set of aligners when I realized I need to document my progress. Yes, that is a lot...sigh...a lot of metal you see in there. I had no dental care whatsoever as a child, and my family does not have naturally strong teeth, so my first paychecks, at 18, were spent on fillings. I have had excellent dental care the 40 years since, but there has been the need for a few root canals, crowns, and once even an extraction! I do not want nor need a Hollywood smile, but if I can get these work horses a little straighter and a little whiter, I will feel like I'm from Hollywood :-D

A Bad Habit

This has been a stressful month and as a result I have developed the bad habit of clenching my jaw, and worse, sucking in. The sucking draws out what little moisture I have in my mouth resulting in aligners that grip my teeth even tighter. I wonder if the extra snugness will work to my benefit as it sure tells my teeth who is in charge, but it makes my mouth sore and so now I really have to force myself to relax my mouth. Drinking water helps, but I have also noticed that as the days have gotten cooler I am less conscious of the need to sip, sip, and sip some more.

Treading Water

Today was supposed to be my last day of set nine but, honestly, my trays feel a little tighter than my earlier "week three" trays have felt, so my dentist recommended that I stay in set nine for another week (sigh). He tried set ten on me before I left his office and they did "fit" but I respect his caution and the only rush, the only timetable, is the one in my head. My dentist did mention, as we discussed how others on this forum change trays every two weeks yet I change every three weeks, that my "bite" is pretty jacked up (my terminology not his :-) and thus I will not move along as fast as others. Just for fun, I took some play-doh and filled in my very first set of trays. When I hold them together I can see that I have misaligned front teeth (The reason I started this journey) AND my back lower teeth dip down like in a valley. I am not sure what Invisaglign is trying to do back there, but it is a tribute to the program that they are not simply ignoring my bite in favor of a quick cosmetic fix.

A Lazy Daisy

I am now on set 14 of 28 so I am halfway through! Mixed with the happiness is my sense of guilt that I have lost some of the fervor of those first weeks. I get a little "tired of it" and catch myself being a little less conscientious about popping the aligners back in after eating and trying too often to "get by" during the day with a quick scrub of the aligners. I know I will cringe if my dentist and orthodontist, who to date are thrilled with my hygiene and progress, criticize me and my lazy Daisy ways. So, hear ye hear ye I publicly vow to follow all the best practices until the not so bitter end! Progress? Well I pulled out my very first set of aligners and compared them to my current set 14. I am SO glad I did that because just looking at the photos (I will post an updated photo tomorrow) it is difficult to tell a difference, the change is that subtle. But, the close examination of the aligners shows a very definite straightening of the bottom teeth and a small improvement of the upper "wonky" tooth. The aligners fit, so my teeth are moving...slowly. My orthodontist echoed warnings heard here that I might not notice a huge improvement until towards the end, so I am holding on to that.

Mighty Tighty

All these months I have been "Keeping on Keeping on" with what continues to be more noticeable progress in my mouth that is not much reflected in my front teeth, especially the bottom front. I am now on set 27 of 28, and these last few sets have been wicked tight. It is as if Invisalign decided, with these last sets, that maybe they should push (squeeze!) hard for some progress. Set 26, and now set 27, have both been much tighter at the start than any earlier set. My ortho says it looks like he will have to take an impression and send away for more aligners as the changes are becoming nearly imperceptible to me anyway. I was mentally prepared for this since I have heard all of your stories regarding extra sets. I am not bummed as I really can't see stopping until I have a very noticeable straightening of my bottom front teeth. How can I grin and brag without a clear improvement! I am going to try and post a photo I took in September. My teeth are a teensy bit straighter than then, but not enough to whip out the camera for them. And, the struggle goes on.
Dr. Ward

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 times
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