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It's a HUGE Commitment - Ocala, FL

Five weeks into my Invisalign experience, I...

Five weeks into my Invisalign experience, I currently have mixed feelings. I wore traditional braces for almost 3 years as a teenager (I'm now 54) and as many others have said, retainers were not used past the first year (mine broke anyway and I didn't have the money to buy a new set--I was in college by that time).
So, my front 4 upper teeth and 1 bottom tooth began to shift. In pictures, if I turn a certain way, my teeth will look somewhat straight as long as it's not a close-up picture. I have several older friends who said that their teeth continued to shift as they got older. I didn't want that, so I thought if I straightened them again and kept using the nightly retainer, then it would help me in the long run.

PRO: PRICE-- I knew I didn't want braces again, so after much research, I decided to give Invisalign a try. I checked out 3 local orthos and had a consult with each. Price was not really a factor, but as it turned out, I did go with the ortho that was the least expensive. He gave several discounts that put him under the other 2--and his location was closer. Total cost: $3,500--cash up front (in order to get all the discounts). This was actually cheaper than regular braces

CON: "BUTTONS"-- I knew I was going to get 5 "buttons" on my teeth, as he called them, but didn't realize they would be "horns" as I call them. They're ok when the trays are in, but they bother the side of my mouth when the trays are out.

PRO & CON: I have to wear each tray for 3 weeks because I am taking Miacalcin (not like Fosamax, but it's for my bones). He felt that taking this medication and using Invisalign would be ok and at some point I may switch to only 2 weeks. I'm still waiting to see if I can get through the entire treatment and not have any major problems. The Pro part to this is, by the end of the 2nd week, the trays pop off fairly easy.

PRO: RESULTS-- One thing that may work in my favor, I'm not looking for "perfection." I'm hoping to get my teeth "close to perfect" and based on the video/pictures he showed me, the end result (if I get there) I would be VERY happy with.

CON: Jaw joint pain--2 weeks into wearing them, I began to experience joint pain in my right jaw. I've spoken with the ortho, but he feels it will go away in time. 3 weeks later, I still have it (I can't open my mouth to eat a sandwich, hotdog or hamburger without discomfort). I have one more week on these trays and thought I would see if it goes away when I switch to the 3rd set. It appears I'm not alone with this problems.

CON: NO EATING OR DRINKING--and they mean NONE other than water. I love a drawn out coffee in the morning and a diet coke in the afternoon. I guess I thought I could drink through a straw and it would be ok--it isn't. My lifestyle is changing but fortunately my husband is understanding. I feel I am adjusting better now than I was the first week.

PRO: Adjustments-- Only my front teeth need adjusting. My back teeth apparently bite fine, so they are not supposed to need moving. Although I can feel pressure on some of the side teeth at times. Even still, it will be at least a year until I'm done with the initial plan/program.

PRO: TEETH CLEANING--I was meticulous about keeping my teeth clean before Invisalign, so this isn't a problem for me...other than I never flossed THREE times or more a day...only once.

Some thoughts:
1. Give it time if you are new. It does get better, or perhaps you just fall into a schedule/rut after awhile.
2. Keep your teeth CLEAN. When they say brush and floss after every drink or meal (ok, I don't floss after having a slimfast or diet coke, but I do brush), they mean it. You do not want straight, ROTTEN teeth, right?
3. Put your new trays in at night (or after dinner) and take two motrin/aleve/tylenol, whatever you take for discomfort. In the morning, they will be easier to take out, your teeth will have had 8-10-12 hours to "adjust" to the new trays, and you will have slept through most of the initial discomfort of using a new tray.
4. Take some pictures. I am amazed at what I see already, although it is VERY minor. I probably wouldn't have been able to notice it if I didn't have digital pictures side-by-side to look at.

HELP: I would appreciate any thoughts on how others handle going out to eat. We go out to eat with others a LOT. I wait to take the trays out until I'm at the restaurant (bathroom), but I often can't put them back in until I am home and that can be 2 hours later. Some tips would be appreciated.
Also, what has been the outcome of anyone who experienced jaw joint pain? Did you have to discontinue Invisalign, did it go away eventually, what are you doing, etc?

I'll check back every couple days. Hopefully I can encourage someone...I know I've been encouragedby some of the postings on this sight. -- Heather

Done...well almost

I've been done with my bottom teeth since the end of January. I can finally go about 5-6 hours without the trays. If I go much longer, I feel more "tightness" than I'd like. But having them out for even a few hours feels like freedom!!

The top trays will be done next week. I'll still have to wear them full-time for about another 3-4 months (like the bottom trays). But, there is a light at the end of the tunnel!!

The only down side is a little black triangle between my front 2 teeth; not always noticeable, but I know it's there. However, this was my decision. I opted out of any IPR (for reasons too difficult to explain in written word). However, at my age (55) I'm not looking for perfection...just a nice smile with straight teeth. AND I GOT THAT!! Yes. I am very happy. I'll try to post a before and after photo in the next couple of days.

Oh, my jaw pain...completely gone about halfway through treatment. Apparently with the realignment of my teeth, it put my jaw back where it should be.

I am now thrilled that I began this journey. At times I thought it would never end, but after almost a year (10 months now), I wonder where the time went.

Love the end result

I've been done with the lower trays since January. I have my final lower retainer but not sure I like the material/feel. I was considering IPR and refinements for the uppers but I've changed my mind. I'm not looking for perfection and with overly sensitive teeth, I don't want to tempt fate. I have 18 months to change my mind. I've been done with the top since May and can go without wearing the tray for about 3 hours. The bottom trays I leave out now for 12-14 hours.

Finally done!

Thought I would make it official...I am done with my treatment and have been wearing the retainers only at night for awhile now. So many people, close friends and strangers, have commented on how happy I seem/look. I know I smile more now...and probably a bigger smile, since I'm happy to show off my straight teeth. According to my ortho, they're not 'perfect' -- but for me they are since I really don't want to have my teeth filed anymore. And I saw the pics and don't care for the new shape they would have to be to move onto refinements. But I have about 16 months left to change my mind.

It was a long journey but it really did go by fast.

Retainers for a lifetime

I think I'll never get past having to wear my retainers every night-I feel afraid they will go crooked again in the middle of the night. But, on the plus side, I do have a tendancy to clench/grind my teeth, so I also don't have to wear a night guard--the retainer acts as that and I find I'm not clenching or grinding my teeth like I used to. Yes, my teeth may not be "textbook perfect" or "movie star quality" but for me, at my age, I am thrilled that they are 'straight' and I have no more jaw pain or cracking/popping.
I still feel like I've "forgotten something" by not having the trays in during the day. And I find that I'm slacking off on brushing my teeth after every meal because I don't have to rush to put trays back in. I see the hygenist in another month, so I'll see if my oral health has gone downhill. Hopefully not.
I'm still amazed at how fast this time seems to have flown by. 20 months ago I felt like it would last FOREVER, and I often wanted to quit, but kept telling myself "2 more weeks." I'm glad I stayed with it.
Good luck, if you're just starting out. It will go by quickly when you look back. Trust me. And, 'happy smile-congrats' if you are almost done.
Dr. Montini

So far, Dr. Montini has been nothing but great. He spent a LOT of time going over my concerns and questions. He personally called 2 weeks in to see how I was adjusting and if I had any further questions/concerns. I liked his bedside manner and his office staff /assistants were great, polite, helpful, etc.

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 tmes
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Comments (9)

Reading some of these blogs, I found some new ways of adjusting. Just thought I would share what I am doing...of course everyone has to decide for themselves. In the a.m. I enjoy a cup of coffee long before my breakfast. I now drink iced coffee with a straw (practically down my throat). Then an hour later, I take out the trays for breakfast, have a quick breakfast, clean my teeth thoroughly and pop the trays back in. Total time out 15-30 minutes.

I now also do the same when we go out to eat. I like iced tea or diet soda. So I keep the aligners in, enjoy my drink (with a straw), then I either head to the restroom right before the meal comes, or my husband will hold up the dessert menu (or whatever we can find) and I'll take them out at the table. All my "eat out" friends know I have them, so it's not a big deal. We eat dinner and if we are heading right home, I'll wait to put them back in then or use the restroom to do a quick clean, pop them in and do a more thorough clean right before bed. I've been doing this for 2 weeks now with no change or damage to the trays. Waiting to take them out gives me 30-45 minutes extra wear time; or less "out" time.

Note: My stomach was bothering me (and I needed some additional calcium), so I started drinking a slimfast shake once a day, between lunch and dinner, with the aligners in--using a straw near my throat ;-) But after the slimfast, I have a tall glass of water, swishing the water around in my mouth. No problems and it has helped the way my stomach feels and gives me an additional 500 mg of calcium.
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I avoid it (removing in public) all together. I usually remove prior or in bathroom with water running to rinse. Then I place them in one case after patting dry. Problem with cases provide is that they are not water tight and leak. Nothing like placing case in pocket, only to arrive with a wet spot on pants :( . Oh well live and learn.
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thanks. I'll either take them out in the car-which means they don't go back in until I get home and clean them real good- or use the bathroom. I'll put some hand towel in the case to catch the water. I've had water all over my purse, which I guess is better than what you experience ;)
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I've been wearing invisalign for 42 weeks so far. I was get incredibly stressed whenever we went out to eat. Dinner AND cocktails with friends really got me anxious. After about 3 months in, I became MUCH more relaxed. Although on most days, I do keep them in around 20-21 hours (20 was recommended by my ortho), there are times where I am out with hubby and friends or on vacation and they are out less than that. I just don't worry about it that much. I'm not saying that's the right thing to do, but it hasn't caused any issues for me. One thing that has really been a lifesaver are Wisps. You can brush with them after eating in the car and pop your Invisalign back in, just rinse them in the bathroom sink when you take them out!
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Oops! I meant they are in less than 20 hrs.
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Bribri: Thanks SO much for your comments. My ortho did say as long as I got 20 hours/day in, he would be happy. I try to shoot for 22 the day before/after we go out to eat. Since I am wearing each tray for 3 weeks, I think I'm like you...not worrying about it that much. I bought some Wisps, but haven't used them yet. I also use Gum picks and they seem to work as well as floss (at times). So between the wisps and Gum picks, I probably would be all set when we are out. Thanks for the tips.
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I think the Wisps are a great product, and I use them myself from time to time since I'm a coffee drinker & don't want gross coffee breath. I'm always a little concerned that they aren't good to use on my teeth and gums though, because the bristles seem so stiff, so I basically use them as a fancy tongue scraper. To find out if this is actually something I should be concerned with I submitted the question below to our Q&A. That way we can hear the opinions of the dentists and orthodontists who volunteer on RealSelf. It usually takes 24-48 hours for them to start posting replies. If it is of interest to you feel free to click the link and watch for answers with me. :)

Is It Ok to Brush my Teeth with Wisps, or Could the Rigid Bristles Damage my Gums or Enamel?

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It sounds like you are doing a great job of keeping your teeth in great shape while going through Invisalign.

Here is a review where another community members mentions jaw pain:

Alot Pain at Jaw and Some at Gum

Here is a Q&A that discusses it as well;

Invisalign and TMJ

Looking forward to continuing to hear how you are doing with your Invisalign. :)

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Megan: I checked out the two links. I've been doing better the past couple days. I started taking an Aleve once a day. Yesterday I actually ate a hot dog without any problems. So, I'm hoping that everything is just adjusting to having something new in my mouth. I'll be seeing the ortho in another week anyway.
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