How I went about straitening my teeth with...
21 May 2013
2 months post
How I went about straitening my teeth with invisalign is a little different from most reviews that I have looked at. After searching the web A LOT I couldn't find anyone that had completed adult arch expansion before starting invisalign. So here is my story and pictures. I hope this helps someone make their orthodontic decisions easier because I could not be HAPPIER with how this turned out so far (and I'm not even close to being done!).
Why did I do what I did?
First, I will start by saying I highly recommend going to an orthodontic specialist and not a regular dentist, especially if you have sever crowding like I did/do. Because when it comes to making major decisions for fairly sever cases, you want to make sure you are solving the WHOLE problem, and not just picking and choosing what ortho work gets done.
Starting off, I had severe crowding. To say my mouth is "small" is an understatement. After doing measurements, we discovered I had the maxillary/mandibular arch expansion of a pre-teen...(I can't remember the measurements)...but basically that meant I could fit maybe two and a half fingers widths comfortably along my top arch. To say it another way, my tongue sometimes felt like it had no room! And because I had lived like this up until I was 23 (When I started), I didn't really think to much of it. But then I started having slight clicks develop. Turns out I was favoring chewing on one side because my teeth were angled in a more efficient way to chew on that side. All because my teeth were crowded. Further more, I'd always disliked my smile because it was like you could only see the first 4-5 teeth.They kind of angled out and blocked the view of my other teeth which made my overall smile look very small.
So when I talked to my ortho about invisalign he says "Yes! you would be a prime candidate case, BUT, give me time to work with you before invisalign and I can give you more than a straight smile." So I figured, if I'm pouring $5000 into an ortho treatment I might as well go all out and do it the right way and in a way that I would be happy with.
So we started with an arch expander on my top and bottom. The picture on here is of my bottom expander. You use a key to turn the spring every 3 days and this widens the expander. My top expander had 2 more sets of turn springs (one on left side and one on right) so that it moved the expander length wise.
This expander (like a rapid palatal expander) did two things. First, was to move my back molars back further. Since I still had wisdom teeth, these had to be removed first. Which is good, because they needed to be anyways since they were impacted and sideways. Once those were out the expander had room to push my back teeth further back and create room. Secondly, it was used to tip the teeth back outward and give the outward appearance of more teeth (not just 4-5). By tipping we also created more room. Phase 1 (moving teeth back) took 4 months and phase 2 (tipping) took about another 4 months. Admittadly, this was a long time to go through this. These expanders are hard to talk with in (especially with a top and bottom in!) and I wanted to start invisalign ASAP! But I'm happy that I did expand first, because I took progress pictures every month (highly recommend) and found some amazing differences in teeth straightness just from that! Granted, I went though an awkward phase in Oct-Dec when I developed a gap...
Side story... typically by adulthood your palate has fused close and is no longer readily available to expand (by rapid palatal expansion appliances). But, apparently I had some luck on my side and had some bone expansion up top...even if I did have a wacky smile for a while...
So I used an expander from May 2012 to Feb 2013 and then in March 2013 I got invisalign. I'm currently on tray 5 and absolutely LOVE my results thus far! And I can honestly say, I don't think I would be as happy had I not fixed my arches first. It's amazing how nice a broad smile can look when you started with a really small crowded one. Just a note for the pictures - in each one I'm smiling wide the same way! I'm not all of a sudden smiling "broader" because I'm happier, it's just that teeth are actually showing!
Now, Invisalign is a bit of a challenge for me just because I like to snack (healthy foods) throughout the day. And as you know, you have to brush/floss teeth and clean trays all the time. So far that's my biggest annoyance, but that's not that bad!
I am also wearing rubber bands to help with force generation and pull my upper teeth back so that they are jutting forward over my lower teeth so much. The bands are hardly noticeable and I've gotten used to them so I don't mind them at all. I will say that on the first day, my jaw was sore because I was getting used to the new forces. But after sleeping a whole night with them and getting used to them they no longer feel restricting.
I have many buttons (clear bumps to help align teeth) as well. I think 4 on top and 5 on bottom. They aren't too noticeable unless you are up close. My front right tooth has one if you look in the pictures. The first week with them was the hardest! I don't know why but it seemed about impossible to get the trays in and out with the buttons. But now, on tray 5, I don't have a problem. I don't think it's because I necessarily found a method either because I'm doing it the same way...It is just easier. I think because my teeth are more aligned so it helps.
My awesome orthodontist also threw in free teeth whitening. This is stuff that goes in your trays overnight and makes you look like a movie star when you wake up! It's truly amazing how much a little whitening can do for aesthetics.
Just to give a price rundown of total treatment:
$400 for arch expansion (custom molded palate expander for both arches - included all Dr. checkups and any replacements I needed were free. Which at one point my upper expander broke and I had to have it redone.)
$5200 for invisalign (includes entire treatment, with buttons/bands/checkups, and free whitening)
Tray 6 (pictures with bands)
I thought I would post a picture showing my bands and how they work for me. Everyone that has bands will need them in different places. It all depends on where the Dr. decides the force needs to be.
For me on my left side I have a grey button on my bottom very back molar that the band hooks around and then it comes up and hooks on a cut out of the invisalign on my top incisor. My right hooks on a bottom button about 4 teeth from the center and hooks up on my top right incisor. Unless I'm smiling really wide they are barely noticeable because they go off to the side an back. Some people will have them right across the font teeth or closer to center where they are more noticeable.
The point of my bands are to pull my front teeth back so that the meet up with my lower teeth better. Because my left and right side need different adjustments (left needs pulled back more, while right needs pulled outward) the bands are in different locations to accommodate.
You can also kind of see my buttons. I actually have more than what I posted in my first update. I think 6 on top an 7 on bottom. I still haven't actually counted...most are on my back teeth.
Photos: How bands look when smiling and their locations
Tips and tricks I've found over time - and other FAQs I've had experience with
Well, after 3 months of Invisalign I’ve decided that I’m qualified to share my wisdom with others ;). (Technically I've been doing this whole ortho process for over a year now because taking care of my expanders required the same type of process)
Having bands attachments, IPR, etc. are a special kind of fun that comes with invisalign. Hopefully my experiences will help someone else.
Dealing with ATTACHMENTS:
1. They can be a pain in the rear
2. Outie - Luckily, this handy device known as an “Outie” (Sold on Amazon.com) was invented. Basically it’s like the picks the Dr. uses to pry things off your teeth. Now I haven’t used this myself as I’ve found my trays to come off easier with time, but many swear by this device. The reviews on Amazon are mixed, but it might be worth a try.
3. Coloring - My Dr. gave me teeth whitener to use in my trays and my attachments are not off colored by it (Yay!)
4. I drink coffee and tea regularly and my attachments aren’t discolored. HOWEVER, I also drink a lot of water in between to make sure my teeth are rinsed well.
Dealing with BANDS:
1. Ignore them – They are not too big of a deal. At least for me because they are pretty much out of the way. You will find yourself playing with them though. Stop if you can. You’ll just end up with sores on your tongue…
2. Change ~3x day - Change them when their elasticity wears out. I go about 5 hours depending on how much talking I’m doing. (Morning, lunch, afternoon, bed). If I’m teaching or in meetings a lot of the day I change them sooner sometimes.
3. Have some everywhere - Ask for a couple bags of the bands. Keep some in the car (out of sunlight so that they don’t become fragile), some at work, some at home, and some in a bag you take places.
4. Routine - If you forget to wear them a couple of times, not too big of a deal. Just put them on as soon as you remember and don’t “double up” trying to make up for last time. Little, if any, progress is lost from you not wearing them for a short time, so just get back into the daily routine.
Dealing with routine HYGEINE:
Most (All) of this has been said by others, but here’s my 2 cents.
1. Soak box - Invest in a denture/retainer cleaner box ($5 local stores). I have a yellow one and it does a few things. First, it provides a good (safe) place to soak. By safe I mean you aren’t just putting them in a cup only to have a friend, parents, disgruntled roommate toss it on accident. Also, It’s clearly identifiable and is easy to take to other peoples’ houses and not gross them out by using a cup for your teeth. They also come with a nice strainer so that you can easily rinse your trays.
2. Denture cleaner - Some (including Drs.) say not to use denture cleaner to clean your trays because it will make them cloudy. I use Efferdent and Equate’s version of Efferdent and I haven’t had a problem. I use this at night when I’m getting ready for bed and my trays are fresh and easier to clean.
3. Some type of denture cleaner (or the Invisalign brand cleaner) also helps if you have a lot of attachment sites on your trays. Those can get built up plaque and what not in them and can be difficult to get into with a big toothbrush. Having a cleaner to soak in is hand because it breaks all of that junk up and makes it easier to brush.
4. Travel brushes - Invest in a lot of travel tooth brushes. Their easy to keep in your pocket, bags, car, office, wherever, and you’ll never be without a toothbrush. And you will win the Cleanliest Mouth award from your friends and colleagues.
5. Cetaphil - Use a gentle soap cleanser to clean trays. I use Cetaphil and the great thing about it is that it doesn’t leave a taste behind. I can even use my toothbrush and immediately use it on my teeth afterwards and there’s no residue taste.
6. Brush, floss, swish, floss, etc.
Dealing with IPR:
1. The good - Honestly, IPR isn’t that bad. I had 2 back molars done at the beginning of my treatment and about half way through I will have another tooth done. The grinding wasn’t unbearable (even for someone with major “drill sound” issues) and I didn’t feel a thing.
2. The bad - However, food will get stuck in those spaces! And depending on where those spaces are it is a pain in the rear to get out! I had a back, top molar on each side done. They did about 1mm I think, but it seems to be a catch all because that is right where I chew! So having travel picks/floss comes in handy not only for flossing on the go but for having to pick out those spaces. Gross, I know, but it’s only until the spaces close (time varies by treatment).
1. Chewies - You were given Chewies for a reason. Use them. Trust me on this. Nothing is worse than getting part way through treatment and at your next checkup the Doc saying “You’re trays don’t fit right”. This has not happened to me, but it has to plenty of others because their trays weren’t all of the way on. Just a few seconds of chewing is sufficient. Make sure you get all of your teeth.
2. Pictures - Taking photos every time you switch trays is a great thing. Because when you think there are no results, the photos will usually show you something…even if it’s just the slightest movement in a not so visible tooth. It provides motivation to keep up the high maintenance hygiene and sometimes painful process.
3. Tracing – for those that haven’t taken pictures and want to see your progress a great thing to do is trace each aligner on paper and compare the movements.
4. Whitener – I was given whitener to put in my trays overnight. It’s a miracle product! Not sure how similar products are but after one use it was like a miracle. For mine I had to make sure my teeth and trays were dry and then I put some gel on each tooth indentation of the tray. In the morning make sure you brush trays well. Try to avoid getting it on gums. Depending on sensitivity it may burn a little if there is a large amount of gel setting on your gums all night. Use a Q-tip to go around the edge of the trays once they are back on your teeth to wipe off excess gel that squeezes out
Tray 5 (weeks 9/10)
My aligners are set to change every 2 weeks. I've been on schedule with that so far for the past three months.
Problems being corrected:
2. Forward projection
I haven't had any big problems with pain so far. I started to see more noticeable results around tray 4-5. Trays 6-8 will really straighten my front two teeth and then after that the adjustments will seem less noticeable I think. If I remember correctly it is then the back teeth that will be moving.
My only complaint now is that my right rubber band attachment at the bottom has been hitting my lower cheek (by gum line) and giving me a sore for the last 4 days. It has not done this in the prior 2 months. I don't know what I would do to fix that though. I think it's just one of those things that will eventually stop as my mouth adjusts. And it's not a constant pain (depends on how my mouth moves).
Tray 6 has been a pain!
11 Jun 2013
3 months post
I'm not sure why, but my pain hasn't settled with this tray yet and it has been a week. It's usually first thing in the morning when it is most painful. Is that a sign I'm clenching my teeth at night?
18 Jun 2013
3 months post
Just finished up with tray 6 and I'm loving the progress! I'm still waiting for my front teeth to be more center...but everything is starting to look nice and straight and there has been major improvement in my bottom teeth these last 2 trays.
I'm not sure if I see/feel anything different from having bands on.
With each week I've noticed my trays come off a lot easier even with all of the attachments. I think it's because the more your teeth straighten the easier it is. Though, it almost seems a little too easy...especially when I think back to those first few days with them where is was nearly impossible to get them off! Lately I've been checking to make sure my attachments haven't fallen off haha.
Speaking of attachments falling off, I haven't really had a problem with that. This surprises me - as much as I yank on these trays to get them out and how many times a day my trays are in and out. I did have a button fall off about 2 weeks after I got them (what hold my bands). But since having another put on I haven't had a problem.
I haven't had too much soreness either. I switched my trays this morning instead of last night and went to work all day. There was no need for pain meds and for the most part I don't even notice they're new trays. A drastic difference from tray 5! For whatever reason that one hurt quite a bit at first.
Adding a new start vs. current photo!
End tray 13 (~wk 26) of Invisalign
28 Oct 2013
7 months post
I haven't updated in a while but that's because not too many changes have happened. Well, my teeth are noticeably straighter! So that is a major change and I have updated individual pictures to post as well as a picture showing my monthly progress. Unfortunately I've missed 4 trays worth of pictures. But there have been fairly minor changes with those ones. However, comparing what has happened since two months ago, those minor changes really add up! Right now the trays seem to mostly be working on the front teeth (finally!! Yes!!). And instead of an offset crooked smile, I finally have a centered arch!! Woot!
I just put in tray 14. Technically I should be around tray 16, but my work schedule got crazy and I missed a few appointments. So I had to keep in trays for up to 4 weeks sometimes until I was able to get back to my dentist office. All seems to be going great though. My dentist is very happy with the progress and I have not had any problems.
Surprisingly I have not had cavities either. Knock on wood!! I'll admit, sometimes I'm really bad about eating/drinking certain things and then putting my trays back in after only a rinse with water. That kind of comes with my job though and there is not always opportunity for access to restrooms or breakrooms. Because of some horror stories I've read on here about lost enamel and cavity bills I was a little worried going into this.
Though I do not condone what I sometimes do, it seems like it really all depends on the person and overall hygiene. For example, if there's a day that I happened to be really bad about putting trays back in without properly cleaning, as soon as I'm home they get a 20 minute soak in disinfectant/cleaner while I eat dinner and I make sure to do a thorough floss, brush, floss, mouthwash routine. I guess that would be my advice. Because as much as we can try to be perfect about hygeine with trays, sometimes it's not possible and you have to choose between not wearing them for 15+ hours (in my job) or wearing them immediately after a meal. Again, not that I recommend that..
I'll try to keep more up to date on here and get back into the habit of posting at every tray change.
Additional progress pictures for trays 6, 8, 9, and 13
28 Oct 2013
7 months post
I just posted my tray 13 update and then realized that I hadn't put my other progress pictures up. So here they are! My last post has a great picture of tray-by-tray progress looking just from a front view.
These pictures are of how the side views/bite alignments have changed over the last 8 trays. I haven't notice too much of a difference but it does seem like my front teeth jut out a little less and when I close my mouth my top teeth no longer rest partially on my lower lip. Sorry for the poor quality photos...
Trays 14 and 15
Today I had a check-up and boring story short - I'm still on target with all of my trays. I am starting tray 16 today, so the pictures posted are for trays 14 and 15. I had some IPR done as well. Well, a LOT, not some. While IPR doesn't hurt, the sound drives me nuts and the thought of a grinding tool between my teeth makes me cringe. Now, I get to go through that lovely process where I learn where all the IPR happened based on where food gets stuck. Disgusting. I know. But it's true. Considering they only take off a very little bit of tooth, it's amazing how much of a difference it makes. You can't see the gaps - at least for me - but you can feel the difference with your tongue. I'll stop now with that subject ;-)
I haven't noticed many major changes in a while. Initially, when my front teeth got a lot more straight that was the HUGE change that everyone noticed. There are still obvious improvements if you stare at the pictures. But there's nothing too dramatic happening. While I will continue to take pictures after every set of trays, I'm not expecting to see major changes at each switch. Perhaps comparing a few months at a time instead to see progress that way.
All in all, I still have no complaints! My teeth are SOOO much better than when starting out that I could stop treatment now and be happy. And this is only after 30ish out of 50ish weeks! I can't wait to see when the final real life picture looks like. The 3D scans at the office look awesome but it's different when it's actually your body. I can't wait to be done!
As I said I have no real complaints. My biggest "complaint" is just the hygiene...as I state every time I post an update haha. This becomes more of a problem as the holidays approach just because of all the festivities and what not. I'm sure I'll have a couple of days where the trays are out most of the day - and I'll have to tack those days and then some back on later.
End of "normal" invisalign treatment!
Wow! I have not been on here in a very long time. I guess after tray 14/15 I didn't feel the need to post every tray because the changes were so small and not necessarily noticeable by a front view camera. I did, however, manage to take pictures (or find pictures of me...a time when selfies actually come in handy) every few weeks. So I am posting my last half-ish of treatment progress (trays 14-24) today.
Just a run-down of what I did in the mean time:
- I had 24 "normal" trays in which I started in March of 2013 and ended on May 14th, 2014.
- I have at least 8 buttons on top and 7 on bottom (if I counted correctly), and use elastics at the far end of my mouth to where they are barely noticeable.
- I used to wear elastics all day/night. Then about January 2014 the doc said to just wear them at night.
As of today (May 15th, 2014) I am on tray 25+. There were a couple of teeth with more of a gap than he liked (not a gap noticeable by eye, but by flossing) so I am on some "closing" trays to tighten everything up. It does not look like I'll need extra refinement trays. I am very happy with how my teeth look and the whole process went very smoothly with no major disruptions.
I was/am on a 2 week changing schedule. For those of you counting, I should have been done with this a few months ago. But because of my work schedule I wasn't always able to make doc appointments at the exact right time. Sometimes they'd end up a week or two postponed and other times (like this last one) I had to postpone by a month! But in the end, that isn't too big of a deal. I'm just happy that everything turned out okay. No poor tracking, no refinements, no cavities...Can't ask more much more! Especially because I thought for sure I might have some acid damage or something after drinking so much coffee with trays in...
The next steps in this are as follows:
- Trays 25+ to 27+ "tightening trays" will be used as needed. I may not need to go to 27+.
- Remove buttons/band holders
- smooth cosmetic chips in teeth ( these were there before the trays and my doc is so awesome he's taking care of all of the little imperfections!)
- whitening. This comes with my care plan and will get rid of any rings left by my buttons and just give an overall nice finish! I can't waitttt! My teeth really aren't that bad because I was on a whitening treatment in the beginning and have taken good care of my teeth. But still :-)
- fix any bite imperfections. I don't know exactly what this entails, but I have a tooth that is touching weirdly (at least to me) and the docs going to work his magic so that the teeth set correctly. I'm assuming this means minor shaping of that tooth.
- have some retainers made
That is all for now! I will update in a few weeks.
- Biweekly/Monthly Invisalign progress
- Start (pre-invisalign expander treatment) vs. finish
I might post side views later to see how the bands worked.
Be sure to shop around for the best Doc in your area!
I've had a few questions about what all my treatment price (~$5200) included and if all Docs offer the same service. To answer the later - NO. Not all Docs have the same treatment philosophy as far as what is included in treatment!
For $5200 I got:
(The Basic- what every Invisalign ortho should offer)
- 24 normal trays, 3 final trays
- all check-ups covered
- all bands, chewies
(The Extras - what my awesome Doc included in my $5200 treatment)
- invisalign tray whitening (at beginning of treatment)
- refinements if necessary
- post invisalign cleaning, polishing
- post invisalign cosmetic fixes (get rid of old chips in teeth, contouring, shaping teeth)
- post invisalign whitening
(What I will have to pay for extra)
- Retainers (depending on how many I get, this will be about $400 for 3 of them. These should last me many years)
I was a bit naive in the beginning and didn't think about shopping around for treatments based on these extras. I loved my Doc and his office from the moment I stepped in, and he told me about all of these inclusives and I was sold from the beginning. Reading and hearing about others' treatments has made me realize that I lucked out in finding a great Doc from the start! So make sure you shop around! There are huge differences in what is included and what is not for individual practices. Whitening, polishing, extra cosmetic work can easily add up to $1000+ so the fact that I get this done for "free" is amazing!
Overjet correction over 24 trays
Starting out, I knew I had a pretty large overjet, but I didn't realize how much it has been corrected over the past year until I just now compared pictures! All my life my top teeth have slightly rested on my bottom lip. I didn't think too much of it because it was normal to me. However, I had a lot a chapped lips and my mouth slightly rested open. Sitting here thinking about it, it's hard to imagine putting up with that before! It's so much more comfortable to be able to close your mouth all the way, naturally, and not have chapped lips all of the time!
I've uploaded some comparison pictures for Trays 6, 9, 13, 17, and 24.
I'm still on my 25+ tray. It has been 2 weeks. I was supposed to go to an appointment yesterday where it would be decided if I move to 26+ or retainers next but I had to cancel. So hopefully next week I'll be in phase 3 of this process (retainers!)
Final step: Retainers!
AHHHHHH! I've made it!!
So after 2 years and 3 months, I've finally made it through 99% of my ortho treatment! Woot!! What started out as a pain in the mouth triple wisdom tooth extraction has finally turned into a beautiful smile that I am proud of!
I MADE IT THIS FAR WITHOUT LOSING TRAYS...WHAT ARE THE CHANCES:
Just a little catch up on what happened since my last post - I was on tray 25+ (tightener trays it was explained to me as) and after 2 weeks I was supposed to come in for retainer impressions. Well I got caught up with work, and then the fourth came around and the office was closed, and then the office was busy, and then I managed to lose my trays!! So about 2 weeks ago I went back in so that they could check my teeth and give me some different trays to hold my teeth before retainer molds were made. They took off all of the buttons and this point and gave me 26+ trays to hold my teeth (but not move them because buttons weren't on).
This process wasn't *that* bad, but it was a bit like finger nails on a chalk board. The doc used a drill type file to buzz the buttons off without damaging the enamel. I had 6+ on both top and bottom so this was a bit of a process where I couldn't help but cringe the entire time. It didn't hurt per se, but between the cold water stream and the pressured air that is used to dry the area -- let's just say that with sensitive teeth it's extra cringe worthy. Every now and then there would be that sharp burst feeling in a particular tooth (not really pain). That was about a 10 minute deal though so it wasn't too bad.
IN THE MEAN TIME:
I was sent home with 26+ trays and a tube of 15 minute whitener. This was a different brand than what I used before. I can't remember what it was but I don't think it worked as well. You only get 2 uses out of it - basically a days treatment because it says to do it in morning and at night - versus the other one where I would put it in my trays over night and rinse it in the morning and there was 3-4 nights worth. It could have been more of a perception issue on my part though because they were noticeably more white after the first 15 min. This was all towards the end of July.
2 weeks later I went in for retainer impressions. This was the same as the Invisalign molding process where you get your mouth stuffed with foam for 5 minutes.
It took about a week and a half for my retainers to come in (they told me 3 so this was pretty fast). I ended up going with Vivera (invisalign). They gave me two options for retainers. One option was to pay $150 (I think) for 1 retainer that would last a year or so. I think this was different than Vivera but I may have misunderstood. The other option was Vivera with 4 retainers for $400. Each retainer should last at least a year. Well it was kind of hard to say no to that (hence the reason I don't even remember the other option) and so that was what I went with.
The Viveras are exactly like the Invis trays but are made of a heavy duty material. They do feel a bit thicker on the teeth but nothing to invasive. I still have to wear these 24/7 for the next 3 months. Then I only wear them at night.
Does the constant hygiene get annoying sometimes? YES
Did I always follow exact care instructions? NO. My life saying is sh*t happens. Deal with it the best that you can and the best possible results will happen. They didn't always get cleaned perfectly. I didn't always floss. Or mouthwash. Or brush with toothpaste. It all depended on what I was doing for my job (didn't always have bathroom/running water luxuries) and the amount of time I had to do it in. But my teeth survived.
Did I sometimes put trays in without brushing my teeth? YES. gross I know, but sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do.
Did trays ever crack? YES. There were 2 sets, one in the beginning and one towards the middle, that cracked. I still wore them and they still worked. I was just extra careful. It also depends where the crack is and whether you close to being able to change trays - mine cracked towards the back and during the last 2 days of that tray.
Did I get cavities, decay, or any other ortho/periodontal issue? NO (thankfully! Especially considering my love for coffee)
Was my mouth sore? SOMETIMES. it depended on what was being moved. I could usually tell it was a major tooth movement if the trays almost immediately hurt putting them in. The back teeth especially during a couple of trays.
Did the pain last? NO. I changed trays at night and took an asprin so I didn't notice it as much. Teeth were a little tender in the morning eating breakfast and taking trays out.
Did I buy all of the special Invisalign stuff to clean trays? NO. general brand denture cleanser tabs work great. Sometimes I had a tray set for 1-2 months at a time and they were still clear at the end.
Do the bands really work? YES. Check my pics. I didn't believe the doc at first. I thought the bands were annoying and honestly, how were two little bands going to move my bite?! Well those two little bands did.
Did I have any tracking issues: YES. The one canine that is noted in the question below.
Is there anything I'm completely unhappy with? NO. As Lucy5408 mentioned in the comments, my right canine is out a little further than what would be considered "perfect", but this was an issue that the doc could only do so much about without compromising roots and possibly other teeth. My teeth have come a LONG ways and this minor detail I am okay with, all things considered.
Overall, I'm happy with my experience. I didn't realize what all I was getting into in the beginning - with the expansion and then the buttons and bands - but I'm someone that goes with the flow if I trust my provider and everything turned out great in the end.
Thanks for all of your wonderful comments, updates, advice, rants, and humor throughout this process! Sharing this experience was great for me and I hope it has helped others in some way. I will still continue to post random mile stones just so everyone knows what to expect in the future (i.e., if the retainers work the next 3 months and if my teeth are still awesome in a year!)
I'm loading pictures right now and putting dates on them. So those will be up in a "final" post in a few hours.
Final pictures and cost breakdown
Looking at the pictures, my teeth look better at tray 24 vs. final retainer picture. The (R) incisor is in a bit and the canine out a bit. The retainers should actually help it get back into place. If not, then I can do refinements once more in 3 months when I get back in for a check up. It's not the end of the world for me and I know I have options if it comes down to it.
Here is a final cost break down here for everything I did pre to post care:
Pre-treatment wisdom teeth extraction:
$200 per tooth x 3 = $600
Pre-treatment arch expansion:
2 expansion retainers = $400
Invisalign with provider extras:
- 24 normal trays, 2 final trays
- all check-ups covered
- all bands, chewies
- invisalign tray whitening (at beginning of treatment)
- refinements if necessary
- post invisalign cleaning, polishing
- post invisalign whitening
4 Vivera retainers = $400
Total = $6600