From Snaggletooth to Straight Smile? Being Patient is Difficult! - Omaha, NE

I'm 28 and have always been bothered by my front...

I'm 28 and have always been bothered by my front incisors being twisted, effectively turning my smile into a somewhat scary thing. Sure, they're fairly symmetrical in their twist, but who wants to be called a vampire by your younger cousins other than around Halloween? :)

In recent years, I noticed the teeth shifting more and becoming less symmetrical (the pictures from the past don't lie, right?), so taking action become more of a priority. Now or never; my dentist advised me that waiting may make treatment very difficult. The stars aligned and I recently took on a new job with an HSA…voila! I can now afford to have my grimace fixed.

My initial consultation was in July. Records were taken at the end of September, after I got my ducks in a row. I feel fortunate that my records were taken digitally and no goop or icky pulling molds were needed. This will also allow for a mess free refinement at the end of treatment.

When the ortho told me I could go with traditional braces or with Invisalign, I was elated. (However, there is a chance that I will need traditional for a short period at the end of my treatment anyway…it all depends on the incisors and canines. The only thing it would affect is treatment time.)

My ortho e-mailed me PDFs of ClinCheck shots and cleared up the questions I had about gaps, gum line, etc. (I know, I was too thorough!) Within two weeks of giving the ortho the green light, my first trays were in the office and I made my appointment to have my attachments put in.

My records were $300.00 and with a deposit of $500.00, my payments over a two year period will be $187.50 per month. Straight teeth for less than my car payment? Yes, please.

First Appointment: the Attachments & Tray 1

On Monday I had the appointment to put in my attachments. All 15 (!!!) of them. I only counted 13 (only, ha!) on my ClinCheck PDF, but I guess they were simply not all visible. I wasn't aware until I researched after the fact that teeth are acid etched before cementing the attachments to the teeth (so that's what they were doing…). Not surprising, but I would have appreciated some warning/explanation.

The technician applied the acid and let it do its thing, and followed with the cement. The attachment trays were inserted by the ortho and pressed firmly into place. There was a lot of pressure and a little pain removing these trays, and one of the attachments had to be re-applied. The ortho cleaned up some of the glue, but as much pain as this was causing me brought that to a quick halt (it was very hot with the friction and my bottom front teeth are quite sensitive)! Finally, my first trays were inserted by the technician and I was asked to stand before a mirror and remove and reinsert them. Talk about awkward! With all of these attachments I wondered if I would ever be able to remove them without feeling like I was pulling out teeth!

Let it be known that the directions for removal in the manual are not best for everyone! With all of my attachments up front, it's impossible for me to remove the retainers starting from the back…I have to get my nails under them on my canines/the teeth around them and pull straight down. There is no other way in this situation! :)

I was given a package of (two) Chewies and instructed to use them multiple times throughout the day, as well as a red and a blue case, orthodontic wax, and my second and third trays. My ortho's office recommends cleaning the retainers daily with denture cleaner (the effervescent kind). So far this has been easy (they soak while I eat breakfast) and successful at avoiding any odor or buildup problems.

Removing the retainers has gotten much easier in the five days I've had them. I had a terrible amount of pain on the second, third, and fourth days, despite constant use of ibuprofen and Advil PM to help me sleep. I finally tried Orajel and it offered a tremendous amount of relief. I really think this is because I haven't been using the Chewies except for briefly right when I insert the trays (I've read just today that the Chewies help move the teeth more quickly so the retainers do not have to apply as much constant pressure). Today, on day five, I am finally just feeling pressure and none of the terrible bruised-teeth or itchy-root pain (it's so difficult to describe until you've experienced it). The attachments are gradually becoming a little less rough on the inside of my mouth, however the roughness is a good reminder to get the trays back in my mouth when I've had them out for mealtime. A major adjustment I've had to make is carrying lip balm with me everywhere, as my lips have become dry and cracked. I'm pretty sure I'll have the lisp for the length of my treatment.

About that length of treatment? I have 24 trays on my lower teeth and 44 on my uppers to look forward to. 20 months, and that's not including the refinement we will be doing close to the end…or the possibility of wire braces if my canines and incisors are uncooperative. I have read so many complaints about length of treatment, but few of these patients have even half the length of treatment I am facing. We're sliding bones around! It takes time and patience!

Attaching the initial images that were provided of my treatment expectations. I'll include a photo or two when we get to the tray 2. My front teeth won't be moving until a year into treatment as we are making room for them in the interim, so I likely will not include TOO many photos until then.

My Before Photo

Just a brief little update adding a "before shot". I'm awful at taking selfies, so I've cropped my sister out of this shot taken a few weeks ago. (Although, her straight smile next to mine sure was an eye-opener.) Ten days into tray one and it's smooth sailing…I just feel like I have a full mouth most of the time. ;) I'll post a close up of the attachments next week!

Re-Attaching Attachments & Tray 2

Sometime during my second week on Tray 1, I lost an attachment. I guess I ate it…maybe not. In any case, I certainly didn't *miss* it too much. :)

Getting all of the glue scraped off for just one attachment was not pleasant, and of course it was the one that practically touches my gum line (eee, acid…). Now I just hope the rest are stuck for the rest of treatment (fingers crossed!). The worst part was the pressure on my teeth…I had just moved to Tray 2 the day before so the teeth had just started moving again. That one little button also makes it a lot harder to remove my bottom tray! :)

Tray 2 for me had a very different feel than Tray 1. I definitely felt more soreness in my front teeth and not very much discomfort at all elsewhere. My ortho explained that this tray was putting more pressure on my bottom incisors, and showed me the video of my ClinCheck again. I'd forgotten about how much movement those incisors are going to have, to open up my bite. It really is crazy to look at it for me. I especially enjoy scrolling the video and watching the teeth that rotate…NOT! It makes me cringe! :)

It was really hard for me to eat for the first week on Tray 2, just because of the discomfort in the front of my mouth. No cheeseburgers without a knife and fork! But overall the pain was much less pronounced than with the first tray.

Still working to get that photo of the attachments and my trays in my mouth…front facing camera does not focus well at all so I'll have to get creative. In the meantime, I'll upload the videos!

Embedded Video Links

Sorry about that…I really do wish we had a "Preview" option so we know if we've added something correctly. :) Here are the videos, embedded! :)

Tray 3

As promised, pics of my teeth. Finally…although they're not very clear. I despise the tumorous looking attachments but I'm past caring about what other people think. I'm fixing my smile and that's that.

I'm updating again fairly early on Tray 3, since I know the next few weeks will be crowded with appointments and personal/business stuff.

I'm on day 4 of these trays and finally past dreading removing them. I felt like I was pulling out my teeth, which felt like they were honestly on fire, every time I removed the trays. I cried a little. I even yelped once. The pressure on my top front teeth and left side made it feel like I'd been punched in the jaw, especially when trying to eat. (Never noticed it before, but I think most of my life I have chewed on my left side…talk about a hard habit to break!) Thankfully, that's all behind. Until Tray 4...

I've noticed that flossing is becoming more difficult between my molars, and my bite is definitely feeling weird already. Maybe it's just me becoming accustomed to the aligners, so it feels strange when they're out. But when I eat I notice that things are just different somehow. Then again, only on tray three, maybe it's all in my head.

In about a week I *get the joy* of having more attachments added and starting with the rubber bands. JOY JOY JOY! The fun of rotating a molar, wheeeee. Until then...

Tray 4 + the Dread Pirate Rubber Band

Okay, so it's not a pirate. I'll admit that up front…but the $#%* thing has been irritating the inside of my cheek now since Monday, and it feels like it's making the *wrong* teeth hurt (you know, the ones that aren't supposed to be moving and should be acting more as anchors?).

I had one button added to my bottom teeth and only have to wear the one rubber band…for now. The button is metal and annoys me because: 1) food catches in it worse than on any of the attachments (I could use a power washer for Christmas to help keep it clean), 2) it jabs into my cheek when the aligners are out, making it impossible to eat at a normal speed without bleeding, 3) adding the rubber band makes it less noticeable to my mouth, but also makes the tooth it is attached to ACHE.

The rubber band's second attachment point is on my upper canine, directly on the aligner tray. I was wondering what that hooked part of my trays was for and now I know. …And now I have to stop trimming it off and try to figure out how to keep it from bending outward and stabbing the inside of my lips. >.< Sorry guys, this week has been a real test. I know I want the straight smile. But yes, all of the little things have me irritated and I'm sorry if I'm complaining a lot.

I change out the band every time I eat. It's come off a few times on its own…getting snapped on the inside of your mouth is less than glamorous. :)

For the New Year's Eve holiday, I'm delaying changing out my trays for two days. I am dreading Christmas a little, because I love all of the food and by then tray 4 will be fairly loose. It's going to be a struggle not to just leave them out in between lunch and dinner. :/ Send me strength! :) Happy holidays...
Dr. Julie Olson

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 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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It's been a few months and you disappeared!  How are things going?  We've got a bunch more people with elastics, all of a sudden.  They've got a club *LOL*!
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It's not all in your head. :(  I'm still complaining about my blasted bite being jacked up from my Invisalign.  But I think most people end up much better by the end. :)  I noticed also that I nearly always chew on my right molars.  I wonder if that's just we who have problems who do that kind of thing, or if that's normal.  Huh.

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It is interesting…I'd guess most people favor one side without realizing it, but then again if your bite is correct all the way around maybe not. Hmm. That's disappointing that your bite ended up being screwy. :| I'd be really upset…something I'll be sure to follow up on with my ortho. Hope you're having a good week!
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I went to the ortho and talked to them about it, and they said I have to reduce my hours wearing the aligners back down to 8 and then come back in 6 weeks.  At that time, they'll file down stuff that needs to be filed, and then I'll grumble a lot and they'll switch out at least one of my Vivera retainers for a Hawley.  I'm holding out for both because I cannot not clench with the Viveras, and it's the clenching that's messed up my bite.  It forces the molars into the jaws so they're not in their right places and leaves me with a posterior open bite.  Big problem.  So yeah.  

Good luck with the holiday.  I'm not gonna lie--I forgot to put my aligners back in on Christmas the year I was doing Invisalign.  I wore them a full 24 hours the next day to try to make up for it (not removing for meals--I didn't eat any meals--but removing only to brush and floss) but I don't think it made much of a difference.  It may be a bigger deal for you, though, since you've got a lot more going on than I did and I was also nearer the end of my treatment.

Happy Holidays!
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Oh wow.  Thanks for the ClinChecks!  What fun :)  Now we'll be able to see whether they're accurate or overly optimistic! ;)

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Yeah, here's hoping. :)
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I'm 30 and just got my first tray yesterday. It's nice to read your review. I am feeling a bit regretful of doing it due to feeling self-conscious and am having a hard time adjusting to the feeling of them being in. I'll be nice to experience this with someone else. :)
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Hi Smilebright22! You'll get used to the trays before too long and at some point, they will even begin to feel better IN than they do OUT! Crazy, I know! Hang in there! :)
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You're off to a great start and I look forward to reading about your treatment as time goes on! :)
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Extremely thorough.  Thank you so much for taking the time to write all of that!  It's going to be a great resource for others. I look forward to following your progress.  You can include as many photos as you want, by the way.  If I haven't hit the limit on my review, you surely will never hit the limit on yours ;)

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Thanks for the encouragement. I do worry at times I'm too verbose, but hope it will be of some value to someone else! :)
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Most people are very terse, so it's good to have a few people who give details! :)

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Looking forward to seeing your smile transform into a beautiful one! No more 'vampirism'! :)
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:) Thanks for the support. :)
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