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From the Beginning - Palm Desert, CA

Everything has been very smooth from the initial...

Everything has been very smooth from the initial visit, impressions, viewing my video, and getting my first trays. The second set of trays was also very smooth. I had a few questions after the first trays that my dentist answered to my satisfaction. I had looked for answers on the invisalign site and when some of the answers confused me, Dr. Tom cleared everything up.

Thanks so much for sharing your opinion about your doctor.

I would love to add your experience to the Invisalign community, but it would be helpful if you could provide some more detail about your experience with your procedure/treatment. I suggest adding pros and cons and/or before and after photos - optional of course, so that other community members can use your review as a guide through their journey.

Looking forward to your response so I can add your review to the Invisalign community.


From The Beginning

I am just finishing up the second set of trays. Again, everything has been good. The hardest part for me is dealing with the routine of cleaning the trays and brushing my teeth when I am either eating out or traveling. I have become pretty proficient in teeth cleaning in my car, as I HATE using a public bathroom to brush my teeth!

My second set of trays kind of twisted in the back when I put them on, but I figured out a technique that kept them from twisting. I would have gone back to the dentist, but I was traveling, so I knew I had to get them in correctly; it just took a bit of time.

The positive part is I have lost about one pound a week, as I can no longer graze. Along with the weight loss, I have kicked the diet coke habit also. Not bad for almost 64 to be able to make these changes!!!!!

Thank you for updating your review!  I've heard from a lot of people that they end up losing weight in the beginning (the same thing happened to me, but I got used to the trays and my weight went back up again ;).  Fabulous that you've kicked the diet coke habit, though.  That is impressive indeed, and it'll help the rest of your smile immensely!  Good luck :)


Going Back to Day 1

Guess I should probably tell everyone what day 1 was like for me. Not only did I get 10 (maybe 11) attachments.....I have a very small double one on one tooth if that is possible, but I also had what I think is called IPA where they shave down the teeth to allow movement. So after all of that, the dentist popped the first set of trays in. I loved his sense of humor when he said his rule was everyone must take each tray out three times before they could leave the office. Actually, I think it was a great rule. It was a lot easier to pop the trays out in the office than at home the first time....but as anyone with can tell you, once you develop a system, it isn't too difficult to get the trays out. Practice does help....don't know if anyone is perfect at this! We just all cope!!!!!!

And yes, that attachment drove me nuts for about 4 days. The positive things about that is that I can't stand to have the trays out because of the attachments, so getting my 22 hours a day in not a problem. I think I am most likely wearing the trays 23 or more hours a day.

I will have trays for 9-10 months, so with set #3, I figure I have 8-9 left months if all goes according to plan.

My teeth have been sensitive and a bit sore, but only when I try to eat. So, I am slowing down and chewing carefully, as I can feel that my back teeth have already shifted.

So many positive things have happened since the first trays went end, especially breaking a 40-50 year old habit of drinking diet soda. I also look for very nutritional foods, instead of reaching for those sweet treats. So not only will I have a nice set of teeth, but I should be healthier!!!!!!!

As Dr. Tom told me, I am taking some wonderful steps for a healthier second half of my life....I wonder if he really thinks I will live to be over 120!!!!!

BTW, is this Dr. Jeffrey F. Tom?

Yes it is.

I will update your review with the doctor's full name. :)


Set #3

This set was very uneventful. They weren't even as tight as the 2nd try. I did have to have the dentist shave one spot that pinched my upper gums, but other than that..... no problem. I can look at my first set of trays and compare them to the 3rd set and see a difference in movement with the back teeth. I also notice more space between my upper front teeth, which I assume will close up in later trays.

I will try and post pictures soon.

Set #4

Again, this set of trays has been uneventful. I can feel that my back teeth are starting to line up much better. So far this process has been very smooth and uneventful. I hope things stay this way. I do find eating meat is a bit of a challenge, unless it is soft as the back teeth are often sensitive and a bit sore.

I think my biggest issue is that I keep breaking the fingernail of the finger I use to remove the trays. I have learned how to use another finger, so all is well.

When I had braces as a teenager, I had much more pain than I experience now. The most positive part of this invisalign experience is that I have lost 8 pounds to date!

That is so funny about the fingernail.  I did that a couple of times.  Less funny was when, after I got my attachments, I actually ripped one of the trays while trying to take it out.  It was just a tiny rip, but man was I scared!

I would probably freak out if I tore one of the trays. Especially since my dentist only works in the office two days a week. I would hate to have to back to using an older tray!!!!!

I just kept using it--I'm not gonna lie.  And then I moved on to the next one like nothing had happened. :-/  But it all ended up working out.  It wasn't at the beginning of my wearing that tray, so my teeth had already gotten used to that tray.  I can't remember if it hurt a little extra with the next tray, though.  I wiped it all from my memory ;)


My Photo

The over crowding, especially on the bottom, shows well. As does how my molars have moved so my bite is way off. One side has already been corrected, now for the other side!!!!!

Thanks for posting the picture!  Now I feel like I can put a mouth to the name ;).  But seriously, wow, it's super obvious how those molars are leaning.  Do they have to do anything special to get those right again?  I mean, like buttons and rubber bands or anything like that?

The other side was leaning in just as much and has corrected very well in 2 months. There are buttons on the molars, but nothing has been mentioned about rubber bands yet. My dentist has been very upfront about everything and rubber bands were never mentioned. It was a bit of a task to take the picture of one's own teeth!!!!! Will try and do another picture update in a month or so.

Cool.  And yeah, I'm pretty sure if rubber bands were in your future, they'd have said something about it.  I tried to take pictures of my crown in progress today and boy, I agree.  Not easy.  The pics were awful.  I'll probably post them anyway.


Set # 5

Once again, a very uneventful set of trays. I had a bit of sensitivity, but noticed other people used sensitive toothpaste and that seemed to take care of the problems quickly. This site so helpful when you have questions and issued. Especially when it is going to be two weeks before one sees the dentist. Actually four weeks this time, because my dentist's office is updating its computer system when it is time for my next appointment. He gave me the next set of trays to put in, which I was happy about. I don't think I would want to wear a set much more than two weeks.

It was fun looking at my first set of trays and comparing them to tray 5, what a difference. I can tell from the pressure on my lower bottom teeth that they are going to start to move....YEAH!!!

Have you been going in to the doctor's office for each tray?  Or does he give you multiple?

I go into the office for each set of new trays. This is the only time I have been given an extra tray. He likes to check to see how each new tray is fitting. He told me in the beginning that if all went well and I had no problems, that if I was traveling, I could have the next set instead of coming into the office for the new tray.

Wow.  That's great service :).  A lot of people on here would have been better off going in for every tray--so many people whose trays don't seem to fit properly and the like.  They'd be able to show the doctor right away!  I got at least 3 aligners at a time and saw my ortho no more than once every 6 weeks, unless there was an emergency.  But I spend a lot of the time in La Quinta, while my orthodontist was in Northern CA, so that worked out well for me :)


Tray 6

Once again, another uneventful tray. I am noticing that my teeth are so much easier to floss. I have a teeth cleaning appointment next week and it was will interesting to see whether the better oral care makes for a shorter cleaning!

It seemed a bit strange to have the trays myself this time instead of going to the dentist for the trays. I like the fact the dentist checks everything each time. From reviewing this forum, I guess many people get a few set of trays and do it themselves!

The most positive aspect, is the invisalign diet is working. I am now down 10 pounds without trying to loose weight! But I certainly think about what and when I am eating a lot more now than ever before.

Happy New Year!  And congrats on the 10 pounds :D  It's nice to see things running without a hitch for someone!

I know that when I see how many people experience problems, I feel so lucky. Maybe because I had braces as a teen, I kind of knew what to expect. I really do find the site helpful when little things such as sensitivity pop up, as well as how to clean the trays.

Tray 7

Just like the other trays, this one has been smooth sailing. I did get my teeth cleaned right before Tray 7 went in. Because of the better oral health, I had a lot less scraping (tartar) ! I did have one brown spot next to an attachment but that was easily buffed off. I am hoping that in the next few trays that the crowding in the bottom teeth will start to move. The top looks pretty good, not perfect, but better. 7 down 13 to go! Looking forward to the half way point!!!!!
There hasn't been too much visible change but I will try and post pictures at the halfway point or sooner.
Congrats!  I hope you'll give us a picture at the halfway point!!  I want to see your progress! :D

Tray 8

Finally! Starting to see some improvement in the crowding on the bottom! With this tray I have experienced some tenderness/soreness in my upper molars. Not much but enough to know something is moving up there! Guess this is when people start getting excited. I know I am!!!!!

My top front teeth are now hitting my bottom front teeth, so eating is slower as I can't stand to hit my teeth when eating! All very normal according to Dr. Tom. My top front look pretty good and when I compare tray 8 to tray 1, I can really see a difference. I always thought it was just my bottom teeth that were in need of straightening. Guess the trays don't lie do they?
Ooh, thanks for the pic!  The angle is a little different, but I really think I see movement on both top and bottom arches!  Congrats for finally feeling that invisalign pain ;).  Make sure you're not clenching your teeth.  I started doing that with the Invisalign and it's caused an open bite (which makes my teeth hit in the fronts because my molars no longer touch).  Makes chewing basically impossible.  So just something to keep in mind!
Oh yes....clenching is something I find myself doing! I was never aware how much I clenched until I got invisalign. Maybe I will get the angles the same on the next picture!!!!!
Honestly, you may not have clenched before Invisalign.  I certainly didn't.  But now I can't stop!  So we fitted me for a Hawley (old-fashioned wire retainer) this morning in the hopes that I might stop clenching so much.  We'll see how that goes!  If you can stop now, that'd be ideal ;)

Try 9

Wow! Almost half way done!!!! I am so thankful my dentist checks each tray with me. This tray had a weird point on the top tray. He was able to buff the point off. After he buffed the point off he said he should have taken a picture of the bump to send to invisalign. Because I usually see my dentist every two weeks, when I read that others are given multiple sets of trays, it makes me really appreciate the fact that my dentist checks everything out so carefully.

I continue to see improvement in the bottom teeth which makes me excited! Things have gone so smoothly for me so far.

I was given tray 10, which is my halfway point as I won't be able to get into the dentist in two weeks.
Looking good, definitely seeing the improvement now.  Are you getting Interproximal Reduction (IPR) done as you go along?  If not, do you know if it's at all planned?
I had IPR done, with my attachments along with the first trays. My dentist hasn't said anything about any additional IPR, but did mention that one of his other patients had to have a 4 tray revision because of dry mouth and the fact that her lips didn't close. My dentist has been very open about my treatment and is checking with each tray. I haven't had any surprises yet!
Awesome :).  I love that kind of honesty.  I wonder why your doctor hasn't signed up with RealSelf yet.  It'd be nice to have his doctor profile on here so we could link to his website and others could see him and choose him if they were in the Palm Desert area.  My mom has so many problems with her teeth, and she hasn't been extremely satisfied with her dentist.  Is your doctor only a cosmetic dentist or what?  She's in La Quinta, so not far from you.  Have you used Dr. Tom for other stuff as well?

Tray 10 and a cool little device

Yippee.....tray 10, if all goes well I am half finished!!!!!!! Or is half full!!!!! This set of trays actually felt loose when I put them in. Tray 9 still felt a bit tight the entire two weeks, so it felt weird that the trays went in so easily. Usually I have trouble getting the bottom trays in the first 3 days and this set has just popped right in.

Also, I use an electric toothbrush. And I carry a manual toothbrush for those times I am away from home. Recently I found an amazing small Sonic electric travel toothbrush, at the container store. It was about $15.00. The best thing about the toothbrush, is it is small enough to clean the trays! My trays have never looked so good. no more ichy plaque/gunk build up Most of the time I just use water or mouthwash on my trays. And with this smaller toothbrush, it fits easily inside the trays.
Can you give us the brand of the toothbrush?  Thanks!
It is a Sonic. At the container store it came in a small tube. One tube was silver and the other tube had polka dots!
Oh!  I thought you were just saying it was a sonic toothbrush *headdesk*.  Thanks :D

Niffy Little Toothbrush

Here is a picture of my regular electric toothbrush and my new little Sonic travel brush. The brand is call Sonic Slim and runs around $15.00. I checked the internet and one can purchase them in a number of places.

Half Way Photo

I go in for tray 11 tomorrow but thought I would update on the half way point. All continues to go smoothly. I am eager for even more movement on the bottom teeth. Flossing is so much easier so I know there is movement!
Glad to hear that you're having such a good experience with Invisalign. My patients love their results as well. Good luck with everything.
I think I see some movement on the bottom compared to the first pic :).
When I look at the difference between tray 1 and tray 10 it is amazing! I am so thrilled. Can hardly wait to see what the second half of my journey brings!

Everything New Again

Guess I got my first surprise, as when I went to get tray 11 yesterday, instead I got molds and impressions taken. Looks like my dentist wants to make sure everything is on target. I have to admit I was a bit disappointed that I wasn't given tray 11, but was told my case has two different sets, instead of one set of 20 trays.

Wow...what a difference when I saw the molds. Even though I didn't think the bottom teeth had moved that much, it was shocking to see how they actually looked compared to the first set of molds. I also do better with regular impressions than the kind of clay molds.

The good news is that I will probably only have one or two more trays on the top. It will be interesting too see how many trays I will have on the bottom. The dentist is guessing 9 or 10. Just wish I didn't have to wait about 10 days to get the new trays! I am so excited to get through the process!!!! He might have told me that impressions would be taken at the half way point, but if he did, I obviously wasn't listening. He did tell me there might be a bit more IPR. It sure feels strange to be in these trays longer than normal!!!!!
It seems unlikely to me that you'd just forget that.  And I also don't understand why, if things were tracking well, why not just continue with the treatment.  But as long as you continue to see progress, I see no need to second-guess either :).  Staying in a set of trays longer does tend to make the next tray a little harder to get used to, since your teeth start to settle in, but it's not awful :).

Interested in hearing what the remainder of your treatment will be like!  I wish you could have gotten pictures of the molds!  That would have been fun :).
I think when I go back in I will get pictures of the molds and ask Dr. Tom for a copy of chin check. I was really surprised that only 10 trays had been ordered! They said my case was a bit different because there were going to be 2 sets of trays. No real explanation was given when I asked why?????
Maybe you can get more out of them next time.  We'd definitely be interested in hearing more!

Tray 11 Finally

After 5 long weeks in tray 10, I finally got tray 11. Sure makes one appreciate new trays every two weeks. Again, not much pressure and a minimumaal amount of soreness on two molars. I am so excited to see progress with the over crowding on the bottom. As I only saw the dental assistant this time (my new trays came in on a day when the dentist was not in the office), I still don't know if I will need additional IRP for the second set of trays. I will ask to take pictures of the molds when I go in for my next appointment, as when I saw those I was amazed at the changes!!!!
Check this out, lady….

Happy birthday!  ;)

The difference is very big and very pretty!
Pretty cool. I am thrilled!
:D :D :D

Tray 12

Much to my surprise and pleasure I am finished with the top trays. Guess I will wear tray 11 on the top until I finish my treatment. I am not thrilled to have to wear the same tray for another 4 months, but will cope. The dental assistant told me that she would put them in the sonic cleaner at each visit if I wanted help keeping the top tray clean. I will look at that option the next time I go in for a new set of trays. Guess there is a strong advantage to going in every two weeks to get new trays!!!!!

Tray 12 on the bottom has another one of those weird curves that makes it difficult to get in and down on the back. Usually the issue is on the right side and this time the issue is with the left side. Hopefully that means the molars will start moving in!!!!!

Again, another uneventful set of trays.
That's such a great idea, with the sonic cleanings every two weeks.  I would definitely have needed that!!! My trays always got so yellow-brown.

Tray 13

After battling with the 12th bottom tray for two weeks, it was wonderful to just pop the new tray in and have no issues. This tray is extremely tight and my back teeth are a bit sore....but the end is near and I don't mind a bit of pain.

Talked to my dentist about passive trays and he says he prefers to keep the attachments on and just use the older tray. His theory is that if anything goes wrong, we wouldn't have to put attachments on again and that way it keeps the people at invisalign happy! I can't complain as I have had excellent care from my dentist.

We also chatted about dentist versus ortho....his theory is if the case is complicated the orthodontist should take the case. My case is pretty much straight forward with the only issue being over crowding.

I am so thrilled with the results, and especially with his care for my treatment, I would highly recommend him to anyone in the Coachella Valley who is thinking about invisalign!


Hi!  I asked this question a while ago but you never answered :).  Is Dr. Tom a cosmetic dentist or a regular dentist?  I ask because my mom lives in La Quinta and your dentist seems really nice.
I feel bad that it took me so long to respond! He is a regular dentist! He not only is a good dentist, but a caring and gentle dentist as well.
Don't feel bad :).  I post so many comments, it's easy to lose one, LOL!  I already passed the info along now :D  Thanks again!

Tray 14

Same old story....again Tray 14 has been uneventful. I am eager to be finished and can see improvements with each new tray now. Finally my bite is better. My front teeth have been hitting each other making chewing challenging.....but things are getting better and the back teeth are almost touching again. It is getting exciting to think I only have about 10 weeks left....in a perfect invisalign world of course!


Well that picture didn't load well....will try again!!!!
Your progress is lookin good!
Thanks. Hope to post new pictures soon! The end is near, minus refinements if necessary!
I see a picture…was there supposed to be more than one?  That one bottom right central incisor is stubborn!  I'd ask if it was fixed in your last tray, but you probably don't have it yet :).

Tray 15

I feel the end is near! I just had a dental cleaning and wow!!!! What a difference the better oral health made for my cleaning. Usually the cleaning takes almost an hour and this time it was over in about 30 minutes. I had a few stains around the attachments, but that was easily removed. Since I only drink water with the trays in, I am always a bit surprised by the stains on the attachments. But from what I have read on this site, I guess that is not unusual.

I look forward to talking with my dentist to address the small black spot, between my two front upper teeth. Since I have no more trays on the top, I was hoping the spot would go away, but it hasn't. Sure would like to address that before I finish the bottom. I would hate to have to do a set of refinement trays just for the top!
Congrats!  So close…!

Usually the treatment for black triangles is IPR followed by refinements.  So definitely let him know right away!  I can't see the triangle you're talking about, but it could be the angle.  Also, it might make that chip just a tiny bit smaller.

Tray 16 and 17

Time just got away from me and I didn't update. Things have continued to be so smooth. I can't believe that I am about to finish tray 17. Tray 17 definitely moved things in the back as I have had a bit of soreness, especially when I remove the bottom tray. I am getting so excited as I begin to think about finishing my invisalign journey!
Your teeth are looking not just straight but really white, too!  Are you doing anything special?
I saw a segment on Dr. Oz and they recommended using baking soda to brush your teeth with to help with whitening. I use it once a day, usually at night. I noticed that one other member on the invisalign blog uses baking soda as a mouth rinse. I think his/her name was preortho??????
Good memory!  She uses it as a way to neutralize her mouth after acidic foods so that brushing doesn't remove too much enamel.  I remember her recommending it, and my dentist recommended it to me as well.  Do I do it?  No :(. And I don't even mind using it.  It's just too much work to rinse first, and I have to use fluoride to keep my teeth from getting too sensitive.

Have you found your teeth whiter or is it just the picture?  It's notoriously difficult to tell the whiteness of someone's teeth in a picture on the internet, LOL!

Tray 18 and 19 and the final #20

Oh vacation time....and no time to update. But with the last two trays, I just haven't seen much change. This concerned me so I spoke with Dr. Tom and he agreed. So he has done IPR with trays 19 and 20. So with tray 20, I am seeing some movement, but my bottom teeth are not where I feel they should be. I know they are moving because the bottom teeth are very sore. I see the dentist in two weeks and if I am not happy or he has not seen any movement, he is going to put a dimple????? in the tray. Never heard of that and I didn't ask. If that doesn't work, then it looks like impressions again....yuck....and refinements, not necessarily a bad thing. My teeth look better, but they don't look anything the model or chin check. Will try and get a photo on soon.
The dimples are instead of putting a new attachment.  Invisalign Teen has power ridges standard.  They just grip the teeth a little better.  It's not a big deal :).

We just got a new person who's in La Quinta!  But she's doing Clear Correct instead of Invisalign.  Almost the same thing.  I was so excited though.  She's doing her treatment in Palm Desert too :D.
Guess when the teeth were moved out, one tooth just didn't want to move back. I hope the dimple works, as I just hate the impressions. My invisalign journey has been so smooth, this just seems like a small bump in the road!
I agree!  Your treatment has been very smooth indeed, and there are always little things here and there to tweak :).


Well...dimples have been put in tray 20 in hopes of moving two teeth. I think one of the two teeth that have not moved into the trays is moving, the other is not moving. Don't know what this means at this point. Maybe more dimples or impressions and revision? Either work for me. Photo to come soon.
Question:  has that one stubborn tooth moved at all during the treatment?
I don't think the tooth has moved at all....but the molds show it has. It will be interesting to see what plan B will be when I go back for my next visit. I am guessing a revision.
As long as the tooth has shown that it can move, yeah, I'm guessing he'll try revision.

Dimple update

Well...small changes so far. Guess my next appointment will be impressions and revisions unless something else can be done!

another angle

That bottom row looks really tight.  Is that an artifact of the picture or are they going to do more IPR?  Right now it looks like there's no room for movement.

More IPR and Dimples

With today's appointment I had one tooth reshaped and some additional IPR, along with more dimples added to the bottom tray. We will try this for another two weeks. I know there was a lot more pressure on the stubborn tooth when the tray was put back in. Time will tell!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Glad to hear they did more IPR, since it was looking so tight!  I sure hope this works!
Looks like it is working. I noticed last night the one tooth had moved and this morning it really looks great.
LOL!  It's like it wanted to move :D.  Great news!


What a change and so quickly!!!!! That one bottom tooth has moved right into position. It is a bit tender and sore, but I am so pleased!!!!! Guess it just needed some more room to move.

Almost There!

For the past few weeks, each time I have had an appointment, Dr. Tom has done something different. Looks like the dimples, IPR, and tooth reshaping is working. He is going to take molds next week and we will talk about anything else I might want done. I am so close to finishing and very pleased with where I am now! Just a bit more to go!!!!!!
Wow!!!!  Looking fantastic!  Inspirational!
I am happy, especially since Dr. Tom wants to make sure I am happy!!!!
Yeah.  I tried to tell my mom she should try him but I don't know if she ever did.  I think your experience speaks volumes.
Dr. Jeffrey F. Tom

I just love this dentist. I recently switched from another dentist in the same office after a negative experience with a crown. Dr. Tom is the best, not only is he a skilled dentist, but a very good listener! I never feel rushed at my appointments and he values my time by not making me wait.

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