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28 Year Old Actor/Speaker Trying Invisalign/Braces For The First Time - Brea, CA

I frequently work with children and for TV/film...

I frequently work with children and for TV/film and speak a LOT for my job. So, a lot of people see my face close-up almost every day! Unfortunately, I have some problems with my bite and with overcrowding on my bottom jaw (one tooth is almost completely behind the others - I would upload pictures but unfortunately do not have any).

After a horrific experience at a dentist getting Lumineers on my front top teeth several years ago (the dentist actually gave me a medicinal overdose), I finally made the leap to speaking with a dentist (outside of cleanings/maintenance) once again to pursue fixing my teeth. I chose a very highly-rated dentist who has done quite a few cases of Invisalign. He regularly attends conferences and is up-to-date on all the latest technology and findings. His bedside manner is also awesome, and he was very happy to answer any questions I had about the process I visited a few times for checkups/some minor cosmetic work to see how I liked the office/staff/dentist before I finally signed away for Invisalign. This was a BIG step for me, as I am scared of people touching my teeth after the experience I had several years ago (also on that note - one of my $1000 Lumineers chipped off while flossing after only being on for 6 months - what a waste!).

The impressions process with Invisalign was really fast and easy. They took a ton of pictures and took the molds (not nearly as bad as I expected - no gunk running everywhere, no icky taste), and I just came back in today to get fitted with my trays (top and bottom). The dentist has not put in the brackets yet, because he wants me to get used to the trays and not be overwhelmed (this is my first time wearing ANYTHING on my teeth - I wasn't able to get braces when I was younger).

The biggest problem for me is the new lifestyle change. I am ALWAYS eating on the go because of my job. I was also worried at first about how I would talk/sing (I am also a singer), especially in front of kids, but it sounds from the reviews here like this shouldn't be an issue (my dentist also told me he'd worked with public speakers and a few actresses with the same concern - it wasn't an issue with them, either). After several hours of wearing them, it feels a bit awkward to smile and with "S" sounds. This sounds pretty normal, too? I am still trying to figure out how to smile for pictures for my job - it feels like there's a big block of something on my teeth, and that I have to smile around that. Feels super awkward. My bottom two front teeth also have a space of the tray on top - I'm guessing because they will move over time to fit those trays a little better..?

Other than that - I really have no pain. No edges cutting my mouth or anything. Wondering if I will have a tension headache in the morning??

Happy to be sharing my experience and hope to have some cheerleaders along the way. I can recklessly abandon projects I was once gung-ho about and don't want to get frustrated with these things and rip them off and delay treatment...so I may need some help around here! :D

6 Comments

Hello and welcome to our Invisalign community!  Generally, most people just post anonymous mouth shots they took with their smart phones.  I got pictures from my orthodontist but that is not at all required and it was only because I started my review so late in the process.  So don't think you have to have good pictures.  You should definitely take some for your own use, even if you're wary of posting them for anonymity's sake.  It's really helpful down the road, when you're wondering whether it's all worth it.  Because it takes usually between 16-20 weeks before you see any progress, and even then, it's the kind of progress you can only see from studying before/after pictures up close.

I never got rid of my lisp, but it wasn't a big deal.  I can sing in my retainers (which are harder and thicker than aligners) but I wouldn't perform for an audience in them.  You may wish to practice both smiles and speaking/singing in front of a mirror to see whether the results are acceptable to you.  Otherwise you may have to schedule time without the aligners just like you have to schedule your eating time, and since you have so little time, you'll have to be very frugal.  I'm very interested to know what kinds of solutions you come up with!  We have one community member, JLD_Sail, who plays trombone and has had to deal with that.

Most people don't get a headache, but if you are prone, you may.  

What was the solution for your Lumineer that popped off, by the way?

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As for my Lumineer, my mom's dentist (at the time) did an emergency fix for me and just bonded the tooth. I had a crack in it up until my latest dentist, who fixed it up for me nicely and got rid of the crack! I had a LOT of trouble today with my performing (I perform one-person shows on weekends, up to 6 hours daily). I could not sing "S"'s, had a lisp, and because I am close to the audiences, I was very self conscious about my aligners showing. After trying to practice with them for an hour, I ended up taking them out for the two shows I had today and ate fast in between (got to about 19 hours total in them, though!). I'm realizing I'll have to discuss this with my dentist - my initial time was 27 weeks, but that may have to be extended because of my work dilemma on weekends. I've been reading a lot about Acceledent on this board and elsewhere and want to discuss that option with the dentist as well. I will get pics on here ASAP. That will really help me with my progress. My teeth are already hurting, but of course - I just got the trays on 3 days ago. Thank you so much for the welcome!!
No problem :).  I've definitely read of some who use their aligners 3 weeks instead of 2 because they wear them less.  Most doctors aren't keen on it because it's contiguous time in the aligners that really counts.  Definitely interested to hear what the doctor has to say about it, and whether they feel AcceleDent might help.

One thing to consider--maybe performing a bit for friends and seeing whether they notice the aligners a lot.  Or even video recording yourself and taking a look.  Everyone I've talked to here on RealSelf agrees that they notice the aligners way more than others do.  Plus, it's not like there's something wrong with fixing your teeth.  If it makes your singing unintelligible that's one thing, but if it just means that a few people notice that you're wearing braces, maybe that's not such a big deal. 

I remember trying to do a choir rehearsal in a Hawley retainer the first time I got it.  I was asking a question about some German pronunciation and the conductor literally couldn't understand what I said.  But after a week, I had no trouble rehearsing in it.  Still, I couldn't have performed in it.  But it's a huge piece of plastic on your hard palate. :)

Anyway, I hope you find a way to solve this.  I hope it's just a matter of practicing and stuff.  Even if you got AcceleDent, it'd be amazing if you could just halve those 27 weeks!  Imagine, done with Invisalign in 14 weeks--or however long it ended up being.  That's less than 4 months!

I look forward to your next update!

Photos, Week One

6 Comments

Hoping that things have been going so well for you, that you haven't even considered updating.  But I'd love to hear!
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That is wonderful to hear!!!!!  You will definitely feel the difference with the attachments, but thank goodness they'll all be on the bottom :).  The extra material thing is definitely a real issue, and it changes the shape of your face slightly, (at least, it does for me,) but it's usually within the realm of normal so people who don't know you can't notice it.  I think you'll be fine.

It's going to be so great for your bottom teeth to match the top!  Your bottom crowding is obviously quite severe.  We've got loooooots of people in the community working on crowding like that, though.  Invisalign is great for it :).  Let me introduce you to some other reviews of people working on moderate to severe crowding:

HenryZ (had to have a tooth pulled, he's nearly done)
Mil ou's crowding is mainly on the bottom and it's pretty moderate, but there is an overlapped tooth and she had problems with bleeding in the beginning.
humbleoracle has pretty severe overcrowding in the bottom jaw
Dante555 has severe overcrowding on the bottom but nearly none on the top
Sunluvva's crowding is pretty severe
Ceclarlinetlo just joined us but is 6 months into treatment. 
AreYouKiddingMe, jbranchfield, Yangche, and Ewag2014, and shannon1990 are our newest.

mlb502, one of our RealFriends, started with pretty crowded teeth as well, but she's nearly done after a long time.
Actually, I think the attachments are going to be behind my upper teeth. The nurse who originally helped me was confused by this, but the dentist explained to her why he was doing it (I can't remember). Is that going to be a huge deal? I can actually feel them right behind my front upper teeth, so I don't think they'll be noticeable...? Thank you so much for these connections!!! I can't wait to connect with more people. You have been an absolutely wonderful source of support and help.
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