My Invisalign Journey - Rockville, MD

I've been interested in Invisalign for a while......

I've been interested in Invisalign for a while... I had braces in elementary school through high school and stopped wearing my retainer (got braces in 4th grade, got them off in 5th because I still had some baby teeth that needed to come out, then got them back on from 6th grade to 9th grade?) Combine that with still having my wisdom teeth (got them removed in December), and you get teeth that have moved around. The office I work in does a lot of training events where I'm constantly talking to people and smiling so after a few months of thinking about it and researching orthodontists in my area, I scheduled a consultation. I found a place in my area that had a free consultation, and I really liked the way their website was designed and what it included.

I had my consultation last week. Didn't hear anything surprising since I had researched everything for a while (and read a lot of your helpful reviews). I felt very comfortable with the orthodontist and his staff. Unfortunately my insurance isn't covering me (which I knew) but I at least have a Flex Spending Account to help a bit.

My first appointment is April 23 to take xrays, impressions and get all the other fun paperwork stuff done. I'm excited and nervous at the same time. I don't know why I'm nervous considering I've already been through the braces processes.

I'll try to update this each month and will post pictures soon :)

Had my appointment this morning! Nothing...

Had my appointment this morning! Nothing exciting--filled out some paperwork, made my down payment (I'm using my ortho's payment plan: 25% initial with rest over 17 months), and took pictures and impressions. They did traditional impressions with trays.

My first trays should arrive in 5 weeks, and my ortho is going to email me the ClinCheck video when it's ready.

Received my ClinCheck videos today, and pictures...

Received my ClinCheck videos today, and pictures they took when we did my molds.

Day 3

I've had my trays for a little more than two full days and it's not so bad right now. My teeth are a little sore but that's expected. My back teeth have been fine so I've cut food up and just shoved it back there to chew. Haven't really done any biting with my front teeth.

So far, I've struggled with just getting the trays out when I need to brush my teeth and eat. The girls in the office suggested I start with the side with the least attachments because that's easier to get off usually. The top tray isn't bad. I pop off the back right side and then peel around the rest of my teeth. The bottom tray gives me the most issue. You can't see it in the photos they took, but my back left molar doesn't sit straight down so getting the tray over it is hard. I end up having to pop off the back right side and wiggle it around a bit until it almost gets to my attachments. Then I work on getting the other side up to where I can slowly wiggle and pull forward to get off the rest of my attachments. It's probably not good, but I'll also try and lift the tray over the attachments if it's getting stuck.

They didn't put on two of the attachments in my videos so I'm not sure if the girl just forgot or they'll put those one at a later date. I did have to file down the edges of some of the attachments; they were just ripping up my mouth! My mouth is still raw in those parts but it feels much much better when the trays are out.

I have 14 trays on the upper and lower for this first part of treatment. Once those are done, the ortho is doing to see how things are doing and decide if I need to get any refinements done. I'm hoping I don't need any and I'll be done with treatment in 7 months because that would be awesome. Wishful thinking?

Follow Up Appt 1

Had my first follow up appointment yesterday morning. Super short, like 5 minutes long. I spent more time sitting waiting for them to call me than I did sitting in the actual chair. I wish they would tell me ahead of time how long they expect appointments to be so I don't waste my quarters in the parking meter.

The assistant/technician pulled up my case on the computer, checked to see that all my attachments were still on and gave me three more sets of trays. I put my new trays in last night before I went to bed. There was some tightness but no soreness this morning which I've found odd. Definitely not the same amount of tightness tray 2 had.

Is that normal? Some trays making you more sore than others? It's not like the tray is loose or anything. It fits nice and snug (and I've been using chewies) but I was expecting more pain when I was taking the trays out this morning to brush my teeth.

Currently on Tray 4

Hello! It's been a while! Like the title says I'm currently on Tray 4, switching to Tray 5 this coming Tuesday. Haven't been having any issues. There was similar tightness to Tray 3 when I switched to this one, but nothing major like Trays 1 and 2.

I did go on vacation last week and brushing my teeth was obnoxious while out at restaurants. Since we didn't go too far from where we stayed, and because we always went back to the place after eating, I would just swish water around my mouth before putting my trays back in, and then brush and floss right when we got back. Not the best habit ever, but it's less awkward that being in a crammed restaurant bathroom taking up all the counter space and getting weird looks from people.

I have noticed that my bottom front teeth are getting straighter! I haven't noticed anything with the top teeth but I'm sure something happening up there.

More trays!

Picked up trays 6, 7 and 8 this morning and just put in tray 6. Normal tightness, we'll see how sore they are in the morning. I'm excited for tray 8! I was looking at it through the bag and my upper teeth with be super close to being properly aligned :)

The two attachments I had been wondering about still haven't been put on, nor has my orthodontist said anything about giving me rubberbands. I guess that'll be happening in the second half of treatment (after my first 14 trays).

Tray 7

I put Tray 7 in on Tuesday night before I went to be and OMG does this one hurt! Half of my lower teeth are super sore! I can barely stand to bite down on my chewie to make sure the trays are sitting properly. Right after I put the trays back in, those lower teeth are just on fire! The other half of the lower teeth feel fine and the upper tray is just a big snug.

Trays 8 and 9

Tray 8 and on have had the precision cut outs in them but the doctor said he wants to hold off on those until the second half of my treatment. Something about how he didn't me to deal with sore teeth from the trays with the rubber bands pulling on them, which I'm ok with.

Tray 8 and 9 (currently in) were not as aggressive as tray 7. Just the normal tightness when first put on and soreness the first few days. I have trays 10 and 11 before I go in to see them again for the last 3 trays in the 1st half of treatment.

I haven't had any IPR yet. The only reason I talked to my doctor this time was because the technician didn't know if he wanted to do any or not.

Excuse the blurry quality of the image :)

Part 1 - last 3 sets of trays

As the update title says, I picked up the last three trays for the first part of my treatment today - trays 12, 13 and 14. Next appointment in 6 weeks will be taking new impressions for the 2nd half of treatment. Ortho said there are a few teeth that haven't moved exactly like he wanted so the first few weeks of treatment part 2 will fix those and then it'll just be rubber bands to correct my bite.

Part 2!

Had my appointment today - took off all the attachments, took pictures and new molds for the second half of my treatment. I'll be wearing Tray 14 as a retainer until the new trays arrive, which should be in about 5 weeks. Taking molds is the worst. We had to do my bottoms 3 times to get the best mold because my back molar is at an angle and the technician kept pulling the mold out at an angle where my tooth kept messing it up.

There was also something weird with the bottom of one of my front teeth.. like a small chip in it so Dr. Avila polished that up. My only complaint is that my front teeth are different heights/sizes now. You would think that he would have tried to even both teeth out or something but no... Now it's all I can see. I don't know how the new trays would correct that so maybe I'll ask him to even out the other tooth when everything is done?

Picture of the uneven teeth

Here's a picture of how my front two teeth are uneven after today. Super zoomed in so it's exaggerated. Probably much less of an issue from far away but I just can't stop staring at it.

14 more trays, now with rubber bands

Picked up the first 3 trays for the second half of my treatment this morning.

I have 2 attachments on the top, both on my incisors. They did a little IPR between my front teeth which was weird and uncomfortable but not painful. I thought it was unnecessary but whatever. I have 6 attachments on the bottom teeth--2 on the right side and 4 on the left, plus the two buttons for the rubber bands to hook on to.

I had rubber bands the back in middle/high school so nothing new there. Just have to stop myself from trying to shoot them out of my mouth like I used to. I do have to adjust to speaking with them in since they don't let me open my mouth as wide.

Normal sort of tightness right now but they new tray has only been in for about an hour. Hopefully they won't feel too awful when I take them out for lunch and dinner later.

Rubber bands

I have had the rubber bands in more about a day and a half. Soreness seems pretty normal for a new tray although my incisors and molars where the rubber bands attach are a bit more sore than normal. Taking the bottom tray out in a bit more difficult right now. I used to grasp the back between my finger and thumb, then lift up and peel off the tray--it's not as easy with the metal button. The button is a bit obnoxious when the trays are not in. It sticks out a good bit and I keep chewing on my cheek when I'm eating. I'll get used to it but it's annoying right now.

I'll put the trays in, chew on a chewie for a bit to make sure the tray is seated properly and then put the rubber bands on.

Tray 4

Picked up Trays 4-6 on Tuesday. Ortho did a little more IPR in between the same front teeth. He said my bite is looking good and told me to wear the rubber bands full time for two more weeks and then just wear them at night. My teeth don't really feel like they're lining up perfectly when the trays are out but whatever. Maybe I'll wear the bands full time a little longer than two weeks.

Tray 4 had a little bit of tightness when I first put them on. No major movement happening there so I've put the rubber bands back in almost immediately. With my first three trays, my teeth were really sore and I would leave the rubber bands off for a few days when changing trays. If I put the rubber bands on immediately, I experienced increased soreness for a longer period of time. This way, I let my teeth adjust to the new tray before adding on the pressure from the rubber bands.

Update

Hi all! Sorry for the silence but there hasn't been much going on. Very little movement of my teeth, mainly focusing on getting my bite right with the rubber bands.

I picked up trays 7 though 10 at my April appointment and switched to wearing the rubber bands at night online.

I picked up trays 11 through 14 (the last 4 trays!) this morning. Still wearing the rubber bands at night for my bite. I go back in 8 weeks, and he said we'll see how everything looks then. Might have to wear the last tray for maybe 2 more months and then do the retainer. If everything looks good, then we'll move straight to the retainer.

His only concern is the front tooth that is lower than the other one (my concern in a previous post). He was like those teeth aren't even so I'll give you some chewies--only use the chewie on that tooth to encourage it to move up. To which I was thinking, they're uneven because you evened out that other tooth months ago.... Is there a difference between chewie colors and what they do? Is one color firmer than another? The ones I got today are purple. My older ones are yellow.

Tray 14

So close to the end! I'm currently wearing Tray 14 of 14 in my refinement process. I go in on July 22 to see if I have to wear this tray longer or if we're going to take retainer impressions. As I said in my last update, the Ortho wants the front tooth to move up and be the same level as the tooth he evened out. He said to just use the chewie there to encourage it to go back up. As expected, it hasn't moved. I'll have to remind him that he evened out the other tooth and that my tray accommodates for the difference.. it's not like there's a little gap in between the evened tooth and the tray. There's just a bit more plastic at the bottom.

I have some soreness in my top teeth. The tray bags say that one of them is a passive aligner, so I assume it's the bottom once since they haven't hurt in a long time. I'm still wearing the elastics at night except for right after switching to a new tray. I tried to wear the elastics on Tuesday after putting this tray in and assume I woke up to take them off in the middle of the night because they hurt too much. I found them on my pillow the next morning.

Anyone know how they get the metal button off? Do they just like.. snap it off?? I know they grind/polish off the attachments.

Funfunfun

Went into my normal dentist for a small filling and left 3 hours later after a root canal. Awesome. Sadly, it wasn't my first one so I wasn't freaked out about the procedure. Apparently, it looked like a small thing on the x-ray but when she got in there she found a small line all the way to the nerve.

It's hard to tell if my mouth hurts from the root canal or if the dental resin isn't in the same shape as the tray impression. It's definitely shorter than what was previously there on one side cause I can see the gap. It doesn't hurt too terribly and I'm going into the ortho on Tuesday so I'm dealing. Pain level is about the same as putting in an aggressive new tray and they prescribed some extra strength ibuprofen in case I need it. I'm going back to the dentist in a week and a half to get my crown made while I'm there.

At my appointment on Tuesday, I'll let my ortho know that if he planned on taking impressions for the retainer, I'll need to come back after I have the crown in. If I need to wear this tray for 2 more months like he mentioned, I'll see if the dentist can use one of my older trays to make the crown. My bottom tray has been passive for a while.

A little bit longer now

Did anyone read that to the tune of Shout? Cause I was humming 'a little bit louder now' as I wrote it.

Anyway, my ortho decided to we're going to do a few more trays on the top to get that one front tooth even with the other front tooth. He took off all the attachments, snapped off the button with some neat little tool (didn't hurt at all, just sounded like a pop) and then took an impression for the upper. I'm not sure how many trays the top will be again, but it didn't sound like a lot. His words were "It's like a hair off and I want them completely straight and perfect."

Since I'm getting my crown done on Monday, I go back on Tuesday to do an impression for the lower. The lower impression will be for the retainer because those teeth are done and my bite is where he wants it. If the crown doesn't fit the tray, they'll do a cut out around the crown so I can keep wearing the tray until the retainer is ready.
Sublime Smiles

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 times
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Comments (37)

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I see the slight discrepancy there, but man, it looks really fantastic anyway, so congratulations!!!  It's worth it, though, to get the last 1%, because you don't want to regret not doing it later, and we always start staring at our teeth like crazy going through this.  You'd always notice :D.
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I can tell you that when I got my crown, it took about a week for it to move to fit into the tray :(.  PAIN!  I didn't have a root canal, but the crown itself is never perfectly positioned.  They even had my Invisalign retainer and everything, to make everything fit, and reshaped the tooth so it'd fit better, but the pain happened anyway.

Now I feel nothing, though.
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I always forget to use my chewies, how important are they to this whole process???
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I don't think the chewies will have the effect my orthodontist wants but I found them helpful when I put new trays in. Other than the obvious fact that they make sure the tray is sitting properly against your teeth, I found that chewing on it seemed to help my teeth/gums adjust to the new tray faster.
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My Ortho and her staff act like they don't even know what a Chewie or Outie is...when I asked about it, they actually said to not use it because it could cause the teeth too much pressure with a new tray...she said that the tray feels looser over the 2 weeks because your teeth are adjusting to the tray, not the tray adjusting to your teeth. Long story short...she said don't use them to me.
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That's interesting. I haven't read anything that says the chewies could cause too much pressure but each ortho will run their practice the way they want. I thought they were helpful when I would pop on a new tray and could visibly see that it wasn't sitting on my teeth 100%. The chewie would eliminate the gap between the top of my teeth and the tray in a way that pushing with my fingers couldn't.
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My ortho seems to think they are important but hasnt stated why. I'm guessing its to make sure they fit snug?? i dunno.
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Chewies are really important! Because if your teeth are not all the way in your aligners, at all times, then your teeth will not be tracking like they're supposed to. Then, you end up with a less than ideal result; not the one you see on the Clincheck. Then, you're not happy. Chewies also speeds up the bone remodeling process by increasing blood flow. So that's another way it helps your teeth to be moving the way it should. As far as too much pressure, it does hurt a lot if you bite down at the beginning of a particularly harsh tray. But the forces of the aligners are very light, compared to traditional braces, so the cumulative effect probably isn't up to what you'd have with brackets.
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Thanks PreOrtho i will make much more of an effort to use them now :)
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@kellynyc16, bottom line is to follow your doctor's advice.  We don't give advice on RealSelf, tending instead to relay what our doctors or other doctors we've read have said; but if your doctor says to do or not to do something, then that is what you should be following.  Of course, if you disagree with what they say, then you talk to them and make your own decisions.  This is probably obvious to you, but for others coming in later and reading threads like this, I just want people to see that Crooky's doctor recommends using them but your doctor didn't; and it's not uncommon for different doctors to have different opinions on how to best go about treatment.  One doctor may be more worried about tracking, while another is more worried about possibly creating an open bite or exacerbating TMJ disorder, for example.  It may even be patient-specific.
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There is no difference in the firmness of the chewies, just the scent/taste. New chewies are firmer than older ones, because the old ones are worn from all the biting...The purple chewie is grape, and the yellow is supposed to be pineapple scent, I believe. I use the green ones, which is mint but tastes like bubble gum.
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They have scents/flavors?? I have never noticed!
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Huh!  I had no idea of this either :D
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Lol, you all are too funny! Yup, they have scents. @jayelzee, the scent wears off a bit after a week or so, depending on how often you're using the chewie, so that may be why you didn't notice.
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Thank you for the update! Do you feel like the elastics helped your bite? I have 1 elastic on my right side and I thought it was for my overbite but then when I went back to see my ortho, she said it was to fix my midline. It's so hard to tell if things are making a difference and I'm trying to find more posts on this website of people who have actually finished treatment (including people with elastics and invisalign which doesn't appear too common.) Thank you for your posts and pictures, they are really helpful!
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The elastics definitely help my bite. The best way I can describe it is that when the elastics are in, they're showing my jaw where everything should line up and training it to bite there. I can push my lower jaw back to line up where they were at the start of my treatment but that's not comfortable. Over the past few trays I've seen improvement of where my teeth hit when the trays aren't in. It used to be awkward because things weren't lining up correctly when I chewed, but it's much better now. If you had elastics on both sides, I think that would be for your overbite but only on one sides makes sense for your midline. It's pulling your top teeth in one direction rather than just back.
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I'll have to ask my ortho what's up with the overbite and if it's being addressed too...I'm so glad to hear that you feel a difference! This may seem like a silly question but how often do you change your rubber bands (when you were wearing them all day?) I never know if I should put the old rubber band back in or if I should switch to a new one...I have a weird fear of running out of them! Thanks!
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Mine gave me two bags of elastics when I started with the bands. I think I changed them every day or every other day. It really depended on how elastic-y they still felt after a while. Some days I ended up talking more or playing with them so they needed to be changed more frequently. You can always ask your ortho for more!
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I just got a message that you updated your review, but I don't see the update…?  Did something go wrong?
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No, I updated from Not Sure to Worth It. Thanks for checking!
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Oh, okay! :)  So that means things are going well, right? :D
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I'm starting Invisalign in a few weeks, I'm following your journey because we have really similar teeth and rubber band placement! Thank you for sharing your journey and I'll be starting mine in a few weeks! Your posts are super helpful and your smile looks great!
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Ooh!  I've never seen a button up close before!  Thanks!!!!
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Cool rubber band ;) I am getting a rubber band too, but only one, on my right canine. Your teeth are beautiful already, so I'm sure when you're done they'll look even better.
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Thank you for showing us what the rubber bands look like.  A lot of people know very little about rubber bands with Invisalign.  Happy New Year to you!
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