Moderate Crowding; 23 Trays; Good Results (I'm Almost Done!)

I'm 37 and had moderate crowding on my lower arch...

I'm 37 and had moderate crowding on my lower arch (about 5-6mm). As a result, I have damage to one lower tooth because of the way it strikes the upper tooth. I spoke to 3 orthodontists (I recommend you go to an ortho not a regular dentist!). One said Invisalign was poor choice and he recommended braces. The other two said my case was borderline for what Invisalign could handle and I may need additional treatment with braces. I went with one of the Invisalign orthodontists.

I had 6 attachments glued onto each arch. The treatment called for 16 upper trays and 23 lowers. At tray 16, the dentist filed down between 4 teeth, removing about 1mm of enamel. The filing was painless, albeit nerve wracking. I'm on tray 23 now and my teeth are 90% improved. However, they're not as perfect as I'd like so I will continue until they are, even if it means braces for a couple of months. Invisalign worked for me.

Now for the pitfalls:

1. My lisp NEVER went away. They said it would likely improve after a month but here I am 11 months later and I still speak with a lisp. Mine is caused by the upper tray; if I remove it my speech is normal.

2. Invisalign causes an open bite. I noticed a month into treatment that chewing food took longer, as if my teeth were less effective at crushing food. The ortho said that due to the trays being 1-2mm thick, my jaws have adjusted and as a result, the upper and lower teeth do not come together as tightly as before. This means eating takes a lot longer because you have to chew a lot more!

3. Aggravated my TMJ. I had very mild TMJ before but it's worse now. I don't know if it's caused by wearing the trays or by the fact that before each meal I have to open my mouth wide and reach in to remove the tray. When I open wide, it causes my jaws to lock up, worsening my TMJ.

4. Increase tartar/plaque. I am OCD about brushing and waterpiking after EVERY meal. No cheating at all! You're talking to someone who has not had a cavity since age 10. But I still get plaque inside the trays every morning, which means my teeth have plaque. I also have tartar buildup, which I almost NEVER had before Invisalign. I've come to the conclusion that no matter how diligent you are, the trays by nature simply increase tartar/plaque buildup because they trap bacterial and saliva.

I am on my first tray of my first day using Invisalign. It's definitely a bit of a change, which I expected. In terms of my speech, I am not able to bite all the way down as I thought I would so there is some adjusting that I have to do there.

Quick tip: I am an actor and I've had a few years of voice and speech training. Try to make sure the tip of your tongue is near your gum ridge (where your front tooth ends and your gum begins) when pronouncing your s's. If the tip of your tongue is touching the back of your two front teeth then the lisp will be more prevalent. It takes a lot of practice, but if you work on it little by little the lisp should lessen. And maybe when your finished the Invisalign process, your tongue placement may stay :)

Good luck!

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Thanks for sharing that you feel going to an Orthodontist is a better option over a general dentist.

We have a forum open titled "Dentist or Orthodontist, does it matter that much?" for others wanting to weigh in their opinions on the matter.

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