Miracle or Mistake - Staten Island, NY

I'm 45 years old. I had traditional braces when I...

I'm 45 years old. I had traditional braces when I was a kid, but not wearing my retainer, the teeth moved again-- and now it's worse. With a bit of overcrowding and an off-bite that will get worse with time, I decided to do Invisalign.

I'm on day 3 of tray 1 or 23. 46 weeks didn't sound like a long time, but I'm only on day three and I'm regretting my decision. Wearing the liners is nothing. They barely hurt and it's fine. It's taking them out that's killing me. I have about 6 attachments that I wasn't told about--not that it would've mattered I guess. But trying to take out the bottom trays is incredibly difficult and painful. On day 2 I was sobbing in front of the mirror trying to get the trays off.

I've looked at every video I could find and read all the tips, the papertowel helps to pull the liners off my molars, but the front attachments refuse to let the liner be removed that the pressure on the front bottom teeth is unbearable. Further, my ortho insisted I have one of my bottom front teeth removed and not only do I now have an unsightly hole, but I coudn't stop this process now if I wanted to.

I knew I couldn't eat with the trays in, which I was kind of looking forward to, because I work from home snacking can be a problem and I looked forward to cutting it out. However, I find myself only eating once a day now because the thought of removing my liners kills any desire to eat.

To make matters worse, I hear about people's teeth becoming loose in the process and already I'm scared to death that I'm going to pull out the bottom teeth removing the tray--but of course everyone tells me that's not going to happen...

I pray that by the end of my first week things will have gotten better, but for now I'm considering this one of the biggest regrets of my life.

Today is my 5th day. Yesterday I dreamt that my...

Today is my 5th day. Yesterday I dreamt that my bottom tray popped off easily, but real life wasn't so kind. I took the tray off to eat last night--my second meal of the day. The tray is still very tough to remove due to the buttons, but the pain was at least less; although my bottom lip usually gets caught between the tray and button causing it to bleed, which isn't fun, but at least the sobbing stopped.

When I wake up I just brush my teeth with the trays in and swoosh some Listerine around to kill at least some of the germs inside the trays. I have luke warm green tea w/Splenda for breakfast. I read that it's not acidic, so it shouldn't hurt my teeth. I figure when I eat tonight I'll take the trays off and do a full cleaning of both. I have to hope that all the water I drink throughout the day is helping to prevent any cavity issues.

The false tooth they put inside the bottom tray to hide the huge gap in front of my mouth falls out when I remove the tray and day before yesterday it fell out while I was wearing the tray, so I've given up on it. So now I have a blank spot where my tooth was. I'm very sad about that, but the only thing I can do is wait for tray #2 and hope the tooth stays in that one.

I'm so sorry to hear how you are feeling. :( Most people say the first week is the worst, and that it then gets much better after that.

Have you noticed any changes in how things feel over the last couple of days?

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I still have no pain, but removing the bottom tray is still very difficult.
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Sorry to hear. :-/

I'm sure you have seen this, but just in case you haven't this is a forum specifically about removing your trays:

How do you get your Invisalign trays out?

Some people have mentioned using a tiny crochet hook to help with removing them. Have you tried any sort of tools or instruments like that?

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I have finally made it to the end of my first week...

I have finally made it to the end of my first week with tray 1. This has been the longest, emotional-charged week of my life. I actually took my top tray out without the use of the papertowel for grip, but still had to use it for the bottom. The bottom is still a little difficult to remove, but nothing compared to what it was. When you get to be my age, the years fly by--however, I think I just found the secret to making time stand still: get invisalign.
Thanks, Becky. Wow, 20 months... Short of taking the buttons off, I don't think my ortho can help. I've finally reached the end of my first 2 weeks. I can now take off the top tray fairly easily, but the bottom still gets hung up in front on the attachements. Each time I remove it I try to do something a little different to see if it works. So far, no luck. It wouldn't be so bad except all the pressure gets put onto my two lower front teeth, and with the extraction right next to it, I feel like they're not as strong as they could be an seriously fear pulling them out one of these days--especially when the teeth loosen up more with treatment. I really appreciate your encouragement and wish you luck with the continuation of your treatment. -- Renee
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It does get better... I've been in Invisalign for about 20 months now. The first couple of weeks were tough but once I figured out what worked for me getting my trays out it got a lot better. If you're still having that much trouble over a week in you may want to talk to your provider and see if he/she has any tips. Best of luck on your new journey - Becky
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Tonight is the big night, I move on to tray #2....

Tonight is the big night, I move on to tray #2. I'm still having difficulty removing the bottom tray even two weeks in, but I think that's just something I'm going to have to deal with--or hope I happen upon a trick I haven't figured out yet.

I haven't noticed any movement in my front teeth at all, but I have noticed my bite is a little different. Sometimes I actually feel like I'm biting the sides of my tongue with my molars, but I'm not... It's a rather uncomfortable sensation.

I'm still only eating twice a day (oatmeal with my liners on) and removing my liners only for dinner. Though today I gave myself a treat and made a nice breakfast since there's a 15-17 hour gap between dinner the night before and my first small meal the next day. I'm counting on not being able to take off my new trays tomorrow... Fingers crossed it won't be that bad.

Well, I can't report on my new tray, as neither of...

Well, I can't report on my new tray, as neither of them fit. It looks like my right upper incisor moved past the point tray #2 or #3 needs it to be. Only the left side snapped on, and it required a bit of force to get it to do that. The lower tray didn't budge and given my missing tooth and the fact that after two weeks I can barely remove my current tray, I didn't force the issue. I have an appt with my ortho on Saturday, so we'll see if I need new impressions, which would be incredibly disappointing because I waited a month to get these.... Given that I wore my trays for 23-23.5 hours a day, my compliance won't be the issue here.

Well, it looks like I'll be wearing my first set...

Well, it looks like I'll be wearing my first set of trays another 2 weeks. Even though I've been wearing them for 23-23.5 hours per day, they still have a lot of retention in them and my ortho feels I need to keep them on longer. Oh, well.

In regards to the difficulty in getting my bottom tray out due to the buttons, she said if they continue to give me a hard time, we can remove some of them for a while, but I'd rather not go through all that again, so we'll just keep things as they are.

I'm still two days away from my ortho appt and...

I'm still two days away from my ortho appt and finding out if I get to move on to tray #2. Despite wearing them another 2 weeks, the trays still have a lot of retention in them and I still can't remove them without the use of papertowel for grip.

The bottom tray is still a challenge to remove, and I noticed my bottom teeth are a little sore. I'm coming to the end of my first month and it feels like my sixth. Still being on tray 1 isn't helping me, as progress is the only thing motivating me and right now, I'm not making any.
I am so sorry to hear of your troubles... I know my first couple trays were a learning experience and it's amazing how over time we learn to adjust to what is needed to get the trays in and out with least pain. I hope you hang in there and find that things get easier and easier each day with each tray! As I look back on my own treatment I completely understand your concerns and the extreme slowness of time. However, after you get into a routine and find the best method for removal I know you will be happy, you will see! Please keep us updated on your progress best of luck to you!
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Thank you so much for your encouraging words. It seems like pretty much everybody struggles for the first week and then everything gets easier for them. The trays loosen up and they find that sweet spot that allows them to remove the trays despite having 30 buttons on their teeth... It's so disappointing when after a month, things haven't gotten better for me. I will keep my fingers crossed and hope for good news on Saturday -- or at least the ability to move onto tray #2...
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Well, I FINALLY got to move on to tray #2. It took...

Well, I FINALLY got to move on to tray #2. It took my ortho a few minutes to get them in--I think at one point she had a her knee on my chest so she could lean with all her weight :)

I haven't tried to take them out yet -- it took us a good 10 minutes to wrestle them off my teeth yesterday, so I'm not expecting it to be easy. They don't hurt much at all, which is good. The good part was she finally shaved one of the buttons down on the bottom tooth that was causing most of the issues with my first tray, though it hasn't solved the problem, I'll take whatever help I can get.

I was also given tray #3 -- which I should technically already be on. I'm hoping 2 weeks will be enough this time and I can get back on schedule.

After putting my new trays in Sunday night, I was...

After putting my new trays in Sunday night, I was surprised on how easily they popped out Monday morning -- I did notice, however, they were a bit more difficult to remove later than night. Short of having my pontic fall down the drain, things are ok. I'm feeling better about taking the trays out and since the button has been ground down a bit, things are much easier.

I did, however, have a gum incident today. My ortho keeps encouraging me to chew a lot of sugar-less gum. I don't know if you've tried it, but I look like a dog with peanut-butter stuck to the roof of its mouth. It's really difficult to chew gum with the trays in. It also tends to snag on the back of the tray. Anyway, today I bought the gum called "5". I put it in my mouth and within seconds it literally melted to my trays. I kept pulling it off and trying to chew, but it was impossible. Eventually, all the gum was literally adhered to the top and bottom tray... I had to remove the trays, and using very cold water SCRAPE the gum off. Guess my husband just scored a 3 pack of "5" gum...

If anybody knows of a good brand of sugar-free gum that doesn't create a mess and is fairly easy to chew, I'd love to hear about it.
LOL Inktatt! I wish you could have read my Gum fiasco and saved yourself some troubles... to make a long story short, I have tried every sugar free gum on the market and they all stick. I know ... sigh. big sigh.
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That's funny. I read your blog this morning and didn't see it. Your observation was very disappointing, but I thank you for saving me a lot of time and very sticky aligners :)
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Finally, one week in on aligner #2. Things are...

Finally, one week in on aligner #2. Things are much better. Today I was able to take the trays out with just my fingers and no papertowel. My teeth have been a little sore, but nothing unbearable -- no visual change so far.

I assume my problem with my first set of aligners was due to the fact that I was constantly taking prescription anti-inflammatories for my knee -- and teeth only move if they're inflamed. So I was helping one issue, while causing another... I get knee surgery on Friday, so hopefully any pain killers I have to take won't affect my teeth...

Well, I finally moved on to aligner #3. Snapping...

Well, I finally moved on to aligner #3. Snapping it in last night was a challenge and it felt like my bottom teeth were going to break off, but I did it.

They didn't give me too much trouble removing them this afternoon, though it's the first time my top teeth have been sore and my two front bottoms are extra sore. I had knee surgery on Friday, so I think I'm going to take advantage of the pain killers and take care of two issues at once :)
congrats on tray 3, so glad to hear its going better!
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Much better, thanks! Time has sped up a bit. By now you should be almost done :)
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hah! not quite, tho the acceledent has helped a lot, I'm on aligner 6 now, going on to aligner 7 tonight.
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I'm closing in on week 2 w/ tray #3. I had my...

I'm closing in on week 2 w/ tray #3. I had my first cleaning since getting Invisalign and was a little nervous that my Periodontist would say I made a mistake about the tooth removal. The cleaning went better than expected, my teeth and gums are doing very well and the worst place I ended up with tarter was the least imaginable -- the teeth on either side of my missing tooth-- who knew? So now I'll just focus more there. I told him about my fear with the loose bottom tooth being next to the gap and pulling it out and he assured me not to worry and that I made the right decision by doing Invisalign. That made me feel better -- though I hope he's right about the tooth :)

I see my ortho on Thursday, so we'll see if she has anything to add.

I put in my 4th set of aligners on Sunday night....

I put in my 4th set of aligners on Sunday night. Now knowing that it takes a little effort the very first time you put them in, I was a bit more aggressive. It's amazing how tight they are for the first few hours. My teeth were a bit sore until just this evening, but eating dinner wasn't a problem.

I'm never really thrilled about the prospect of taking the aligners out any time soon after changing them, so they were actually in for 24 hours straight before I took them out for dinner tonight--having said that, I just realized that it also means I've gone 24 hours without eating... Except for a few fingers fulls of creamy peanut butter and water this afternoon :) No weight loss yet after more than 2 months of this, but oh well.

The gap of my missing tooth is slowly closing. I notice the pontic is much smaller. By the time I get to tray 6 it's not much more than a sliver, so at least I'll see some real change at that point.

I'm three days in for tray #5 of 23. Getting these...

I'm three days in for tray #5 of 23. Getting these in were fairly uneventful. I'm noticing a lot more irritation with this set than all the others. I've tried filing them down, but haven't found full relief yet.

At this point taking them out has become so much easier -- I'm not sure if it's me or the trays -- though these are pretty tight still and I had some issues removing the bottom tray today. I noticed my lower tooth has tightened up again, which is good. The gap is slowing closing.

Coming to the end of tray #5. This week I've...

Coming to the end of tray #5. This week I've noticed it's harder to take out the bottom tray. I'm back to using the papertowel for grip. So I guess that answers my question from last time as to whether the trays are looser or I'm getting better at taking them out--it's the trays.

Looking forward to moving on to #6.

Fast Forward to the End

I'm now on tray #20 of 23... YAY!!! Time really did start to fly, especially when wearing the trays became less traumatic. I've lost 30 pounds as a result of my new eating habits, though I find myself getting much more lax now that I'm able to pop the trays in and out at will -- so my snacking has begun to increase...

My teeth look really good. the gap where the tooth was pulled has closed--having significantly lessened by tray #9. I have a few black triangles on the bottom, which was expected and we plan to put a few brackets on them to pull their roots into place. I guess once I finish my last tray we'll know what other refinements I'll need.

At this point I can honestly say the whole thing was worth it, even sobbing for the first three days. It's a little disappointing that I will have to wear the top retainer for life, but hopefully it will only be at night -- I'm getting a little tired of lisping when I talk lol. I plan to post before and after photos very soon.

Refinements

I had my visit with my Ortho yesterday to get my final three trays. It was decided that I would wear my current tray #20 until the 30th of this month, when we would put the regular brace brackets on my bottom teeth to move the tooth over further to fix a black triangle caused by the removal of my tooth.

My top teeth look good, and a retainer was discussed, but instead we took new impressions for a few refinement trays. I will find out in a few weeks how many that might be.

My only real concerns at this point is the yellowing I'm getting, for which I've attempted whitening, but my teeth are so sensitive as it is, I'm scared about the pain so many people warn me about. The other thing is the slight gum recession happening over my canines. While this happens with age normally, I have to attribute some of it to the tooth movement and the excessive brushing… Luckily it's not too noticeable, but hopefully it won't get any worse.

I'm looking forward to a day when I don't have to wear the trays as often, but I've already accepted the fact that I'm basically going to be wearing the retainer for life.
How many refinements did you get? How are things now overall?
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Hi Nicky, I ended up with 9 refinements on top that were to be worn for a week each -- however, by tray 6 they were getting more and more difficult to get in for some reason so I stopped at 6 and we just ordered my retainer. For the bottom I didn't get refinement trays, I ended up getting traditional braces just in the front in an effort to pull the teeth over to finish closing the gap of where the tooth had been pulled. Those come with their own issues... I'm getting them off soon. Next week we are taking the impression for the bottom retainer and then taking off the braces. For the retainer I will have to wear it full time for the first 6 months and then just at night for the next 6, but I'll just wear it forever, what difference does it make while you're sleeping anyway and if it prevents my teeth from moving, it's all good. So overall the experience was positive. If you read from my day 1, it looked pretty dark there for a while lol... But my teeth are really straight, they aren't perfect in the sense of some triangles, but any normal person wouldn't notice. I get so many compliments on my teeth, it makes me very happy. So where are you in the Invisalign journey?
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Hi Nicky, I ended up with 9 refinements on top that were to be worn for a week each -- however, by tray 6 they were getting more and more difficult to get in for some reason so I stopped at 6 and we just ordered my retainer. For the bottom I didn't get refinement trays, I ended up getting traditional braces just in the front in an effort to pull the teeth over to finish closing the gap of where the tooth had been pulled. Those come with their own issues... I'm getting them off soon. Next week we are taking the impression for the bottom retainer and then taking off the braces. For the retainer I will have to wear it full time for the first 6 months and then just at night for the next 6, but I'll just wear it forever, what difference does it make while you're sleeping anyway and if it prevents my teeth from moving, it's all good. So overall the experience was positive. If you read from my day 1, it looked pretty dark there for a while lol... But my teeth are really straight, they aren't perfect in the sense of some triangles, but any normal person wouldn't notice. I get so many compliments on my teeth, it makes me very happy. So where are you in the Invisalign journey?
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