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Invisalign After Braces - Ongoing Review - Sydney, AU

So I will start with some background. I had...

So I will start with some background. I had traditional braces from age 15 to age 17 and when they came off, my top teeth weren’t completely straight. I have never been happy with the result but being a teenager, I didn’t want to say anything and just went with it . I remember getting my plates (what some orthodontists call retainers in Australia) and seeing my eye teeth were crooked in the plate and thinking “does he seriously consider this completed?”. My orthodontist when I was a teenager was incredibly rough when he didn’t need to be. I know this because he had a different orthodontist who worked for him on Fridays and I would try and book in with him as he was much more gentle and didn’t hurt me.

I had serious overcrowding and had four teeth (two top, two bottom) removed prior to my braces going on. My bottom teeth straightened within 6 months, but the braces stayed on for the full two years. Funnily enough, my bottom teeth started relapsing much quicker than the top teeth. The plate I got didn’t fit from the start and they eventually made a new plate with a fixed wire for my front four bottom teeth, but they moved so quickly it was difficult to get on and eventually I just gave up. I was told to get my wisdom teeth out once I was over 18 but at that time I couldn’t afford to take time off work to get it done and I didn’t have private health insurance.

So, now I am 30 years old, still have impacted wisdom teeth and still unhappy with the result of my previous orthodontic work. I looked into invisalign about 3 years ago and was told the price would be in the range of about $7000, but that particular dentist required me to pay half upfront, which I couldn’t do, so I didn’t go any further than the consultation.

I have been thinking about it on and off for the last few years and am now in the financial position to do it, so I decided to look for an orthodontist in my local area (in western Sydney). Once I found an orthodontist, I contacted them about the process. They asked if I could send some photos of my teeth, as the orthodontist was very busy and this way he could get an idea of whether invisalign would be suitable for me. I took some photos (with my mouth stretched wide, my fiancé thought it was hilarious) and sent them off and got a phone call saying it did look like it would work and to come in for a closer look and for impressions.

At the impressions appointment, I would have to pay $500, which goes toward the cost of the invisalign if I go ahead with it. I really didn’t have a problem with this, as I was pretty certain already that I wanted to do it. I got the impressions done, which take much longer than normal orthodontic impressions (3 minutes as opposed to about 20 or 30 seconds). As the impressions need to be perfect, they had to do my bottom teeth twice, but the bottom was much better than the feeling of the top one where the impression stuff overspills and becomes an irritating tongue tickler for 3 minutes!

I got x-rays done and the orthodontist looked at my wisdom teeth. He said two of them were bad – one was seriously squashed and putting pressure on my jaw, and another had previously had an infection (I can’t recall any pain with it though). The other two were moderate, but still impacted. Then he said the words I was hoping I would hear – “you need to get them out, but I suggest you do it after you finish the invisalign”. I was stoked, I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to do it this year as I took eight weeks leave at the end of last year year and I am taking three weeks off this October and really don’t want to take any more large chunks of leave this year. Quite a few people I know have needed a couple of weeks off after having their four wisdom teeth out.

After this, the orthodontist explained a few things to me about invisalign. He said that it was very likely that I would need the attachments (or “buttons” as some people call them on here) and how they work (by sort of grabbing the tooth and moving it, like a bracket in traditional braces. It gives the aligner something to grip onto to cause more movement). He explained how they would look and that he usually doesn’t like them being on the front four teeth as it makes them quite visible. I decided I was fine with that, tooth coloured attachments are not going to be as visible as a full set of braces, and I don’t really care what people think. If I find people looking weirdly at my mouth, I will tell them I have invisalign. I don’t care if people know, I just don’t want to have metal braces again, and I’m getting married in 6 months and don’t want metal mouth for my photos.

The orthodontist explained it will take approximately 4 to 6 weeks for the ClinCheck to come back, then he would contact me. He said he could email me parts of it and then I could go in and see him for a more comprehensive view of how things will work. It only took a couple of weeks before the ClinCheck came back. The exports from the ClinCheck were emailed to me and I was already happy with where my front teeth would end up. When I went in to get more detail, the orthodontist explained that my last orthodontic work made my bite almost how it should be, but there will be a bit of work on my bite. He showed me where the attachments will be and where I will have to get teeth filed. He explained that invisalign recommended 1mm between each bottom tooth at the front, but he doesn’t believe that I need that much shaved off. He explained that it was up to me whether I wanted to go ahead with an attachment that was on one of the front four. I said I would prefer to try it without it and if we have to do a refinement later we can, I am more concerned about how my teeth will look for my wedding so if I need attachments in more visible places after I don’t care. While looking at the ClinCheck, he noticed one or two teeth that wouldn’t be sitting where they should be in relation to my bite so he said he will send refinements back with that, and removing attachments from one of the front four.

So after all that, I was happy to go ahead. I asked the orthodontist one last question – how long would it take for you do this if I got traditional braces? He said he would need 6 to 12 months but he would have more control over the treatment if I got traditional braces. I decided against braces as I didn’t particularly want them again and couldn’t even consider it if treatment went past 6 months. So he advised he would send me a quote and once I gave the ok and paid $1500, the aligners would be ordered and there was no turning back. The quote came in at $7200, which is the lower end for full invisalign in Australia (they say between $7000 and $9000).

My aligners were ordered last Wednesday and now it is just the waiting for them to come in. Once they come in, I pay another $500 and then the rest is paid in 18 monthly instalments.

When I went to see the ClinCheck, I was at 20 to 23 aligners, but with the changes, I am not sure how many more it will add. The orthodontist said to me it will be either two weeks or three weeks each so I guess they have to see how well your teeth are moving and decide how long you will need each one. So it could be 46 weeks to 69 weeks. The duration doesn’t really bother me, I have been waiting half my life for my teeth to be right.

If there is one piece of advice I can give to people who are considering doing invisalign it is to go to an orthodontist. They are trained in moving teeth. There were several things that my orthodontist changed on my ClinCheck that he may not have known if he wasn’t a trained orthodontist. I have read some people’s posts on here that their invisalign dentist told them that they just follow the invisalign program. This shouldn’t be happening. They should be able to identify if changes need to be made (like the amount being shaved off each tooth) to ensure you have the smoothest (and shortest) ride as possible. If my orthodontist wasn’t trained in orthodontics, I would be getting attachments where I don’t want them, would have too much shaved from the sides of my teeth and my bite would still end up incorrect at the end.

I don’t expect for things to run perfectly, but I am confident that my orthodontist can fix anything that goes wrong. When I had braces, a very noticeable gap developed in between my front teeth. I was so self conscious about it and kept asking the orthodontist to do something about it. Eventually, he put a band across the brackets on the top two front teeth and closed the gap. Am I worried they will get a gap again? Absolutely! The ClinCheck doesn’t show this happening, but you never know. If a gap does develop, I will be straight back at the orthodontist for a refinement.

When I had traditional braces, I used to carry a mirror and a little brush the orthodontist gave me to clean any food out of the braces after I ate. I have a feeling I will be doing something similar with the attachments! But at least I can use my iphone’s reverse facing camera as a mirror!

I am not too concerned about the pain and sensitivity of the teeth moving or of the aligners rubbing in my mouth. I think if I could handle traditional braces with all that metal, I think I will be ok. I remember the pain after getting my braces tightened. They were usually sore to bite into anything for the first day but I really don’t think it will impact me more now than what it did when I was a teenager. I will try and suck it up! The worst thing about braces was all things rubbing in your mouth. This is where the dentist wax comes in handy, to cover the sore spots, and I have noticed people have filed their aligners if they are a bit rough. I remember after I got my braces off how I kept running my tongue along my teeth cos they felt so smooth compared to the metal, so I imagine it will take a while for me to get used to the attachments and the aligners, although I am truly confident I will be ok!

I will keep updating as I go along :)

I will add some photos and hopefully be able to add my mini ClinCheck videos in the next few days.

I got a phone call yesterday, my aligners have...

I got a phone call yesterday, my aligners have arrived! I can't go in until Thursday next week though as my ortho doesn't have a lot of availability (it's like only lunch time appointments left when trying to book a date in the very near future) and it takes me an hour to get back from work :/ so now it will be a very impatient wait for me. Aligners only took 13 days to come in from when they ordered them! Super quick! Even the receptionist was surprised they were in so quick!

I've ordered some retainer brite from the US as it has a lot of really good reviews. The site also had a spray and wipes for the aligners which I am going to try out. Will check back in next week!

So I got my first trays today, yay! So far, so...

So I got my first trays today, yay! So far, so good. There is a small amount of tightness and pressure but all in all it feels ok. I am still learning how to take them out, when my orthodontist did it, it was so simple but I feel like I have to put more pressure onto them to get them out.

I got my first two trays, I am meant to get attachments after the first tray but my orthodontist said he wanted me to get used to taking them in and out before he started with attachments which I'm ok with, so I will get them on tray 3 in mid June. He said to me to keep them in for 2 to 3 weeks and that I will know if its not ready to change (like if it is not fitting properly) and to not force myself onto the next one if I'm not ready. To quote him "it's not a race, it's a marathon" lol.

At the moment, you can't see them unless you are right up close to me which is good. I know it will be more noticeable with attachments but I think it's still better than braces.

I was talking to my orthodontist about what to expect, he said it won't be as bad as braces but it is different because with braces you tighten everything at once and with Invisalign you are moving one tooth here before you can move another tooth another way etc so you'll have different teeth that are tender at different times.

I tried out the "Cleanse. Freshen. Go" wipes. They are handy to have but hard to get into all the grooves so I wouldn't rely on them for every day use but good to use on the fly. I will definitely be buying more cos they would be so useful for travel or eating on the run.

I found the casts of my teeth from before I had braces (1997 they were taken, which means I had my braces for more than 2.5 years - I had forgotten how long I had them!). I'll try post some photos of them tonight.

Now my wonderful fiancé, who is most conveniently a chef, has taken the night off and is making me soup for dinner so I don't have to chew. It's pretty cold so I'm looking forward to it!

Oh and I have a slight lisp from the top tray. My...

Oh and I have a slight lisp from the top tray. My orthodontist said I would probably have issues with "th" and "s" and to count from 30 to 40 and 60 to 70 to practice the sounds. The TH sound I am fine, just have a lisp with the S but it is getting better the more I talk.

More on tray 1

So I have had tray 1 for 8 days now, all is going well. A bit of pressure the day after I got them but other than that it has been good, although I expect further trays to be a bit more active than this one.

I've been using retainer brite to clean them which is working, keeping the trays clean and odour free. I make sure that when I take them out I rinse them and before they go back in I brush them under running water. My orthodontist gave me an orthodontic toothbrush which I find gets into the little crevices really well. The head of the toothbrush is a diamond shape and the top of the diamond is longer than the bottom, works great!

I am still having a few speech problems but yesterday was the first time that I've stopped being conscious of the aligners when I'm talking. I find if my mouth is dry or straight after I've brushed my teeth and put the aligners back in, my speech will be affected so I try to keep drinking water all day.

Will report back once I've started tray two in a week and a half :D

Tray 2

So I started tray two almost 3 weeks ago, have been super busy & haven't been able to update :/

Tray two has been good, not too much pain, similar to tray one. I am not sure if it was because I was meant to have attachments but didn't but it was ok.

Go back to my ortho tomorrow for attachments and more trays. I'm hoping I can get at least 3 trays tomorrow, there's only so much time I can take time off as its impossible to get an appointment in the afternoon with my ortho. Fingers crossed!

I'm hoping the attachments aren't too visible, there is one that will be noticeable when I talk and smile but I think it's still better than traditional braces!

Attachments

So I got my attachments yesterday, all went well except for one that took three attempts for it to stay on. The problem one is on a top canine and is pretty much the only one that is noticeable. It's quite big in comparison to the size of the tooth. I have 10 attachments all up. I am still on tray two for a few days then onto tray three later this week.

I got trays 3, 4 and 5 and the changes especially to my front teeth, top and bottom in the next few trays is incredible. Looking forward to moving on.

My ortho also told me that my trays have precision cuts, which means elastics :/ he said I'm doing pretty well without them so he will see how it goes. I really hope I don't have to use elastics, I hated them when I had braces!

Haven't had any pain or anything since yesterday. My ortho told me when I change to the next tray to do it before bed because I will struggle to get it out if it is only in for a couple of hours. Still learning how to take them out with attachments, definitely taking longer than usual to get them out so I'm glad I've had a few weeks to wear this tray in before getting the attachments.

Back to the ortho in around 7 weeks, also managed to get a late afternoon appointment - score! - will update when I start tray three in a few days!

Tray 3

So I have had tray 3 in for almost two weeks now. Didn’t really get any pain with this tray either. I am not sure if it is because I have had braces before so my teeth are more accustomed to moving but I am not getting the pain that a lot of people are describing on here, or anything like the sensitivity I had with braces. Time will tell with future trays!

I found it slightly difficult getting the trays out with attachments on but have adjusted to doing that, and because of their positioning I have to use a different method for top and bottom. I have also broken three nails on my left hand so my bottom aligner is really difficult to get out on the left hand side because removing it doesn’t work from the inside :/

I’ve now had Invisalign for nearly two months, and it has flown by so quickly. Hopefully twelve more months & then we will see if refinements are needed. I am hoping not but it seems like almost everyone has refinements so I’m gearing myself up for a longer haul.

Tray 4

I started tray 4 about 5 days ago, all is going good. Still no pain and no troubles eating which is awesome. I wonder if it is because not much work has to be done on my bite.

Have noticed a difference in my eye teeth, they both have moved a bit so they aren't as crooked and are more in line length-wise with my front teeth, so they have both been pulled back a bit. I love seeing little changes and my teeth are getting whiter and whiter from all the brushing. In the next tray my 2 top front teeth a pretty much straight so that's very exciting!

I've noticed that the aligners really have just become part of normal life now. Next set of photos will be posted on tray 5 :)

Tray 5

I have had tray 5 in for 2.5 weeks now, changing to tray 6 tonight. Have not yet taken a photo, will take one tonight and upload it later.

Tray 5 has been fine, still no pain or anything like that.

I had an appointment with my ortho this week. He gave me trays 6 to 10. Still no elastics which is awesome!

He did some IPL on my bottom teeth and one of them was extremely painful, like a nerve was hit. Now every time I eat, drink, brush my teeth, use mouthwash or even just breathe in sharply through my mouth this tooth hurts. It is so incredibly sensitive and I hope that it just needs some time (hopefully a short time!) and it won't be so sensitive. But at the moment it is really painful. Might try a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and see if it helps.

I also asked my ortho if I can get the one visible attachment off for my wedding and he said that I can. So my next appointment is the day before we fly out (we are flying over to hawaii to get married & honeymoon) then I go back a couple days after we get back and he will put the attachment back on. So excited & glad that one won't be visible!

Tray 5 photos

So here are some photos I took last night. The third one is a different angle to the original ones (I can never get it the same!) but I can see some differences, my front teeth are definitely straighter. There is a lot more space in my top teeth, they are really easy to floss now. Not so much for the bottom teeth, very difficult to floss which is why I guess my ortho did IPL the other day. That tooth down the bottom hasn't bothered me as much today so hopefully it is on the mend!

Tray 6

Tray 6 was a bit weird.. The whole time it felt like the bottom tray wasn't getting looser. I wore the trays for an extra week and it still didn't feel like it was getting looser so I decided to put in the next set.. and they were fine. So strange. Still didn't really have pain or anything so all has been good. Flying out to get married in two weeks so my visible attachment comes off next wednesday!

Trays 7 to 11

Yep, I've been lazy! Have been very busy as we had our wedding & honeymoon in October and my work & my hubby's business where I also work have been so busy! Now on Christmas holidays and I have some time to catch up on things. I just changed to tray 12 yesterday. All is going well still, I get a few jaw aches here and there and tenderness when I change trays but nothing unbearable. I'm able to change trays in the morning too because it just doesn't hurt that bad for me.

My orthodontist took my really visible attachment off for my wedding and put it back on after, at no extra cost. I'm so glad I asked cos the photos look great and the side the attachment is on look really straight so my teeth just looked normal in the photos. There were no disadvantages, I just forgot to take the next trays with me so I had to stay on 8 a bit longer.

I'm really pleased with how they are going and can see a difference now. Now I'm on tray 12, I'm almost half way! I have 23 trays so next week it will be official (not counting the possibility of having to get more trays after this - I'm so far in holiday mode I can't remember what it is called haha!)

Half way comparison photos

Just my end of tray 11 photos compared to before photos to see the difference

Tray 19

Wow I'm up to tray 19 already! Time is flying! This tray is a bit more sore on the top compared to most of my other trays. I still don't have to have elastics but I might have to get refinements for my top teeth as one of my lateral incisors hasn't come down enough. Have to go back at the end of tray 21 and see.

This is one of my last trays for my bottom teeth, either 20 or 21 is a passive aligner woohoo. They look pretty good, but there is one tooth that is still a bit crooked so hopefully that gets fixed. I will do photos soon! I promise there's changes :)

Tray 20!

Got my trays mixed up in the last update, I've got up to tray 20 and go back next week. Let's hope I don't need refinements. I can't believe the changes when I look back at my before photos and I'm so glad I've done this. Check out my tray 20 photos!

Tray 20 comparison photos

Tray 23 and refinements

So I did have to get refinements, for the top teeth only. I just finished my last tray on the bottom, and have been using tray 20 as a holding tray for the top while waiting for the new clincheck and aligners for mid course correction. I went to the orthodontist today and we had booked a long appointment because I needed attachments. I had really enjoyed not having attachments on my top teeth since they took the new moulds about 6 weeks ago. Once I was in there, my ortho looks at it and realises it is only attachments for bottom teeth, which are already on! So all that had to be done was a bit of IPL. I cannot tell you how glad I am to not have any attachments woohoo...!! I really believe the attachments are the main reason invisalign isn't that invisible! So my mid course correction is 8 trays but only 10 days for each tray so hopefully we will be done in October. Bottom teeth are all done, got the wire behind my bottom teeth so I don't have to do the whole removable retainer every day for the rest of my life! Another win!
Dr in Western Sydney

I found my orthodontist on the invisalign website

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Congratulations!!!!  

Is your lower right central incisor by any chance thicker than the lower left central incisor?  My upper right is thicker than my upper left, and I found it wanted to move out of place much more than the other teeth once I was in retainers.  Just curious :).
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Hello, thank you for your blog its great! Can you take a pic of your bottom teeth with the wire? Can you see it? Will you have the wire on the top too? Thanks
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Thanks for the compliment! I tried taking a photo so many time and just couldn't get the right angle. I finally used a mirror and got a friend to take it. I will post in a sec. Gotta download to computer. No, you can't see it easily. I am most likely getting the wire on the top, too, cause those teeth move back so much easier than my bottom and I don't want all this time and money to be a waste!
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Sorry!! I thought that message was for me as it was in my hotmail inbox and I just hit reply! Sorry about that. BUT you can check out my photo, too, if you want.
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Your teeth look fantastic, even with that one lateral incisor not fully rotating.  If the doctor says you'll need a refinement to fully rotate that tooth, do you think you'll do it or are you happy the way things are?  

Thank you for the update!!!
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Yeah I will definitely do refinements if I need them. I already regretted not fixing then completely when I had braces so I want them to be the best they can be this time around. I don't mind having the trays longer, the last year has gone so quick and they aren't a massive imposition on my life so it's all good! I'm wondering if they might have to do a different attachment to get it to move more. I'll see what my ortho says on Tuesday, not looking forward to the impressions if we have to go down the refinement road :/ haha
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A lot of people talk about hating the impressions.  I thought it felt kinda cool.
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You can see a lot of improvement with your trays!!! Looks great!
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Thank you!
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After that half way mark time really does fly. I was really good at updating until about tray 13 and then I just didn't think much about it but still took random pictures. Next thing I knew I was at tray 24! You're teeth are looking great!
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It's crazy how quick it goes! I'm blown away by the changes now!
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I just found you!  Did you ever finish treatment?
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I'm still going! On tray 17 at the moment, go back to my ortho next week for the last 5 trays! Have been a bit slack updating, hubby & I bought a house that needs lots of work so not much free time but was going to do some more comparison photos soon :)
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Glad I found you, then!  I was looking up Aussies because we've gotten an influx lately, when I stumbled across you :).  Seems like a lot of the newer people are doing AcceleDent, though, and changing trays every week!  Did you ever get offered that?
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I didn't get offered acceledent, but figured I probably couldn't afford it with treatment being so expensive already. Invisalign have been doing a lot of advertising here so it's probably why more people are doing it :)
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You mean AcceleDent is advertising?  I was seriously wondering about that.

I can't wait to see your pics!  It's always such a great reveal toward the end :D.
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Nah Invisalign is doing some serious advertising so I think a lot more people are getting Invisalign, could result in greater demand for acceledent!
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Ohhh!  Gotcha! :D
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I have had invisiline since Feb 2013 and they are estimated to be off this October. I can take them in and out easily and have since day 1. Basically I take my fingers and grab at the tooth (last ones in the back) and use my fingers (not finger nails) to actually pull the invisiline up and down. It take me 2 seconds. The dentist showed me one time and I figured since my teeth didnt rip out that I should be ok to grab them and the dentist said I did that really fast because most of her patients have trouble getting them in and out and they sometimes call her the same day and say they cant get them out. The totak cost of the invisiline for me was about 5,000 and my insurance paid 1,000. I will have to pay 500 for the retainers (I will get 2 sets instead of the usual 1 in case I lose one) and I will have to wear it at night for the rest of my life. The invisiline has not given me much pain except every time I change into a new tray there is a tightness and when I bite into things its kind of sore but I eat whatever I want . I had metal braces when I was in highschool but that orthodontist told me I could trash the retainer......so I did and my teeth eventaully shifted and it caused me to crack a tooth so I decided to get braces again. I could not get the metal ones again because I developed an allergy to metal. The invisiline has shifted my bottom teeth to being perfect again and I had noticed the difference not long ago and I am FINALLY seeing the difference in my upper teeth. I can tell where the invisiline is moving my teeth because there is a little ache in that spot. The annoying thing about these braces is the brushing and flossing everytime you eat. It is a real pain in the rear especially if you work in healthcare and you dont get any breaks like me. Sometimes I am too tired to even floss after work but i do. I had almost no plaque in my teeth on my last visit and the dentist said wow, you must really be flossing....and its true...your teeth and gums will be healthy! The cost is not much different from the metal ones and I noticed they can be cheaper in some states compared to others. I called a few places in Ohio and they were 4000 but in Virginia they are over 5,000. Weird. If I had to do it all over again I would choose the metal ones. Im not one of those people who care what others think of how I look and I know I do not look like Mariah Carey so having metal on my teeth is no big deal...but so far, it is worth the money if it prevents me from cracking any more teeth

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Awesome I will try grabbing the tooth, I hadn't even thought of that. Cos of my attachments I loosen them at the back and pull down or up from the front cos my ortho told me not to pull them out and away from one side, so your method will suit me well! I agree with brushing & flossing, especially flossing, I hate doing it at work. I'll normally floss morning & night with brushing & mouthwash & at work I just brush. It's so great you are seeing progress, it's so exciting :)
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I've been loving following your treatment. It is really great to hear you aren't experiencing much pain with the tray changes. Now if we can just figure out a way to preserve your nails we'll be set!! ;)

 

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Haha thanks :) I'm trying to not use the same nails to get them out all the time, some of the broken ones have grown back a bit, yay! Doesn't help that I type all day, that breaks them heaps too!
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I'm not sure if you already read the suggestion, but some RealSelfers use crochet hooks to remove their trays. Apparently they work better than the little Outie tools for them. It might be worth a try?

Here is a forum with some other suggestions. Maybe there will be something in there that will help:

How do you get your Invisalign trays out?

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Thanks ill have a look at it!
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I completely agree with going to an orthodontist to have this done! If I had gone to a regular dentist, they would have probably put me on invisalign immediately instead of telling me to wait, and explaining how I could be MUCH happier with results if I started with some ortho work before invisalign. I'm glad you're happy with your treatment!
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