Like most everyone else on this website, I have...
11 Jul 2013
Day of treatment
Like most everyone else on this website, I have had crooked teeth my whole life and considered doing invisalign to fix this issue once and for all. Unlike some on this website, I never had braces as a youth due to it being an unaffordable option for my parents to consider.
Considering how helpful this website was in informing my decision I felt it wise to give back, and hence here is my story.
It started with a free consult with a technician where I had my jaw and teeth xrayed and photos taken of all my teeth and my face. The technician liaised with the orthodontist regarding my results and I was informed that I am a candidate for invisalign. I had good oral hygiene (nice to hear!) and a good bite (which surprised me) with no issues except the obvious - overcrowding of both my upper and lower teeth. I signed up for the full deal at that consult and booked in for a full scan of my teeth to create the model. I was also told of a vibrating device you hold on your teeth for 20 mins a day that allows you to change your aligners weekly (thus halving your treatment time) which I am pretty interested in but will set me back another $1250!
At my next appointment I had a stick-like device placed on each of my teeth one by one over a period of 35 mins which resulted in a full 3D model of my teeth. Then I was told to wait for a phone call in 4-6 weeks to get my aligners fitted. All the staff I have dealt with have been very pleasant and informative. They seemed confident and relaxed about the procedure and the likely outcomes. I had to pay $1900 up-front and the rest on an interest free payment plan that I can pay off over 2 years.
Today I had my first aligner fitted, and met my orthodontist face to face for the first time. He went through my Clincheck and described the plan - 26 aligners all up (reportedly down from 40 that the invisalign people originally proposed) however, he seemed pretty sure that I would end up being scanned again at the end and fitted for refinement (so really, I am probably looking at more than 26).
There are no attachments until Aligner 3 so they tended to slip on and off okay. They are tight fitting but not painful - they feel very full in my mouth but I imagine I will get used to that feeling over time. The hardest thing for me to get used to at the moment is an overwhelming urge to bite hard on them and I find myself clenching my jaw tight a lot. Oh and sucking air through the top retainer. Hopefully these strange habits won't hang around!
So I am now 4 weeks into Invisalign and got the attachments put on today. I have a huge amount of attachments unfortunately and I have ALREADY snapped the one off my left canine (which was not a huge surprise given how tight it fits)...
I have 23 aligners all up for my top teeth, and 26 for my bottom but the Ortho tends to remain skeptical that I will have success without further refinements. We shall see. Funnily, the ortho only gives you the aligners that you need between appointments rather than the whole lot to keep at home. They said this is because they had probs with people changing aligners too quickly, but I suspect it also ensures that people will come in for their 6 weekly check ups! Mostly it is a bit tough as I don't have that final aligner available to me to look at every now and again so I can recommit to my target!
Today I paid $1250 for the Acceledent which will halve my treatment time. Just twenty minutes a day and I can change the aligners weekly instead of fortnightly. At this point, the fact I can be done in January 2014 is the only thing keeping me going! Used the acceledent just now and it was too easy, no pain, no worries.
The process still feels very long to me and I am very cautious that this may not be a success, but I am just trying not to get ahead of myself and knock each aligner over one by one!
The eating/drinking thing can be a bit of a pain but it is not that difficult to manage. I just like to only eat out where there is a bathroom so I can sort my teeth out. Eating has certainly become a timed event, and I am working hard to keep the aligners on 22 hours per day, but must admit probably hit 21 per day on weekends!
On a side note, i have played a lot of sport with the aligners on and they are very good, i have even been hit in the face with a soccer ball and the aligner was fine!
I shall post another photo and some more updates in a month or so.
So I change to Aligner 11 in a few days and I am nearing the halfway point. There are now noticeable gaps in between my teeth which is no big issue except food gets stuck in there. The cleaning and maintaining of the aligners is now second nature and I don't even think about them anymore. Minimal pain from rubbing now but do get tooth aching pain for the two days post aligner change. But it is very manageable and doesn't really effect me.
I have an ortho review booked in a few weeks to get up to aligner 19 and then I am booked for IPL in mid December 2013. The IPL is the last big step and I am a bit worried about it, I need all my front teeth, top and bottom, shaved which is pretty full on! But after that, I only have a few more aligners and finish up the process in January.
The acceledent has been the best money I have ever spent, changing the aligners weekly makes this whole thing fly by, it also means you don't have to keep the aligners around so long (they get a bit gross no matter how much cleaning you do). "Shaking" my teeth for 20mins a day has been okay, only have missed one day since I started (whoops). But must admit, would be lucky to be averaging 21 hours per day in the aligners... The ortho said at my last review that my teeth are moving perfectly and are fitting the aligners well, so I guess I am getting away with a wearing them a bit less then the recommended 22 hours per day.
I will continue to update with every ortho review, my top front. Teeth should be straight by my next update - crazy!
Aligner 15 - Now past halfway!
So I have just moved onto aligner 15 (out of 23U/26L)!
Well and truly feel on the home stretch now. I have IPL booked for 4 weeks (just before I change to aligner 19), and I am really not looking forward to that procedure. I need all my teeth "polished" (aka grinded) down by 0.2mm on each edge. This means I don't need to have teeth removed, but it also means I can expect 45mins of pain!
The Invisalign is now a part of my life and I hardly think about the fact I have to constantly brush my teeth and my 'dentures' (yes this is what I call my aligners!). All the funny little procedures are just natural now.
My teeth are markedly straighter now and everyone is saying this to me. The only slight problem is my left canine (which was totally misaligned originally) is not quite staying on the attachment as it is being rotated and pulled down. The ortho told me this is the hardest thing for Invisalign and she expects it to catch up to the other teeth after more space is provided by the IPL. Also, she said the refinement process can also be used to tidy up any rotation probs.
All in all I am now quite happy I did this and feeling confident it will be a success. I anticipate refinements but given how quick this with the acceldent, doing weekly changes. I'm not too worried about it and reckon ill be finished in 3 months or so :)
Aligned 23 - Almost Finished!
So bit of a delay since my last update, it has been a busy time and before I knew it, I was at aligner 23!
At Aligner 19, I had a 45min teeth filing session which was pure torture. Not exactly painful (although I was wise to coat my teeth in sensadyne toothpaste for 2 days before), but you could feel the vibration through your whole face as the orthodontist threaded thin pieces of metal between all my front teeth, back and forth!
But oh we'll it is done now. Afterwards there was no marked gaps but you could feel it when eating etc. My gums bled a bit the day after but otherwise I had no other issues related to the IPR.
Since that I have finished up the rest of my aligners and attended an ortho review this week to discuss refinements. I got my teeth re- scanned as well as a teeth mould done for bonded retainers top and bottom.
The orthodontist was very happy with my teeth and said he wants to discuss with the other orthodontist whether we should do refinements or not. They will be calling me next week with the news!
If they decide no need for refinements then I will get my attachments removed and bonded metal retainers (metal wire bits) placed behind my front teeth. Which means, I should be finished this whole process very soon! Madness. It has gone so quickly!
3 Month Post Check-up Update
Sorry for the long delay between updates but everything just wrapped up so nicely I forgot to update my blog.
So the Ortho ordered another 7 aligners for the "refinement" stage and those went hassle free. After this I was called in for an appointment to get all the attachments removed and get my teeth molded for the metal bonded retainers. It was sweet freedom being attachment free!
Two weeks after that I had the metal retainers bonded to the inside of my top and bottom front teeth. These felt very odd at first - took a lot of getting used to! Now I hardly think about them but the top ones I can pretty much feel all the time as my tongue sits against it (but it is no major problem).
Also I sold my used Acceledent on ebay for almost $700 (reckon I could have got more if I wanted to), so it is good to recoup some of that cost.
I have a plastic retainer that looks like an aligner tray which I use at night time approx every second night. It is okay to wear, not too uncomfortable. Ortho indicated that it can take years before the teeth will settle so it is important to be dedicated to using the night retainer. It seems the metal bonded retainers may just stay on for life which is a bit crazy but oh well, after spending so much money on straight teeth - I'd like to keep them that way!
Three month post invisalign check up was today and went smoothly, the metal bonded retainers remain all good and the Ortho is really pleased with my result - as am I. The invisalign tested my patience at times and was quite tough for the first month but the truth is, the rest of the time flew by with no dramas and it was the best decision I ever made to get them. Really happy with how it worked out and highly recommend getting them.
Here are photos of my finished teeth, I have included some images of the bonded metal retainers as well (bit difficult to take a photo of these). Thanks everyone for following my journey and best of luck to all those starting their invisalign adventure!