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My Invisalign Journey! :) - Tampa, FL

Hi! So I had been contemplating Invisalign for...

Hi! So I had been contemplating Invisalign for quite some time now. I've had consultations with 2 orthos outside of my dental network and 1 inside my network to compare costs and I've been reading reviews on here for months. First off let me say that I hate my smile. I'm the type of girl who grins not smiles. One ortho said my teeth are the size of that of someone who is 5'0 and I am 5'5, so needless to say I am self conscious about my smile. Alot of people on here couldnt afford braces when they were younger. For me it was that my parents never got around to it. So now I am left with fixing it.

Today is my first day with my aligners in. Although I dont feel any pain, my mouth is very sensitive and all I want to do is take them out. I almost wanna say it tickles, I dont know its a very weird sensation. I have very few attachments and thankfully they are not on my front teeth. Initially when they put the aligners in one side was scratching the back of my mouth so she shaved it down but now the back is loose and I can feel a gap between by tooth and the tray. I am going to call them to see if that's normal or okay.

My treatment time is 16 months maybe less depending on my progress and I have 21 top aligners and 18 bottom. My ortho is a nice lady. Her practice is very old school so we did the tacky impressions which wasn't pleasant but not too bothersome either. I would've preferred to do treatment with a different ortho who has the iTero scanning but he was not in my network and the total cost would've been $5900 instead of $2700 which is what I am paying now. So I am just hoping for the best.

** I started writing this post early in the day when I first put them in. Now after eating lunch and putting them back in the weird sensation is almost unbearable. I really want to take them out. My teeth also hurt I guess they are shifting now. When I took them off to eat the attachments were weird to eat with I felt as if I had something stuck in my teeth. The loose portion in the back is increasingly noticeable and I find myself clenching my teeth to make it fit.

Anyways, I will post a picture later and again once I switch trays.

Thanks!

week 1 tray 1

So here are the pictures with out my aligners in. Day 3 with them in and I've really gotten used to them. Aside from some cuts in my mouth im not as uncomfortable.

Week 2 Tray 2!

I must say that it has felt like a very long 2 weeks. I put my second set of aligners in last night and once again have a fitting issue with one of the trays. I am really starting to get concerned that my treatment is progressing. I've only had 2 sets and both have had issues with the whole aligner fitting on my teeth. Last tray was the top in the back not fully fitting down and now its the bottom tray in the back, only this time the spacing is very noticeable and uncomfortable. I really dont want to have to continuously go into my orthos office to fix these problems and I'm starting to doubt her services. Right now this is me ---> :/

I have an appointment tomorrow morning I will keep you guys updated. Thanks for following my journey

Fit Issue UPDATE

Okay so if you've been following my journey so far you know that I've been having fitting issues with my aligners since the beginning. I saw my ortho this morning and they thought the fit issue was strange because once pushing down on the aligner it popped right back up. So they had to shave down both top and bottom aligners on that one side so one of my molars are exposed on top and bottom. She assured me that this would not effect my treatment and said we'd have to shave all my aligners so I won't have to go in as often. I go in in 2 weeks to receive more aligners and also to get one more attachment put in.

The fit is leaps and bounds more comfortable then before so I'm very glad I got this issue resolved. My ortho could see I was starting to doubt this process so next appointment we are going to discuss in greater detail so she can put my mind at ease. I hope my treatment goes a little smoother after all this.

Thanks!

Tray 3/21

So just saw my ortho to get more trays. Once again they had to shave down the trays. I'm just going to say Invisalign made them to wide in the back so they just dont fit. My ortho said molars don't really move so we'll just have to shave them all down as we go. Also got 2 tiny attachments on one tooth on the bottom. I also was able to see my ClinCheck for the first time. It's difficult to picture the progress but she assured me she saw progress. I have some sore teeth right now but its bearable. One major change I've noticed is when I'm eating and I bite down, my bite is uncomfortable. Like I shouldn't be biting that way. I hope this means my bite is shifting and soon my overbite will be in the past.

I'm not a very patient person so this process is a learning experience I'm just trying to stay positive. Will be going in Dec.10th for more trays they really want to keep me coming in once a month so we can get this fit issue correct. I at least have the peace of mind that they are concerned and want to keep a close eye on that. I'll probably post a tray 4 pic. I dont want to constantly post pics so I'm spacing them out to really see progress.

I'm glad to have this forum. Feels like a diary of sorts.

Til' next time :)

Just before tray 4

So I am due to change my trays on tuesday. Trays 3 have definitely been the most comfortable to deal with. I've had some sore teeth throughout but nothing unbearable. I'm pretty happy with my dedication to this. I typically keep them in 21 to 22 hours a day and have hardly neglected proper care. I still haven't found the perfect way to keep the trays clear. I am constantly brushing them but yet still cloudy. I tried using efferdent and it worked pretty well but some reviews and comments about it wearing the trays down has me concerned so I've backed off that a bit.

So since starting my invisalign journey I've run into some health issues. It couldn't have come at a worse time just as I've taken on this financial commitment with invisalign. Well I start treatment on Wednesday and am hoping that my invisalign won't make me too uncomfortable as with this treatment I'll be in a lot of pain as it is.

Here are some pics I took the other day. No noticeable changes I think. Time is going slowly.

Till next time real selfers. :)

Trays 5!

Real Selfers! Its been near a month since I last posted and much has happened. If you have been following my journey you know I was about to start treatment for some health issues I was having. Thankfully I had my last "round" on Monday and am happy to note I responded well so no more treatments for now. It definitely has been an emotionally and physically trying month. Being 21, full time student, full time manager and working around trying to better myself IS NOT easy. Tray 3 went smoothly but Tray 4 was by far the most comfortable. I have now hit that point where they are more comfortable in than out.

When I went in to receive my next 2 sets of trays 5 and 6 (the fit issue I've been having has forced me to come in once a month to receive new trays and fix any fit issues) I was extremely uncomfortable. Both top and bottom aligners didn't even touch my back molars and so were rubbing against the sides of my mouth. Talk about annoying and painful. Once again we had to shave down the entire molar portion leaving it exposed and again my ortho promised this would not affect my treatment. Although the fit was a lot better then when I first put them in they just weren't tight enough to not cause irritation in my mouth. After a few days I sucked up the annoying pain and got used to it so I no longer have any irritation in my mouth.

Oddly enough I still have a slight lisp and from tray to tray it's different. Sometimes not at all and sometimes I'm stumbling to get my words right. It doesn't really bother me and my boyfriend thinks its cute so that's that lol :)

I've been reading on here that some people use Chewies more than others. When I first started out I hardly used them. I left them in the little pouch in my purse and would constantly forget about them. Eventually I moved the chewies to stay in my cases and forced myself to use them. What a night and day difference. When I constantly use the chewies I really feel like the aligners are doing their job. My teeth feel tight and secure and when I remove them to eat I feel a release so I know that there is pressure applied when they are in. Also, after awhile the aligners get increasingly loose (as they're supposed to) and the chewies help to reinforce and make sure you are on track with moving those teeth. So my advice. USE THE CHEWIES!! Keep them with your case and clean with case because leaving the chewies in the case they tend to attract the smell from the aligners. Those are my thoughts.

As far as progress goes, I am not 100% sure I see noticeable differences. I know flossing is a breeze and the fact that I can put each new tray on with relative ease lets me know SOMETHING is happening.

I am keeping my eye on the prize. Graduating in May with a better smile.

Will post pics later :) Thanks!

Trays 6/21

Trays 6/21 Update

So I posted a comparison pic from week 1 to day and I will be honest, my heart dropped. I see absolutely no improvement and so I am starting to think maybe I'm doing something wrong or what if the shaving of the trays is affecting my treatment. Too many times have I read peoples reviews of putting in 1 year or so of time and effort to correct their teeth to only find out they'll need another year of refinements. I am terrified that that will happen to me. I've also been reading how orthos tell every single patient they're "the perfect candidate." Is this a sales tactic?

It's been 2 months and 12 days and I was hoping I'd at least see a tiny improvement on some of the minor crooked teeth but I haven't. Can't deny my positive attitude is beginning to wither away.

I don't know should I not be so critical? I've read most people see improvement on trays 6-7. Is there anyone that didn't see improvement till much later?

Trays 9/21!

Wow.. It's been a long time since my last post. I am mid way through trays 9 and can say I see some TINY improvement. After my last post I went in to see my ortho and I expressed my concerns and doubts. She didn't take it well at all. Although I didn't say I was a part of this forum she knew I was doing some kind of research and felt I was "psyching" myself out. We went back and forth about my progress and she flat out told me to stop going online for answers to my questions. I was again pressed her about sending me my ClinCheck and she again told me she didn't know how. She told me if I wasn't improving then I wouldn't be able to put my next set of trays on. Anyways I cut down on my constant researching.

I'll be posting pics right after this. 9 trays out of 21 I'm almost half way done and you'd think you'd see more of a difference but NOPE.

Thanks

trays 9/21

Trays 12 of 21

ALAS! A positive and happy review for you.

After months of disappointment it seems as if overnight I can see big changes in my teeth. I noticed that I was focused on certain teeth and too concerned with looking at them from the same angle each time. As well my last visit with my ortho also boosted my spirits a bit.

SO during my last visit I asked the dental assistant if I could see my final bottom tray because I was on tray 11 and I only have 18 trays for the bottom. I was surprised to see that they are nearly perfect and couldn't even imagine my teeth looking like that. Both the dental assistant and my ortho warned me that a majority of invisalign patients go through refinements for a variety of reasons and that yes that would be the case for me even though they were extremely confident that I would have much straighter teeth. So I saw a tiny light at the end of this extremely tiny tunnel.

I was probably at my ortho for a good hour or more just to get on the same page as them. I told them that I was not happy with the fit issue I've been having since the beginning and so my ortho took a look at my charts and my ClinCheck and told me that my back teeth are not significantly moving during my treatment and that my teeth are so crowded in front along with my crazy overbite that my separating and movement will happen when my teeth move outwards to then create movement for them to straighten out. So yeah that made sense. To top that all off. The dental assistant told me that if they truly believed and thought I was wasting my time (and money) on a treatment that would not result in significant improvement they would've redone my impressions a long time ago because apparently they know and are completely aware of my dissatisfaction. They even went as far as to say that in the end if I wasn't happy with the improvements that they would put in metal braces to tweak the imperfections.

Pics to come after I switch trays this Thursday!
Dr. Emma Rushing

3 out of 5 stars Overall rating
2 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
2 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
2 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
1 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
4 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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That is fantastic news!  So glad to hear how well they are working with you!  And I look forward to seeing the new pictures :D.
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It's been nearly a month and you were not best pleased last time….how are things going now?
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Well. Still thoroughly disappointed. I haven't seen my ortho in 6 weeks however my next appointment is tomorrow. There's still minimal movement. My main issues with certain teeth are in relatively the same spot as in the beginning of treatment. I'm at a loss honestly. I was so happy and dedicated to this treatment for the first 4 to 5 months and although I'm upset I haven't neglected my responsibility with the upkeep. I'll post following my appointment tomorrow
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I'm sorry :(.  I hope your doctor has something useful to say.  Good luck...
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As a non specialist, I can already see that 21 aligners might not be enough... I hope I'm wrong. So if you need/decide to extend your treatment, run to another orthodontist and don't look back. Sending you the Clincheck is just a MUST and if she does not take your concerns seriously, run even faster to a person that will take care of you and your teeth. Trust yourself.
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I think latentsmile has a good point.  I didn't really think about that you have no room in the front of your mouth.  Have you felt any difference in the back while flossing?
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I have. Flossing has become so easy overall sometimes I ask myself why floss? Anything that gets stuck easily comes out. And it worries me about the back because for the first 7 trays they were shaving the aligners in the back. I ask myself had they not shaved them would've I have seen improvement quicker? It also doesn't help how she reacted it's discouraging.
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I empathize.  Just try to remember that your dentist is a human being.  Most people react very defensively if they feel their qualifications or choices are being questioned in any way.  It's automatic, and very difficult to counteract.  Your questions threaten her identity as a competent dentist (and I totally understand why you are asking those questions--it's discouraging to go through the trouble and not see results,) but questioning her abilities puts her on the defensive.  If you are feeling movement in the back teeth, I would try to extend your patience a while longer.  Nine trays is not that many, especially with 21 to go through.  The doctor chooses how to move the teeth, so your doctor may just have chosen to start from the back.  And those teeth take forever to move.  Seriously.  Most of us have very little movement that needs to happen in the back.  So comparing from case to case is just so hard.  

Please hang in there…and try to prepare yourself for needing more trays than the 21 that are listed.  Most people do get real results with Invisalign.  If, after twelve trays, you still fee uncomfortable with what's going on, you can try to have a conversation with your doctor about what your options will be if your teeth fail to move.  And do try to frame it in a way that doesn't make her to blame--like that your teeth fail to conform to the treatment plan or whatever.  If that makes sense?
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Honestly, I would guess you are not SEEING the movement quite yet because your back teeth have to move first to make room. Because you have a lot of crowding, this wouldn't surprise me one bit. Have you noticed any differences in the spacing in your back teeth when you floss? I'm at about the same point (2 weeks, 4 days) and that's been my only noticeable change. My ortho told me I wouldn't SEE any movement up front for a year (but my treatment plan is longer than a lot of peoples'). Everyone is different! Perhaps ask your ortho when you can expect to see the front teeth moving? It would help set your mind at ease to know, especially if you do have to wait for those back teeth to shift into place and make room! :)
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Okay, so I'm pretty sure I saw more movement than you're seeing.  However, my overall treatment time was also shorter.  Tray 6 was about halfway through my initial treatment.  Still, I look at your teeth, and the only movement I think I see is in the bottom left-hand corner of the picture (so the right side of your jaw, I think.)  It looks like two of your lower incisors on the left of the pic have lined up with each other now, when before they weren't.  But.  Okay, first, I know that lots of people get their trays cut, so that is not necessarily problematic.  It probably depends on how much of the tray is removed.  One set of molars is common.  Half the tray is not.

At this stage, if you are truly concerned (which I think you are), I would talk to your doctor, and ask whether your progress is tracking the ClinCheck.  If it were me, I'd ask to see what the ClinCheck said my teeth were supposed to look like at this stage, and compare it to what they do look like.

But here's another thing to consider.  Your trays are shaped the way they are supposed to make your teeth look.  Look at tray 1 and tray 6, and see if you can see a difference.  Then check your teeth to see whether that difference is present in your teeth.  If you can't see a difference in the trays, then the movement is simply too slow and complex to see so early in your treatment.  Look at the first tray compared to the absolute last tray in your possession and check that way.  Invisalign is an evolving technology, and doctors are attempting more and more difficult cases with the tool, as Invisalign adds more and more features to help them get there.  Five years ago, you may not have been a candidate at all (I'm not saying it's true, but it's possible.)  So if you compare with people like me, who had really simple cases, you might feel like something is going wrong.

I can't tell you everything is fine or there is something wrong, because I don't know.  But these are just some things to consider, and remember that you are paying for your treatment, and your provider answers to you.  :)
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The nagging issue with the ClinCheck is my ortho swears she doesn't know how to send that to her patients. She showed me once at the beginning of treatment and so I really only got to view it for tops 5 minutes. I'm sure if I had that I would feel a little better. And as a matter of fact about 7 yrs ago I went to a dentist who told me I would not be a candidate for invisalign. I just hope, like I said, that I'm not in for a few years of this. Once I'm able I'm going to do the comparisons from trays 1 to now and see if theres a difference. Thanks for your tips!
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You could try calling Invisalign.  They have their contact information on their website under the "Contact Us" thing at the bottom.  No email unfortunately.  But you could tell them that your provider doesn't know how to send the ClinCheck to her patients and ask if they might have them centrally or something.  They might stonewall you, but if you get desperate, it's an option.
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I've also found that using the Chewies when I put my aligners back in my mouth, chewing all the way around the arches, helps reduce my pain from 4 days down to 2 days. I've been amazed that many orthos/dentists neglect these little helpers! I asked my ortho for new ones this week and she was amazed because I guess so many people don't use them regularly…but they definitely do break down and start getting "squished" and soft. Happy to hear your treatment was deemed a success. :)
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Wow!  I've never heard that!  Okay, I definitely need to make sure the chewies are talked up in my Invisalign Primer.  Everybody needs to know how important these things are!!!

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Definatley use the chewies. It was kinda forced upon at my clinic. My doc is a perfectionist. And it spent 7000$ so want to do it right. The second time!! I was recommended to use the polident 5min cleaner.
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$7000?! Oh My!! Well I look forward to seeing your progress as that's a huge financial commitment :) You are the second to recommend the polident cleaner so I'm thinking its time to get it lol. Thanks for commenting! :))
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Congratulations on your last round! I hope that takes care of it forever. I wish I'd known about RealSelf and read up on Invisalign before I did it. I would have asked for chewies. How much do you use them, anyway? Is it just constant, like chewing gum all the time, or what? Thanks!
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I find that using the chewies as I put my aligners back in after eating is the most crucial time. Very rarely do I use them just to use them unless I start to feel like they're loose. And yes! I hope that I won't have to do chemo again. I am thankful I responded so well. Thanks for always keeping up with my progress :)
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I hope your health issue is easily treated and does not become a burden. I've been using PoliDent 3-minute cleaner every night on my aligners and have not had any issues with them showing wear, etc. However, I have a new toothbrush that I dedicate to cleaning the aligners only, as I have read that toothpaste and residue can abrade and scratch the surface and make it cloudy. Looking forward to reading more progress!
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I just got around to getting a special toothbrush for my aligners. I truly didn't understand the difference it made. Although I got a package of Efferdent, you and another commenter both use Polident. I am definitely going to give it a try. Thanks for commenting! Can't wait to see your progress! :)
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I hope your health issue is not terribly serious and all is well!! Congrats on starting your treatment! It will take some time for you to really be able to "see" the differences for the first few months, but you should definitely start feeling a difference right away. You'll notice changes when you floss for sure and you will notice subtle differences in your bite as treatment moves forward. I want to say it was around tray 7 that I started to be able to see a difference. Take as many pictures as you want and post them... it really helps people who are still researching to be able to see what we are talking about. :) I like to post comparison pictures - comparing my before Invisalign to whatever tray I am at... Sometimes I am even surprised with the amount of movement that has been achieved so far. :) The first few months seem to take the longest. As soon as you start noticing some real movement, time will go by a lot quicker for you!! I am at the end of my 19th tray and about to move into refinements and it seems like yesterday that I was starting the process! :) Hang in there - I look forward to seeing your progress as you move through the treatment! Happy Thanksgiving!
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Going through this process really teaches you patience lol. Unlike with regular braces that you cant take off and so cant really see the differnces, I find that I am constantly looking at my teeth. It definitely has been a long 2 months however, like you said flossing is super easy now so I at least have that peace of mind that something is moving. Thanks for commenting! :)
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I hope that you're going to be okay!  Are your health issues potentially life-threatening??  

As for the cloudiness, I found that soaking in Hydrogen Peroxide helped to dissolve the gook, but I still had to brush it off.  It's also a very cheap option.  A more expensive option that works really well is RetainerBrite, and the Invisalign powder stuff they sell also works.  I got some free samples from my ortho and used those maybe once a month, when I was too lazy or strapped for time to do it the other way.  Also, if you use anything abrasive on the trays, they won't ever get clean again.  The plaque just gets into those microfissures and is soooooo hard to get out!

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Thanks for the tips! I'm not sure if my ortho has samples but I will definitely ask. As far as my health issues goes, if left untreated could develop into Non Hodgkins Lymphoma so I am doing a treatment that is very comparable to chemo but not as intense. Monday is actually my last round and so far I've been responding well so its good news! How long do you soak in the Hydrogen Peroxide for?
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Just however long you have the aligners out for.  So while you're eating or brushing your teeth or whatever.  I usually have a dish sitting in the bathroom with H202 in it, and whenever I take off my aligners or retainers, I just put them straight in the dish after rinsing or rinsing and brushing.  Then I brush them before I put them back in my mouth.

Good luck on Monday!  I hope the treatment is a roaring success!!!

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