Taking the Plunge with Invisible Orthodontia - Tucson, AZ

So...I'm a procrastinator/perfectionist. It's bad...

So...I'm a procrastinator/perfectionist. It's bad. This is why after a couple months of treatment I finally decided to make an account and share my experiences with a bunch of strangers on the internet.
I've wanted for years to have straight teeth, but my parents could not afford braces and I wasn't financially self sufficient to go and get them on my own. However, last summer I got a great job, a drivers license, and a big enough paycheck to start paying for my own things. A family friend/coworker got her daughter's braces at OrthoPros, and when I mentioned how I might finally get braces, she recommended them to me. She thought they were great, and I decided, "Hell, why not?"
Therefore, last November, I went to OrthoPros for my free consultation. Right from the start, I felt welcomed and at ease. The front desk staff was lovely. One of the assistants greeted me warmly, ushered me into a small office off the main room, collected my demographics, and then examined my mouth to see what needed addressing. She then took me back to get x-rays of my mouth (using a super cool machine, unlike the bitewings I had to do when I went to the dentist), and to take pictures from a gazillion different angles. She then sent me back to the little office, and introduced me to one of the orthodontists at the practice. I felt very comfortable with him, and right away, he asked me what kind of braces I wanted. I told him that I really wanted the Invisalign, but figured that my teeth were too messed up to consider the invisible option. After examining me, he told me that I was indeed a candidate; he gave me a ballpark estimate of two years, and said that even with braces it would take approximately that long as well. That had me super excited. I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm vain, I'm a young adult who's already insecure about her smile, I didn't want metal mouth on top of that.
Unfortunately, there were several obstacles. One, I needed my wisdom teeth removed to clear up some space and to keep from later complications (two were impacted), and the other reason was my dad's insurance didn't cover me because I was over 19. Bummer. They gave me the self-pay prices, with a discount, and an affordable monthly payment plan after an initial deposit. The whole atmosphere of the place was friendly, the entire place was very clean, and I knew I was sold; it was just a matter of paying for it.
Here's where some more procrastinating comes in. I got new dental insurance through work, got my wisdom teeth out in January, then waited about six weeks to recover before I called up the clinic to set up my appt to start the process. Turns out my new insurance covered another $1,000...That meant a $2,000 discount, and an affordable deposit/payment plan. After the financial part was taken care of, they put me in the chair, and they scanned my teeth with the iTero Digital Impressions scanner. Pretty awesome. Reading these reviews, I noticed that some people had to do an actual mold with gooey stuff, so I suppose I'm lucky. They sent it off to the Invisalign Company immediately, and six weeks from then, I got my first delivery.
I went to the ortho to get my trays. He showed me my ClinCheck, a tray-by-tray look at how my teeth would move. It was 42 trays for uppers and lowers, which would be 84 weeks, almost 2 years, not including the refinements! I thought it was crazy, but I was ready. I was dedicated. I wanted this more than I had wanted boobs when I was younger. Wait, what? Sorry, moving on.

When I first put the trays in, my teeth felt hard and plastic, and extra shiny. I talked with a lisp, and I drooled. So sexy, right? However, my coworkers didn't know I had them in unless I told them. I did get a bitch of a headache the first day, as if a super tight rubber band had wrapped itself across my face. The trays had a vice grip on my teeth. I didn't care. My teeth were moving and that's all that mattered. So the first few days were rather brutal, but once my teeth shifted, I could take them on and off in a matter of seconds. The second set of aligners was the same, although it wasn't as tragic because I had gotten used to them by then. My lisp had disappeared, and the small sore on the tip of my tongue from running it along the inside edge had healed.
Last month I got my attachments put on. That was a pain in the butt (mouth). The prepping part wasn't terrible. They cleaned my teeth, put some bonding solution onto my teeth, then put the attachments on and popped the guide tray in, setting the attachments in place with a blue light to harden. Taking the tray off was a whole other matter. Between the assistant, and myself we wrested them from my teeth, but took off a bump in the process, which meant she had to start the process all over for the one bump. They matched my tooth color really well (although they might be clear, not entirely sure) I’m sure you can tell once I put up the pictures. Once again, the first few days sucked. It was hard to eat with all these bumpy things in my mouth, so I ate like a young child with no manners during my meals, but now my mouth is acclimated to them and don't make much of a difference.
So, that's my story so far! I started tray 5 a couple days ago, but I'll save that for another post. And I'll post pics soon.

Tray 5 update and some pictures

So I can't access my account (maintenance on the website) to show the official before pictures but I'll show you what my teeth look like now.

Tray 5 during the first couple days was a beyotch. Also, my fangs (as I've so lovingly dubbed them) didn't seem to conform to the tray space? Like they fit around the attachment but there's a very small gap between the top of my tooth and the tray. Luckily it's not as noticeable as it was in the beginning so I know my teeth have shifted but I don't know why this set is like that when all the others have fit exactly. I hope that doesn't mean that they aren't moving the way they're supposed to. A question to ask my ortho at my next appt I guess. My bottom teeth hurt more in this tray, I'm guessing it was concentrating on some of those, seeing as it's easier to floss between some of them. I also got a water flosser, which is great, but I'm still getting the hang of it, I'm still kind of messy.

As for progress, it's hard to see any. I can feel the difference when I floss, but being on only tray 5 out of 42 isn't going to yield very visible results. My family claims to see a difference, however.

Sorry about the pictures, they suck. As you can see, I have major crowding issues, teeth overlapping. My fangs grew in over my baby teeth, so I have gaps back there where my adult teeth will hopefully slide into place. Multiple attachments on a bottom tooth and two top premolars (I should probably learn the names of these teeth) and then a bunch more have just one.

I have my next appt June 30th, I'll get 6,7, and hopefully 8. They'll also do some more IPR.

Tray 6/42 Update

Saw my orthodontist on Monday. He said everything is still moving and looking good! They did a little more IPR between a couple teeth that were especially tight (my front two, yikes!)

I also got another look at my Clincheck. It kind of sucks, I mean I am going to have flared out teeth up until tray 30. This is because in order to pull my fangs in we have to push everything forward and you can only go forward so much until you have to go out. Then once there's enough space they can start pushing everything back in. It's a tad distressing but they said to hang in there, my case is one where my teeth will look worse before they get better. Fabulous, right?

I can already tell that that's what this tray is starting to do. It's also moving a couple of bottom teeth around, which I'm thankful for because I hasn't really been feeling too much down there even though I can tell they've shifted.

Here are some more pics. I added in some of me Pre Invisalign but they were hard to find because I tend to delete any pictures of me looking like my teeth are extra crooked or if I'm just plain ugly.

Tray 7 aka where'd all this space between my teeth come from

This tray has been pretty great. Usually the first time I go to take them out I die a little inside because it hurts really bad. I put them in the night before, and the next morning they popped right out. I was so. happy.
And also I have all this space between my teeth? Like obviously from the pictures you can't tell. But especially with my front two teeth they were tight even with IPR and now I can slide floss up there with ease. Awesome!

Not a lot of pain. Also awesome. In the beginning though I did feel like the tray was sitting on my gum in the back molar area, although it would shift onto the tooth once I'd been wearing them for a little bit. I thought invisalign couldn't really move molars back though? What's up with that?

I have a question for you invisalign friends. Is whitening even worth it at this point? Or should I wait until the very end when the attachments come off? And if I do whiten what would you suggest? Strips or gel or whatever?

Tray 8/42

Damn this tray has been a big ole bitch. The moment I put them in I knew it was going to be a tough tray. This one I think expanded my top arch a little bit, pushing one of my right fang down/back now that there's a bit more space there. Also pushing the teeth forward slightly more. Surprisingly my molars are very sore, I haven't felt soreness there in a while.
Bottoms were hardly sore too.
Here are some more pictures, I added a comparison shot between 4 and 8. I want to know if you guys see a difference!
Also thanks to everyone who commented on tooth whitening ideas! I think I'm just going to wait until my teeth get a bit straighter.

Tray 9

Some good news and bad news. My ins won't cover my invisalign after all. So that's another $1,000 added to my monthly payments; luckily it only raises it by $8 per month.

Good news, this tray is much like tray 7, pops in and out with ease already, mild pressure on molars. Also my two front teeth have officially parted ways. There's a gap, albeit a very narrow one!
I had my orthodontist appt on Tuesday, they did a bit more IPR on the top and also started on the bottom. Dr. Kacer says he's more conservative about IPR, which I'm fine with because I wouldn't want him to bang out all .5 mm at once, that just causes problems from what I've seen on here. He also said I will probably need rubber bands at the end to correct the hugeeee overjet that I'll have. But that's a long way away so I'm not worrying about it. He then gave me sets 9-12.

My new catchphrase has been, "thanks, but I can't" Everytime someone offers me food or drink. I'm sure everyone here has said that multiple times through their treatment. Sigh.

Tray 9 Photos

Tray 10- Finally into Double Digits!

Yayyyy! And three more trays until I'm in my teens!

These trays are shifting some bottom teeth around (I feel like these don't get as much attention... Maybe because my top teeth have more moving to do?) They are also continuing to push one of my front teeth more forward. From the front they still look okay but at certain views you can definitely tell there's a difference. I'm okay with it but hopefully the other one will join it soon.

This tray is about a 6.5 on the pain scale. Monday night I popped them in, chewed on a straw (because I don't have chewies) to seat them a little better, and went to bed. Tuesday morning, took them out at work for breakfast and there was the wonderful sensation of feeling like your teeth were being ripped out. That feeling went away by yesterday at dinner.

Attached is a comparison between trays 1 and 10. I was gonna wait for 12 but I'm impatient.

Until next time!
Dr. Kurt Kacer

Was this review helpful? 5 others found this helpful

Comments (18)

Sort by

Definitely very clear progress.  It's especially easy to see in the trays, so that's fun!  Thanks for including those :).  I'm sorry that this tray was so painful, though.  :(  Some of them are just like that, but at least you know they're working, right?  It's still so awful, when you feel like you're ripping out your teeth.  I hope the next one is less painful for you, but that it still does lots of work :D.
  • Reply
This one wasn't even as bad as tray 8... Those hurt the moment I put them on! And the straighter my teeth get it seems like the faster it takes to adjust. So that's nice!
  • Reply
I agree--that was how it felt for me as well.  :D
  • Reply
Congratulations on the spacing!  I remember being so excited, when I could finally fit dental floss between my teeth without having to force it past the crowding and then hitting my gum so hard from the momentum that I'd bleed.  I love flossing now.  Well, I kind of loved it before, too, because I'm weird, but I love it way more now!  It's going to be so exciting watching your teeth fall into line.
  • Reply
I'm just happy I invested in my Waterpik. The thing's a lifesaver. I love it. It's the best to use when I have gunk stuck in my molars. And I do like flossing more now that I know how unhealthy my mouth was when I didn't. (I rarely flossed before invisalign)
  • Reply
I feel like I can see a little difference, but you're much more likely to see a difference from pre-Invisalign than from 4, I think.  Your case is also long enough that they may be trying to make room in the back of your mouth before they can do significant movement in the front.  Another great way to see differences is to look at the actual trays and compare them.  
  • Reply
Whitening is a good question. I have shied away from it because I am worried about what it would look like when the buttons come off. One thing I did before all of this was use activated charcoal (Amazon for $8) I'm a bit of a naturalist and try to go that route if at all possible. It soaks up the stains on your teeth without damaging them like the chemical whiteners you can get at the store. However the results aren't instant like they are with the strips and gel. Takes repetitive use. Its simple tho. Brush with the charcoal (your teeth will get black but it's completely tasteless) for 1 to 3 minutes. Swich then brush with toothpaste. You can google activated charcoal for teeth to see what it does. I have not done this since I started invisalign. I figured I'm brushing, flossing and swishing enough my teeth should be good. But I will start back on the activated charcoal once these buttons are off. It's my go to for whitening :)
  • Reply
I have whitened my teeth throughout my entire treatment. I have used both gel (bought on Amazon and used during the first round of treatment) and now white strips (Used only during the second week of wear after the trays have loosened a bit - I have been using during my refinement stage.) You don't have to worry about any discoloration on the teeth from the attachments. When they removed my attachments the teeth were the same color underneath. :)
  • Reply
Whether whitening is worth it for you at this stage is a judgment call.  It is very likely to work, and if you feel self-conscious about the color of your teeth, there's no reason you couldn't start now.  Whitening is something you do periodically anyway, so you could do it now and again at the end of your treatment.

I waited with my whitening until the end because I didn't know it'd work with the attachments on.  But it does work.  For me, I bought Opalescence and it's got several syringes of whitener.  It usually takes me less than one syringe over a few days to get the results I want.  So I've been using the same kit for two years.  For me it was a great investment. :)  I don't know if I would have started during treatment, though, because my teeth weren't that discolored to start with, and because I had terrible trouble with the Invisalign trays leaving a brownish film on my teeth.  (It was polished off with pumice after my treatment was done.)
  • Reply
You are def not ugly! I did the same tho - hated a lot of pics of me because of my teeth and smile. Now you're case is interesting to me because my aunt really wants to try invisalign but she was told by her dentist her teeth were too crowded but your case and others, make me think she could get some. Looks like it might get rough for you at times but it will be alllll worth it in the end when you get to flash that gorgeous smile :)
  • Reply
See I had people tell me that I couldn't get invisalign too. For two reasons, because it's cosmetic and because my teeth were too effed up. But my ortho said right away that I was a candidate and that was that. So your aunt should definitely shop around and get some more opinions, especially from orthodontists! If her teeth are the same as mine there is absolutely a chance she can get invisalign. :D
  • Reply
I will def pass this along so thanks for sharing! She is a little jealous of me right now especially since she's seen the improvement. Its so worth every penny and not feel like you have to hide your smile anymore :)
  • Reply
The worse before better phenomenon is a bummer, but at least you don't have to pull teeth!  Is your ClinCheck posted somewhere you can share it from?  Like YouTube or something?  I'd be super keen on seeing it!
  • Reply
I asked about my ClinCheck, the tech said she'd have to ask my doctor about it. I doubt they'll let me have it, I don't get my before pics until after treatment is over :/
  • Reply
That's okay.  At least they let you see it :)
  • Reply
Thanks for the pictures!  Here are some others (not an exhaustive list!) in our community who have kind of ranging from moderately severe to very severe crowding:

HenryZ (had to have a tooth pulled, he'd nearly done)
Mil ou's crowding is mainly on the bottom and it's pretty moderate, but there is an overlap tooth.
humbleoracle has pretty severe overcrowding in the bottom jaw
knitsew also has an overlapped tooth in her bottom jaw
JLD_Sail also pretty moderate
kellynyc16
Dante555 has severe overcrowding on the bottom but nearly none on the top
Sunluvva's crowding is pretty severe
and finally, both AreYouKiddingMe and Cazzieboo have very severe overcrowding.  mlb502, one of our RealFriends, started with pretty crowded teeth as well, but she's nearly done after a long time.  

  • Reply
Thanks! I've visited a couple of these people's sites, it's nice to see what seemed impossible to me was fixed in other people!
  • Reply
Hello, and welcome to our Invisalign community!  Thank you for deciding to share your journey with us, and I hope that you get (and give!) the support you need during this time.  I completed my Invisalign a couple of years ago and have been in various retainers since.  We have other users who are brand new and haven't even gotten their trays yet.  And then we've got people everywhere in between :).  Without pictures or a description, I don't know what kind of issues you're dealing with so I can't really connect you to people with similar issues.

Have you looked around the community yet?
  • Reply