I went in for a consultation to...
I went in for a consultation to Bountiful Orthodontics, which on a good day is a twenty-five minute drive away from my house and forty minutes from work. The office is in a very open and modern suite. The ladies at the reception desk greeted me right away and I was filling out a few forms and taken to meet Dr. Feller. The appointment was fairly quick. He examined my teeth and we talked about why I wanted Invisilign. My biggest concern is a top lateral incisor (left) that is currently hanging out at a 55? angle. My canines are slightly crooked in my crowded mouth so I have a very vampiric smile but honestly, the fangs have never bothered me. If they aren’t complete fixed by the end of treatment, I wouldn’t be upset.
I learned a few things about my teeth during the exam: My teeth are crowded, and my bite is off. Instead of my teeth sitting together and almost locking (like normal, apparently everyone knew this but me) my resting bite has my teeth resting completely on top of one another. The doctor said this would be something he would correct also, but I am a good candidate for Invisilign. Yay me!
His assistant put all of the work into the computer and gave me an estimate. $4,870. Honestly, it was about what I was expecting. Teeth aren’t cheap, but they’re certainly worth it. I told them I couldn’t make a deposit that day, but I would be back after tax season. I was told that they would like $1,000 down to get the process started. The assistant gave me the photos they took of my teeth and the estimate paperwork and I went on my merry way.
Attachments were brought up in my first visit, as were elastic bands. Whatever brings the best results is worth it.
December to May
The holidays and a bunch of birthdays came and went. I put a little money aside here and there but not enough to get started at Bountiful Ortho in April like I had wanted. I watched hours of Invisilign videos on YouTube and probably obsessed more than I should. I have Humama dental insurance I purchased for myself (the joys of working for a two person business, no benefits. Yay.) and MetLife for TriCare since my husband was active duty reserve. The Humana is less than $20 a month and I mainly purchased it to get cleanings twice a year and a filling or two if necessary. The MetLife did everything else. I didn’t think either insurance would help with the orthodontics since I was adult, but I was wrong! My cheapy Humana plan would end up giving me a $760.50 discount. After I called and verified with Bountiful Ortho in the middle of April, I made my appointment to get the imaging done of my teeth for Invisilign the next month and started ferreting money away like crazy.
May 19, 2015
I was late to my 8:00 a.m. appointment. I hate being late! Traffic was a nightmare between Clinton and Bountiful and it took me forty minutes to get there. Bountiful Ortho took me into the financial office when I arrived and I got all of the necessary paperwork done, deposit paid, monthly payments set up, with no interest by the way, to be paid off before I finish treatment. Treatment was estimated to be 15 months, but it could be longer, it just depends on my teeth and how well I do taking care of them. The nice thing about Bountiful Ortho is they are one of the offices with the new technology for mapping/imaging my teeth. Instead of the yucky trays I’ve heard about in many reviews, I had a imaging/wand-thing taking scans of each tooth and making a composite of my mouth. The wand blows air lightly as it worked. Nothing painful but boy, did it dry my mouth out. The whole process took about half an hour. I spoke with the assistant about the likelihood of needing IPR (she said it was possible and would likely be done when I came in for my first tray) and that was that.
Waiting for my first trays.
I feel like I’m fixated on everyone’s teeth. Crooked, straight, not-so-white, I’m turning into a tooth snob! I’ve looked closely at my own teeth and noticed a few not-so-straight ones that I hope will be fixed. I also have decided that IPR is very likely for my itty-bitty gap at the top of my front teeth to close. I’m slightly apprehensive, but I trust the orthodontist and am eagerly awaiting my ClinCheck.
Full teeth picture
Neglected to share a full teeth photo, so here it is. Definitely going to get some whitening done post treatment.
One week away.
One week until the Invisalign! My trays came in about two weeks ago but given I need at least an hour to get everything started, we had to calendar out a little bit. No complaints from me, however. I got an appointment close to the end of the day so I won't be going back to work afterwards.
I know I'll be taking the trays out for eating, brushing, etc. but I'm enjoying my last few days of snacking without consequence. I hope this will force me to greatly limit my soda intake also.
Back in a week for the post-appointment post.
The day after.
16 Jul 2015
2 months post
So yesterday was *the* day. My first day of Invisalign. I was excited to get this process started. The slightly bad news, I found out my process would be a month longer than estimated which is honestly no big deal in the scheme of things. My good news? No IPR is in my care plan!
I had eleven attachments done yesterday afternoon. Now, the attachments themselves weren't too bad to sit for. The dental assistant did quite a good job on them. The part I wasn't a fan of was the cheek expander and the "tongue cage" I had to have to get them on. I'm sitting there with all this stuff in my mouth and the little sucker thing keeping my mouth dry thinking this should be a form of torture somewhere. I kid... somewhat. She did a great job and made sure I was as good as I could be. Honestly, it's all just part of the process.
In this practice I visit, I was told one visit I'll see Dr. Teller and the next I'll see Dr. Heaps. Today was my turn to see Dr. Heaps. Nice guy. He came over after my attachments were place and drilled the excess glue off before speaking with me for a few minutes, and letting me go. Honestly, the visit was probably quicker than normal because I didn't really have many questions because I've been watching tons of review videos and reading many of the experiences here.
My bottom tray comes off with a little work but my top tray is more resistant. I'll admit I had the common panic of "Are these going to take my teeth with them?" and "What did I get myself into?" Dinner last night went okay. My mouth was a little tender but I was still able to eat a normal meal. I popped the trays back in and went to bed.
This morning, my top trays were more resistant to coming off and I have a dull ache. Which means they're doing their job and that's great. I'll post again when I move to tray 2 and hopefully will have a removal technique down.
Random thoughts during my first 18 hours:
You're paying a lot of money. Suck it up.
Why can't they just invent a pill I can take to replace food so I don't have to take these off.
At least I'll cut down on snacking and soda.
You can do 11 months.
One week down!
22 Jul 2015
2 months post
I’m starting to get the hang of taking them out and used to the tightness when they first go back in. The first few mornings I woke up with a lot of tightness in my mouth but an Advil and a little time helped. I have one more week in this tray before moving to my next one and these already feel looser than day one. After my second day of waking up with hard-to-remove trays I ordered a set of Outie retainer removers online. I’ve tried them a few times since I received them, but I mostly just use my hands. I’m faster and can control more that way.
I’ve been drinking a lot of water and less soda. I’ve noticed no staining on my attachments from the few sodas and coffees I’ve had, but I’ve been very committed to brushing, flossing, and swishing a little mouthwash before putting the trays back in. I used to be someone who would floss a few times a month, largely because flossing hurt. My teeth were sitting together in a way that I had to force the floss through and would cut my gums. I’ve sucked it up and as my teeth have moved a tiny bit, the flossing has hurt less. As a bonus, after flossing 3 or more times a day for the last week, the sink no longer looks like a murder scene when I’m done.
I know I’m lisping on certain words but the few people I’ve told I have Invisalign don’t pick it up until I tell them I’m in treatment. I guess that’s good but I still feel like everyone can tell.
Eating - Well, this is where I’ve certainly noticed a big change. For the past few days, I’ve done my best to not have to bite into my food. Sometimes this can be avoided, and others, I’ve let my stomach make dumb decisions my teeth have to pay for. Sandwiches are a chore and I got a corndog off a food truck last night and it took me twice as long as usual to eat it because I was trying to bite with the side of my mouth rather than the front. Is anyone else experiencing this?
How is it going for everyone else? Any little tricks you’ve picked up?
Tray 2 Day 2
30 Jul 2015
2 months post
Tray 2, Day 2.
The last week of Tray 1 was a breeze. It got to the point where the trays were staying on my teeth but felt loose. My trays weren't stretched or cracked. I panicked a little, thinking I’d done something wrong, but searched a little around here and found it was just because my teeth were doing what they’re supposed to and moving! I might not be able to see it, but I can feel it!
I switched to my new trays, at night with a preemptive ibuprofen, and went to sleep. The trays were snug and I was expecting aching pain again, but nothing like that has happened. My new trays aren’t as painful to get off as tray one was at the beginning, but I do feel some tenderness above my top front teeth. I guess those are getting a little work on 'em this time.
I went back and read through my earlier posts and for some clarity.. I was estimated 15 months, the trays came back for 11 months. I’m very happy that it is shorter than Dr. Teller estimated, but mindful there’s always a chance of refinements.
I’m sharing a two pictures of my trays side by side, tray one and tray two. There is only a very slight color difference, and given they were in my mouth for two weeks, it makes sense. I didn’t have any “noticeable” staining of my trays or attachments. I cleaned my trays once a day with a five minute mouthwash soak and brushed them every time I was about to put them back in.
Tray 3, Day 1
12 Aug 2015
3 months post
The tray change last night took me a little by surprise. Where Tray 1 and 2 were tight on the top for the first few days, now the tighter tray is my bottom tray. Not too uncomfortable, but definitely there. I haven't had the same panic that I did with a new tray that I did on Tray 1, Days 1 and 2. Everyone is right when they say that goes away. Wait it out, reader, the end result will be worth it. I've also noticed more space when flossing around my lower canines over the last week. Proof of movement! Woo hoo!
This tray has cut-outs (which are high enough that you can't see when I smile) for my elastics, but the doctors want to wait until my next appointment, where I'll get tray 5 and a few others, to evaluate how I'm doing. I do feel like I may be clenching my jaw while I'm sleeping. Most tenderness is usually in the morning. Has anyone else noticed this?
I've included two pictures of my Invisalign kit. This baby is in my purse or on my desk at work at all times. I absolutely prefer the flossers to normal floss, but have both in my bag. I've recently had to buy new flossers and I like the ones angled to go straight to the back of your mouth and floss up and down, as opposed to the ones pictured.
Pre-treatment to Tray 3 comparison
12 Aug 2015
3 months post
I'm sure the trays make a bit of difference, but I think it see some differences already.
27 Aug 2015
3 months post
I've decided to start taking photos of my progress with the trays out. While the trays in photos definitely look better, trays out are much more realistic.
I'm a little sad right now. I know the teeth are moving because flossing is so much easier, but all I see is a bigger gap between my front teeth and my problem tooth, left upper lateral incisor, is still mighty crooked. I know the moving is happening so everything can go where it should, and I should be grateful. This isn't an instant gratification process, right? Both trays were a little tight when they went in this time, which is oddly satisfying. You know they're moving.
Two weeks until I see the doc and get more trays. I'll also find out if I'll get my hooks and buttons for my elastics. I'm sure sure if I'm hopeful for them or dreading it, but I'll do what I'm told to achieve the best result.
Tray 5, Day 10
18 Sep 2015
4 months post
I'm eager to switch to my next trays! I find myself looking forward to "new tray day" rather than the weekends. Last Wednesday I met with the ortho and was told everything was tracking well. Then they put on my buttons/hooks. Beautiful little metal pieces that were cemented to my second to last molar on the bottom. I stretch an elastic on each side my my upper canines back to these buttons.
I will admit that my first few days with the elastics were almost as bad as Tray 1. My mouth hurt almost constantly and ibuprofen only numbed it. I was told to wear them as much as possible and I have been.
I peeked at Tray 8 and it looks like my problem tooth is going to finally start rotating down. I can't wait! Buh bye crooked teeth!
Bite turbos, the unforeseen enemy.
11 Oct 2015
5 months post
Tray 7, Day 5.
I switched my trays Tuesday night before bed and immediately took them back out. They felt weirdly loose. After a quick inspection I noticed three large bumps of the center and back of my upper tray . More attachments coming I thought to myself, so I put them back in and put the bottoms on. Boy, was I wrong! My teeth/jaw are now being trained to sit the proper way to kill my deep overbite. My biggest mini freakout has been that my back teeth don’t touch. About four days later and I’m still mildly uncomfortable, but it's fading.
Oh, my lisp is back. That's fun.
I googled around and found a blog that mentioned bite turbos. Their purpose is to keep my teeth from touching and clenching so the teeth on my lower jaw can erupt to meet the top teeth in the proper position. It should happen over the next few months but that isn’t fast enough for me. I relish meals where I can take the trays out and touch my teeth together. I know, I’m a weirdo.
I think my left lateral incisior is staring to move a teeny bit. Maybe? Someone look at the photos and tell me it isn’t just wishful thinking. I spend way too much time looking at my teeth as it is.
Tray 8, Day 6
26 Oct 2015
5 months post
I haven't noticed much of a change with this tray. It was nice and tight when I switched last week and it still is a little when I try to remove the tray from my top molars.
My front gap is definitely getting bigger! I compared it with the ClinCheck and saw that they predicted this, so I'm not too worried, but I'm certainly keeping the trays in as much as possible to fill the gap. My husband has said he notices a big differences, but he's just happy I'm happy.
I saw my general dentist last Tuesday for a cleaning and check-up. Three tiny cavities. Bummer! One was one they've been watching and the other two are likely from pre-Invisalign crowding. All on the top front section. The shot for these is not going to be a fun time. As someone who's had her share of fillings, these ones hurt the most to fix because of that shot. At least we have numbing shots now. My father still won't visit the dentist for fillings because he remembers when the novocaine wasn't an option.
I get those filled tomorrow and then next week get a few more trays from the orthodontist's office.
How is your progress going? Link me to your review and I'll check it out!
15 Nov 2015
6 months post
This tray has been pretty easy!
I went to Sacramento and did a Spartan Race with these puppies in, drinking lots of water and taking them out a few times to eat a gel pack, before rinsing and putting them back in. Afterwards I brushed really good and went back to business as normal.
In a few days I'm in the double digit trays! This is going by so fast!
Comparison photo time
16 Nov 2015
6 months post
Pre-treatment to middle of Tray 9.
Tray 10, Day 10
27 Nov 2015
6 months post
Getting some visible space in-between my teeth!
Tray 13, Day 14
11 Jan 2016
8 months post
I went and saw Dr. Feller right before New Year's and he had me switch a day earlier than normal so today is day 14 in this tray!
Right before Christmas I noticed my left upper wisdom tooth beginning to make an appearance. I spoke to Dr. Feller about that tooth and he confirmed it while I was in his office. We spoke about keeping vs removing the teeth, etc., and he gave me a referral for an oral surgeon. Fast forward a week and a half and I've seen the surgeon and scheduled to have my wisdom teeth out next Wednesday.
I don't really want to remove them because they aren't crooked but I've invested a lot of money in my teeth and don't want the wisdom teeth to make my teeth worse than they were when I started. I've been told my my general dentist for years if these teeth come in to have them out because I don't have room. The ortho and the oral surgeon have said I can wait or I can do it now. The second push factor to do it now is my insurance will pay for most if not all of it until I turn 30, so... time's a-ticking. I know I'd just waffle back and forth on my decision for a year and a half and then find myself either rushing to do it before the big 3-0 or paying $2,100 out of pocket to pay for everything myself. No thanks.
Anywho, back to the Invisalign. Tons of room up front, holy moly. I now have a gap between my front upper and lower teeth. Good thing this is the midway point!
Tray 15, Day 2
28 Jan 2016
8 months post
Tray 14 itself was pretty painless, but halfway through I had all four wisdom teeth out (with an oral surgeon, not the ortho) and had my trays out for a whole day. It was weird purposefully keeping them out, but I would have left them out longer had it hurt to put them back in. They were a little snug for a few hours when I put them back on, but since the ortho had switched me early on a previous tray, wearing 14 an "extra" day put me back on my normal switch day. They were loose and ready to be switched when that day came.
Tray 15. This tray has been a bit uncomfortable, though I'm not sure how much of that is due to my mouth still recovering from the wisdom teeth removal. I've also been dealing with a 'bony prominence' on the inside left of my lower gums that is trying to poke its way out. The oral surgeon wants to wait a few weeks to see if it will pack with tissue or absorb back into my gums, but I have the feeling it will need to be smoothed down. Eating is a chore and my mouth hurts constantly right now. So yeah, my discomfort could be the Invisalign or it could be the wisdom teeth removal. Likely both. But I struggle on, determined for the final result. I'm happy my video shows the space in the front closing up at the end. I'm definitely looking spacious up front right now!
Tray 17, Day 10
4 Mar 2016
10 months post
I think my front gaps have closed an itty bit, but if I want them to close for realsies, I'll likely need refinements.
Tray 21, Day 13
The last time I went to see my orthodontist we talked about refinements since my lateral incisor is still not where it should be. Damn thing. I also asked if we could close my front gap since we're doing refinements anyway. I believe he also said he was going to even out my two front teeth, so woohoo! I'm further on my way to my best smile. Not a Hollywood mouth, but not Bubba from down south either.
I go see Dr. Feller again tomorrow and we'll see if I get my overcorrection trays or skip those and just get scanned for refinements. Either way, I'm still trudging along!
So I saw (one of) the orthodontist(s) today...
So the long and short of my appointment today:
I was seen by Dr. Heaps today.
Back to rubber bands only at night!
Refinements. Come to a mouth near me soon. Like Dr. Feller, Dr. Heaps agrees that refinements will help get my teeth looking the best they can.
I’ll be doing all three of my over-correction trays and technically be in the third and last one for three weeks before I go get my attachments off and be rescanned for refinements. That’s just seven weeks away! Then I’ll be rocking around in the last tray as a retainer for however long it takes to get them made, sent back out, and find some chair time for the new set. I’m fairly sure I’ll have attachments again, and although I hope it won’t be on my problem tooth because of how visible it would be, if that’s what it takes to fix it, bring it on!
I think I’ll get an at-home whitening set from my dentist to help me bide my time while I wait for the new trays. I’ve been holding off on whitening so I don’t have spots when the attachments come off.
Oh, oh! I saw my general dentist last week and no cavities! I *always* have at least two but brushing and flossing 3+ times a day doesn’t give all the crap I eat time to sit very long.
Tray 23, Day 20
Yep, Day 20.
My overcorrection trays were supposed to go as follows: Two weeks in Tray 22, two weeks in Tray 23, and 3 weeks in Tray 24. On Day 10 of Tray 22, my top tray somehow fell out of my gym bag as I was devouring a protein bar and leaving the gym. I searched high and low to find that sucker and ultimately switched to Tray 23 early.
I'm going on a vacation this weekend so instead of switching as I should tomorrow, I'm going to prolong it for a day or two and then switch so I'll have two sets of trays with me in case of any accidents.
Footloose and attachment-free
This past Tuesday I went in and had my attachments removed and was scanned for my refinements. The whole process only took forty minutes.
I will say getting your attachments off is a little unsettling. Dr. Heaps did great; there's just something unnerving about having composite drilled/filed off your teeth. I will be wearing Tray 24 only at night as a retainer for now.
Now, I'm waiting the few weeks it takes to get the refinements back and whitening while I wait. I share pictures of the progress in a week or two.
At-home whitening with Smile Brilliant
Taking advantage of the time it takes to get my trays back to whiten my teeth. After a lot of online research, I settled on Smile Brilliant. The number of good reviews for this product greatly outnumbered the number of poor ones. Though they say you shouldn't use your Invisalign trays, I have been, and have gas no issues.
I'm including a comparison photo of my teeth when I got the attachments off and my teeth tonight, after ten treatments, varying between one hour and three hours each. The company suggests you don't drink anything dark in color so you don't compromise your results. I'm a girl likes the occasional soda so I haven't been strictly following that.
I'm pretty happy with my results but I'm not done. If you have even slightly sensitive teeth, I suggest you get the desensitizing gel they sell as well. I use that for 30 to 60 minutes after each treatment.
On August 3, I went in to the orthodontist to get some attachments (7 this time) and a little IPR.
Since my left lateral incisor didn't move how I'd wanted during the initial treatment I asked that we close my little tooth gap during refinements too. While the actual sanding was a little unpleasant, some of the stories I've read about it had me thinking it would be much worse. So, all in all, not bad.
My trays have the hook and cutout for bands again, but only on the right side, and when I floss I can tell my teeth are getting roomy on the left side to prepare the room to rotate my lateral incisor down. No big complaints, excited to see the final result!
The first two days back in active trays I was a little sore, but still not as sore as Tray 1, Day 1. I'm getting back in the swing of wearing them all the time and still missing the snacking I could do when I was just wearing the retainer. C'est la vie, I guess. Back in two weeks or so.
Slacking with my updates.
Life has been crazy, but my trays soldier on.
Tray 8, Day 10
I'm putting up two photos, one from two weeks ago and one from this morning. Lately, haven't been feeling like I'm seeing much improvement (still moving back teeth) so the last month has been a little hard to stay motivated. Don't get me wrong, I'm still wearing my trays, but I've just lost some of the excitement about it.
Tray 13, Day 10
Slow progress, but still some progress. Still a good-sized gap meaning my upper left side has some room to move back and let the lateral incisor rotate down.
Slacking with the photos, here's a few I've taken but not updated
Hey all, long time no update. Here's a few of the latest photos. I'm thinking I'll be done at the end of the over-correction trays. I have two more left. My last appointment was a potential end day and when we decided to try the last few trays, I was switched to the new tray a few days early. I'm now wearing my top tray all day and only wearing the bottoms overnight.
Dr. Heaps tweaked the trays a little while I was in the office to give some extra attention to my problem tooth (upper left lateral incisor) and it has definitely been helping! I'm excited to (potentially) finally be done in a few weeks.
I went to see Dr. Heaps on Thursday and finish this thing up!
He removed my attachments and shaped my front teeth for me! A dental assistant came over and we did photos (sorry I licked the mirror, haha) and took impressions for my retainers. Ugh. That was worse than the drying from the iTero scanner. I count myself lucky I only had to do each impression once. They tell you to breathe through your nose but it was so hard! I almost got sick all over myself. :( But almost means I didn't! They gave me a giant candy bar (yum) took a final picture with the doctor and sent me on my way. I used my Invisalign over the weekend for retainers and picked up my "real" retainers Monday morning. I go back for a follow-up in five weeks and then I'm footloose and fancy free. Dr. Heaps told me if I changed my mind in the next little while and want to fix something that we can do more trays, but I think I'm done!
After everything, I think my teeth are looking damn good. (Though in need of some whitening.) I'm so happy I did this. It's been worth every penny.