After years of living with an overbite, I finally...
After years of living with an overbite, I finally decided to get Invisalign. I went to the Invisalign website and found 2 Elite providers nearby my home -one general dentist and one orthodontist. After talking to the orthodontist, I felt more comfortable using an orthodontist who has more training than a general dentist and who specializes in moving teeth. In retrospect, if I were in the market to find a provider again, I would get consultations only from Elite orthodontists.
The initial process consisted of getting molds of my teeth, photos, and digital scanning - all very painless. When looking at the ClinCheck scans, both providers glossed over the fact that I would need attachments and IPR. I would recommend carefully reviewing your ClinkCheck so you know and understand these elements of the treatment process. I would specifically ask about attachments and IPR.
Getting Started with Invisalign
I qualified for Invisalign express, which means if all goes according to plan, my treatment (minus retainers) will be completed in 5 months.
I started my Invisalign on December 29. I have 16 attachments in total, which were put on at the onset of my treatment. I was initially very disappointed to have 2 attachments on my left top front tooth. The process for getting attachments was quick and painless. Initially, I found it very difficult to remove the upper trays, due to the attachments. However, after 1 day of practice using the Outie removal tool, I no longer had difficulty removing the trays. I highly recommend the Outie removal tool - it has been a life saver for me and my fingernails :). I am also no longer self-conscious about my attachments- they are still much less noticeable that traditional braces. I do not think most people notice them at all.
I am not a fan of IPR at all. IPR was done in 7 different places on my teeth. My orthodontist initially took a flat, razor blade-like, sanding device between my teeth. However, it was difficult for him to him to fit the sanding device between some of my teeth that were close together so he used some electric device to do the IPR. The device is a small circular blade that sounds like a drill. I hated the sound and the burning smell when my the teeth were being filed. The process was PAINLESS but nonetheless, it made me very nervous- I feared that too much of my teeth were being filed.
If you need IPR, I definitely suggest you choose an orthodontist. I understand that IPR is used for traditional braces as well as Invisalign. I will need additional IPR before tray 6 and I am not looking forward to that at all, even though it is not painful.
I first started reading reviews after I had made down payments for my Invisalign (not good at all). In all honesty, after reading some of the horrible experiences that people described I probably would not have moved forward with Invisalign. So far, I am happy with my decision to use Invisalign.
Fortunately, I have not experienced any significant pain at all. On the first day, I felt some discomfort when I removed my trays ,but nothing excruciating. It took me a while to figure out how to remove my trays. I have found it is easiest to start with the back teeth (inner and outer sides) and work my way forward to remove my trays. For the first day, I was also more comfortable eating soft foods such as soup broth and yogurt because these food did not stick in the spaces created by IPR.
I have 16 attachments and have not had any problems with them scraping my mouth when my trays are off. I also have not had irritation to my mouth from my first trays. I did not file my trays- the edges were not rough as many others have described.
Perhaps, Invisalign has taken feedback about the rough edges to heart - I have no complaints at all so far about pain from Invisalign. Fingers crossed that this does not change. I encourage people who are considering Invisalign to keep this feedback in mind.
I dine out frequently. I now make a point to choose restaurants that have plenty of counter space in the restroom. I also prefer to go to places that are not super crowded. On day 2, I went out for sushi and I did not experience discomfort eating that. I soaked my trays in a small denture soaking tub with Retainer Brite while I ate to minimize the amount of time my trays were out. I am very pleased with how clean Retainer Brite has kept my trays.
Tray 3 of 10
Hello. Not much to update. I have seen very little movement so far. The gap from the IPR on the left top teeth has not yet closed. Of course, as it turns out, the gap is right next to two teeth with attachments- not attractive. Food is also a magnet to this particular gap.
I just started my fourth set of trays and have not experienced any discomfort so far, which I hope is a good thing. My orthodontist has not monitored my progress at all so far and he will not do so until I complete my 5th set of trays, which will be halfway through my treatment program. I hope things are on track- it will be very disappointing if there is a setback that could have been addressed sooner.
Tray 4 of 10
Hello. Here are some photos after the completion of tray 4. Similar to the other trays, I am feeling no discomfort with tray 5. I hope things are on track. I will not see my orthodontist until I complete tray 5, in 2 weeks.
My bottom teeth are getting straighter and my arch is a bit wider. My bite feels "off" on the left side and I have to chew things carefully. Hopefully this new change is beginning to correct my overbite! There is still a gap by my top left lateral incisor that has not closed after IPR. While the gap has gotten smaller, I am concerned about it because the IPR was done before I started with Tray 1. All of the other gaps from IPR closed very quickly.
Things I Wish I Had Considered When Choosing an Invisalign Provider
Hello. I am just about half way through my treatment process. While I have experienced no physical discomfort, my ongoing interactions with my orthodontist have been quite unpleasant and they have caused me a lot of personal anxiety and distress.
So, I thought Iwould share a few things that I wish I had taken into consideration when I selected my provider. I hope that this post will help others will have a more pleasant experience than I have had.
1. "Top 1% Provider"- this term is based solely on the number of cases completed. It says nothing about how satisfied patients are with that particular provider or with the quality of services delivered.
2. How often will the provider monitor your progress? To date, my provider has not monitored my progress at all and I am halfway through my program. In fact, nobody in the office has looked at the ClinCheck since I have had my trays on. This has been stressful for me because I would like for either assurance that my program is on track or a correction to be made if it is not on course.
3. How many people in the office can do the Invisalign treatment? My provider is the only orthodontist at the facility. This is problematic. It creates delays in scheduling appointments and limits the amount of time spent with the provider during appointments. What happens is the provider is unable to work for extended periods of time? All of these factors can cause major setbacks with your program.
4. What is the payment plan? Paying a large percentage of the total program cost upfront is very risky. What happens if the practice closes and your treatment is not finished? Or if you are dissatisfied with the services? You could be out big
5. Read reviews on the provider carefully! In particular, pay attention to what the NEGATIVE reviews say. I focused more on the positive reviews and missed key insights about my provider that were clearly articulated in the negative reviews- I sure wish I had known this information beforehand.
6. What happens if you are not satisfied with the end results? Does the provider allow refinements, particularly for Invisalign Express cases?
Does the provider charge more for refinements? Is there a maximum number of refinements or maximum length of time for the refinement process?
7. What percentage of patients require refinements? How long is the typical refinement process?
8. Does the provider include retainersin the fee quote? If not, what is the additional cost?
9. How receptive is the provider to answering questions? My provider has openly stated that he does not like me asking him questions. I find this to be very discomforting since Ilike to be fully informed about my treat programs. Consequently, I have had to ask many questions on this site. I truly appreciate the support I have found here!
10. Bedside manners matter! How is the provider rated in this area? You are spending a lot of money and time and you deserve to be happy. The demeanor of your provide plays an integral role in your overall happiness and satisfaction with the program! Trust me on this one!
Again, I am very thankful for the help and support I have found on this site. I hope you find some of the information in this post helpful.
Changing Orthontists but Cannot Get My Dental Records!
10 Mar 2016
2 months post
HELP!! Has anyone had problems with their dentist/ orthodontist refusing to release their dental records to a new practitioner?
If so, what did you do to get your records released? How long did that process take?
After having a very unpleasant 2.5 months with my orthodontist, Dr. Howard Spector, I have found a new orthodontist to take over my Invisalign case at the halfway point in my program.
I am eager to move forward but Dr. Spector will not release my dental records to my new orthodontist. I have emailed him relentlessly to ask if/when he will release my dental records and he has a signed authorization to release my records but he has not responded at all. Additionally, I have gone to Dr. Spector's office to have my records released, to no avail.
My new orthodontist has sent Invisalign the Patient Transfer form and we have requested for Invisalign to transfer all of the dental records they have to my new orthodontist. Invisalign has agreed to do so but they said that some orthodontists do not provide all of the dental records to Invisalign. We have emailed Dr. Spector to confirm whether he provided all of my dental records to Inisalign, but, of course, he has not responded to that email either.
We expect to get the records from Invisalign early next week but I wanted to reach out to get advice now, just in case we don't get all of the necessary dental records from Invisalign.
Any advice you have would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance for your help!!!
Tray 6 of 10
22 Mar 2016
2 months post
I have successfully changed to a new orthodontist! Invisalign was very helpful in promptly transferring my records without authorization from my previous orthodontist. Thankfully my treatment program has been delayed by just 1 week.
My new orthodontist says my teeth are tracking well so far which makes me feel better since I have been wearing my trays for 22 hours every day. Unfortunately, he also mentioned that it appears that more IPR was done than specified in the ClinCheck in a few places- i.e.,the hideous gaps I have been worried about for over 2 months. So I will probably need refinements to close those gaps.
I have been wearing tray 6 for one week now and, as with my other trays, I have felt no pain or discomfort.
I also learned from my new orthodontist that Invisalign does not allow mid-course corrections with Invisalign Express 10. So I will see my orthodontist after I complete my last tray to see what type of refinements are needed.
Tray 7 of 10
30 Mar 2016
2 months post
Lucky 7- I hope! I'm starting to see some progress! I think my teeth are getting whiter from all of extra brushing. My bottom teeth are getting straighter and my overjet has also gotten smaller. And looks better from the side view. However, the progess with my top teeth has been slower. My front 2 top teeth are straigher but the lateral incisors and canines are still slanted inward and the gaps from IPR have not closed on the left side. This tray feels very tight on my top teeth so I hope that it is correcting some of these issues. As with the other trays, I have not experienced discomfort with Tray 7 at this time.
Tray 10 of 10- Invisalign Journey is Complete!
27 May 2016
4 months post
My 5- month journey with Invisalign is over!! No refinements! Overall, my experience has been painless and I am very thankful for that! I experienced no discomfort at all until I had my 16 attachments removed. The removal of the attachments from the canine teeth was a bit painful - the bottom teeth more so than the top teeth.
I was concerned that there might be splotching on my teeth from the attachments but fortunately there was none.
While my journey with Invisalign is over my quest for a better smile still continues. I am still not pleased with how my canine teeth look.
I was told by my new orthodontist that Invisalign cannot correct the problem with my canine teeth. My gum line is too low over both canine teeth, which creates a lopsided and gummy smile. Unlike metal braces, Inisalign cannot move the teeth upward This is something my former orthodontist, Howard Spector, should have told me during my Invisalign consultation. Huge omission on his part which has resulted in extra costs for me.
My new orthodontist, Iwei Huang, said my teeth can be corrected by wearing traditional braces for 6 months, which is longer than my entire 5-month Invisalign program.
Fortunately, Dr. Huang, came up with a work around solution which prevents me from having to wear metal braces for 6 months.
Instead of wearing metal braces, I will have a gum lift, performed by a periodontist, on 6 of my top teeth, which is an in office procedure that will take about 45 minutes. For me, this is a much better option than wearing metal braces for 6 months. I have been told that the gum lift should be permanent. If the gums do grow back, the procedure would be repeated at no charge. The likelihood of the gums growing back a secon time is very low.
After the gum lift, a prosthodontist will do some contouring and bonding to improve the shape and length of my front teeth. Hopefully, these steps will improve my smile in the least invasive way, preserving my natural teeth.
I was advised to start my finishing steps with laser teeth bleaching. Apparently, gums can recede slightly after any type of teeth bleaching. Therefore, bleaching should be done before the gum lift to ensure that the gum line is correct and it does not look uneven or too high. Touch up bleaching can be done afterwards if the color of the newly exposed teeth, which were under the gum line is different.
The gum lift can be performed within a week of the teeth bleaching as long as there is no irritation to the gums. Fingers crossed things work out!
In the meantime, until the restoration work is complete, I am wearing my last Invisalign tray as a retainer for at least 22 hours per day. Then I plan to use the Vivere Invisalign retainers.
Cost of Work Required to Correct Teeth After Invisalign
14 Jun 2016
5 months post
My new orthodontist informed me that it would cost an additional $4000 to fix my gum line with clear braces and $5200 to fix it with lingual braces. The estimated ADDITIONAL treatment time is 9-12 month. I was was quoted a 5 month treatment program with Invisalign and told by Howard Spector that Invisalign would fix the gum line.
I was very disappinted to learn that my cost for metal braces would have been exactly the same if I had NOT done Invisalign at all. So basically my time and money spent on Invisalign was a complete wate in terms of getting the results I wanted.
Lingual braces would have produced superior results and been less visible than my Invisalign trays were with so many attachments.
Howard Spector- Millennium Park Orthodontics Chicago
Millennium Park Orthodontics
30 North Michigan Avenue