Getting Invisalign was a very emotional experience for me. I had deep seeded burdens of remembering aunts and grandmothers before me who never had the financial blessing of being able to fix their teeth. Some couldn't even afford dentures and I remember watching them gum their food and I felt a sense of sadness for them. I thought about how many impoverished people I meet every single day that suffer with infected, missing, or unsightly teeth. It had always been a subject that made my heart feel sad.
I can remember having okay teeth, but always feeling a spark of hope that one day I could have beautiful teeth like those who can afford cosmetic dentistry. I would always see those Hollywood smiles and think... "One day I hope I am blessed enough to accomplish having a smile people would say was beautiful.
Luckily I always had naturally white teeth. They were only slightly bunched or crowded in front, but otherwise straight. People would often say they were nice or pretty teeth. But then I suffered 4 yrs of GI problems and reflux and vomiting and this caused erosion of my esophagus, irritated mouth and gums. My teeth became loose and started to shift, and some back teeth broke when I tried to chew my food. So I started noticing more and more misalignment.
I could not afford braces or Invisalign at first. I had to try to do a little at a time to first get my medical problems and minor tooth problems fixed, then worry about the cosmetic issues.
At first all I could do was quick fixes such as buying one veneer to put on top of a crooked bottom tooth to make it look aligned to the front even though it was pushed behind all others. The veneer looked nice, and gave an immediate illusion of straighter teeth, but felt very fat because it was my original tooth covered by a fat veneer. Then there were approx 2 other side teeth that also moved but it wasn't as noticeable so I just left them alone. I had approx 4 back teeth that had dental work that became so brittle they broke off and the old dentistry had failed to save them.
My top teeth were not terrible. Some people said they were pretty. I always hated that they slightly bunched over the two neighboring teeth. Maybe no one else noticed but I did. The front teeth also looked fat to me. I always wanted them to be slimmer and longer in front.
I had just graduated from College course as a EKG Cardiac Telemetry ICU Tech, and worked at the Bank and with my new income there was no doubt that the most important thing I wanted was to fix, save and cosmetically improve my teeth. I thanked God in my prayers that I would not have to be like my impoverish ancestors and loose all my teeth and feel embarrassed for life. I went to a recommend dentist and started my dental work.
Both of my employment situations require heavy public relations and I have to talk with Physicians and the public daily and so I wanted to straighten my teeth but didn't want to feel awkward like people in metal braces, etc.
I saw Invisalign brochures that show only the absolutely clear trays over the teeth and got excited and thought wow this is great.
I admit that I did not even ask questions, or research any thing else about it. I just went to my new dentist and paid for the procedure and said I wanted it done immediately. I remember him telling me how long it would take...not long since my alignment was not too bad. I was excited.
I only briefly remember him saying something about cementing an aligner to my teeth. Since I never research what this means I just assumed he meant something like some hidden bracket somewhere on the back of my teeth or on my back teeth and I didn't even ask him further questions. After all the Invisalign Brochure showed a pic that was beautiful and clear and that was my projected idea of what I would get.
My Invisalign trays came in and I remember being so elated that this day had finally came! The dentist explained that he'd have to shave some teeth to allow them to move, and put on the bracket "buttons" and I could feel them shrinking or curing the trays all around my mouth but I could not see what they were doing.
When my dentist hand me the mirror, my face went from elation to shock. There were all these composite aligner buttons all over my teeth, in the most visible places like front teeth and side teeth. It looked like food on my teeth, barnacles or weird calcium deposits. I was shaking my head and pouting about how terrible this looked and how I never imagined this. So then I questioned why these the brochure would show completely clear trays but now I had all these unexpected "buttons" bonded all over my teeth. Then he explained that each of the buttons were strategically placed there to move my teeth and without them I could not move my teeth. I felt anxious and worried that now I would have to go back to work and face the public and feel extremely self conscious.
I had no one to blame but me. I did not research this. I did not ask questions about the aligners the dentist told me about. I learned a real life lesson. Research everything fully or you might get surprises you don't anticipate! OMG. I just felt so let down.
I thought, at least when people see metal or clear braces they do know what they are. They may even know what clear Invisalign trays are...but the majority of people do not know what the button aligners are and will probably loose their lunch looking and wondering what is on people's teeth.
I thought...why the hell don't they use Clear aligner composite. I felt let down.
My sister is a R.N. and told me that a nurse at work has Invisalign and every single person at work was afraid to ask her what the bumps all over her teeth were. They all thought she had horrific calcium deposits all over her teeth and didn't want to hurt her feelings or ask what it was.
I was thinking "Oh that's just great...now people are going to see me and think I have s--- or food on my teeth, barnacles or calcium deposits. I am not going to smile, or get one single date the entire year I have to wear Invisalign because I am going to feel terribly self-conscious.
This was all entirely my fault for not researching the whole procedure.
I had the idea when I looked at the Invisalign brochure that it was just like the photo of a clear device and if I had a special occasion like a date or business meeting at work and had a presentation I could temporarily remove the clear device and my teeth would be normal like before Invisalign. Later after the occasion I could put the device back in. You can not do that. If you remove the device then you have all the visible aligner "buttons" all over your teeth and it's terrible looking. So you must wear the trays at all times and at least it gives so hint that you are under dental care. Live and learn.
So then I just had to accept that I got the device. I didn't research it and now I had to carry on wearing this all year. If I ask my dentist to change the aligner color to match my teeth I am not even certain that will make a difference. I'd have to pay extra. And I can't see changing them unless he can find absolutely clear composite. Nothing else would be really worth changing.
So I had to ground myself and think how lucky I am to even get Invisalign when most impoverish people can't even consider affording it. I am lucky and I will feel uneasy the entire time I have to wear it but I will hope time goes by fast and it will be worth the embarrassment of wearing all those unsightly aligner buttons.
I also started to feel anxiety about how my other cosmetic dental plans would incorporate into this plan. I removed one veneer on my bottom teeth to push my natural misaligned tooth forward with Invisalign. I extracted old problematic back teeth, so that I could get permanent dental implants put there. I felt confused whether to get the dental implants before or after the Invisalign. I talked this over with my Dentist and told him that I felt like I needed to align all my existing teeth first with Invisalign and when they move to their permanent place then I'd feel safe putting dental implants in, but not before. I was scared if I put dental implants in now before Invisalign moves the teeth that my alignment could be hindered and the teeth and implants might now match up. So my dentist filled in the Invisalign tray where missing teeth were with composite. This gives the illusion that all my teeth are there until I get the dental implant put in (after Invisalign.)
I wanted my front teeth to not be sitting over my other side teeth. I want the Invisalign to move them back, inside the alignment of other existing teeth. Right now they appear too fat to me. I do not know if this is because they are bunch in front of the other teeth or if they are too fat? I l-o-v-e pictures of front teeth that a thinner and slightly longer in front. I am assuming that after Invisalign moves my teeth. I can ask my dentist to add bonding to lengthen the 2 front teeth to give me this look. Hopefully I didn't have to do this before the Invisalign.
I feel both privileged and anxious.
My advice, don't just look at brochures and pictures. Get online and research patients experiences. Know what you are asking for.