Queen of the Closed-mouth Smile - Dollard-des-ormeaux, QC

I'm also the procrastinator queen; as you can see...

I'm also the procrastinator queen; as you can see I am now approximately halfway through!
Where to begin? Perhaps with the little girl whose baby teeth refused to go before the real ones started coming in, resulting in one snaggletooth, followed by the young adult whose wisdom teeth caused no other problems except for ultimate crowding, and whose teeth in general (trips to the dentist were not a part of my growing up years) were cavity-prone. So much so that a couple of the teeth in the left side of my mouth were extracted as I was in a lot of pain and apparently "nothing could be done to save them". Shortly after, I found a good dentist who was able to save the ones on the right side, which were equally problematic. Needless to say, I since had bi-yearly visits to my dentist.
Fast forward a few years and the 57 year-old me found herself with crooked top and bottom teeth, a cross-and-slightly open bite, and a feeling that there wasn't enough space in my mouth for my tongue. Shredding my floss was becoming a pastime, and I could easily amuse people with stories of different types of flossers which ended up stuck in my teeth. Not a pretty sight.
So, I finally decided to bite the proverbial bullet, (fear of periodontal disease as well as fear of the people aiming a camera at me and telling me to smile- not like that- with your mouth open! What???!!!! - no!!!!) and here I am, my teeth cocooned in plastic, (which I tend to suck at and bite on constantly-Urgh) and on my way ( I hope) to oral health and voluntary selfies!
To be continued... In chapter two of this saga I will try to condense the experience of the first few months of the little suckers which have taken over my mouth.

After much deliberation.....

.....and googling invisalign to death....I finally decided to go through with the procedure. My family dentist has done oodles of procedures and has albums of before and after shots in his office, so when I found out he also had the itero scanner (bonus! No gagging) I booked the appointment. My happy was short- lived however. The iTero is not for people "blessed" with small mouths. The thing they used to keep my mouth stretched open was something straight out of the torture chambers of yore. To top it all off, after doing a luttle more than half of my mouth, we realized that the machine could not account for the two missing teeth on the left bottom of my mouth. So after all that work and discomfort, he removed the instrument of torture from my mouth and went straight to the job of doing the molds the old-fashioned way. I have to hand it to him as I'm sure it was no picnic for him to start all over, either, but he did it with almost no discomfort, and in one take. Phew. When the trays came in, I was sooo apprehensive; how many trays? (38- say what?.!) how many attachments (18 - some teeth - even front ones - with more than one on each tooth- aaaaackkkk!!!) how would they feel? The 38 trays was bad enough, having been given an estimate of 9 months to a year, but the 18 attachments was almost a deal breaker. Except I had already given a down payment. Smart man, my dentist. So on went my first aligner, my kit went into a bag with aligner 2, some chewies (grape or orange) and a child's toothbrush to clean my aligners with (tweety bird or taz) and off I went to sit in my car, making calculations......38 sets, switching out every two weeks, mumble, gasp, grumble....and don't tell me you didn't do the same thing (those if you who have already started). I CAN HAVE TWO BABIES IN THE AMOUNT OF TIME IT WOULD TAKE THESE BABUES TO STRAIGHTEN OUT MY MOUTH! Gulp.... Chapter three.....aligners and the common cold....the stuff nightmares are made of.

Aligners and the common cold

After great trepidation, I managed (to my pleasant surprise) to get my second aligner snapped into my mouth without much effort. The only discomfort came a day later when I got a piercing headache, something rare for me. I took a Tylenol and it skulked away...
The other thing I noticed is that I was prone to licking my lips. A lot. And suddenly, I needed a lot more water than I normally drank. I also had a section on my right back molar that didn't seem to sit tight. It was squishy, which made me want to bite down on it constantly. All this I felt I could live with, maybe; probably;hopefully. Enter the common cold.
Suffice it to say that wearing invisalign when you have a cold is downright unpleasant. Blowing your nose with those suckers in your mouth is uncomfortable to say the least. Your braces fill with air and you feel like they are going to snap right out of your mouth. Not being able to breath through said nose though, is a thousand times worse.. Remember what I said about constantly licking my lips and needing water? That's because your mouth gets dry. Well, when you breathe with your mouth open, guess what happens? Your mouth shrivels and dies, that's what. Oh yeah. So much so in my case, that I developed something called Angular Chelitis. (Yeah, say that with a mouthful of trays) what is that, you ask? You get cracks in the corner of your mouth, extremely painful, and they have a tendency to spread. I first I thought I had developed a cold sore, as I sometimes get those. However, these were lesions, not bumps, and they are more or less vertical, sort of like deep paper cuts ( did I hear an ouch? Told you they were painful - now imagine your paper cut spreading. There- you get it.)in any case, I started googling like a madwoman, thinking that I had perhaps developed the dreaded invisalign allergy, and looking for assorted cures. After using practically everything in my medicine chest including some herbal stuff to no avail, I finally paid a visit to my doctor who confirmed the cholitis, gave me a topical cream, told me to keep the rest of my lips slathered in Vaseline ( I stiil do this, I like the little pots with cocoa butter and have even have one in the car.) and poo-poo'd my fears of invisalign allergy being the culprit. Trauma is usually the cause of this, made worse by stress, and dry mouth. So yeah, the invisalign played a part as it is often dental procedures that bring it on (see my first post regarding the extreme mouth stretch exercise) and then the dry mouth extremes due to my cold added to the stress of the first few weeks of trays and being sick at the same time.....
When I went back to my dentist for my button-thingies and tray 3, my mouth was still in awful shape. He said he had never seen the condition before, although he had certainly heard of it. Needless to say, he DID NOT use the mouth stretching torture implement to button me up. That, by the way, was long but not painful.
With my new tray snapped on for posterity ( at least that's what it felt like) and 2 more in my purse, I made my way home to stare at my buttoned teeth in privacy. no way about it, they were no longer totally in usable but, having said that, after all these months I still have to tell people that I am wearing braces.
The colitis? Cleared up totally in about two weeks, never to return. Vaseline is my buddy.
Next chapter - In Trays we Trust - living with it

Life with invisalign trays

Hi all! Yeah, it's that procrastinator again.. I am presently in tray 20 of 38, so I figured I had better update this thing before I finish my treatment, lol.
So here's the thing. As I was doing my own research about invisalign, I found a lot of stuff on routines and cleaning, so I want this post to be a little different. So I thought I'd give up a few tips that have worked for me, and have made my present life living in plastic bearable.
1 - make sure they are wet, (I prefer warm water to cold) before attempting to get them into your mouth
2 - chewies are your new bff's. Make sure to use them as soon as you re-insert your trays in your mouth
3 - my trays seem to respond well (they don't yellow) to soaking in their own little bathtub. I let them soak during every meal, alternating with 1/2 capful listerine whitening plus restoring on one day and 1/2 tablet polident daily care on the next, diluted in 1/4 cup warm water.
4 - I don't use a timer; I DO however, keep the darn things on my teeth until the food is in front of me. If you enjoy cooking and baking, you need to find yourself a designated taster. :/
5 - if you are a coffee Addict like I was, get ready to make a huge sacrifice for the sake of straighter teeth and healthy gums. I have reduced my intake to one in the morning, and an occasional second in the afternoon. They are of the "hit and run" variety. No leisurely sipping allowed. Another tip. If you absolutely cannot say no to Starbucks with a friend, order a glass of water on the side. This means performing "psp" which, although not for the finicky, gets easier as you become an invisalign pro. (PSP = pop out, swish with water, pop back in). Needless to say, you should swish well, using pretty much the whole glass of water.
6 - use the turn-and-hide-behind-your-hands manoeuvre in restaurants. Yes this is the same manoeuvre used by many toothpick freaks and it will save you at least one trip to the bathroom, which may or may not be ideal for flossing and brushing. You will find yourself changing your tastes in food, and for some odd reason, your favorite food will end up depending on the state of the bathroom premises. And yes, wearing invisalign is a handicap. Ergo...
7 - I have travelled overseas. Over 15 hours in transit. It is not easy, but it is do-able. Bring a big wad of tissues, an empty water bottle, (a full one too, after you go through customs of course) and your brush and floss kit. (See other invisalign reviews for a definition of what this kit should include). for more information, send me a message.
8 - keep your lips moist at all times. No, this does not mean you should lick them. I like the little pots of Vaseline with cocoa butter. I also find that sugarless mints help keep my mouth from getting too dry at times.
Hope this is helpful. I will add stuff as I think of them in future posts.
Next up - Getting a grip on Interproximal Reduction!

Interproximal reduction - Getting a Grip

I am presently on tray 20 of 38. At my last visit, I had my check up and cleaning (best ever! No cavities, gums healthy, cleaning a breeze for once due to new spaces between teeth, happy happy!), followed by my second round of IPR. I DONT LIKE IPR. Don't get me wrong, there was absolutely no pain involved, and I have faith in my dentist as he is gentle and explains everything before he gets going. I just find it long, and it's a white-knuckle experience for me. Thank God for my yoga breath, which helps me get through this, as I have one more round to go in a few months. So here's a play-by-play.
Having finished my cleaning, I choose my goodies (child's toothbrush to clean my aligners with, travel-size toothpaste and floss) and head over to the dentist's station where I am given my aviator goggles and lovely bib. He checks my teeth, my bite, and my attachments and tells me I need 4 areas shaved this time, between one tooth on the upper (front one at that - Ouf) and one lower, also front. He puts a wad of cotton under my top lip, and starts the process. I grip the sides of the chair and close my eyes. First comes the shaving back and forth with the little razor file. The worst part of this is merely the pressure and the sound, however I can take it. Yes, I can. He then proceeds to step 2. This involves the power tools. I feel my hands rolling into fists. I wonder if this is my body going into fight or flight mode. I engage my yoga breath and it begins. The pressure is not that bad, but it is the knowledge that the thing is soooo close to the gums that makes me sweat. (And no, I am not having a hot flash). I know he is very careful, and I've done this before; there was no blood shed. I know this, but cannot get my brain to register the fact. I remind myself it is all worth it, I remind myself to breathe. The worst part is when the tool skips a bit going in. You keep thinking it's going to hit a tooth that's in the way. That doesn't happen either. Maybe the next session will be easier? Last step is to polish the teeth that have been filed. This is done with another power tool that is not as lethal. We are getting to the end and I feel the circulation in my hands returning as I begin to relax. It's over. For now. Next one is way out there in tray 30something, I think. That's all folks!!!! No pain guys. IPR is all in the mind of the invisalign wearer. It's totally do-able; next time I will bring my yoga instructor. I will post some pics of my teeth a few days into tray 20 shortly.

Tray 20 pics and tip #9

Tip #9. Gel nails. Better than any "outie". Helps give you the leverage you need to remove your trays while keeping your nails in good shape. Great investment, and you can go as natural as you want.

Gel nails: an invisalign girl's lifesaver. ....

The only way to have both invisalign and nice nails.

My Favorite (invisalign) Things

To be sung to the tune of "My Favorite Things"

A washable pouch, to hold all the fixings,
The floss and the toothpaste, the picks and those neat things,
Yeah, chewies! And lip balms, and sugarless mints,
These are a few of my favorite things!

Oh, when my lips chap, when I can't snack, when my trays feel bad,
I simply remember what my Clin-check looked like,
And then I don't feel so sad!!

So here are some of my absolute Favorite invisalign helper thingies!

1. The case: this is the best one I found, at a little purse/luggage shop in my area. Zippered compartments help to keep your wet toothbrush away from everything else. Machine washable. And cute to boot! No brand. Made in China.
2. Case for flossers. I think mine came free in a large packet of plackers.
3. Lip balms. I like both the Escents (bought in a health food shop) and the little pots of Vaseline. I keep one of those everywhere. The Vaseline one is great to keep in your car, as it won't melt in the sun like some of the sticks do.
4. Foldable toothbrush. This one folds into itself and is made by GUM. I love it, and it comes with some floss and a toothpaste and some plastic picks, all for about 3 or 4 dollars. I stick up when anything tooth related goes on sale, lol.
5. Colgate pro- relief toothpaste. On days when my teeth are really feeling sensitive, I brush some of this toothpaste on my teeth and leave it on for about 3 minutes before brushing and rinsing it off. I find that really helps!
6. Listerine whitening and polident daily care. I alternate these products every second day. Soak them babies in 1/2 capful of mouthwash, 1/2 tablet of polident to about 1/4 cup warm water while you eat. No funky or grungy trays to date.
7. Chewies! My dentist provides me with these, and they come in different flavours, but the flavours wear off, duh! Use them every time you insert your trays, by just biting down on them the complete way around your mouth, from the molars on one side, all the way to the other.
8. Sugar-free mints. These are my Favorite, but I have only been able to find them at Winners (Marshalls in the states, I think) although any sugar-free mint will do to keep your mouth moist to ward off the lispies.
9. Colorstay by Revlon. I like to wear lipstick on occasion, and was always a gloss person. I can no longer do gloss, as it gets all over my braces and gives me heart attacks thinking my gums are bleeding. The other products I have tried with staying power also stick to plastic, as they are mostly a two- step process where the second step involves a type of gloss. I have had absolutely no problems with this one though, and there is no need to re-apply every so often. It does actually stay!!!
That's all for now folks, hope this was helpful!

Holiday invisalign Blues

The 12 Days of Christmas for the Invisalignista

On the first day of Christmas my provider gave to me
A clincheck showing lovely, straight teeth.

On the second day of Christmas my provider gave to me
2 week change- outs
And a clincheck showing lively, straight teeth.

On the third day of Christmas my provider gave to me
3 IPR's
2 week change-outs
And a clincheck showing lovely, straight teeth

On the fourth day of Christmas my provider gave to me
4 deadly trays
3 ipr's
2 week change-outs
And a clincheck showing lovely, straight teeth

On the 5th day of Christmas my provider gave to me
5 sore teeth
4 deadly trays
3 ipr's
2 week change-outs
And a clincheck showing lovely, straight teeth.

( continue the pattern for the next rounds, I'm too lazy to write it all out and never figured out the copy paste on my iPad)

On the 6th day
6 teeth a-movie'

On the 7th day
7 powerful headaches

On the 8th day
8 gunky trays

On the 9th day
9 tons of floss

On the 10th day
10 pounds of toothpaste

On the 11th day
11 strings of spit

On the 12th day
12 unsightly buttons

So. I've come to a conclusion: the holidays, ( and any holiday really) and invisalign, do not make great bedfellows. On the bright side (forever the optimist) , I will not be gaining weight that I will need to take off before I can bare my lily white body this summer. ( why is it that lily white bodies ne never look good in a bathing suit? I digress. )
I can't snack on enticing stuff. Trips to Costco suck as I can not have the samples. I can't taste what I am cooking. I admit I left the darn things out for about 3 hours on Saturday. Guilty, as charged. Call the invisalign police if you want. I do not make a habit of this. I will not make a habit of this. My invisalign mantra for the holidays.
The icing on the fruitcake? I change out my trays on Christmas day.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good bite.

Aligner Removal 101

Hey there, fellow invisaligners! Hope you all had a lovely Christmas holiday, and I wish you all he best for 2015. For many of us, this will be the year we finish our treatment, and we can finally flash our pearly whites without hiding behind our hands. I see you recognize this gesture. Yeah.
A quick update now on how things are going for me, and then I'd like to dedicate this update to tray removal.
So a quick trip to my dentist to change out of tray 24 revealed that my next session (and last - yay! 3 sessions in all - Urgh) will come after tray 25. As I wrote in my review regarding IPR, I am not a fan of this procedure; however, it will be good to get it over with. So doc sent me off with tray 24 sitting pretty in my mouth (very tight initially - probably due to 3 consecutive hours out on New Years eve.....guilty as charged!) and tray 25 nestled in my purse along with a syringe of whitener to keep me happy and on track. First 2 days teeth were a little tender: this tray seems to be pushing the front teeth closer together ( I noticed a considerable space between them by the end of tray 23) to help free the tooth beside it on the right side of my mouth which has been playing hide and seek as long as I can remember. Little old Mr. Snaggletooth on the upper left also seems to be targeted. Yay! ( according to my clincheck though, he is not due to make his final debut until the absolute end - no amount of praying to the invisalign gods seem to be changing this). Other than that, business as usual.

Tray removal 101

So here is the method I have been using since after I got my 18 attachments. It works for me, but everyone's situation is different, so I think it would be awesome if others that have found a method that works great for them would post it here as well. That way we can help newbies find something that works for them!
I was given outies. I have relegated them to the bottom of my invisalign goodies case as I never could quite figure out how to use them to my advantage. My secret weapon against aligners which fight tooth and nail ( how apropos) to stay in my mouth when I want them out? GEL NAILS. ( see earlier post)
My Method

I start with the left side, hooking the index finger nail of my left hand between
the inside upper tray and the molar. Having loosened that, I pull the tray gently over the front teeth and out. Then using the same finger on the same hand, I reach between the bottom molar and the tray from the outside this time, near my cheek. Again, having loosened the tray off the molar I the pull to the front and off, gently. I take them off at the table in most restaurants, unless I am with people we don't know. I can be pretty discreet, by turning to one side, covering my mouth with the other hand, and sucking the aligners as much as I can upon removal to avoid spit strings as best as I can. Yes, you too can learn to enjoy your evening out even when the plastic seems to have taken over your mouth and your life. Hope this helps! Looking forward to reading about other people's manoeuvres!!

Ch-ch-ch Changes!!!!!!!

So, here I am, teeth happily snug in trays 26 of 38; 3/4 of the way to the end. I left the dentist on Thursday with trays 27 & 28 tucked snugly in my purse and my last IPR over with without incident. No blood, no gore, white knuckles to a minimum (yay, yoga breaths!). Tray 28. Of 38.
Yes, of course I started doing all kinds of math. That means at my next visit I will only have 10 trays left. It also means, at 3 trays per visit, I only have about 3 visits left before retainers unless the anal Virgo in me acts up and makes me decide on refinements of sorts.
I remember how reaching double digits was a milestone. Then it was my 20's. Now I'm looking forward to those 30's. What the $&@. Sorta like growing up all over again. So when I hit retainer stage, I guess I'm over the invisalign hill?
So about them ch-ch-ch changes.....
1) top central teeth used to be skewed to one side. They are now almost straight up and down.
2) the tooth on the right side of my mouth that used to hide behind the others has decided to come out to play, it won't be long before it is right out there with the rest of the front players.
3) my snaggletooth, on the left my mouth, although according to the clincheck, is not supposed to make its major movement debut until the final trays, has made some remarkable adjusting to the point where people ask me what fang I'm talking about. Oh, my!
4) I no longer accidentally bite the insides of my mouth to smithereens - again, and again, and again.
5) there is room for my tongue to roam or rest at leisure. No more feeling of claustrophobia. No more tired jaws.
6) my bite has changed numerous times. At one point, huge chunks of food were getting lost in a little well that had formed between my front bottom teeth and the inside of my lips. At the beginning of my last tray, I could no longer bite well on the right side of my mouth, the molars just weren't being very chummy towards each other. However, I can now use my front teeth for chewing as well as my back teeth. No more sending food directly back to the big guns to pulverize. And my teeth actually meet! There is still a little space that's not straight yet when I fit my teeth together, but I feel like it won't be long now.
7) when I run my tongue along the tops of my teeth, they feel soooooo much straighter, it's a wonderful sensation. Gotta stop doing that.
8) I thought my lithp would thtick, and I would be minding my p'th and q'th til the cowth come home or the invithlign fairieth dethide they've had enough fun at my expenth. I've almost licked the habit. Unless I'm tired, or trying to talk to quickly. Then I regreth. Rat-th.

So that's all for now. Got some photos to post to complete this.

Next up in the series: Getting the White into Those Pearlies

Double Tasking: Invisalign Trays and Pearly Whites

So my official countdown has begun. I have 38 trays. I am now on tray 28. 10 more to go! Yessssss! This tray was a little ouchy the first two days, mostly upon removal. I can literally feel exactly which teeth are being targeted, and that's awesome because, even though mr. Snaggletooth doesn't move into final position until the bitter end, I can feel him packing his bags. And the tooth that was playing hide and seek is almost totally out front. My bite is also much much better, I can pretty much bite down and have my teeth meet on all ends whereas I used to have an open bite.

So now that I have begun to see major changes, I find myself getting pickier with my teeth, which has made me want to get them whiter. I have found a method that works for me, which I want to share with you!

So here's what you need.
Your current invisalign tray
Teeth whitener syringe or fluid (my dentist gave me 20% opalescence -see picture)
A small (number 2) paintbrush

Brush your teeth and dry with a paper towel. Squeeze a small amount of gel onto your paintbrush and paint the gel onto each tooth. When you finish the bottom row, snap your aligners back on and continue with the top. This way there is no waste, and no excess gunk to clean off so you don't end up swallowing it. I usually leave it on for about 2 hours without any sensitivity problems afterwards. Remove your trays, rinse them off and let them soak in some warm water before brushing them with a kids toothbrush. Brush your teeth, rinse well, and out your trays back in! Done!

Tray 28 pics!!!

Let me know what you think!

Am I really going to be changing into on tray 33????!!!

That would mean, after the change-out to 33 on Thursday, I will only have 5 trays left to go!!! The last three are called over-correction trays. (Wonder what that means in terms of movement?)
So I am now rocking tray 32, as it's been pretty tame. I am soooo ready to ditch it. Let me correct that. I am soooo ready for this whole process to be over and done with.
I find it harder and harder to keep to the 22 hours. I've been so good for over a year, but it's so easy to pop them out now (haven't needed a mirror in ages) and they rarely hurt, so when I want a coffee in the afternoon, I take them out, and (gasp!) find myself sipping at the coffee instead of gulping it down so I can put my teeth back behind their plastic bars where they are serving what is starting to feel like a life sentence.
So I'm hoping that tray 33 will fit snugly enough to put me back on track. As far as movement goes, my open bite is pretty much gone as is my cross bite. I have one tooth still hiding a teensy but behind its neighbour, and Snaggletooth is finally feeling the pressure from the others to get packing! According to the clincheck, Snaggletooth's premiere is scheduled to take place with the next tray, and has about a one month run. ( I guess until the over-corrections).
According to the grand probah ( my provider), those trays bring it all back in. Won't that be painful? Any info on this would be helpful.
The Pictures are from the beginning of my present tray. Feel free to give me your feedback, as I can no longer tell if things are getting better or worse, lol.

Tray 32 pics

To Refine or Not to Refine.....shudder

I'm nearing the end of the line, folks. At my last appointment the grand poo-bah gave me tray 35, which has finally put Snaggletooth where he belongs, (woo-hoo!), and after a little deliberation, checking out my bite etc, he also gave me trays 36-38 which are over-correction trays (or+ trays). So I don't get to finish at tray 35 as I had hoped.

There is some good news however; at my next appointment, he will be removing the aliens on my teeth (all 18 of them)! Yay!!!! Oh, to have my teeth naked again, what joy!!!

Which brings me to this talk about refinements. There are a few front teeth that are not totally straight yet; perhaps that is to come in the last few trays, but I'm not sure if there's space for them to straighten out. In any case, we wait it out, take off the buttons, have new molds done (oh joy!NOT!) and he will be making me a retainer (without the button spaces) that I can wear while we decide what do to next.
I've discussed my concern about my mid-line, but as I am missing two teeth one one side of my mouth, there is nothing that can be done short of jaw surgery. My midline was off when I started the process, and he had told me thAt Invisalign would not be addressing that problem. Seems that as long as all my teeth were funky, I didn't care. Now that I've become teeth-obsessed, I see all the little nooks, (triangles) crannies, (chipped teeth), and other stuff (tartar build-up? Seriously? With all that brushing and flossing? Lucky for me, my dentist is as anal as I am and gets rid of it as soon as he sees it).

So we wait. If I see that the teeth are relatively straight after the next three trays, I may just decide to set them babies free. I didn't go into this initially looking for perfection or a Hollywood smile. My bite is good now, I don't bite the insides of my cheeks to shreds, snaggletooth is finally toeing the Invisalign, my gums don't bleed; I'm over 55. As it is, I will have to wear a full time retainer for 3 months ( he intends to order the Invisalign ones when I'm finally sure of the end result) and then night time for life.
That being said, I reserve the woman's prerogative to change her mind.

Tray 38 of 38 - The Final Lap - or is it?

Hello ladies and gents, here I am again with an important update! The last Invisalign tray in the box is due to enter my mouth tonight! Yes, dear Invisalign users and watchers, it is crunch time!

Let me get you up to date on what's been happening in my mouth this last month. Although tray 36 was an ouchy one, as reported earlier in this space, tray 37 has been something of a non-issue. No doubt it's been doing stuff like creating spaces, triangles, bite issues, but all within the "normal" range for me, which means a couple of days of tightness, no pain, feelings of pressure in the targeted areas, etc. I can feel my front teeth have come back in, and the upper arch is almost, but not quite, complete in its roundness I find myself constantly exploring the left side with my tongue, willing the roundness to finally be there as has happened with the right side during the last tray. This is my snaggletooth side. The ghost of snaggletooth hovers. Will tray 38 vanquish it, once and for all? Stay tuned for further toothy developments!
In terms of the bite issues I've been having, throughout this experience, I have noticed that each tray seems to shift my bite. One tray to the right, the next tray to the left. My teeth, having been given their marching orders, have been pretty good soldiers. So tray 37 has my bite off a little to the right, which has given me a mal-aligned left molar area, which makes food squeak against my molars as I chew. Rather disconcerting. Needless to say, I have done most of my chewing to the right. Duh. Why am I not deeply concerned over this horrendous turn of events? Because, my dear readers, it happened again whilst wearing tray 35, disappearing in tray 36. If my theory is correct, 38 will be shifting its weight back to the left to centre everything off, and the squeaky wheel will be banished to wherever the likes of squeaky molars, unsightly triangles, misaligned mandibles (say that 3 times fast) and pesky snaggleteeth go - may they rest in peace. This is my theory; I will let you know.

So tonight is the night. I can't believe the time has finally come to don the LAST TRAY. I'm apprehensive in the sense that, like others here, I'm not 100% sure that the last tray can make it all come together. I do have faith in the power of the plastic, as my teeth have come a long way since the beginning. I have seen what they are capable of, yet the perfectionist in me has been awakened and wants that clincheck reflected in my mouth.

Let's take inventory: My open bite is gone. So too, is my crossbite. Snaggletooth is practically a thing of the past. The tooth which spent most of its life under cover of one of the others has finally come out of hiding. I no longer bite the insides of my mouth when I chew, causing painful sores. My teeth are more visible, yet I smile with my mouth open without feeling the subconscious urge to cover my mouth with my hand. We have come a long way, baby!

So am I talking the R word? Jury's still out. I am waiting on tray 38 to deliver on the following promises:
Top arch finally completely round
Bite back to normal (squeakiness)
No blatantly visual triangles
All front teeth reasonably straight (yes, reasonably - Hollywood is not in my immediate future)
Midline back to what it was at the beginning. It was always off, and my dentist had told me he could not fix that, but I think it is a little more off than it was before. Although in the final clincheck it is better.

So, yeah.

My next appointment will entail taking the attachments off. I think the removal of the aliens might also help me to see my teeth in all their naked glory.

Stay tuned for further developments!!!!
Pics will follow shortly as my iPad doesn't seem to be able to post those files.

Tray 37 pics

Last tray now sitting pretty in my mouth. Bottom was really tight going in. Top not bad, however I could really feel it making space where snaggle is (was?).
Pictures below as promised!

Tray 38 finally in!

Not like me to post again so soon, but this tray has been quite interesting. Changed into it on Thursday night after supper. Really tight going in, especially the bottom tray. I knew this tray would be causing some major renovations in my mouth cause ny teeth have been pretty sore since. Today is the first day without soreness. I even developed a sore where the plastic was rubbing against the inside of my upper lip, something I haven't experienced since the beginning. Although the tray fits flush against the bottom of my teeth, there seems to be a gap near the gum line where mr. Snaggletooth was, so the plastic sits lower there, causing it to rub against my mouth. I filed it a bit, and the sore was gone after the first 24 hours.

Other developments with this tray so far
- my upper arch is almost completely round!! No more open bite at all!
- squeaky bite is gone

You go, tray 38!!!!!!

Done?!

Hello there fellow invisiligners! Do I hear a drum roll? So.......last Thursday I was officially done my 38 trays. I headed to the dentist where he removed all the aliens from my teeth (painless, quick, no residue as some people have reported, my teeth feel perfectly smooth now - awesome feeling!) Did some molds with the goopy stuff that makes you gag (one for the retainers he is making me without the bumps so I can go on vacation without bumpy and getting yellowy tray 38 still in my mouth and one for his own records). Luckily those molds only need to be in your mouth for 30 seconds, and he let me sit up for them so it wasnt that bad...yoga breath helps.

After that he gave me back my tray 38's, which fit pretty loose without those buttons, I must say. I have been popping them in and out with supreme ease these days, lol.

We also had a talk about refinements, yes, which I found to be quite interesting. He told me he will check out the impressions he made with the ones he made when I first started, then we can discuss my separate issues, and if I feel I may want to go ahead with refinements he can do the invisalign impression, (5 minutes but not as goopy, so no gag reflex lol), send it to invisalign, and we can see how many trays and aliens they come up with to fix the issues that bother me still. I can then go ahead with it or decline, or even put it off for a few months and just wear the retainer he will have made me until I decide (within 6 months or so I have to make my decision though).
So, my appointment to pick up my new retainer is today. I imagine it will be tighter, I almost hope so because I'm worried my teeth may be shifting back lol. He will talk to me about the differences between the before and after, and what he feels may or may not be done in the way of refinements, and we can discuss what I want and whether or not it is feasible.

So I am attaching a few pictures. Prior to invisilign, and with my teeth in their lovely new positions for your perusal.

The main issues that I have are not a lot. My ghost fang (Mr. Snaggletooth) is a funny shape, so I am hoping to do some IPR there (to the left of the tooth) which might help to move my midline a smidgen (I'm not asking for miracles, as I was told that only surgery can move it more), and make room for my hide-and-seek tooth (to the right inside my mouth) to come completely out of hiding as it seemed to have run out of room to move and is still a bit recessed. I am happy with my bottom teeth, so I don't know if anything needs to be done there.

Doesn't seem like a lot, so I'm hoping this doesn't mean another 6 months or so of trays, but we'll see. I'm anxious to hear what my provider has to say today.

So that's it for now, ladies and gents. I will keep you posted. Here are the pics, I want your feedback!!!!!

Rocking Them Refinements

So here I am again, Invisalign buddies. The last time we "talked", I had finished my last 3 over-correction trays, hoping (yeah, sure) that they would do their final magic, as I still needed work on Mr. Snaggletooth to get him flush with the rest of his buddies, and my peek-a-boo tooth was still a late bloomer coming out, as well as being a little askew. We talked refinements, and after 38 trays, I wasn't sure if I should just keep what I had and finally be free, seeing that I still had to wear the retainers for 3 months before I could graduate to night time only.

As I had to leave for 3 weeks in Europe, we removed the buttons, (easy-Peasy) polished, my provider made me a new retainer without buttons to wear on vacation so I wouldn't have to wear my bumpy trays on my lovely bumpless teeth. He then proceeded to cut off the ends of the retainer so that my molars could descend a little so he could fix an anterior open bite that had developed due to the trays. The plan was to live Invisalign-free while on vacation, giving me a few weeks to make a decision on further treatment.

Fast-forward and after numerous trips to the mirror staring at my teeth, asking everyone I know their "honest opinion" (they think I'm nuts), but enjoying my freedom on the other hand (bumpless teeny trays are soooo easy to remove that I did it a little too often), finally decided to keep going. (Really? Not masochistic or anything, are we?)

So back I went for new molds, waiting a week for the new clincheck. My magic number was 10; meaning no more than 10 refinement trays, or I would walk away. Yeah, right. The plan came in with 15 trays. Yeah, right? Say what??! My sentiments exactly. My provider dd not pressure me, however he showed me the new clincheck, which seems to finally do the trick in the problem areas, pointed out that I would only have 6 new buttons, and that my bottom trays were just retainers that I could ditch in about a month and wear only at night if I choose. He also told me that the last 3 trays are over-corrections and i may not even need them, and to make things even note palatable (pun intended) he told me that if, at any time during treatment, I was happy with my teeth, even before all the trays were done, I could stop there and then. Well sure, that changes everything. Ok, I'll bite. One drawback, he will not let me change trays on a weekly basis for the refinements like some people here have. Poo poo. Party pooper.

So I bit anyway, thinking I've invested so much already.....

A week later, this past Tuesday, my new trays were in and ready to be installed. My provider called me right away and that very afternoon saw me back in the dentist's chair getting my buttons (here we go again) and my 4th and very last session of ipr ( hate this....good riddance!) We popped in the first tray ( awesome fit - no squishy bits or empty spaces!) and I'm officially in refinement.

Honestly? I almost like wearing it. Very strange, but I had missed that dull ache that was proof the things were working. There was no real pain which has always been the norm for me. Yes, I had to be careful biting into things for the first few days, but it's been less than a week and things have settled down. Is it my imagination that things have already started to shift around? Wishful thinking? My anterior open bite is pretty much gone, by the way, and this round of refinements will also address a slight overjet which still needs to be worked on.

New pics will follow when I actually have something new to show you guys. Hang in there everyone; if this stuff didn't work, would So many of us be subjecting ourselves to more of this? Uh.....I think not.

Rockin' the Refinements

Greetings fellow invisaligners! Hope your holiday preparations are going well and that you have a wonderful time surrounded by people who make you happy.
I'm not going to lie. So here's the awful truth from someone who is about to go through her second holiday season with a mouthful of plastic.:

The holidays and Invisalign are not compatible. Not. At all. By any stretch of the imagination. The holidays are all about food and drink. Finger food, long leisurely sit-down meals, cocktails, chocolate, brunches, coffee and hot chocolate with Christmas cookies, candy canes, peppermint bark, mmmmmmmmm. Invisalign, on the other hand, is all about eating by the stopwatch. Although I have learned not to be as anal about CSFB practices (chew,swallow,floss,brush) , I still want to make sure my trays continue to fit properly, so I won't be gaining much weight this Christmas either.
Enough complaining. Let's get to the update.
So I am now on tray 5 (switched out on Tuesday) which brings me 1/3 of the way into my refinements, if I go the full 15 (the last three are over-corrections, so there is a chance I won't need them, fingers crossed).
Each tray has been very easy, which is why I haven't felt the need to update this review. Not really much to say or show yet, which has been rather disconcerting. I didn't have much in the way of painful trays even with the original 38, but this is even milder. This last set was a little tighter going in, although it's already feeling a lot looser. I feel my bite has been changing with these first few trays, as my front teeth are beginning to reach for each other, closing my open bite bit by bit.
I originally decided to do this because of two teeth which needed more discipline to behave. My Snaggletooth, which needs to go back just a wee bit more, and my peek-a-boo tooth which was still a bit shy, hiding behind one of the others. Both are upper front teeth so they show when I smile, which I'm doing a lot of lately, by the way. Even with my 6 new buttons on my front teeth, lol.
They now seem to be moving, but I'm not sure. Please Check out my pics and let me know if you think so too.
Now let me tell you about the pleasant surprise! My upper midline was always a little off, and remained so even after the 38 trays. My provider had told me in advance that we couldn't fix it without surgery. So I was resigned to it, but as my teeth got straighter, I still hoped for a miracle with the refinements. Well, I think I may have myself a miracle!!! Let me explain....

Like I'm sure many of us do, when I got trays 5-7, I took tray 7 and compared it to tray 4. And noticed what seems to be a movement of my midline-in the right direction by trAy 7!!!! I'm hoping that the remainder trays don't shift it back, but I will mention it to my provider. Again, I don't know if it's my imagination, but I think this present tray has already started that movement. Maybe it's all wishful thinking......
Oh, yeah.... Almost forgot! With the change in my bite towards my front teeth meeting, I no longer clench my molars at night. Yay!

Happy invisaligning everyone!

Are We Done Yet? (Tired of the Invisalign bathroom breaks; just want to get there!!!!!)

At the end of the week, my teeth will have embraced and been embraced by plastic for TWO YEARS. Now that's quite an investment. My daughter-inLaw will have given birth twice in the amount of time it will take me to fix my teeth. Just a little perspective for you......
Yeah, I know I signed up to this VOLUNTARILY. Yes, I knew what I was getting into.....somewhat.....I mean, I had certainly googled the heck out of my iPad and read enough blogs and reviews, right?
And, of course I know I could have stopped this summer after my initial 38 trays, no one's fault but my own that I allowed my Virgo to have her perfectionist ways....I would be on nighttime wear only now.....

Ok enough grumbling!!!! Virgo is also an optimist, where did that trait disappear to? Oh, there it is!!! Looking at my possibly shifting midline and my peek-a-boo tooth which has finally begun her descent!

I am now more than halfway done with tray 8 of 12 refinements (plus 3 over-correction trays). Although my refinement trays have been mild, and I haven't been seeing much on a tray to tray basis, tray 8 was a toughie!!!!
I actually had to chew very carefully the first few days, and even my molars were hurting, but I think that was due to some grinding I seemed to be doing for a couple of nights due to my teeth shifting positions. Here's what has changed:

1) no overbite anymore my front teeth pretty much meet
2) anterior open bite is almost gone too
3) peek-a-boo has made herself known and has come fully out of hiding and starting her descent among the ranks. Tray 8 has targeted her big time
4) mr Snaggletooth is also being targeted by this tray. He's such a stubborn bugger; but he's definitely on the "loose". Remains to be seen whether we can finally get him flush within the rest in the next 4 trays - if we can, not only will I be smiling - I will be downright laughing 'cos then I won't need the over-corrections!!!!
5) wee midline shift thing happening. In the right direction. Or maybe just my over-active imagination working alongside my optimistic Virgo.
6) there is still enough space between my teeth from the ipr for both the problem teeth to continue their expedition
7) trays are fitting beautifully so far, much better than they did with the original trays, which always had sqiishy molars and which I frequently had to file.
I still use an emery board - for my nails!!!!!

So at my last appointment I got trays 9-12 in my greedy little hands and went straight home to compare. Hard to see where the changes are on each tray, but 12 is definitely pretty darned straight. I haven't yet compared 12 to 38, my last tray in the initial set. Should do that, right? Then I'll know if having done the refinements was worth it, although I could just look at my teeth. Hahaha. Invisaligners are such weird creAtures.
So, I'm hoping I can stop at 12. I read somewhere that it is good to order your retainers from the first over-correction trays to keep the teeth from shifting back, so maybe I'll wear tray 13 while I'm waiting for my retainers?
I'll be going on holiday to an all-inclusive for a couple of weeks, leaving next week. It's not as much fun when you're packing the plastic, but I'm an old pro at travelling with these now, so at least I know that my any trips thereafter will be sheer Invisalign-free pleasure!!!!
If anyone reading this knows how to change my status to " worth it" please let me know.
In spite of everything , these past two Invisalign years have been "worth it"

Out with the Invisalign......in with the smile?!

Could it be that I'm done? Hard to believe, but tonight I finish tray 12 in my refinements.... The last one before those 3 over-corrections that I don't know if I want.... I will be changing into the first one, 13, and then I have an appointment with my provider on Thursday. At this appointment we will be looking closely at the clincheck, and if there is not much more to be gained from those last 3, then that's it! I imagine he will be making an appointment to help me evict those aliens living on my teeth, and to make molds and stuff so he can order my retainers, which I think he had said will be Vivera. I will tell you more about the retainer stage as I get the info myself, although I remember him saying I will need to wear them for 3 months full time before. Will be able to progress to nighttime only. By June then, my teeth should be finally free! Ah, the freedom to taste stuff at Costco, not need to take a purse filled with teeth paraphernalia everywhere I go, drink coffee any time of the day, at leasure!!!! Need I go on?

The refinement stage went quite quickly, with most trays causing little to no discomfort. Will I actually miss the feeling of teeth being moved, of changing to new trays every 2 weeks? Ummm, let me think......Not!

So I'll post the newest pics, and will let you know shortly about where m teeth and I will be going from here....happy invisaligning everyone!

Tray 13 (over-correction tray) inserted and doing stuff

So here I am again. So soon, you ask? I put on over-correction tray 1 (tray number 13 in my refinement stage -should have seen this coming, considering the tray number) on Tuesday night. As were the over-correction trays in my initial set, they were quite tight going in, and my teeth have been pretty tender, especially in the problem areas. By Thursday, I was liking what I saw, and a slight problem I had in my bite during the previous tray was gone. Fabulous, right? Stop right here, we've arrived! I had an appointment with my provider set for yesterday afternoon as I had had to cancel my initial appt, which was to have been on Tuesday, before putting in tray #13. I hadn't seen him since tray 9 though, so I kept my appointment.

Well, I was sooo excited about where my teeth were at that, after asking to see if there was much more to be gained in my problem areas with the last 2 trays as I had planned to do ( good thinking, right?) and seeing fir myself that there didn't seem much, we made the decision that I would stop right here and go ahead with ordering the vivera retainers. Woohooo! Hooray! An appointment was made for less than 2 weeks when this tray would be done and my retainers would be in, aliens off to never-again land, teeth polished, the end of an era and beginning of my open-mouthed smiling days! Hazzah! Yesssssss!

April fools. Yes, it's today. And boy did I get it good. Remember when I said his tray was painful and seemed to be targeting this problem areas. Well, it certainly is. So much so, that I have two rather large triangles which have formed literally overnight. One of them right smack in the middle of my two front teeth. Yes. No joke. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to see that more mvement is possible, but did it have to come so late in the day? Just when I was getting ready to party? Well, needless to say, I was thrown into a panic and called the office right away, hoping it wasn't too late to halt production on those retainer babies until I at least see where my teeth will settle by the end of this tray! Yeah, I know I should have thought about putting it off until the end of the tray before making a decision yesterday, but my teeth haven't shifted soooo much in one tray for a looooong time. The refinement trays were so subtle and calm.....

To make a long story short, after a fair bit of apprehension (if my nails weren't gel I wouldn't have any now) my hero of a provider was able to call them, they had not started production, (phew!), he cancelled my appointment where I was to get my buttons off and receive my retainers (sob!), and I am to wait this tray through, swinging by his office next week to pick up 14 and 15 just in case I am not entirely happy with he end result after 13. We will make a new appointment once I feel confident that I've reached the end, but only after wearing a whole tray through!!! ( learned my lesson here, it's not over until the plastic tray hits the rest in the growing pile of plastic in my closet.)
This means I may have to wear my bubbly tray as a retainer for a few weeks until I get my permanent ones, but hey, I almost had to settle for spaces between my teeth......no complaints from me on this one.

Can you imagine going through two years of this, opting for refinements after going through 38 trays, and ending up with spaces due to an over-enthusiastic oversight?

I shudder at the thought and I adore my provider. I'm posting a pic that I took thus morning. Hope you survived your April fool's day!

The end of the Invisa-line!

So, after 2 and then some years of endless trays, brushing & flossing ad nauseum, hours on end spent checking my teeth's progress in the mirror, ups and downs and all a-rounds, I've reached the end.

At my last visit, the aliens were finally ousted from my mouth, my teeth were polished, molds were made for my provider's files, "after" pictures taken, and I was given four sets of my new Vivera retainers to wear daily for three months, followed by nighttime only for life.
The viveras are of a harder plastic, much easier to keep clean as they don't have that tendency of yellowing after a while. I've been using them to whiten my teeth without the residue causing any stains or harm. You get 4 pairs, and a new white case. I've been told that its a good idea to wear each tray for 3-4 months to keep them nice and tight. Sounds like a plan.
Woohoo! My next trip overseas is planned for late August, I will no longer be travelling with Invisalign worries of where and when and how to brush and floss!

So my teeth are still not magazine-perfect; but they were never going to be. I've come a long way though, and I just wasn't interested in any more pesky trays. At my age, this is good enough for me. I probably should have stopped at tray 12 of my refinements, before the over-correction trays started creating triangles here and there, but .....shoulda-woulda-coulda. My bite is also a bit off as I have a bit of a posterior open bite I believe, and I've bitten the inside of my front lip a couple of times, but I have an appointment with my provider in a couple of weeks and he said it might just need a bit of tweaking. Since I spoke to him, the bite is actually better, so it might just resolve itself with time.
I have not been keeping the trays in for 22 hours. I let myself enjoy my morning coffee (ahhhhhh), leisurely and happily sipping as I read the paper( my deepest apologies to those coffee lovers just starting Invisalign-I feel your pain). I take them out in the car before going out for supper and brush and replace when I get home. Yes, they are sometimes tight going in if I've had them out for longer than 3-4 hours, but there's no pain, and they settle in very nicely within a few minutes, feeling strangely comforting. Can't believe I wrote that.
I must say that this woman's close-mouthed smile has almost become a thing of the past; sometimes I still do it intuitively. And I find I smile with my mouth open more readily when I'm not wearing my retainers. I think it's because they are thick, so they are a little bulkier against my lips, feeling a little unnatural.
Speaking of which, have people noticed how their face looks when wearing Invisalign while exercising? Maybe it just happens to me or to older invisaligners, but I practice yoga, and there happens to be a mirror in the studio. In some inverted poses, it looks like I've had a bad facelift. Everything sags naturally except my mouth. Bizarre. But I digress...
I hope everyone's having an exceptional summer, Invisalign trays and all. I will post my final pictures and will be back after I've seen my provider for a final update, as well as adding a post on travelling with Invisalign shortly. Hope you've enjoyed my posts and that they've been somewhat helpful. Happy brushing and flossing. Keep smiling!
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