My Invisalign Experience (Overcrowding) - Edison, NJ

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I had traditional braces when I was 15, which was...

I had traditional braces when I was 15, which was 8 years ago. At the time, my teeth were too crowded and my doctor pushed for me to have 4 teeth taken out. We ended up doing the treatment without getting any teeth taken out due to personal reasons. Braces were a rough ride and in the end I didn't wear my retainer enough, it had hurt too much, even a few days after having my braces taken out.

I decided to go with Invisalign this time around. I went to a free consult at Dr. Waltuch's office and talked about my options. I did find it a little pricey but we continued with the treatment. As you can tell in the pictures I have overcrowding on both the bottom and top teeth (mainly bottom). I was given two options: get 4 teeth taken out or have 3.5mm shaved between the bottom teeth and 2mm from the top. I struggled with deciding on what to do. I had my mind set on taking 4 teeth out since that is what we didn't do the first time around with traditional braces, but I also did not know too much about shaving. Although I personally think my teeth "stick out" (or are too noticeable) I was told that my teeth would be pushed back more if I decided on pulling teeth out since there would be a lot of available space. Additionally, the doctor told me that when we age our skin on our faces droops and comes forward creating the illusion of pushed back teeth anyway. I was told treatment would be approximately 10 months longer if I had teeth pulled. The shaving is supposed to create just enough room for my teeth to fit in place without changing how far in/out they appear or the angle of the top and bottom teeth (which I was told is in normal range). I chose to go with the shaving instead of teeth pulling. My teeth won't be shaven until around the 11th or 12th set of trays I believe. Doctor said they need to move my teeth forward into a position that will allow for proper shaving before fixing them up. I picked up my first two sets on July 11th, 2013. I have a total of 22 sets and I think they're two weeks each so that's 11 months of treatment.

- First time putting them it just felt weird really, I instantly did not like the feeling. The trays cause my mouth to close differently than without, I had a slight overbite without them in and with them I don't. It just feels like a few of the higher points on my top and bottom molars touch each other and the rest kind of just hover (might be more noticeable in the picture).
- After about an hour of so of having the trays in for the first time my jaw/teeth became pretty sore. I almost didn't register that just because Invisalign doesn't look as deadly as traditional braces it didn't mean they weren't going to hurt at all.
- When I took the trays out to eat, my teeth felt sore and it hurt to eat foods with tough textures. Also, taking them out every time I eat/brushing doesn't sound too appealing. I snack A LOT, all day really, so I hope I don't lose weight over this since I won't be snacking that often anymore.
- My mouth area sticks out a little bit with them in (but not as bad as with traditional braces). My smiles also a little strange, I'll have to fabricate a way for it not to look so creepy since my bite is different with them in. (pictures for this)
- I have a lisp now
- One of the most annoying things is that the outer edges of the Invisalign irritate the skin on the inside of my lips and lower gum areas. It hurts my bottom skin/gums when I frown/pout and the inside of my top lip scratches against the top when I smile. I think I just need to master the art of filing down my trays. I've filed a little and it is sort of better. I'm debating on whether or not I should file the bottom more, frowning less can't be too bad of a decision.
- I've only had them for 2 days now and I've been eating 3 meals a day. I take the trays out, rinse them and my mouth before eating. I brush my teeth afterwards before putting the trays back in. I've been brushing my trays once a day so far.

Overall, since it's only really been 2 days I can't say much but I will say that it is much less painful for the mouth than traditional braces. I'm complaining about a few areas that scratch in my mouth right now but when I used to have traditional braces they scratched everywhere and there was not too much you could do about it, the metal was still going to be there. At least I have the option to file Invisalign to make them more comfortable. I do think I'll need more motivation in the beginning to keep the Invisalign in my mouth since I didn't have the option of taking traditional braces out. I hear that the soreness will decrease with time, my lisp will get better, and that I'll barely notice the trays in my mouth.

Concerns (that I will eventually ask my doctor):
Should I be filing with a metal nail filer?
Can I drink dark colas with a straw with my trays in?
I'd also like to hear about other's tray cleaning routines.

Last set of trays before attachments

My first set of trays started to feel more comfortable after filing and the first 5-6 days of soreness. I filed the inside and outside of the top tray (front teeth), and the outside front of the bottom. I'm able to bite down without many gaps showing now while having my trays in and my lisp is getting better as well. I started my second set of trays on July 25th, my jaw/teeth continuously felt sore the first few days. It hurt to brush, eat tough foods, etc. but it has gotten better. There is almost no soreness after the first week of a new tray. I tried to get used to the discomfort from the sharp edges but after a week I decided to file the inside of the top front teeth, which helped in scratching my tongue less.

I've noticed I clench my teeth more at night during the first few days of changing my trays, it's gotten a little better but I still need to work on the clenching in general. I take longer breaks to eat than I did when I started Invisalign, this way I don't have to keep taking them off and putting them back on. I'll take them off, have a meal, have a snack half an hour later and then put them back in. My weight surprisingly has increased so I'm actually happy about that. I think the trays prevent me from continuously snacking all day and having full meals instead. The downside is that I have my trays out for longer this way. Some days I'll only have my trays in for 19-20 hours, but for the most part it will be around 21 hours. I'll be having my 1 month appointment this week so we'll see if I'm progressing well. I'll also be getting attachments this week so I'll update about that later on. It's difficult when I go out for the night or go out to dinner, everything takes longer so I'll have my trays out for a longer period of time. Also, I haven't been eating or drinking anything while having my trays in except water. This works for me because I only drink things other than water while I'm eating (and because I'm afraid of getting my first cavity haha). Cleaning wise, I switch between using denture tablets and brushing. Definitely brushing if I'm out though because I don't want to carry more than I have to (travel tooth brush/toothpaste).

Tray 5

Just started tray #5 a few days ago. I had my attachments put in at the beginning of tray #4. They were pretty uncomfortable until he filed them down a bit. I have 6 attachments on my bottom teeth and two on one tooth on top. I'm grateful that none of them can be seen when I talk or smile. I told my doctor about how my mouth scratches along the outer top front and inner bottom and top. They had my trays 4-7 pre-filed down for me. It is SO much better when they file them for me rather than me doing it at home with a nail filer. I have no problem with the scratching now. The first few days of tray #4 and #5 hurt a lot but I've noticed it simmers down after a few days. I've also noticed that I've become more lazy with wearing them, I don't wear them as much as I should but I haven't gotten any complaints from the doc yet so I think all is well. It's hard for other people to tell but my teeth have been spreading a part (which is what needs to be done before shaving between my teeth to make more room). I'm not looking forward to the next few months of pushing my teeth out and a part but after the shaving I'll start to see the results I want to see.

Tray 8

During my last visit my ortho said I shouldn't have my trays so filed down and that it can interfere with treatment (it hasn't yet). I had them filed down there by an assistant so I'm not sure why we had the issue. I asked them to file down my next few trays just slightly to soften the edges but they said no. Thankfully my new trays weren't as painful as the ones in the beginning. I'm a little off track right and I think I forgot to switch my trays out to 9 last week so I've had tray 8 in for 3 weeks. These days I've been wearing them for around 15-17 hours a day. Haven't had any complaints about not wearing them long enough but I have an appointment in 2 days so I'll see what he says. I personally feel that my teeth have moved forward and the gaps between them have increased (I can tell when I floss), but other than that they don't feel that much straighter yet.

Tray 11

After having my teeth shaven
Edison Orthodontist

Very friendly doctor and staff!

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