Diary of an Invisalign User - Gold Coast, Australia

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*Treatment results may vary

DAY ONE!!! I'll try to keep this regularly...


I'll try to keep this regularly updated.

Background on me: 45 year old male with teeth that look straight out of a Dickens screenplay (see copies of scans attached). No fillings as Ive always brushed & flossed, just overcrowded to the point where Im biting my upper lip inadvertantly when I eat. Did my research, chose Invisaline because they will hopefully have minimum impact on my worklife. I'm in corporate software sales and do a lot of presentations so need to look and sound professional. No time for unflattering braces or lisping.

I was told I'll need 29 trays top and bottom over about 16 months. After that Ill need a permanent wire across the back of both sets of teeth, plus a night retainer to stop it all moving back and returning me to my sharkboy profile.

So, got my first three sets of trays today. Got an accelledent as well, plus a load of extras (electric toothbrush, water bottle, cases, nail file, removal tool). Was given about a half-hour introduction from a dental assistant to insertion and removal, plus care & cleaning tips.

As this is the first tray they have not put the buttons on my teeth yet - that comes in a fortnight. Impressions so far:

Not too bad. I notice them allright, but there's certainly no pain as others have described. Ive got to be aware not to "feel" the sharp edge of the tray with my tongue. It already rubs when I swallow - and with these in your funhole you swallow a lot. I've had to modify the way I swallow to avoid a sore tongue. My lower lip is also rubbing on an edge, Ill have to see how that turns out. I spent the day sipping from a glass of water and that really helped.

Aside from the edges, the are quite smooth and slippy and actually feel quite nice with some nice give in them when you bite down. My lower teeth always felt quite sharp on my tongue - especially the underside - and could actually cut it depending what I was up to (enough said about that) but the trays provide a nice smooth cover.

My wife was very happy with the fact you cant see them at all but made a few frank observations when I took them out at the table before dinner, stating in no uncertain terms that I wasn't to do that at restaurants or when we had company as It looks like I'm removing dentures. Ill have to plan ahead for work lunches. I actually got anxious about losing my first eight hours of gains taking them out to eat and hurried to brush my teeth and replace the trays.

The accelledent was surprisingly gentle - it was fully charged, but didn't buzz as much as I was expecting. Turns out from some googling that this is how its meant to be.

First Week

OK A few notes on how I fared in the first week:

1. The first couple of days are the worst. Tooth soreness & annoyance factor are the main things but after day three Id gotten over that. You get used to it pretty quick.

2. They need cleaning. They build up plaque the same as your teeth, and you can see it in the trays. It also smells & tastes funky so keep the brushed clean. I thought it was the plastic discoloring due to stress at first but it turned out to be plaque. This was despite never eating or drinking anything other than water with them in, brushing immediatley after eating or drinking anything else, and rinsing them after removal and before re-inserting.

3. My water bottle has become my best friend. Regularly sipping from it keeps my mouth comfortable and breath fresh. I also carry toothpaste & a brush everywhere - a smal tube 3/4 empty folds up neatly into my jeans pocket if I dont have a bag to carry. My teeth look whiter already with the extra brushing

4. There's a sweet spot on the acceledent that vibrates your teeth the most effectively. If you bite too firmly it doesnt work well at all- you only need light pressure.

5. They are totally invisible when worn. No one at all has seen them without me removing them first. I'll be interested to see how this changes once the aligning dots and rubber bands go on in a few weeks.

Dots On! Week 4

End of Week Four was yesterday and I got my dots on 24 hours ago.

Not real happy right now.

Uncomfortable process, especially when my teeth were polished & they kept hitting sensitive spots. I'm normally pretty zen about dental treatment but this took a lot of deep breathing and retreating to my "happy place". An hour later It was all over. This in itself was par for the course and I was expecting it, but the aftermath is a different kettle of teeth.

The first thing I noticed immediately after was the dots won't let me close my bite. I thought they had left some of the dot compound in the grooves of my teeth by accident and I tried unsuccessfully to pick it out with my fingernails. Right away I mentioned the fact I can't close my bite and so cannot chew, but was advised that this is a necessary part of the treatment to correct my bite and allow my lower back teeth to adjust.

I've tried to eat three meals since, and find it very difficult. As I can no longer chew properly, I have to try and mash the food against my teeth with my tongue. I get half chewed food stuck up between my cheeks and my back teeth and have to wait until after eating to hurry to the bathroom to brush it out. This is going to be very awkward as I entertain a lot with my job and business meals are a daily occurrence. I'm going to have to stick with soup & pasta.

The dots and guards are noticeable. Previously no-one could see them, but the very first person I saw after getting them asked me what I had on my teeth. My better half is not happy with the look. I'm also lisping a lot, as air gets in the back of the guard and bubbles up around the front.

I can only hope this settles down quickly and my ability to chew returns. I dont know If Ill be up for this if it it takes 18 months. Ill post an update in a week to report on how it's progressing.

Sorry I should have said start of week four, not end of week four.

Got the timing a little wrong.

After 1 week of dots.....

Still not happy but getting a little better.

I've got 8 dots on top and 9 on the bottom. I've had a few less than flattering comments from my co-workers who spotted my lumpy looking teeth, not that it bothers me, but be prepared if you are hoping to get through your treatment in full stealth.

The inability to chew really bugs me - can't eat fibrous vegetables like spinach or kale; can't manage chewy bread; had a disastrous attempt to tackle sushi with chopsticks at work; and I keep having to brush semi chewed food from between my tooth line and cheeks.

On the positive side the cutting sensation from the trays has reduced significantly.

I've attached a pic, apologies to the squeamish, a close up mouth with beard can be a bit on the scary side, especially with my dentition.

Start of week 9 - settling in a bit better

Im now on the 8th aligners. Ive been advised to move from 7 days to 9 days per set. The ortho has not put bands on as yet for which I'm eternally greatful. I hope it stays that way.

Gotten more used to the dots - still having trouble with the unchewed food, mainly bread or sushi rolls, so I'm avoiding both. Ive tackled a couple of steaks done the way I like them - medium rare - with not too many problems unless I get a big piece of fat so I avoid that. Steak's a once-in-a-blue-moon treat for me anyway so I'm not too bothered.

I'm brushing the aligners at least twice a day with vinegar, which keeps them clean and fresh. Have yet to miss a session with the accelledent.

Flossing is now so easy! I used to shred the dental floss because my teeth were so heavily bunched. The floss now just zips in and out with no problem whatsoever, so I'm definitely getting some movement. However, its still early days so no visible improvement - that is yet to come.

I'll update again, probably in about a month or so.

Week 9 photo

On the 8th set of aligners, had them in now 8 days and will change to the ninth set tomorrow evening.

Week 15

Im now on the 13th set of aligners, about to move to set 14 tomorrow.

I've started to visibly notice the movement in my teeth. There's still a good way to go but its nice to start to see results.

For the first time in my life Ive had gaps between my teeth, and with those the attendant problems of food getting stuck. Not a problem as I brush after eating anything, its just an observation.

Im now so used to the aligners I sometimes forget they're in and have to stop myself taking a drink or eating. I noticed some wear on the top edge of my lower teeth where the dentine is becoming visible - not due to the aligners, its just ive never looked that close before. This came about because of my overbiteThe ortho advised there's no treatment for this, however as Ill be wearing a set of aligners at night after the treatment finishes (for the rest of my life) Ill get some good protection.

At this point each new set of aligners just pops in with no pain or soreness, just a sensation of pressure which lasts a few hours on insertion for the first few days, then even that disappears. The only exception to this was when I didnt quite put my upper tray in correctly and it misaligned with an attachment, which caused me a good bit of discomfort until I pressed it back into place. TIP: always press around each attachments to make sure they have lined up with the tray correctly otherwise you get a sore tooth for a few days.

Theres been a few questions about how come Im swapping out the aligners every 7 or 9 days instead of every fortnight - Ive worked out its because im using the accelledent which speeds the treatment. If I keep going at this rate Ill be finished in 240 days (8 months) which is pretty impressive. Ill be done before christmas.

I get another attachment in a few weeks, not sure where but Im just hoping it doesn't further impede my chewing. Aside from that, all is good! :)

Only one set to go....or so I thought!

Week 31, set 28 of 29 - very happy!

However the next set wont be my last. I saw the ortho a few weeks back and he wants to shave the sides of some of my more triangular teeth to remove what he calls "black triangles", and even up some of the biting edge to give a fully flat profile.

This also means another scan and another series of trays. Wont know how many until the trays come back in about four weeks. Also Ill need bands! not looking forward to that. Bottom line is I wont be tray-free for the holidays. The good news is however this wont cost me any extra :)

At this point Im so used to the trays I forget they are in. Ive actually gone to eat stuff and only remembered when Ive taken my first attempted bite - trust me, it doesn't work. Id also advise against eating two minue noodles if you dont have immediate access to a toothbrush - I popped my trays back in after munching down a packet and the colouring in the flavour sachet turned the trays fluoro yellow. Not a good look. Having said that I've drank loads of booze with them in and the only thing that discoloured them was Dark Rum & Coke. Took them out for red wine though.

I finally plugged my accelledent into my laptop, only to find big gaps in the history where Id let the battery go flat (Id been travelling a lot and did miss a day here and there, but nowhere near as much as the device claims.

So all good at this point, I get my teeth shaved this afternoon and Ill post an update then.

9 extra sets of trays

OK sorry for the delay in updating, the holiday period was mad for me.

I had the rescan and four weeks later went back to have all the dots removed and was given 9 new trays to help with the final alignment. This also required my two upper front teeth to have a little shaved off the sides where they meet, and one dot placed on my right eye tooth. The process was quick & stress free and its so GOOD to have the majority of those dots gone - I can eat without getting food lodged in them!

Each tray goes in for a week. I'm now on set 5 with 4 more to go. No bands! :) Either they forgot or didnt think them neccessary - I'm in no hurry to remind them.

Looking back on my old photos now really freaks me out - I cant believe I had such bad teeth for so long. To say Im happy with the results is a massive understatement . Ill post pics once I'm finished with the remaining trays and have the last dot removed.

Before and after photos

So all finished. I've just got to wear a retainer now for a fortnight and I'm all done.

Cant recommend this treatment highly enough. Dr Semaan and his team are fantastic too.

Here are the before and after pics for those who are interested:
Dr Semaan

Very professional and on time which is a pleasant change from most medical professionals. Its a bit of a production line, but the staff are pleasant and friendly and take the time to know who's coming in that day so they greet you by name at reception. I'm not normally someone who gives out 5 star ratings, but these guys are exceptionally good.

5 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
5 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
5 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
5 out of 5 stars Phone or email responsiveness
5 out of 5 stars Staff professionalism & courtesy
5 out of 5 stars Payment process
5 out of 5 stars Wait times
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