Great Results! - Humble, TX

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*Treatment results may vary

I have always wanted straight(er) teeth. I wasn't...

I have always wanted straight(er) teeth. I wasn't able to get braces as a teenager, we couldn't afford it. I finally can for myself now that my youngest is 18 and won't start college for at least another year. The doctor's office showed me a ton of information about straight teeth, the invisalign process etc. Once I decided that I would indeed like to move forward with the treatment, they immediately got me in there for the records portion. Took a great deal of exrays and digital photos. The worst part was the mold taking. Yuk Yuk Yuk! :)

As of right now I am waiting to get my first trays - I will see the clincheck at that visit. I have a tooth in the front that will need to be capped after I am done with my invisalign treatment - the initial reason I went to see the dentist to begin with. They just finished up a root cancal on the tooth today (not painful just creepy to have your tooth drilled and cleaned out etc.)

I will add photos periodically as I move through the treatment.

And now the wait....

Updating to add a few pictures for posterity's...

Updating to add a few pictures for posterity's sake. :)

I received my first set of aligners yesterday!...

I received my first set of aligners yesterday! Yay! I got to see the Clincheck (I asked if they could give me a copy, but I didn't get it before leaving). I will have 19 upper and 28 lower aligners. He will add 9 attachments in 2 weeks and I will get the next 3 sets. So far it hasn't been too bad getting them in and out, but my teeth are some what achy. It's going to take a bit to get used to them...I feel like I have neon arrows pointing to my mouth every time I open it. :) No one has noticed them yet but but having something over my teeth make me feel self conscious. I am sure I will eventually get used to them. :)

OK, so I got my attachments last Friday (picture...

OK, so I got my attachments last Friday (picture with aligners in included), March 22nd. I got 7 on the upper and 6 on the lower. I have 2 of them on my left central incisor. Yippee! He didn't quite match my tooth color on all of them....they seem to be MUCH whiter than my apparently yellow tinted teeth. So they kind of stand out A LOT. And they are rough when I am not wearing my aligner. Which I really don't want to take out in public so everyone can see my 'not only' snaggle toothed grin but my now snaggle toothed with sparkling white boney growths grin. :/

I had quite the experience getting them put on. One of the dental assistants had called in that day, and so the doc and the 1 assistant that was there were going back and forth between patients and things were running a little slow. Not a problem. Having the attachments put on was ok. Didn't hurt at all and didn't take that long (aside from the waiting around for my turn bit.) Doc came in after assistant was done with her blue light special to clean me up...then he sent her to do xrays on another patient. So the doc starts sanding down the attachements with one of those doodad deals that also sprays water while it is sanding down. he has one of those sucker wands hanging out of a corner of my mouth all the while the water is literally pouring out the opposite side at the same time spraying up my nose. Yay, an early shower! Of water, spit and cement dust. High five! Weee! LOL, sorta. :) Ahh, stuff happens, so I didn't make a big deal out of it. I knew he was doing his best (and pobably a bit lost without the assistant... :))

I didn't think anything else of the attachments. I was able to wrangle the second set of trays on and off before leaving the office and I headed back to work after wringing my shirt out. No time to go change. No one noticed. It was Friday...they would have gotten over it anyway. :)

That night at dinner, however, I discovered a small, teeny, tiny problem. The attachment that is on my left lateral incisor (and yes, I have obtained a chart with the names of teeth so I will appear informed when I am truly...not!) sits in such as way that my left central incisor hits it and prevents me from closing my mouth all the way. Quite interesting to attempt to work around to say the least. If I eat on the opposite side of my mouth AND tilt my head to the right at the same time, I can almost chew everything the way I am supposed to. The rest of it gets swalled with a prayer that it doesn't block my windpipe. So far the prayer seems to be working.

I noticed a vendor who has never met me checking out my spit riddled, snaggled toothed, boney growth, shiny with aligners grin and I felt self conscience for a nano second. No one that has been working with me for the last almost 4 years have either 1) noticed or 2) are too afraid of me to ask what the hell is on my teeth. Both have equal possibilities. (LOL Just kidding, I am a doll to everyone! Unless you are an a$$...but I jest. Sometimes.) None of my family have noticed, asked, or gives a damn. :)

Since getting the attachments I have stopped taking the aligners out as much. The first 2 "get used to them" weeks I stayed on my same food/snack schedule. I am one of those who eat every 2-1/2 to 4 hours. What a hassle now that it takes SOOOOOOO long to get these things out! Forget it! I am now on the infamous Invisalign Diet! I need to lose about 20 lbs anyway.

I am embarrassed to a small degree with my attachments, but am keeping my eye on the prize. I wanted this, so I am gonna suck it up and love it! OK, maybe not LOVE, that's kind of strong, maybe ALMOST LIKE them is better. :)

I chose an experience cosmetic dentist, as I wasn't really even looking to straighten my teeth. I went in for a different reason entirely, but he convinced me to move forward. I have to say that I have been really happen with their service to date (even the shower date...) and they have answered all of my questions satisfactorily and he seems to be very knowledgable about the process. I can only hope and pray that he is truly knowledgeable about moving teeth using Invisalign. He is a preferred Invisalign provider and I have felt very comfortable from the get go. Hopefully it all works out. I see a lot of comments on various Invisalign boards about going to an Orthodontist as compared to a dentist, so I hope it isn't a mistake. :/

Sorry for the typos in my last paragraph. I was...

Sorry for the typos in my last paragraph. I was typing to fast for my own good and didn't proof read it. Too late now... I can't edit it.

I switched to tray 3 on April 5, 2013. My teeth...

I switched to tray 3 on April 5, 2013. My teeth were quite sore the first 3 days, both while wearing them as well as when they were off. The first day in particular eating crunchy items (I eat a lot of raw veges) wasn't on the menu. I had to find alternatives because OUCH! :) They aren't very sore any more aside from when I am installing the lower tray after eating. I expect in a week I won't even have that soreness (the 2nd set of trays had gotten pretty loose by the end of the 2 weeks and I was ready to change.)

There is only one other lady in our office and she saw my aligner soaking cup in the bathroom Thursday at lunch and that gave her an opportunity to ask me about the braces. She said she had noticed them the day before. So I got a chance to talk about my braces! That made me happy. :) I didn't want metal in my mouth but I am not actually trying to HIDE the fact that I have braces...and I KNOW people can see the attachments...they are very noticeable to me. That kind of opened up the ability to mention them to other people in the office, so now I am not as self conscience wondering if people have noticed or wonder what is on my teeth. I am getting more and more used to them, so talking to new people doesn't really bother me. Going to the grocery store, or having new vendors in the office, or guests etc. I don't think about it, just go about my business. It's not until after the fact that I will feel a level of embarrassement, which is moot at that point anyway! HELLO self - get over it already!! :)

Tray 4 wasn’t (isn’t) nearly as aggressive as...

Tray 4 wasn’t (isn’t) nearly as aggressive as tray 3 was. This one has very little aching associated with it at all. It had consistent tight pressure the first week, but no soreness to speak of. I am the 3rd day into week 2 and they feel quite loose and at times I have air whistling through them when I speak. It’s a tad irritating because it’s hard to speak when it does that and I have to stop to take a sip of water. The issue I had after getting my attachments placed (upper tooth hitting attachment on lower tooth making it difficult to chew properly) has corrected itself. By way of my teeth moving, or possibly getting filed down a little over time as I ate or maybe I just got used to it, but nevertheless I no longer think about it or have issues chewing.

I am still having issues being self-conscious smiling wide or when talking to someone new and I see them looking at my mouth. I would like to think that eventually I will get over it and move on. At home, with family and close friends, I do not have an issue. Just at work it seems. BUT some good news! I have met 2 people at work (at an off site location that I work at one day a week) that either currently have Invisalign or have already finished treatment. I have to say I was really ecstatic to meet someone in person! The one who is still in process has been wearing them for a year already and just started a refinement of 37 trays! WOW! Teeth looked absolutely perfect to me but say they are working on the bite...that there were issues with the trays fitting properly the first round. Only one attachment off to the side and I couldn’t tell they were wearing braces (jealous!!)…I just happened to come along with they were putting them back in after lunch break. I have one guy at my office around my age that just got ceramic braces last week…he wasn’t a candidate for invisalign due to the complexity of his case. He came to talk to me after he found out I have braces. So at least I have someone in the office I can talk to about braces, even if they are different kind of braces!

I am still trying to get my Clincheck from the Dentist. Apparently they don’t know how to get them into a format they can email. I’m pretty handy with a pc…maybe I can sit with the planner at my appointment on Friday and see if we can’t collectively figure it out.

I’ll leave off with comparison pictures. I’m not seeing a lot of change at this point, but I expected that.

PS: I meant to add that I have noticed a slight...

PS: I meant to add that I have noticed a slight yellowing of on the upper aligner on the molars. Strange that it is only the uppers. I have a theory that it is the Scope mouthwash spray I use here or there (I was a big mint person prior to treatment and miss that minty flavor at times.) I do not eat or drink anything with the aligners in and I have been a diligent flosser/brusher since the beginning. BUT I have used the spray with my aligners in. I am going to test the theory when I switch to tray 5 and not use any of the mouthwash spray and see what happens.

Trays 5 and 6

Tray 5:
I’ve completely missed updating Tray 5 somehow… I guess life got in the way! Tray 5 was quite aggressive. I had sore teeth for a full week with those and a few pangs here or there going into week 2. By the time I hit about day 10 on the trays, they begin to feel very loose. I mentioned the whistling air in the past, and it holds true still. That’s one of the most annoying issues I have had. Every now and then my gums will get sore from an edge, but it hasn’t lasted more than a day and then I forget about it. I have only needed to file down one corner in the back since starting the process.

I also tested my theory on why the aligners were staining on the molars – my thought was the breath spray I had been using. I was correct, I didn’t touch it with tray 5 and they had no staining to speak of. I guess I will stay away from the breath spray from now on. I’m not fond of the staining! I wonder if it sits on my teeth too if it is staining the aligners.

Tray 6:
I switched to tray 6 last Thursday before bed. This tray wasn’t as aggressive as tray 5. I haven’t had any pain or soreness really since Sunday. I still haven’t noticed any change in the appearance of my smile, but I can definitely feel a change in my bite as well as the spacing of most of my teeth. I imagine the first (many) months are used to move teeth out of the way so that the teeth that need to move the most have enough room to do so. The dentist mentioned I would need IPR in the future, which I already knew, but he didn’t give me a specific date. He checked my roots thoroughly when I went in. I’ve read that the rate of root absorption is higher on teeth that were previously damaged. He didn’t mention anything out of the ordinary, so I will assume that no news is good news on that front. I STILL hate the attachments. To me they are so obvious. I have been hiding my smile in public, which is really hard to do – I smile big normally. I am very much looking forward to aligner 19 on top so I can have them removed for a bit while my lowers complete round 1. I am completely used to wearing the aligners at this point in the game though, which is a good thing.

I realized that I have never mentioned my hygiene routine. Here it is!

First thing every morning I take them out and soak them in retainer bright with cold water while I drink a protein shake for breakfast. I brush in the mornings but don’t generally floss, because I haven’t actually chewed on any food that could get stuck in between my teeth. I rinse the aligners really well under water and pop them back in.

I don’t have a morning or afternoon snack anymore because I am just too lazy to go through the process of cleaning just so I can eat an apple, ya know?!

I always bring my lunch to work, and I am luckily in an office environment where I can bring it all on Monday, leave it in the fridge to have for the week, with no worries of it getting eaten or messed with. No one wants it anyway; I have a salad with protein every day! I wait until I have my lunch ready to eat then take out my aligners and put them in a small container of cold water. I don’t use retainer bright at work, at the same time, I like to leave my aligners soaking in water. I don’t like them to get dry. I think this helps keep them odor free. Oh and I always rinse them with running water to remove any saliva before I soak them. After eating lunch, I go the full gambit and brush and floss and rinse the aligners really well before putting them back in.

Dinner it is very similar to lunch, except I have my glass of cold water with retainer bright left over from the morning and I rinse my aligners and pop them in the glass before I go eat. After dinner, I brush and floss, as well as give the aligners a quick brushing with a separate toothbrush. I really try to get my dinner/dessert all at once, but sometimes I am too full at dinner, but will get hungry a few hours later and will then repeat this process. It is a major hassle, so I have to be REALLY hungry to do this!

The products I use are:
Listerine Vibrant White – both morning and evening before bed
Sensodyne Pronamel gentle whitening every time I brush
Prescription fluoride toothpaste at least once a week to keep sensitivity to a minimum
Standard Oral B Electric Toothbrush at home and at work, regular manual toothbrush “on the road"
I generally like using floss picks, but do have some regular floss around just in case
Aligner Cleaner: Retainer Bright
Orthodontic Chewies to seat aligners the first few days of wear, multiple retainer cases: 2 at home, 1 at work, and 1 travel case
Travel pack: Retainer case with mirror (can hold water well for soaking), travel size toothpaste, floss picks and regular floss, regular toothbrush, Colgate Wisps (a must have for certain instances: bathroom available is so disgusting I would rather have crooked teeth than brush in it, at the movies after I enjoy popcorn, long drives where I just want to snack a little but not stop etc. Bring extra water for rinsing!), extra chewy, and a makeup bag to put it in.

And there you have it. Exciting, isn’t it?! :0)

Tray 7

There hasn’t been anything of note with this tray. Very mild and am in the loose stage of wear. I go to the dentist’s office on Friday to get my next 3 sets of trays. I have started noticing a very small change in the way my front teeth are starting to look. Below are comparison shots from pre-invisalign to now (top photos prior, bottom current):

I have also been whitening my teeth, albeit very slowly. I only do one treatment a week because it really makes my teeth sensitive for 2-3 days after I am done with the treatment. I do it for 1 hour. I am using Watts Power Pro 35% Teeth Whitening Gels - Plus NEW Enamel Booster Gel. They include a remineralizing gel you keep on overnight after a treatment. I actually bought an extra supply of the remineralizing gel. I still need a whiten a few more shades. You can see with my right front tooth (crown) that at one point in my life, my teeth were super white and I need more to catch back up!

Eventually, this blog will turn into Michelle’s Invisalign Smile Make-Over Journey (edited to add: - these updates are copied from my blog.) I have additional work to be done after I finish my invisalign treatment. I am missing 2 molars on both sides of my lower arch (removed in my 20’s due to lack of dental care when I was growing up and lack of funds being so young!) I still have both of my lower wisdom teeth (no longer have wisdom teeth on upper arch and I am not missing any upper teeth.) I plan on getting bridges put in place of the spaces. My dentist mentioned implants, but I have some bone loss being the teeth were removed so long ago, and the process and cost of implants with bone grafts are extremely long and expensive! Bridges worry me in the fact that I have to ruin 2 perfectly good teeth for each bridge! In any case, those teeth need to be replaced. I also have the right lateral incisor that will get a crown as soon as I am done with the invisalign. It’s the tooth that started this entire process to begin with!

I have a confession! I went and got a second opinion by one of the top invisalign providers in my area. They took pictures and the orthodontist reviewed them along with my clincheck. We spoke a little about my concerns in using a cosmetic dentist with little experience in orthodontics. He said being that I am simply straightening (we are not trying to correct any complicated issues – I did ask if moving my lower wisdom teeth forward any were possible, and he said not easily. They are stubborn teeth to move and he said it would be an incredible amount of trays) that he isn’t seeing any issues with the current treatment plan. Any final tweaks can be taken care of during refinements. His recommendation was to stay on my current course of action. Now, whether or not he was being completely honest with me or just placating me being that I have already paid 100% for my treatment with my current dentist and that they have never had a current Invisalign patient show up looking for a second opinion (mentioned with surprise.) The hassle of transferring my case and trying to figure out the payment options are most likely just not that attractive of a prospect. In any case, below are the pictures they took of my teeth at tray 7.

That's it for this update! See ya in about 2 weeks! :)

Tray 8

This will be a short note as tray 8 was very uneventful! I had the standard snugness the first 2-3 days and no pain and no sore teeth at all. I didn't notice too much of a difference between tray 7 and 8, so I won't bother posting any pictures. I ran low on my Retainer Bright and after reading other's experiences on cleaning their aligners, I bought some Polident 3 minute cleaner and it works just as well, if not a tad better than the Retainer Bright. Not to mention, it's much easier to obtain as Retainer Bright can only be purchased online.

Cheers until next time!

Trays 9 & 10

Tray 9
Moderate pressure that lasted until I reached about day 12 on the wear cycle. Normally by day 10 they are pretty loose so this was a surprise! I guess maybe it just depends on what manuever is being made to the teeth... I really don't know. :) Nothing of else to note. I've become somewhat bored with the process and am not as obsessed with it. I figure after 4+ months of wearing them, I'm pretty much into a set routine and I've done (and continue to do) so much research I am not sure anything will surprise me at this point (knock on wood!)

Tray 10
Holy tightness Batman! This set have been the tightest yet. The first 2 days I thought I was going to rip out my lower teeth every time I tried to remove the aligners and it actually hurt to try! I also felt my teeth were a little more loose when the trays were not in my mouth than they normally seem to be. Maybe since they were so sore I just had that impression. By day 3 they were back to "normal" and the soreness and extreme tightness was relatively gone. They are already feeling pretty loose and I am only on day 8 of this wear cycle.

Great news, I am halfway through round 1 on my uppers. Whooo! I would like to find out if my dentist ordered passive trays (without attachment spaces would be ideal) for when I am done with the uppers while waiting for my lowers to complete. I have 4.5 months longer on my lowers than the uppers and I can't imagine wearing the same upper tray for that length of time. By the end of a regular 2 week wear they are pretty worn out. I would also like to get rid of the attachments on my uppers for that length of time and get a decent break from them before refinements (if needed at all... of course I would like to think they will not be needed but that's doubtful going on the general percentage of patients who need them.) I am going to mention when I go see my dentist next Friday.

I've also noticed a small gap between the aligner and my tooth on my upper left tooth (one with the attachements) and am going to keep an eye on it to make sure it isn't going off track. The aligner fits over the attachments correctly, so it may just be the way this pair was manufactured, but to be safe, I will be extra vigilant watching it. I'll see if the next set fits properly. I do not want to extend the treatment time if I can help it!

I'll leave off with a comparison photo.

Ortho Visit

I went to my dentist this morning for a check up and to get trays 11, 12 & 13. I asked to see my last trays to compare (I wanted to see "final results" up close) and low and behold, there was only 1 tray in the bag! EEK! I stated to the assistant that they have to order me passive trays since there is a 4-1/2 month difference between when my uppers are done and my lowers are done. That these trays are not meant to be worn that long. I don't know about anyone else, but no matter how great I am at cleaning my aligners, by the end of two weeks they are work and slightly dingy looking (they look even more dingy in the photo!) Strangely my upper tray more than my lower tray. I drink water 80%+ of the time and diet coke or crystal light the other times. I always swish with water after drinking it though.

They said, sure no problem, we can order those at a later date. When the doc came in, I also mentioned to him and asked that they have the attachments bubbles removed from the passive trays so I can have a break with my upper attachments while waiting on the lowers (before refinements if they are needed.) He said no problem. I don't think they are used to people knowing so much about their treatment. The assistant seemed irked a little bit. No matter to me, my money out of pocket and my teeth! I plan on reminding them again in 2 visits, so that there is enough time to get them in from Invisalign before that 3rd visit when I will be done with my uppers!

We also discussed what I plan on doing with the spaces in the back that will need to be filled, and after discussion both agreed that bridges make the most sense. He said that there is a great deal of bone loss (being the teeth have been gone so long,) which would mean a larger bone graft than normal, in order to place implants. I have done some research on both, and implants are EXPENSIVE. As in could be upwards of 4-5k PER TOOTH and I have 4 that need to be replaced! No can do!

My next visit is the first week in September and I will also get a cleaning done. I am actually looking forward to that - I expect that my teeth will be pretty well clean being I clean and floss 3-5 a day! Maybe the very back molars might need a little help, but I have been very diligent with my cleaning and checking for plaque build up etc.

I have had tray 11 on for about 6 hours now, and can already tell it won't hurt like tray 10 did. Slight pressure but it is nothing like the previous tray. I had zero pain when I removed them for lunch, and have no aching at all. I will give a full update in a few weeks.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to leave me a comment! Have a great weekend!

Trays 11 & 12

Trays 11 and 12 have been uneventful. Consistent pressure with both trays and very little soreness. The first few days of a tray I can always tell exactly what teeth are being focused on with the movement. It seemed that my teeth were "loose" when my trays were out longer than normal (especially noticeable when eating something crunchy like an apple) and that feeling creeps me out, I have to admit. I had a crazy dream where I fell and hit my mouth, and because my teeth were in trays I knocked out ALL of my upper teeth. I really hate those kinds of dreams!

I feel like I have issues keeping my teeth white with the trays. May have something to do with the fact I was drinking only water for months, then started back on my diet coke habit. I swish with water after most sips but eh

Tray 13

I had my dentist appointment today and also got a cleaning. I may be in the minority but I love to have my teeth professionally cleaned! I got a great report - no cavities. She didn't have to scrape as much as normal - a sign I have been pretty diligent (but not perfect) with my hygiene routine. The dental hygienist is pretty awesome I have to say. She is one of the most thorough and nice to boot. Her only concern was my----drum roll---- DIET COKE habit. Ya. So I promised myself I would stop drinking the diet soda with my aligners in as she mentioned some staining - I have enough trouble with my teeth being more yellow wearing these things - maybe my teeth are very porous?? Driving me crazy though... I haven't whitened in a long time so I am going to this weekend and suck up the sensitivity. I've noticed that the teeth with the attachments are the real culprits. HMMM! I also got a new prescription for the Colgate Prevident. She wants me to use it before bed and not rinse my mouth, but I am worried about it staining the aligners (it's blue.) Why do manufacturers feel the need to add "food" coloring (usually chemically) to everything? I am good with clear! or White! or whatever natural color comes out! :) My next cleaning is scheduled for March 7th next year, which will be 1 day before my full year with Invisalign (got them March 8th this year.) I will look forward to seeing those xrays and seeing the changes!

On the cool message board I frequent (not a huge poster but I sure do like to read about other's experiences and watch for progress pictures!), Braces Review Board (check it out if you haven't already) there is a debate ongoing right now about what causes the aligners to yellow/stain. A few people are really awesome about only drinking water, so there is the thought it may be the denture cleaners being used. I never really noticed much staining when I was only drinking water and using Retainer Bright - but I started using Polident recently, which also coincided with my return to diet coke (I keep mentioning the diet coke because it was a HUGE deal for me to quit that habit last year - now I can't remember what made me drink one again a few months ago but I eventually said to heck with it, I'm drinking my diet coke. It's akin to having stopped/restarted smoking...UGH!!) So, all that to say is I am going to try and experiment cleaning my aligners over the next 6 sets using various methods. I will try a different one each week, and then compare. I will only drink water with my aligners in for the entire experiment. I always brush my aligners at the very least 1 x a day, but usually twice a day (morning and before bed.) I will keep that commitment during the entire experiment because the thought of NOT brushing them at all gives me the heebie jeebies. Too many crevices for germs and crud to hide in. (shivers)

Tray 14 - Polident 3 minute (although I usually leave them in there longer than 3 mins....)
Tray 15 - Retainer Bright
Tray 16 - Half water / half mouthwash
Tray 17 - Basic brushing the aligner using only water each time I remove them (not sure about this method but I've seen it recommended by ortho's - If I get wind of any odor or do not feel "clean" I am going to abandon this method and chalk it up to "oh hell no" sorry...LOL)
Tray 18 - Soaking in water and a dab of bleach (wow this is actually recommended by a dentist- at least they will be more sanitized than the Tray 17 method)
Tray 19 - Brushing with water and dish washing liquid each time I remove them. That should be fun when I am off site working (I work off site every Thursday for my job)

Okay - then I can compare and report. I will take photos on the last day of each aligner so we can compare for ourselves.

I feel like I am really starting to see some results, especially on my uppers. Uppers only had 19 trays as compared to the 28 for my lowers. 6 trays left on the top. Can't believe it!

At my last appointment I discovered that they didn't order passive trays and the coordinator came to talk to me about them today. They had their Invisalign rep come in to see them and they spoke with him/her about it. (They didn't know about passive aligners prior to my mentioning them - they do now. She said they have a few other patients in the same scenario.) So what we think we will do instead of worry with the passive aligners, is to just move into my 1st refinement at that time. Which is fine with me. I am hoping my uppers won't need too much more work at the end of this round. I still have that one tooth that will get a crown as well. I asked if it made sense to have the crown done before refinements or wait. She said we would get with the dentist on my next visit to really figure out how we want to handle it. That works for me. I can handle wearing my trays for a few extra weeks as compared to the 4-1/2 months I was looking at with the uppers. I wish the cleaning debate had come up earlier now that I think about it. What if method 6 sucks and I have to spend 3-4 weeks wearing a yellow aligner?? LOL

Finally, here are my progress pictures!

Progress Photo Tray 13

Progress Photo Tray 13


Tray 14

Tray 14 was mild but consistent with pressure the entire 2 weeks. The night I switched to tray 14 I whitened. BIG MISTAKE!! I had instant pain where one of my first molars meet the gum line. I mean instant searing pain! Maybe because the aligner moved the teeth but they hadn't settled yet. I don't know, but from now on I will wait until the tail end of the wear. I wanted to start out "fresh" since I had just had my teeth cleaned and made the pact to only drink water while wearing them. I could only keep them in for about 15 minutes and that was pushing it! I had tears...seriously! Have been using the Colgate Prevident like crazy to combat sensitivity.

I completed the first experiment with staining of the aligners. I did the exact same hygiene routine using Polident 3 minute except that I only drank water when my aligners were in.

So, you can clearly see that these aligners stain terribly. From here on out, I am back to my water only regimen. Even only drinking water, while using the Polident 3 minute, there is still some slight staining. I didn't really notice the discoloration on a daily basis like tray 13. It wasn't until I took the new aligners out that I could really see that there was still some staining. I have a feeling no matter what, after 2 (or longer for others) weeks of wear, there will always be some staining and general grunginess (is this a word? LOL.)

Aligner 15 will be my normal regimen but using Retainer Bright instead of the Polident. Let's see how that turns out (I could just pull out some old aligners to compare as I still have them all (not sure why!) I put in tray 15 last night before bed and my front 2 teeth are some what loose today when I remove them, but I haven't had any pain at all. I was half expecting more soreness since trays 5 & 10 (pattern of 5's lol) seemed to hurt more than the others, but so far so good! I can't believe I just put in tray 15! 196.5 days into Invisalign! I still have a long ways to go, but I am used to them fully now (even the hated attachments.)

I think my teeth look much better when I am wearing the trays at this point. :)

Tray 15 and beginning of tray 16

Tray 15 was pretty mild and it even felt loose the last week of wear reminiscent of the first few trays. With wind whistling through making it difficult to speak at times! I seemed to have a dry mouth more than usual, which makes your braces dry out and stick to your lips when you talk. “Talk” about embarrassing…LOL! I drink a lot of water too… upwards of 100 ounces a day.

For the staining experiment, I used retainer bright just like I did in the beginning of my treatment. I drank only water while wearing my braces. The results are quite clear that Retainer Bright is superior to the Polident 3 minute as far as retainer cleaning goes. Although, I am sure it is great for dentures! J I am tempted to throw in the towel on the staining experiment and just stick with the tried and true method using retainer bright. I’ve got a ways to go yet in my treatment.

Tray 13 - Polident 3 minute. Drinking Diet Coke & Crystal Light while wearing braces

Tray 14 - Polident 3 minute drinking only water

Tray 15 - Retainer Bright drinking only water - as you can see there is barely a difference between the new set and this set!

Tray 16 - brand new out of package

Last Saturday my husband and I, along with his cousin and wife, did the Tough Mudder which is a 12 mile obstacle course mud run. We signed up long ago back in January 2013, and have been anticipating this event for about 10 months now (and training!) It was an absolute blast and we will all be joining again next year for our second event! I was torn over wearing my braces and getting mud and gunk stuck in there for the duration, or leaving my braces off and not having to think about having bacteria thriving in between my teeth and the braces! Happily making its ways around my teeth and gums! HEEBIE JEEBIEs! So I decided to not wear the braces and extend my treatment for a day or two if needed. Normally I switch my braces out every other Thursday, and of course last Thursday was THAT day. So I just kept the set on for an extra 2 days. I didn’t want to switch into a new set, and then have them off for an extended period of time the day after putting them in. The mud run ended up taking about 5 hours to complete! 5! I have never had my braces out that long before, and when it was done, all I could think about was going and brushing my teeth and getting them back in pronto! I am glad didn’t wear them because I had mud in my mouth more than once. YUK. LOL But worth it… it was so fun to complete the event! My braces were snug but I didn’t have to wrestle them back in, so I was comfortable switching to the new set after dinner Saturday evening.

Beginning Tray 16:

This tray is more aggressive. My front teeth are sore as are some of the molars on my top right side. When I first put in the tray they were really super tight and it took me a minute to get them over the attachments on my uppers. Once I got them in I used a chewy until the felt seated properly. It’s going well so far. Here are my updated photos. This time I did with and without the braces in.

The straighter my teeth get the more I can see all of the jagged edges and chips. Yikes! Not a pretty site! I am looking forward to having some filing done later on.
I’ve noticed with trays 15/16 that my crossbite has been corrected (hard to tell straight on) but my bite is off at the moment. My molars aren’t touching now but my wisdom teeth touch, so chewing hasn’t been a problem. I may have had the bite issue for a few trays and didn’t really notice it since I have been able to chew with no issues.

Only have just over 7 weeks before I go in to get impressions done for refinements. I need to talk to the dentist this Friday when I go get my last 3 sets of trays (for my uppers – I still technically have 12 for my lowers.) I want to make sure they are going to remove the attachments (3-4 weeks attachment free!! YES!) I’m wondering if they should go ahead and put the crown on that front tooth, so that it can be accounted for during the remaining treatment. I am also getting the bridges so it would be easy to just cut off the back of the final lower tray to make sure my front teeth stay where they are supposed to then they can take new impressions for my Invisalign Vivera retainers after the bridges are placed. Way too complicated! LOL.

Tray 16 (Written 10-18-13)

The only thing of note with the remaining time in tray 16 is that last Monday, I took them out at work to eat lunch and dropped my upper tray in the sink. Right on the drain. Didn't go down the drain and our restroom is pretty clean, generally speaking. Being that there are only 2 ladies that use it and we are clean, I doubt the cleaning crew sanitizes the sink every time they clean. They SHOULD but I doubt they actually do. All that being said, I did not have any retainer bright at work. So I made the not so smart decision to use the anti-bacterial hand soap in a glass of water and let my aligners soak in it while I ate lunch. I HAD to clean them somehow, right? YEA, so then my aligners tasted like hand soap the rest of the week. It was disgusting. Unseen sink grime very disgusting.... soap in your mouth for a week... pretty darn disgusting. I now have retainer bright back at work! What a fiasco!

Speaking of retainer bright, I bought a years supply from I think I am good for the rest of my treatment! :)

I had my dental appointment this morning and got my last 3 aligners. Next appointment is on Nov 29th. They will remove my attachments (YES!) and do new impressions for the refinements. I should have at least 3-4 weeks attachment free. I am really looking forward to that. The company Christmas Dinner is December 12th. I asked him about doing the crown prior to the refinements, but he prefers to wait until we are happy with results of the braces and then he will do the cosmetic treatment and that we we would wait until we are done with the cosmetic treatment and then do new impressions for the Invisalign Vivera retainers. I trust his judgement on that so I am good with his plan after talking to him.

That's about it for this update... I just switched to aligner 17 this far so good! :)

Tray 18

Whoo Hoo! 18 days until I go get my attachments off and take impressions for refinements. Tray 18 has been snug the entire time - there was some soreness the first 2 days as always, and no discomfort since. Trucking right along. Nothing out of the ordinary to report on this blog update. I've only done one whitening treatment since the one where I experienced the 'searing' pain. As soon as my attachments come off I plan on doing treatments for 15-30 mins everyday until I reach my desired whiteness. Hopefully that will help hold it off during the next round of treatment. I don't remember my teeth ever having this much trouble staying a decent white! I am brushing and flossing more now than ever! It's very frustrating!

I've seen some great movement so far and really look forward to what round 2 will bring! Although, I am praying I don't have more trays in round 2 than I did for the first round...

Trat 19 & round 1 attachment removal

Tray 19 was very uneventful! I have to admit I was somewhat lax with my wear time because I knew I would be wearing this set an extra 3-4 weeks while waiting on my refinements to come in. It wasn't terrible, but I wasn't in a rush to get the trays back in after meal time. I haven't had any issues.

I had my dentist appointment this morning to take off the attachments (YAY!!) and take impressions for the refinements. It turns out in September, someone had ordered the missing passive trays, because they were there in the second box... 'replacement trays' were typed on the bags and they were dated in September. I guess whoever ordered them didn't put it in my file. But since we already pretty much had a plan, I insisted we go ahead and remove the attachments and send in for refinements. I was already set on it and have really been looking forward to having the attachments removed and gone for a few weeks. It didn't take long at all to remove the attachments and it didn't hurt or bother me in the least. My teeth are so much cleaner without the attachments and excess glue! They definitely get stained over time.

Taking new Yuk!! Still old school and we had to do each arch twice. That stuff is nasty! They also took a bunch of new pictures. Pretty much like the original appointment I had for the first round. He gave me another #19 for the uppers and had me switch to aligner 20 for my lowers. In a short 3-4 weeks I'll have the refinements and start all over again.

Refinements are in! Tray 1

After five glorious weeks attachment free, I went to the dentist to get my refinements this morning. I have 15 trays for both upper and lower. I was surprised by 15 trays, but it could be worse, so I won't complain. Only 2 attachments on the uppers - one tiny one on my right lateral incisor and another one further back on the same side. Whooo! Neither is very noticeable. I got 6 on my lowers none on the front four teeth - and the lowers don't bother me as much as the old attachments on my front tooth did! I am pretty happy with the attachment outcome!

If all stay on track and I complete all 15 trays I will be done with Invisalign on August 1st and can move on to some of the other cosmetic work to be done. This refinement only adds an additional 12 weeks to the original treatment plan I had (still had 8 trays on the bottom when we did refinements.)

He did some IPR on my lowers to make some room - it didn't hurt at all but it is a little disconcerting. He used a little drill with a grinding disc as well as a little strip of metal "sand paper." It gave me the heebie jeebies in the same sense of a "nails on a chalkboard" effect.

My teeth have been super sore this afternoon - which is not surprising and weirdly, welcome. After wearing the same tray for 7 weeks on my upper and 5 on the lowers, my last set of trays were quite - worn - and very easy to get on and off. I missed the 2 week switch outs and seeing some changes. I have to admit my wear time over the last 2 weeks has been quite lax - but the trays were well worn in and I had no problems when I put them back in. No issues today getting the new set in and out. I got some crest white strips and have been using them the last 2 weeks to whiten my teeth. They have helped immensely and is not quite as strong as the gel I have so doesn't cause the super sensitivity. I apply the strip then put my braces back in and can wear it for and hour or two no problem.

Here we go! Fresh start to the new year!

Refinement 1 Tray 2

This tray has been VERY mild. It wasn't tight at all and I felt no soreness. It's felt like I have been wearing it for a while. I hope the next one give me some pain, baby! At least you know it is doing something! I have to admit it makes for some difficulty in staying as compliant as I should be. I have been wearing them about 19-20 hours a day or more, depending on the circumstance. Weekends have become the worst for wear.

Two is not always better than one - but in this case, IT IS! These little doodads are AWESOME! Get some! I came across them when replenishing my stash.They are superior to those flimsy 1 line flossers. My husband said "watch out, before you know it they will be like the razors and they will have to keep topping one another and you'll have a flosser with FIVE lines and cost $25 a pack." LOL (See photo - I copy these updates from my "other" blog so it doesn't read quite the same without a picture next to it!)

I have been using the white strips with great results (mentioned previously, but it's worked out exceptionally well!) I slept with them in last night and only have a slight sensitivity on one of my bottom front teeth. Now that I have a couple of weeks under my belt with the new attachments, it is clear that the glue they use definitely stains and makes those particular teeth look more off color than the rest. Wish they could figure out a way to not get the glue all over the tooth and only apply it where it is needed... under the attachment. Oh well. At least we know that at the end when they remove the attachments it also removes the stains!

I have heard alot of people (in braces) talk about their midline. Mine is way off but it has always been off. It's not really something has ever bothered me, so I haven't ever brought it up to the dentist. I can't even fathom how many trays it would take to shift a mouthful of teeth one way or the other. I just can't even consider the thought! UGH. I will be happy with straight teeth even if they are off at the midline. The only people who would notice it are those in braces or the midst of dental work.

I guess for my comparison shots I will show a pre-invisalign, Refinement tray 1, and then whatever current tray I am on. I think the movement is going to be much less dramatic this round.

(My angle was a little different in the R1T2 photo... oh well! But hey, my teeth are WHITE this time Yay! :))

I forgot to mention...

That I had 2 attachments fall off the very first day of tray 1 of the refinements. Actually, they had trouble getting them to "stick" at the docs office, then I noticed the next day they were gone. There are 2 separate attachments on both of the teeth these fell off of, and my dentist wasn't too concerned with getting them put back on immediately. Said it was fine to wait until my next appointment. One of them I don't think is ever going to stick properly, because it is so low on a premolar next to the open space my molar used to be in. It is REALLY super close to my gum. Shrug.

That is all. :)

Photo Comparisons

Thought I would post full face photos for comparison. I am very happy with my progress and smile a lot more these days! My smile will never be one of those perfect "Hollywood" smiles, but that is ok. A little quirky like me is fine! LOL Can't wait until the entire smile makeover journey is complete!!

Refinement 1 Tray 5

Not too much to report with the last few trays. I am halfway through tray 5 and its been uneventful. No pain to speak of and I am not sure if there is much movement going on! I can't really tell a difference. The attachment I was worried about not staying - didn't. And it's partner attachment on the same tooth? Yea, it also decided to jump ship one day when I put my lower tray back in after a meal. Just kinda snapped right off. I am not doing anything out of the ordinary when putting my trays in or taking them out so I dunno. I have an appointment tomorrow for a cleaning and exam, so I will bring it up then. I wonder if that one tooth not moving properly could affect the other teeth on the bottom from also not moving properly? I just don't think that tooth is going to hold attachments well.

My right lateral incisor - the tooth that is going to be crowned - isn't moving much at all... it needs to come down a bit I think but doesn't seem to be doing so. I have a crooked smile and have since I was a baby (it was cute but it sure seems to me that all the upper teeth on my right side are higher than the left and/or the bottom teeth on the right side are lower than the left. Looking back it has always been that way and I never noticed?! I guess I am feeling overly critical today! Maybe not the best day to update! LOL

1/3 of the way through my refinements, so hopefully things will shape up here in the next few months! I need to try and remember to ask to see the newest clincheck at my next ortho appt.

1 year in Invisalign!

Saturday was the 1 year anniversary since I started wearing my aligners! Yippee! lol 144 days left in this refinement round and hope it's the last!

I went to the dentist for my 6 month cleaning Friday - oral hygiene is the best it's ever been! Got a great report and it didn't take much scraping this time out! :) Dentist added the 2 attachments back and so far so good. I hope they stay on this time. Next Invisalign appt is in 3 weeks.

Have a great week everyone!

Refinement 1 Tray 7

There's just not a lot going on to report lately! There has been some movement on the lowers for sure, it just seems to be very slow going. I have had almost no pain or even discomfort to speak of. The first 2 days of the last few trays I have been able to tell which teeth they were moving, but it wasn't even uncomfortable! I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing. Usually associate some pain and discomfort with movement. The two attachments that had to be put back on are holding fast this time, thankfully! :) I have had very little sensitivity and have been able to whiten my teeth on a regular basis with no problem! I am really looking forward to the gaps he created with IPR to start closing on my lowers. The actual arch is looking pretty good, but wow, I am going to need some serious bonding and/or filing to even out the jagged edges.

That's about it for my update... I switch to tray 8 tomorrow. I am already halfway through my refinements!

Tray 10 of refinements (total 29 trays)

I am now on tray 10 of my refinement. I have had no issues to speak of and have just been trucking along. Only 81 days left of my refinement phase before we move on to the other work I will have done. I've come a long way! You can see my arches are looking fabulous and my bite is great (no issues with teeth hitting weird or not being able to chew etc.) When you look at the front view though, it is ever apparent that I will need a lot of re-contouring done to even out my edges from years of grinding (also notice it appears my top teeth are tilted to the front from the side views, but that's as good as they will get with the shape of my roots. From the front view they look fine... kind of odd.)

The first thing I am doing is having bridges made for my missing back molars. They have been gone since my early twenties (we never went to the dentist when I was a kid unless we were in pain,) so there is too much bone loss to even consider implants (extremely costly and the process is very long.) I am also have my right central incisor's crown redone and the tooth next to it (lateral incisor) will also get a crown and then finally all of the re-contouring. I hope by the end of September I will be completely done with all this dental work and can stop focusing on my teeth!

I only have 1 more ortho appointment left to pick up trays then it's on to the other work. I highly doubt I will get another round of refinements if my arches and bite are good. The other work I am having done will take care of the remaining cosmetic issues. I can't wait to be done!!! :)

Final tray! Tray 15 of refinements (total 34 trays)

In 10 short days I go in to start the next phase of my smile makeover. We are starting with the bridges and the appt is scheduled for 2-1/2 hours! Yikes, not looking forward to that but I am so ready to be done with this whole process. It will take 3-4 weeks to get the bridges back, then on to the uppers, as I have 2 crowns to get. There will be some re-shaping and/or cosmetic bonding done but I am not sure when he will want to do that. I was also thinking of getting a bonded retainer on my lowers since the bridges will pretty much cover all the molars (not happy about having to ruin good teeth but my only other alternative would be implants - which would require bone grafting surgery, extremely long recovery times (months and months!) and not to mention the cost! So much more expensive than bridges.)

I really don't have much to report with the wearing of my trays. One boring tray after the next. No pain and nothing out of the ordinary has happened since I last posted. I have kept on my same routine with hygiene and whitening and all has been well. I will admit that the last few trays I have kept them out a little longer than normal - but the movements are so small with refinements I haven't had any issues with tracking. Trays are fitting perfectly.

The attached photo was from the last day of tray 14. My uppers have been in passive trays for a while now, just finishing up the lowers. I really hate the way my teeth look when I am not wearing my aligners- the jagged edges are horrible. The actual arches look beautiful and my bite is perfect. I'll make sure to get some good photos when they remove my attachments before we start on the other work. I will surely get lots of pictures throughout the rest of the process too and post updates. Can't wait to see the final "before and after" shots!

Refinements are done!

I went in on August 1st to have my attachments removed and start the process on the next phase of my smile make-over. I may do another refinement after all the other work is said and done... I am not sure yet.

We started on the front - my right central incisor crown is being replaced (to eliminate the dark area at the gum line) and lateral incisor next to it (the tooth that started the process to begin with) is getting a crown. He also did a little contouring on the bottom arch (I want a little more) and my left central incisor - now my right central incisor looks longer - but he assured me they would be even when the crown came in. I go back on the 22nd to have to new crowns seated and then we will set the next appt up to start on the bridges to replaced the missing molars in the back.

I may do a refinement after that - my left lateral incisor seems to be tilted out just a little (especially noticeable in the open mouth view,) although, when you look at the arch view it is in perfect alignment. I'll decide after everything else is done.

All in all, I am thrilled with the changes from beginning to now!

Before and after pics

I thought I would update with a current photo. I've had the front crowns placed and in process with the bridges. I'll post final arch photos when work is complete in a few weeks.

I'm very happy with my results so far. New photo taken Thanksgiving 2014.

Final Photos

I never did get official arch photos from the dentist, so please excuse the amateur shots. I have completed all of my smile make over now. I am in full time retainers until the end of July. I have Essix retainers.

Invisalign - 1-1/2 years after finishing treatment

I really couldn't be any happier with my results. I ended up getting Vivera retainers (Invisalign Brand) because the in house Essix retainers my dentist made me kept snapping and I had to have them replaced twice before I decided the investment was worth it for the Vivera. I paid $350 for 4 sets and well over a year later I am just started on my 3rd set. They have been well worth the money spent! The Essix retainers were larger, thicker and didn't have the same gum line precision that Vivera has. I get compliments on my smile every day! It's not perfect like some other end results I have seen, but my results are perfect for me!
Kingwood Dentist

Dr. Ameri and all the staff are awesome! I'm really happy with the quality of service and attention they provide. I was nervous about choosing a cosmetic dentist over an orthodontist, but he has proven to be a great provider and they are willing to work with me whenever I have any issues or concerns. I highly recommend them!

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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