29 Year Old Professional Flute Player Treated in Brazil

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I'm a classical flute player and have been making...

I'm a classical flute player and have been making a living as a musician since living school, so I always thought that I'd never be able to fix my teeth as fixed metal braces absolutely destroy the sound. I've seen way too many students put braces on and lose the beautiful sound that they had worked to hard to acquire, and I wasn't up for the risk. Having said that, I absolutely hate my teeth. I have the most obtrusive snaggle tooth (upper left canine) and I've spent my whole life being self conscious about it. It is something that I have never learnt to accept about myself.
Fortunately, a few years ago I met a professional trumpet player in the orchestra where I live, and he was undergoing Invisalign treatment at the time and highly recommended it to me as an option. I thought it was super expensive at first, so discarded the thought, but this year I decided that it's either now or never. It's costing me $5000 US dollars, which in Brazil is a LOT of money (like, the average person's yearly salary), but if I was getting treated in Australia or Britain (where I am previously from), it would cost me a bucketload more.

I literally have only been wearing Invisalign for 15 days, and had my attachments put on today, so it's still early days, but I really think that the worst is behind me now. The first 4-5 days of using Invisalign were pretty nasty, I won't lie. It was so uncomfortable...it was the same feeling of wearing extremely tight shoes that don't let your toes move and make you feel bruised and battered. Taking the trays off wasn't a massive issue, but putting them on made me yelp. Also, my tongue cut pretty cut up from rubbing along the edges of the trays. On day 5 though, I started to see the light. I stopped yelping when putting the trays in. The tongue didn't hurt anymore. I could wear the trays without putting wax on all of the edges. And playing flute with them in wasn't all that hard (it wasn't a walk in the park either!), but I soon found out that I could play flute almost perfectly (99%) with the top tray in and the bottom tray out, so that's what I did whenever I had a gig.
I was starting to feel like it was all too good to be true really, but I was definitely afraid of getting the attachments put on (all 20 of them) because I thought that surely THEY would ruin my flute playing somewhat. And I expected them to cut up my mouth a fair bit.

Getting the attachments on took about 2.5 hours!!! NONE of it was fun! It was pretty damn uncomfortable actually - I won't say painful, just exhausting and irritating. I hated the stupid drill machines they use to file down your teeth etc (I definitely recommend using earphones and listening to loud music during this process to distract yourself!!!). However, having the attachments on isn't hurting me. And I can play flute absolutely fine when I take the trays off. I can play pretty well with them on too...still need to get used to it though. I will warn you though, it's fricking HARD taking off the trays when your mouth is full of attachments. Took me forever...I'm sure I will get used to it though. Don't be fooled by the trays before the attachments - they are a breeze to get on and off. With the trays off, the attachments are a bit weird (they feel rough and lumpy), but they don't hurt at all.

I'm just so happy with the process now...It's hurting less today than I expected...My first trays were excruciating, but these are totally manageable to wear even on the first day.

TOTALLY recommend these for a flute player who is feeling unsure about the effect on their sound. It's definitely a good option.

Pre-Invisalign images

Photos from Tray 3

Forgot to post these at the time, but this is how my teeth looked with and without trays after almost 6 weeks of treatment. "False teeth" were inserted where the extraction sites are, and filled with tooth coloured resin (this is visible on the top tray, but not the bottom because the resin on the bottom tooth fell out).

4 days into Tray 6

I've been a bit bad at updating this profile. The last 4 trays (2 months of treatment) in a nutshell were very breezy. I really got the hang of taking the trays out with ease, and I had extremely little irritation in my mouth. My gums and tongue really got used to the sensation of the trays, and to be quite honest, I preferred the feeling of them IN to having them OUT! When you get used to the trays being in, your teeth actually feel quite sharp to the tongue when the trays are out, so it's better with them in. I go out a lot and initially was sticking to just gin and tonics to make sure I wouldn't stain the trays. Now I'm a bit more liberal and find that most clear-ish drinks don't harm the trays (colour-wise) - just stay away from red wines, coffee, coke etc.

I was so surprised at how little pain I was suffering during these months. It almost made me doubt whether the trays were doing their job, but my orthodontist assured me that my teeth were being very obedient and moving the way she needed them to. And I have seen movements, especially in the areas around my extraction sites. There has definitely been a movements of several millimetres. My lower teeth are starting to look a bit gappy actually, which means that they are definitely moving!

I'm now 4 days into Tray 6, and this has been the most awkward one to deal with so far (apart from the first one of course!). My orthodontist had to put on one more attachment onto one of my lower teeth to help force it to rotate, and seriously, I can feel the pressure! They are also significantly more difficult to take out now. I actually got my tongue stuck inside the lower tray two times while removing it, and it hurt like HELL. Be careful that your tongue is OUT OF THE WAY!! There are new teeth that are feeling particularly tender, so I know that that's where the focus is on this set of trays. After 4 days, taking them out and putting them in still hurts a bit (tender teeth), but when they are in they don't hurt at all. So while it's more awkward than before, it's still not too much to manage and I can still go on with my life without interruptions.

Professionally, I can play flute with no problems. I even performed for several hours tonight with my trays IN. Now my tongue hurts though, so I wouldn't recommend it, but the point is that it is possible for a flute player.

I'm VERY happy with Invisalign so far. I'm pleased that I spent the extra money. No one gives me weird looks about the braces, I don't think anyone can even notice them. I just received the news though that I'll be getting elastics as of the next tray!! This was never mentioned to me earlier, so it was a bit of a shock. I can see that it is probably necessary though, so I'll just have to suck it up and live with it. Will update when the elastics are on!!

New Discovery about Nail Polish on the Trays

This is a bit strange, but I've recently discovered something interesting. Basically, I have two 'false teeth' due to extractions, and my orthodontist has kindly been filling these empty spaces with tooth coloured resin to make it appear like there are in fact teeth there. Problem is, the resin easily falls out. I was quite self conscious about people noticing my big dark extraction site, but now I've learnt that I can use light coloured nail polish to fill the false teeth and it looks just as good (and STAYS!!). I use a creamy transparent colour and while it's not exactly the same colour as my other teeth, it does the job. And it stays, even when I brush the trays hard with toothpaste.

Tray 27 a very belated update!

I've been rubbish at updating this! I'm now onto tray 27 and my ugly top teeth are starting to look almost normal now!! People are shocked at the difference... Just yesterday I had a friend ask me where my vampire tooth had gone to, and when I pointed to it he was absolutely speechless. The bottom teeth have a fair way to go (funny because I always thought that they were less crooked than the top teeth).

I suppose I need to go WAY back to December where I had to start using elastics. I was overseas on the date that I needed to start using them and I had a hell of a lot of trouble get the damn things on! Took me a good hour and I was almost ready to punch the bathroom mirror in by that point. I wasn't a big fan of the elastics but luckily I didn't have to use them for too long. Several months after using them, my orthodontist requested that I only use them at night, then every second night, and now barely ever. It seems that my teeth were TOO responsive to the elastics and she needed the movements to be a little less dramatic. I'm happy about that...the elastics are not very invisible (although some are more-so than others).

As for pain, it's all quite manageable. Some of the movements are really unpleasant, and I was shouting in discomfort when putting them in after a meal or something, but it always gets better after a few days. I've also learnt that I can personally get away with having them out for longer than 3 hours a day IF I constantly put them back in again. For example, if I have a day where I'm performing a LOT and need to have by trays out for 4-5 hours, it's ok as long as I never have them out for longer than about 1.5 hours at a time. I then must reinsert them for about 20 mins at least so my teeth don't move back into position too much.

I've become a lot more relaxed too about what I drink with the trays in. I'll have the occasional bottle of red wine, but only in the last days of the tray because they do stain a bit.

From a flute player's perspective, I really can only say good things about Invisalign. It's definitely the best option...I can play at about 85-90% of my usual capacity with them in, and am totally unaffected with I remove them.

I'm so pleased with my orthodontist too. She's the best. The only thing I can't stand is having my teeth filed every couple of months. I've learnt to bring headphones in that case and play Foo Fighters really loudly to distract myself!

Tray 38

Ok, it's been a while since I updated this. Very bad of me. I'm almost at the "end" of the journey...tray 38 out of 41. I'm now changing trays every 10 days, which is awesome. My teeth and accompanying the movements very well...I'm not suffering any significant discomfort at all when changing trays...

Going back a few months though (around Christmas), I had a particular movement that was causing extreme pain in one of my front teeth. It was so sensitive that I couldn't even drink any liquid that wasn't luke warm without almost squealing in pain. Extremely sensitive!! I was using Sensodyne to help it, but it was still pretty unbearable for a few weeks. The movement itself wasn't so bad, but it was the sensitivity of the tooth. Anyway, I'm past that now and it's all smiles!

I'm absolutely thrilled when I see how much progress I've made. I never really expected my teeth to be pristine (which they aren't), but they aren't distracting at least. I am so confident to smile and laugh...it's quite upsetting to think that for the most part of my life I tried to avoid smiling at all costs.

Things that I wish were improved (still have to see what the next few trays do for me)...alignment of top front teeth isn't lining up with the middle of my nose. Maybe that's because my nose is on an angle? No idea! Anyway, it's fine for photos, but a little odd upon careful observation (and clear to see in these highly exposed photos that I've posted). Also, when my trays are out, there are some small gaps at the top of my teeth (near the gums). The bottom of the teeth line up great, but the tops don't because they are thinner I guess. My orthodontist has told me that the refinement stage will deal with this...I'm really considering doing it. I've gotten so used to have invisalign that I could easily handle another phase of liners. After my last tray (in 40 days time), when the attachments are removed, I'm going to get my teeth whitened. I'll then travel for a couple of months with my new awesome teeth, and then come back to Brazil for refinements.

My orthodontist (Dr. Ana Karina) is a wonderful professional. Very encouraging and attentive to details. I'd recommend her to anyone!! She's also been fantastic about helping me with my extensive travel periods.

I'm so pleased with Invisalign, and so happy that I made the decision to take this path. It's all just so much easier than I ever expected (especially thinking back to those first few days with the trays in, and how UNBEARABLE the discomfort was). I can honestly say that within the whole process, I've only had a handful of trays that have caused significant discomfort during the initial 3-4 days. The rest of the ride has been sooooo breezy. I never need to file my trays anymore too...my gums and tongue are so used to it.

It's all been so worth it.
Ana Karina

Amazing! Very friendly and a perfectionist.

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
4 out of 5 stars Wait times
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