BACKGROUND: I had braces in the 7th grade like most people, and for 16 months like most people. I was closing gaps in otherwise perfectly straight teeth. I had a lower permanent retainer that I had removed when I turned 20. Things looked fine until I hit about 35, then the gaps started reappearing.
CONSULTATION: I went to the same ortho that my husband (a surgeon) and his kids went to. This is not the same ortho that I originally went to as I now live in a different city. I explained my desire to close the gaps that had reappeared between my teeth and asked that he "fast track me in regular braces." He showed me a video of Invisalign and said that I was a good candidate for this procedure. I saw the benefit of no wires or metal in my mouth, and I could take them out for a couple hours per day. Yay! I signed up and got fitted.
PROCEDURE: They took fitting molds of my teeth and sent them in to the company that creates the trays. After about 5 weeks my first three trays came in and I went in to have the first set "installed" and take the rest home. While I was there, they created the anchors (tooth-colored knobs on three of my teeth) with a disposable tray similar to the first set. I had three anchors, you may have none or more, depends. Anyway, they popped the first set in and BOY that was tight!!!! Yikes! They had me practice putting them on and taking them off in the office. Good thing, as one of my anchors popped off and they had to redo it. NOTE: if you have a porcelain crown, the anchor will be a problem because it might not stick as well as the others.
SET CHANGES: I was to wear each set for two weeks, with a total of nine sets. Pretty amazing, as that meant I was to be correcting my teeth over about four months! I was really happy. Each set change, though, led to a "loose teeth" feeling for a couple of days and was kind of painful. I found myself taking a new set out after just several hours to give myself a break. I went in for a follow up and to get my next three (sets 4-6) and things were ok. However, I never could get past set 4 for some reason. I had those in for more than a month and they still felt tight as ever. I guess my teeth were dead set on not moving anymore without something stronger.
DECISION TO REMOVE: I went to the ortho and told him I couldn't get past the fourth set. We discussed my desire to have regular braces installed, and he did it immediately. I had the Damon system put on (slightly different than the railroad track braces from decades ago) same-day. I didn't feel a thing until the next day, then the soreness set in. My teeth WERE more difficult to move this time (just to close gaps!) and the process with these took almost 8 months to complete.
POST - DAMON SYSTEM RESULTS: The gaps are basically gone. My teeth look great again, but some slight gaps have returned since my braces came off. I have upper and lower permanent retainers (6 across top and bottom) and the teeth immediately behind the endpoints are the ones that have moved a little. I also have a regular clear plastic retainer I wear at night (sometimes!). The ortho did not charge me for the Damon system braces because I originally requested regular braces. All I paid for is the Invisalign.