And in the Bginning There Was...tray 1 - Massachusetts, MA

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I recently started my Invisalign journey. I have...

I recently started my Invisalign journey. I have been self consious about a sizable gap between my front teeth for many years but I finally decided to bite the bullet and go for it when my 5 year old nephew was looking at my recent WDW pictures and said to me "Aunti - you got a rotten tooth?" He thought the gap in my teeth was actually a blackened tooth! (the gap does look black in the pictures!). Upon looking at my pictures more closely, I realized that I really looked like I had a front tooth missing. With my daughter getting married in a little over a year, I decided I needed to do something about that gap! So my dentist had recently been certified in Invisalign and her entire staff had them done and they all had beautiful smiles! I had a consult and decided to go for it. I am going to need 22 trays and probably 8 refinements then a retainer for at least a year 24/7. I'm ok with that - I hope.
Right now I'm on day three of my first tray and still struggling a bit to get used to them. I keep thinking that I'll wake up one day and forget I have them in - from the other posts on here - that may not ever happen. But I have to say that although they felt quite tight initially, I never really had much discomfort. What is most uncomfortable for me is actually taking my top aligners out. I have a total of 13 attachments and sometimes when I pull the top aligner off my front teeth (the ones that need the most movement) they do hurt a bit. But nothing overwhelming. My problem right now is the spitting. Yes...the spitting. I seem to collect a lot of saliva in my trays and if I speak more than a few words, I get this little spit bubble over the top of one of my front teeth and if I continue to speak I tend to spew a little saliva! Kind of gross I must say. And the lisp that goes along with the excess saliva is a bit annoying but I'm hoping all of this will diminish as my mouth becomes accustomed to these foreign objects in my mouth. I did have some very rough edges that cut up my tongue and inner lip a bit but a 2 minute trip to my dentist resolved that. She filed them down for me and they are much better.
I know the end results will be worth it. I look forward to smiling hugely on my daughter's wedding day unafraid of what my mouth will look like in her pictures. That is why I am forging onward despite the little annoyances. I hope it continues to get better and better.

Is it day 308 yet????

So... day 5 with my aligners and I'm just starting to relaize what a commitment this really is. Still having some issues with spitting - the more I talk, the more I spit! So I have been reduced to just minimal responses whenever possible to minimize the free showers I have been giving to folks. I;ve decided that if I join the church choir this year - I will have to invest in ponchos for the front pew! All kidding aside though, that is by far my biggest issue. I still have a minor lisp that gets worse the more words I say in a row. But I'm thinking this might be a good thing since I feel my aligners are a bit loose now which hopefully means real good movement. I have noticed a slight odor to the aligners so I did buy some Retainer Bright and will start soaking them each evening while I'm having my dinner. Which brings me to another point - I've lost about 6 pounds in 5 days!! I never realized how snacky I was before starting treatment! Now I have a Atkins shake for Breakfast, (15 min),a WW meal for lunch(30 min) and a regular dinner in the evening (75 min). Now I'm not going to lie - I LIVE for that 75 minutes of Invisalign freedom!! I try to make it as late as I can so that once I put them back in - I only have a short time before bed. I keep waiting for the time when I don't even know they are in there - has not happened yet. It is still all I can think of. I have a mouth full of plastic and it knows it! I have no pain, just a feeling of "fullness" - like my mouth is full of plastic -DUH! But I forge onward, knowing that in the end it will be worth it. And maybe it's just my imagination, but the gap between my front teeth does look a tad bit smaller :)

here's my "before" photo

Onw week down...43 to go!

So I am officially one week into my 44 week journey! I'm still not loving the aligners but I'm at least getting used to a routine. I take out my aligners for about 5 minutes first thing in the morning to brush them and my teeth. Then I eat breakfast at about 9:30am (20 min), lunch at 1pm (30 min) and then I enjoy the freedom of no aligners for supper for an entire hour and 10 min! Woo-Hoo!! Granted I spend the final 10 minutes flossing and brushing but hey - it still feels good! I have been soaking my aligners in Retainer Brite during my super break and they seem to be staying nice and clear. I do have a slight problem with odor lately so I've been rinsing them a little longer and brushing them each time they are out but I can only use a very tiny amount of toothpaste otherwise the toothpaste gets stuck in the indents for my attachments and is very hard to get out. So if I don't want my front tooth to have this white blob on it, I can only use a little toothpaste. But it does take care of the odor for a brief time. My biggest issue lately has been the "open mouth syndrome". By that I mean I find myself with my mouth hanging open when I'm watching TV or doing dishes or...whatever. I have to make a conscious effort to keep my mouth closed. Part of the reason for that I think is because I feel like my upper lip is protruding. It's not really but it feels that way because of the placement of the attachments - I have several on my front top 4 teeth. I wish my top aligner felt like my bottom. I don't even know the bottoms are in but the tops are very evident to me. I think about them all the time and am ALWAYS aware of them. I hate that. But the good news is that everyone I tell never even knew I had them in. And I know that in the end I'll have a beautiful smile so i'm going to hang in there. I'm hoping that with each new set of trays, they will feel less intrusive and I will be less aware of them (after the initial pain of course). I'll post a new pic with each tray for your viewing pleasure (if you like spit that is cuz that is STILL an issue for me!)

It's finally getting ...better

Day 11 on tray one and I have to say that I am feeling better about this process! The excess saliva has diminished (I'm actually dry all the time) and I'm starting to not notice them as much. Yes, they are still there but I found that yesterday and today I actually put something in my mouth and thought " oh wait,I can't have that - I have my aligners in"! I almost forgot about them! I have been a little lax about the water drinking thing - I HATE water so I have been having a diet Coke with my meal and if I don't finish it I have been know to take a sip here and there with my aligners in. I just make sure I take a swig of water in between sips. And I love the Retainer Brite - my aligners are crystal clear still! I can now take these aligners off with ease - and I have 14 attachments! I will admit I still find it a pain to brush my teeth at work but I'm getting used to it. I go Monday for tray #2. Not really looking forward to the first few days but at least I know that eventually they will feel better and I am that much closer to the final results. Added bonuses: still losing weight due to no snacking at all and a second bonus: I have always been a nail biter but no more- my nails are growing quite nicely! Hope everyone has a great weekend and I'll post an update when I get my next set of trays (and maybe a picture)

Woo-Hoo tray 2!!!!

2 down - 42 to go! Today I started my 2nd tray and they feel good! I went to the dentist and she asked me to try on the 2nd tray and they felt snug but no pain at all! And they are pretty easy to get in and out - even with my 14 attachments. So I just left them in. During the last few days of my 1st tray, my top aligners were actually getting uncomfortably loose. The top edges were moving further and further away from my gum line and it was making speech difficult! I feel like I now know what elderly people with loose dentures feel like! Plus on Saturday when I pulled out my bottom aligners I noticed it had a crack in it. So I had to be extra careful taking it out so as not to completely break that piece off. Anyhow, I continue to really try to keep to the 22 hours a day with an occasional lapse of maybe 15 minutes. One thing I have found is that taking a sip of diet Coke followed by a water chaser does NOT stain my aligners. Another thing I found - sometimes brushing your teeth in a public restroom is just gross! My dentist recommended Wisps for those times when actual brushing is not feasible. So I'm going to pick up some of those and keep them in the car, my purse, my desk, etc. I'm starting to feel that I'm getting more and more used to it and am excited that I'm having no discomfort with my new set. At first I was thinking that maybe it was because my teeth weren't as far along as they should be but my dentist assured me that that is not the case at all. So I'm trying hard not to look at the next 2 sets of aligners that I now have at home - I want to be surprised! I'm sure not every tray change will be this easy but so far - so good. I'll post a picture tomorrow of my teeth post tray 1. Keep Smilin'!!!!!

tray 2!

no difference yet - but I know it's coming!

Tray 2 almost done!

Today is day 11 with my 2nd set of trays and things are going well. I think I am finally getting used to them although I can't really see any change in my smile yet. I have realized that I don't need to be so fanatical about certain things like I was in the beginning. I've come to realize that these aligners need to become a part of my life - not take over my life!. I have become a little less neurotic about certain things though. For instance:
1. I now relaize that taking a few sips of OJ with my aligners on will not cause them to immediately stain and turn my smile into the smile of Pumpkinhead!
2. On occassion, if I can't brush my teeth immediately after eating (like when we went to a campground for the day - talk about gross restrooms) I can just rinse well and then brush thoproughly when I get home and my teeth will not fall out, move back out of alignment or turn black with decay!
3. While I'm sure the most sanitary place to store my aligners when I have them out is indeed the case, I have on a few occassions, carried them around in my pocket for a while and they were just fine.
So I am determined to live my life as usual, which if I am honest, I wasn't doing when I first got Invisalign. I was so paranoid about doing it exactly right every time. Now, almost 2 full trays in, I can see that if I do things right MOST of the time I will still be ok. My dentist is very very pleased with the way things are going and says I am exactly where I should be at this step of the process. I still try very hard to keep them in the full 22 hours and am 99.9% successful. I still try to brush immediately after I eat and am about 90% successful. I still try to only drink water when I have them in and I am about 85% successful (but when I do have something other than water, it is usually clear diet soda). I still don't snack because it is just too much of a pain to take them out, go to the ladies room, rinse them, have my snack, go back to the ladies room to brush my teeth all for the sake of a Hershey kiss or half a banana. I have become quite adept at taking them out discreetly in public - I just always have a napkin handy. Putting them back in still requires a trip to the ladires room. The saliva issue has just about disappeared except for when I speak for a long period of time - then it gets a little messy. My speech still has a slight lisp, worse with certian letters and I'm a little worried that folks listening to our church choir might be looking for Elmer Fudd the first time we sing but I'll get over it - God doesn't care! So...all in all things are going well, I'm starting to feel like these things are just something that has to be taken care of every day as part of my daily routine like showering, curling my hair and making supper - it's all just part of the day.
I am so looking forward to the day when I can actually see a difference in my smile!

Tray Three!

Tray #3 - yay! I put them in just before bed. Although they felt a little tight putting them on, once they were in place - no problems at all. I find I actually prefer the aligners the first week. During the second week they seem to get a little loose and feel more intrusive. I prefer them tight. But so far so good. I'll post pic # 3 eomorrow - maybe someone can see a difference that I can't!

Tray three continues!

I'm on week 2 of tray three and there's not a whole lot to say since my last review. I did leave them out the entire 2 hour at one time and they were VERY uncomfortable when I put them back in. Won't be doing THAT again. I'm looking at the pics I've posted and maybe it's my imagination but i think my front tooth is a little bit less crooked!

Tray 4!

LAst night was my first night with my fourth tray and these were so far the most difficult to put in. They were very tight at first and actually a little painful. I put them in just before bed and had to get up about an hour later to take some ibuprofen. It worked fine. They are still a little painful when I put them in after they've been out for a bit but after a few minutes of them being in - they feel fine. I always prefer them to be tight rather than loose - they feel less like a mouth full of marbles when they are tighter. I have noticed that one tooth is very sensitive with this set of aligners - not sure what that means but if it gets any worse I may need to take a trip to my dentist - we'll see. I did have to have a few fillings before starting this process so maybe that has something to do with it. I am still really good about trying to keep them in the 22 hours but sometimes I miss by a half hour or so but i I think that's still doing really good. I really don't notice any real difference yet but I'm hoping when I compare tray one to tray four there will be a noticeable difference!

almost done with tray 4!

In three days I will be moving on to tray 5! I can't believe I'm already almost a quarter of the way there. I have a dentist appointment Monday to get my next 3 trays. I found that this last set was so far the most difficult. I think that this tray started the real movement of my front teeth since they were a little sore most of the time. I've been a little lax about some of the "rules" but I'm still trying my best to keep them out no longer than the 2 hours. I find that during the last week of each tray, they become a little more cumbersome. They don't seem to fit as flush to the gums as they do the first week so I notice them more - I feel like i have something in my mouth (which I do!) But it is not unbearable, just annoying at times. I still clean my aligners every ight with retainer brite and have never had an issue with staining. They do have a wonky smell when I remove them but usually a quick rinse takes care of that. I can now remove them at the dinner table in about 10 seconds without anyone being the wiser. I hold a napkin up to my mouth and BAM! - out they come. I still brush my teeth after every meal before I put them back in - I am petrified of getting a cavity from having food stuck in them for a length of time. So soon I'll be on to tray 5 - I'll post my tray 5 pic on Monday.

Week 6 - woo hoo!

First I have to say that looking ay my posted photos, I don't know why the gap in my teeth looks so much smaller in the third photo! Honestly, while there has been some improvement, it must have been the angle because there has not been THAT much improvement ...yet! I think that the most improvement has so far been in the protrusion of my front teeth rather than the gap. I started my 6th tray yesterday and I have to say - these hurt! So far, any of the other trays were a tiny bit sore the first few minutes then they were fine. These however are the first trays that I put in and have had to actually take Advil a few times for the first 2 days. I didn't realize my actual teeth could hurt LOL! But I am starting to notice a real difference - the back teeth on top are much easier to floss because as the gap lessens in the front - that space needs to go somewhere so my back teeth are moving and I can tell by the easier flossing. I can also tell that this particular set of trays are focusing a lot on my bottom teeth- they are the sorest right now. And I notice the front tooth that was pretty crooked is really starting to straighten out and my front teeth are protruding WAY less.
Now that I am this far in the process I find I have gotten a little lax on the "rules". I especially have been lax about only having water while my aligners are in. I've been having diet Coke, iced coffee etc at least once every day. But my eyes were opened when I put my last set of aligners in the bag right next to my new, unworn ones and what a difference! The old ones absolutely had a yellow tinge to them. I didn't notice it while I was wearing them and I have been soaking then nightly in Retainer Brite but there really was a huge difference - very noticeable side by side. So... I'm back to drinking only water with them in (and I hate water). I also have been a little lax on brushing my teeth right away before putting my aligners back in. This usually happens when I'm dining out. I'm still struggling with brushing my teeth in a public restroom so I had been just putting my aligners back in after eating (swishing with some water first) and then brushing my teeth and aligners when I got home. Well, that was until one time I took them out to clean them when I got home and took a real good look (and smell) at them. They were very slimy and gross. Never again. Now I don't care where I have to go to brush my teeth but those aligner never go back in my mouth until they have been cleaned.
I'm still keeping them in an average of 22 hours/day with the occasional extra 1/2 hour as needed - usually on the weekends. But I also find that if I leave them out longer than an hour - they are really sore to put back in.
Wow! I didn't realize how long this update would be - lots to say I guess. I'm seeing a difference now and that is exciting! I look forward to each new tray and especially to my 6 week dental checkups where I can actually see on the computer what my teeth have done and will be doing in the next few trays. My dentist says I am EXACTLY on track!
Hope everyone is doing well!

Tray 7 and I'm seeing a difference!!

I just started tray 7 - 1/3 of the way done! I'm finding that these last 2 trays have been a little more uncomfortable than the previous ones but I can really see a difference in my pics now! I am back to being excited about this, I'm still averaging 22 hours a day and I've been a little lax still about brushing my teeth immediately after eating but i'm trying hard to get back to it. Can you all see a difference yet???

tray 7 pic

More than half way there!

I haven't been posting much because it's pretty much the same old thing. But I can say with great excitement that my teeth are starting to look amazing!! These last few trays ( I'm on tray 12 now) have really made a huge difference! For the first time that I can ever remember, I actually got a piece of food stuck between my 2 front teeth LOL! That has never happened before!
These last few aligners have been a little more uncomfortable but I know it's because my teeth are really on the move! One thing I will caution you all about - I had gotten a little lax about brushing and flossing my teeth after every meal - sometimes it's just a pain. But I went for my cleaning this week - 2 new cavities :(. I absolutely believe it is due to the fact that I was often just rinsing my mouth with water and then putting my aligners back in without brushing or flossing. So I am now paying the price. But I learned from it so everything is good. I now will not replace my aligners ever without brushing and flossing. And I did get a little freaked out when the hygienist told me a few of my teeth were "moving" (AKA loose) but she reassured me that is part of the process and absolutely normal and they will not fall out if I take a bite of a sandwich!
I will try to post pics later - wait til you see the difference! This is the best thing I have ever done for myself!!

I can see clearly now...

Yes.. I can now absolutely see a huge difference in the gap between my from teeth. For a few trays now, others have noticed but for me - not so much. But now I can really see it. Woo Hoo!!! Tray 13 really seemed to be the turning point as I actually needed to have some "sanding" done between some of my teeth to make room for continued straightening. It was simply a thin piece of what looked like sandpaper flossed between my teeth - only 2mm. But when I look at my before pic - I am so excited! A few housekeeping tips - as I mentioned in my last review - brush and floss after EVERY TIME you eat. I didn't and ended up with three small new cavities. I do now. The other thing I found out is that tea is the worst for staining aligners. I drink my tea without sugar so I assumed it was ok to drink without taking out the aligners. Well, the aligners were quite stained when I took them out, so much so that my Retainer Brite (which I swear by) didn't even take the stain out. I had to add a teaspoon of bleach to the water and soak them for 1/2 hour longer. So I won't be doing that again. So for those of you just starting out or in the early stages of your journey - forge ahead, do what's right and keep brushing - it is all SO worth it!

tray 13 pic - can you notice the difference???

Pride goeth before the fall...

Well, I've been so excited about my progress, bragging and showing off and karma bit me today right in the butt. I have lost my aligners. I had them wrapped in a napkin when we unexpectedly stopped for a bite to eat this afternoon and now they are gone. I had been so careful with them right up until the end of the meal and I think when I went to get my debit card out of my purse, I put them down next to some other used napkins. And of course, today of all days we have the waitress from the land of Speedy Gonzales! She was so quick picking up our plates and our trash that she must have picked them up thinking it was just a dirty napkin and I never thought about it again until I got home about 1/2 hour later. And I was so going to brush my teeth and put them back in at the restaurant but I figured we were only 10 minutes from home and I much prefer brushing and flossing at home. So anyway...I put in my previous set of aligners (I was on day 7 of 1 4 days of this current set ) and will have to call the dentist in the AM. I'm so upset with myself! But I'm sure I'm not the first person to do this but now am wondering if I'll just move to the next set of trays (#14) or if they will have to reorder tray 13 and I'll be probably 2 weeks behind in my treatment. Not the worst news in the world but I'm still mad at myself. The moral of the story - brush as soon as you are done eating no matter where you are and always bring your case! My case was at work :(. I'll let you know what the dentist says tomorrow.

The End is Near...

It has been so long since my last update! While my Invisalign journey has continued without any major issues, I have had to deal with some other health issues that took precedence. However I am now healthy and on my very last tray - tray 22~ I cannot believe it! I will need NO refinement trays either! On July 14th I will get my buttons removed and have my teeth polished and get my whitening gel to use in my retainer. This has been an amazing journey - some good and some not so good. I find as I'm getting to the end I am getting a little lax - especially since I've been home from work for 4 weeks. All I want to do is snack. But I will be back to work Tuesday and will be much more regimented this last week. I can't believe I am even saying my last week - these 44 weeks have flown by. My daughter's wedding is in 4 months and I will be smiling ear to ear with my new beautiful smile!!! For those of you in the midst of your journey - hang in there. The end result will be soooo worth it!

LOL - daughter's wedding is in 3 months not 4 - EEK! I still have so much to do!


Almost but not quite...

I finally finished my final tray but I have decided to get a few more refinement trays. Initially I was ecstatic with the way my teeth came out but after really examining them I have opted to get a few more trays for the gap. Although it is 99% closed, and I can only see the gap if I peer very closely into the mirror, I figure that I've invested all this time and money into these teeth. why shouldn't they be perfect? There is no additional cost for the refinement trays but Invisalign will pay for EITHER the refinement trays or the retainer - not both. I actually had decided while at the dentist to go with the retainer but changed my mind the next morning. My dentist had suggested getting a few more trays but she also said that from a distance you absolutely could not see the gap and she was right. But again, I want the full benefit of the Invisalign so I'm going for about 4 more. I'm planning on stopping the week before the wedding so I can get my teeth cleaned and have the attachments removed. After the wedding, if they are still not where I want them to be. I can continue with a few more alignments. So...I'm a little disappointed but happy with my decision to continue with the refinement trays. I want a perfect smile!

refinements pending

I'm still waiting for my refinements to come in. I stupidly decided after they removed my buttons that I wanted to go with a few more aligners so I have been approx. 2 weeks without anything and my gap does seem to be a tad bit wider - which I was expecting. After all, that's why they give you a retainer. But on the bright side, the office made me a retainer for the top to hold me over until I get the trays. So at least the gap won't open any more than it has. The problem has been that my dentist went on vacation before I decided to go with the refinements but hopefully by the end of the week I'll have my refinement trays. I'm hoping to get in 4 full trays before removing the buttons for the wedding. If i need a few more trays after that, that'll be fine. While I am doing the retainers, I am also doing the home Zoom whitening treatment. It is another commitment! I brush my teeth, put the gel in the retainer, put the retainer in for 30 minutes then take the retainer out, brush again and clean my trays! I'm sure once I get a system going though it'll be easier. The funny thing is that the gel comes in syringes so it looks like I'm going into the bathroom to "shoot up" twice a day LOL! But I've only put the gel on twice so no real results yet. I'm noticing my bottom teeth are a little sensitive but nothing real bad. So that's my story. I would recommend as you get to the end of your invisalign treatment, think very carefully about getting the refinements. Once you take off that last set of trays - you WILL notice even the smallest imperfection, so go for the refinements and do it at your last visit - don't wait.

haven't posted in a while

Things at my house have been crazy. My daughter's wedding is just 13 days away so we are BUSY! I am on tray three of my refinement trays and my teeth look great! I did try the Zoom whitening gel but didn't have much luck with it - my teeth whitened VERY unevenly. So 3 days before the wedding I am doing the 1 hour treatment. Before the whitening I am going to have all my buttons removed and they will remain off until the day after the wedding. I am planning on still wearing my aligners even without the buttons - I think they will be tight enough to stay on - just like my bottom retainer stays on without attachments. I'm just afraid to leave them completely off for 21/2 full days because if left off, my teeth very quickly separate! I had forgotten my aligners at work one afternoon so left them off overnight - in the morning there was a definite difference in the spacing between my front teeth! It is amazing how fast they separate! My dentist told me that teeth have a memory - that us why after refinements, you need to wear the retainer 24/7 (or as close as possible) so your teeth start to remember the "perfect" position. But with each aligner they look nicer and nicer.
This is the best thing I have ever done for myself. I feel like I cafinally have a beautiful smile now! It is a commitment but one that is well worth it. I'll post some pics of my new smile at the wedding as soon as I can after the big day. Wish us luck and if you are praying people - please pray for good weather on October 4th!!! Thank you!!

the end is in sight

I haven't posted in a long time! My daughter's wedding has come and gone and we should soon be getting some pictures. I am on the final tray of my refinements and next week will be getting a lingual bar retainer and the clear retainer for my top teeth. I've had my bottom retainer for a while now. the reason I'm getting the lingual bar retainer in addition to the clear removable retainer is that my teeth have very good memory. If I leave my aligners off for a couple of hours at one time, I definitely notice a gap. After having them back in for a few hours the gap closes. So my teeth are still mobile and the lingual bar will permanently keep the gap closed, especially during the initial phase of using the clear retainer. I've had my buttons off for a week now but am still keeping the last aligner in to prevent the gap opening while waiting for the retainer to be completed. I do notice a tiny gap now so we'll see how my dentist will handle it. I certainly don't want to have this gap when I get the permanent lingual bar! i'll post pics soon!
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