I had always loved my smile and had been complimented on it my whole life. I would never have though of orthodontia as something I would consider, it seemed frivolous. In my 40s, my teeth shifted a bit, and I started having gum problems that concerned me enough to consider it, and I have great insurance now, so I went ahead and did it. And, wow.
The results were far more dramatic than I ever could have expected. (Photo attached.) Creating symmetry and widening the arch made for a dazzling outcome.
I picked the only Board-certified orthodontist in the area, who uses panograph x-rays rather than molds and has the computer-generated trays made to change every week instead of every 2 weeks. A note here when choosing a practitioner -- the computer generated trays are thinner than the ones made from molds. Even with these, my speech was affected, mainly because of the ramps in the back of the teeth.
The incremental trays weekly rather than abruptly every 2 weeks means a huge difference in comfort and in gently moving the teeth. I opted to use Acceledent to enhance bone modeling, because I have bone density issues. I did not elect to reduce the treatment time. My total was almost 9 months. I could have reduced that to 4 or 5 months with the Acceledent but did not.
I went into it thinking my case wasn't particularly complicated and so I was surprised to have so many attachments and ramps. The significant unexpected side effect is that, in realigning my bite, it must have taken the pressure off of my temporomandibular joint (TMJ). As a result, both the frequency and the extremity of the incapacitating migraines that have affected me my entire life were reduced to almost nothing. Huge, huge benefit upon which I could not put a dollar value.
My teeth are unstable for now -- you can even see in the after arch photo that one of my front teeth immediately drifted back. My ortho made adjustments to 'activate' that part of my retainer and is keeping close tabs on it.
Essential recommended purchases, all available on Amazon.
VIOlife dental spa uv/ultrasonic tray cleaner (sometimes can be found half price on eBay) $50
Retainer Brite cleaning tablets (I broke them in half)
VIOlife slim sonic toothbrush to keep with you at work, meals, gym $10
Opalescence whitening gel to use with retainers (Same brand as the $150+ treatment in office.) $20.
LED accelerator light (make sure it has 5 LEDS), about $10
Tip for women who love lipstick: you're going to have to stick with lacquer-type no-smear ones until you finish your plan. They are all somewhat drying, so plan to do lip exfoliation at night.
The only brands that stay on your lips without getting on your Invisalign: Kylie Jenner (I hate to admit it, but it's the best product), Stila Stay All Day, Sephora cream lip stain, Maybelline SuperStay 24, Makeup For Ever Aqua Rouge. Any kind of chapstick or lip balm will take them off. Plain coconut oil is my favorite makeup remover.