Been Wanting to Close the Gaps in my Teeth Since Childhood! - Ottawa, ON

Well, my story started long before I can remember....

Well, my story started long before I can remember.
I have gaps between almost all of my front teeth, the largest and most noticeable being between my two upper front teeth. My parents could not afford braces for me when I was a kid, and it was the cause of many tears as I was growing up, into become a teenager and then into an adult - it always bothered me more than anyone really knew. I could not smile in pictures, and when I did, that picture would be immediately deleted. It has completely obliterated my self-esteem and self-confidence. It feels like it's the only thing that people can see. I spent a year travelling in Europe and came back only two months ago - I realised that I'm not in most of my photos, and when I am, I don't look happy. Before travelling I was paying my pay through university, so shelling out the equivalent of a year's tuition ON TOP of my tuition and textbook costs was completely out of the question. I knew this was finally the time to fix the one thing that I can't change myself.

So I started researching - I've always had really bad experiences with dentists - all of them would comment about my gaps, and tell me that I needed braces because my gums were suffering - I've dealt with some very rude hygienists as well who would make uncalled for comments - saying that I wouldn't have to come back so much if I "just fixed my teeth". They act like everyone just has $6000 laying around for orthodontics.

So I decided to go to an orthodontist - I did not want to see a dentist who does orthodontics as a side-gig. I researched for weeks and picked an orthodontist for the positive reviews (both on his website as well as other forums), and the fact that he was in orthodontics for such a long time and had gone to prestigious schools. At this point, I didn't know if I would even qualify for Invisalign, and I did not care whether I would get Invisalign or a mouth full of metal: I did not care what I had to go through, I just wanted to fix my teeth.

I immediately felt comfortable in his office: from his receptionist, to his assistant, to the x-ray tech, to the orthodontist himself: They all made me feel comfortable (it was cute that his assistant almost shared my excitement!). He studied my x-rays and what I wanted to fix (he guessed pretty quickly that I wanted to get rid of the gaps), and he gave me a step-by-step explanation of what he would recommend for me and why. Based on the fact that I have a permanent baby tooth with much smaller roots than my adult teeth, he recommended Invisalign over regular braces based on the fact that Invisalign holds a much smaller chance of moving that tooth too quickly, thus making the roots weaker (when they're already very small and weak), and then having it fall out, thus leading to a very expensive dentist's appointment.

He explained to me how it works, how long it would take (26 months... yikes!) and how the aligners would have to be changed every two weeks, etc (won't bore you with the details that everyone else has already posted). While he was explaining everything, his assistant was writing out the financial options for me. I did ask him about the difference in price between invisalign and regular braces (I thought maybe he just suggested Invisalign cause he would make more money), but it turns out he charges the same price for both options. He does not want his patients to choose based on price over what is actually better for them, which I respected. He also does not use third-party financing, so I have now paid my down payment (about $1500) and will be paying the rest monthly without interest! Very happy about that. I probably threw over 100 questions at him, and he answered them all patiently and with detail. I'm very comfortable with my choice of orthodontist.

I went in to get "fitted" for the Invisalign two weeks ago, and now need to wait two - four more weeks until I can finally get started (intially a 4-6 week waiting time).

What this entails so far is:
- 26 months of invisalign retainers
- I will have a few attachments (he said he couldn't give me an exact number until he's finished planning my treatment with invisalign)
- elastics to fix my overbite
- a permanent retainer put onto my teeth afterwards (he described it as a thin wire permanently glued onto the backs of my front teeth to keep them from drifting)
- a retainer to wear all the time for around 6 months after treatment
- a retainer to only wear at night for a few months after that.

Down payment: $1500
Monthly payments: $185
Total: $6000

That will cover EVERYTHING - fitting, aligners, retainers, permanent retainer, everything.

I'm so excited. I've decided to post a hideous photo of my teeth currently as a starting point (took this in my office so the lighting isn't spectacular). Can't wait to post once I get my first set of aligners!

Has anyone else gotten Invisalign who have had gaps like mine? What do you think?

They're here!!

Just got a call from my orthodontist's office saying that my aligners have arrived!!!

Sadly he's fully booked, so I won't be able to actually get my hands (and teeth) on them until December 4th. Nevertheless, it's just one step closer to finally being able to smile in photos! Entirely too excited right now :)

ClinCheck?

So, I had my impressions done for Invisalign almost a month ago (October 30th to be exact), and I got the call last week that my aligners were in - I'm scheduled to go into my orthodontist's office on December 4th to get started.

I've been reading up on RealSelf ever since my impressions were taken, and I'm noticing that a lot of people got to see their ClinCheck weeks before they received their aligners so that they could approve/adjust the final results in ClinCheck.

My orthodontist only said that he would have a "video showing how my teeth would move", but did not say when.

I never got this "preview" - should I be worried? :/

ClinCheck!

ClinCheck Video
0:06
I called my orthodontist's office a couple of days ago to see whether they could email me a copy of my ClinCheck. Took them a while, but I finally received it today!

While I do wish it was more towards the front of my mouth, it's still super exciting nonetheless! Definitely squealed a little when I first saw it....

6 days til I get my first set of aligners!

FREAKING OWWWW

Okay... I know I've been reading up on the pain and what to expect and whatnot, but this is ridiculous!

Got my first aligners today... everything was fine in the office and when I left to go back to work, but when I take them out and put them back in, the pain is absolutely excruciating. It's gotten to the point that I skipped lunch today cause I was so scared of the pain coming back once I put the aligners back in. So now I'm sitting here with my stomach growling, my mouth aching, and questioning whether I really should have gone ahead with this.

The orthodontist assistant advised me to use the "Chewies" a couple of times a day, and me being completely braindead at the time I decided to do it about 10 minutes ago. PAIN. SO MUCH PAIN. One of my coworkers gave me some Advil so hopefully that will help some. :(

One up-side to this, except for the fact that I'm going to starve myself skinny? I had originally taken out my aligners to smoke a cigarette (yes, I'm a dirty smoker), and the inhaling on the cigarette REALLY hurt my front teeth. So, maybe this will be a way to kick the habit? We will see...

I've attached a photo with my first tray in - I have a few attachments (around 10, I think) but thankfully none of them are on my front teeth (I wouldn't have cared anyway, as they look horrible regardless). There are a coupe of teeth that have two attachments on them as well.

My appointment today actually felt very productive! I didn't think they'd put my attachments on in the first appointment but they did! The assistant even put the aligners in and out and made me close my mouth a few times to see whether the buttons irritated the inside of my mouth. She kept filing them down til I was comfortable. My orthodontist then did some filing! Gah! Between some of my left canines and between my two lower front teeth. There wasn't this crazy scary-looking spinning saw thing that people on here have mentioned - it was just a small, thin strip of sandpaper (probably a fancier term for it out there) that was filed between the teeth manually. Wasn't too bad at all!

I know the pain will subside, but I just did not expect it to be this bad on the first day... it's definitely off-putting.

Alright, enough wining for now, haha!

My orthodontist also sent me a couple more ClinCheck videos so I'll be posting those soon too. :)

Tray 1, Day 2

Alright, I'm going to use this post to bitch and gripe about all of this.

The pain is inching closer and closer to unbearable. Took my aligners out after I woke up this morning to have a coffee and brush my teeth and the aligners - putting them back in was absolutely excruciating. I had the top ones halfway on and nearly yelped from the pain. Getting them on all the way was even worse. I definitely questioned my decision this morning, and felt an overwhelming anger at the crappy genetics that made me the only one out of four siblings with hideous teeth.

I know I'm being dramatic, whiney, and probably annoying about this. I knew that this would be uncomfortable, and even painful at times. But this? This is way worse than I could have ever imagined. I keep watching my ClinCheck video, hoping that it gives me the swift kick in the butt that I need... but that motivation is short-lived. Coming into work and one of my coworkers saying that she actually loved my gappy teeth was just the icing on the cake. I had never heard anything positive about my teeth, and now someone finally says something when I'm in the worst pain I've ever felt so I can fix them.

Alright, alright, I'm done. Hopefully I can post something a bit more positive in the next few days :/

*sigh*

Okay, I'm done complaining. I'm still broke from having paid for these freaking things so I'm still going to see it through.

ClinCheck - Front View

ClinCheck - Front view!
0:11
I did say that I would post the ClinCheck video to see the front of my teeth moving, so here it is!

Restaurants and Invisalign

Well, on Friday night I went out with a good friend of mine to a Thai fusion restaurant. She knew I was getting Invisalign so she was curious to see how I would handle them in a restaurant - I was curious too! We got some white wine and I thought I could get away with sipping on my wine with my aligners on, but it kept hitting my bottom teeth. So I ducked down and wrestled my aligners off (lots of fun when you have attachments... not!) Figured I had only taken them out that day for a total of about 40 minutes so I had an hour and 20 minutes to play around with. She definitely found my little maneuver entertaining!

Then it came to choosing my food. She wanted spring rolls as a starter, but we decided against it as biting into anything was still really painful - my front teeth were extremely sore but my molars were okay. We decided on sweet potato fries and I would gave to bite into them in the side of my mouth with my molars - also very entertaining!

I got some chow mein with thin noodles and some steamed veggies and meat - I would just take small bites and make sure the food didn't hit my front teeth. It was tough but I made it through a pretty generous portion. My friend was awesome and kept me company as I brushed, flossed and mouthwashed and cleaned my retainers out. She definitely noticed me flinching when I put in my upper aligner. Thankfully no other customers came into the bathroom during this whole ordeal so no awkward stares for me!

I've decided to continue smoking with my aligners in (although I've cut back a lot), and I just rinse my mouth out twice afterwars - once with mouthwash and once with water. I know it's probably not the *best* idea, but figured it could be a lot worse! So far I haven't noticed any stains. We'll see how long I can get away with this!

I think I struggled the most with Invisalign at work - brushing and flossing in those gross bathrooms, always packed with other employees, etc... the whole thing is just uncomfortable. So I've decided to stick with meal replacement drinks at work, and I'll be drinking them with a straw towards the back of my mouth. I'll be starting that on Monday so hopefully I don't starve to death.

The pain is starting to subside a little. It still hurts to put my upper aligner in, but it's slowly inching away from unbearable. My teeth are looking ridiculously white now, though! Brushing 4+ times a day is doing wonders for my oral health. :)

Will probably update again next week when I put in my new aligners. Hope it's going well for my fellow Invisaligners!

Quick Question....

A couple of years ago I had to get the wisdom teeth on the right side extracted because they had so many cavities in them, which obviously means that the gums on that side are "exposed", if that makes sense? Normally these don't cause any problems and I don't notice them.

Now that I have Invisalign, whenever I take out my aligners those gums are almost swollen - meaning the top and bottom touch and it feels really weird. No pain or anything, I'm just not used to that happening. When I look at my aligners, they stop at that last molar, so they don't seem to touch the gums back there at all. Has anyone experience this before? Could this be somehow related to the aligners? Any help would be much appreciated. :)

Random Update

Well, as of a few days ago, I now have zero pain when taking the aligners out and when putting them back in. I've actually gotten used to brushing and flossing so many times in a day - my teeth are so much whiter now too as a result!

My little two year old niece (who is currently living with me and my family along with my brother and his wife for a few weeks) always sees me in the bathroom brushing and flossing. Whenever she hears water running she has to run to the bathroom and sit with me while I do that. She always giggles when I gargle afterwards - cutest thing ever. :) She even orders me to put my aligners in afterwards! She calls them my "medicine" and somehow knows that they're important. She's always making me do a wide grin so she can poke at them. So weird but so freaking adorable! She has recently started bringing her toothbrush into the bathroom and makes me brush her teeth for her as well. So cute.

I'll be switching to my next tray this Thursday night and am a little scared/nervous to possibly be in the same amount of pain/agony as I was in the first tray. I think I'll be popping them in right before bed, as so many others do on here. I hear it helps!

I also forgot to mention something a couple of posts ago about other things I learned at my appointment, when I got my first set of aligners:

When the ortho's assistant was giving me the run-down of how to care for the trays, etc etc (all of which I already knew thanks to RealSelf!), I looked down at my trays and noticed that they were labelled "1 of 20", "2 of 20", etc. I asked her about it, since they said at my consultation that I'd have 26 months of treatment! 20 trays is just 40 weeks! I asked and she said that it would only take the 20 trays to close the gaps - after that, I'll be getting the attachments shaved off and new impressions done for my set of refinement trays, which is when I'll be starting the elastics to fix my overbite. So this whole ordeal might not even take as long as they had originally assumed (at least I'm hoping not!). Very exciting. :) So if all goes well, I'll be gap-free in 10 months! Woohoo!

Tray 2, Day 2

Well, I'm happy to announce that tray 2 is nowhere near as bad as tray 1. I'm not feeling any pain at all, just a lot of pressure (which subsides pretty quickly). Although this tray is a bit more difficult to remove, especially around the two teeth on either side of my two upper central ones (I really need to start learning some dental lingo). I have noticed a slight change in the gap between my two upper front teeth - they used to "flare out" a bit towards the left and right, and now they look straight. I know I've been analysing my teeth to death whenever I can, so maybe I'm just seeing things, who knows?

I also don't experience that serious throbbing in my front teeth when I take my aligners out like I did with my first tray. I don't know if that's because my teeth have gotten used to moving, or if these trays are just moving different teeth than the first ones. Again, who knows. As long as the gaps are gone, I really don't care! Hahaha.

I think I'll post another close-up photo at the end of these trays and do a comparison shot against the first photo I posted here. Maybe then I can see whether there really is a change, or if I'm just seeing what I want to see.

Hope everyone is having a good holiday season! The temperatures here are starting to dip below zero, so I'm slowly getting myself into hibernation mode. :)

Random Update!

Well hello, my fellow Invisaligners!

I feel like I haven't posted in ages! Thought I'd give a quick progress report before I post my comparison pic this Thursday, right before tray 3.

These trays have been pretty much painless. Felt a bit of pressure in the first couple of days but that's it. Definitely a welcomed relief after the agony in tray 1.

Before switching to tray 2, I put trays 1 and 2 side-by-side and realized how disgusting and yellow my first trays were. I thought that it was caused by the smoking, but also had a feeling that it had something to do with the fact that I was using mouthwash while I had my trays in, after all my smoke breaks. So I decided to do a little experiment and only rinse with water after smoking. Suffice to say, these trays have barely discoloured at all. I think there's something in the mouthwash that isn't compatible with the trays and turns them into a murky yellow after a while, so I've cut back on my mouthwash use overall, and only use it after I brush. I also discovered these Polident tablets for Retainers, and they've worked like a charm. I use them once every five days or so and they work like a charm - in between I just brush my trays under running water with a baby toothbrush. Haven't noticed any funky smells like some of the other experiences I've read on here.

Those at work who know I got Invisalign have commented that my gap looks smaller, which feels pretty good. :) I will post a comparison pic on Thursday to see what you all think!

Hope you all had a good holiday season!

Uh Oh...

Just switched to Tray 3 as I'll be going to bed soon. I can already tell that these are going to hurt for the next couple of days. Extremely tight, and I had to "pull" to get my top aligner to clip onto my back teeth, meaning these aligners are pushing my teeth in, as well as pushing the gap closed. Fingers crossed it won't last as long as the first aligners!

I did notice something a tad bit worrisome when I put them in, though. I wanted to post it on here and see if this happened with anyone else before I freak out and call my orthodontist. The bottom aligner fit fine (albeit very tight) and the top one is fine except for my molars on the right side - at first it would not clip in at all, and I could feel it sitting there very loosely. After gnawing on a Chewie for a good 10-15 minutes, it's finally sitting in place but it pops off VERY easily. Is this something that I should be worried about? Is there a chance that maybe those teeth just aren't moving with this aligner? My next appointment with my ortho is on the 15th, but I'm not sure if this would be worth going in to see him earlier.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated! :)

PS - I posted a comparison shot with my aligners in - beginning of tray 1 VS. end of tray 2. I wanted snap a photo right before I put today's aligners in, but of course I forgot... maybe tomorrow when I take them out to eat.

Fun with Attachments

Well, I was taking a close look at my teeth the other day and noticed that I managed to break off a decent-sized chunk off the attachment on one of my lateral incisors. I emailed my orthodontist to ask him whether this would affect my treatment. He doesn't seem too worried about it, but he did ask if I could go into his office tomorrow morning (and cancel my appointment next week). They will be repairing it tomorrow and probably checking out the other attachments to see whether there are other issues that I may have missed. Hopefully I didn't cause any problems with my treatment and the appointment will be a quick in-and-out.

I'm also happy to say that the aligner now fits snugly over the molars on my right side after being very loose for a couple of days. Not sure what happened in those two days, but obviously it worked. :) I think there's something happening with the bottom molars on that side, as I feel a twinge of pain whenever I chew my food on that side.

Anyway, hopefully all goes well at my appointment tomorrow!

Long day...

Well, it's been a rough day to say the least.

Booked the first couple of hours off work so I could go into my ortho's office to fix the attachment. After my bus was a full 20+ minutes late, I showed up 15 minutes late to my appointment. They still took me in and were very sympathetic (it's -35 and snowing terribly here, so traffic has been a nightmare everywhere), but I could tell they were busy. So Dr. Cohen had to treat me "in between" his other patients, so he would have to leave me for a few minutes to take care of someone else, which I totally understood and was fine with.

And now, where the problems begin...

He took a look at all my teeth, and it turns out I needed to get FOUR attachments replaced. The one that I had originally reported to him, the one of my OTHER lateral incisor, and two on a couple of my pre-molars. One was gone completely (I probably didn't notice because there are normally two attachments on that tooth) and another one had also chipped a bit, so he wanted to fix it before it got any worse.

His assistant then came in and filed those off, and then tried to put the template back on my mouth. I then realised that Invisalign only created one template - using the original mould of your teeth. So obviously, being three trays in to my treatment, that mould did not fit my mouth anymore. She had to cut it a couple of times, and then have me bite down HARD on a thick piece of cotton while she got the attachment on. It was painful, but I got through it. Popped my aligners back in, set my appointment for two months from now, got four more aligners, and went to work.

When I got to work, it was lunchtime so I had a quick bite to eat. I was in the bathroom brushing, and when I popped my aligner back in and checked it out in the mirror as I always do.

Aaaaand my heart sunk. My aligner did NOT fit over one of my lateral incisors. Upon closer inspection, I realised that the groove in the aligner did not fit over the attachment, so it was sticking out a good few millimetres, which was affecting how the aligner fit over the two surrounding teeth as well. When I took the aligner off, I quickly saw that not only was the aligner placed WAY lower than where it was originally placed, but it was CROOKED!!!! Like, NOTICEABLY crooked. I was furious.

So I emailed my ortho, and he asked me to come in right away. So I had to take ANOTHER hour-long citybus journey to his office, meaning that I was at work today for a grand total of 1.5 hours. I need to work so I can actually AFFORD this treatment. I really can't be booking all the time off work for something that should not have taken longer than 20 minutes to begin with (albeit today it was closer to 40, but that was more my fault than anyone else's).

I came back in, and the ortho quickly determined that the aligner was definitely not fitting. So the attachment had to be shaved off yet again, and this time the assistant cut that tooth out of the template tray and just placed it on my tooth my itself when placing the attachment. So, after all that, my attachments are finally where they should be.

It was a VERY long day. Over three hours on buses getting around the city in -30 degree weather (there was a frostbite warning issued in my city today).

I still have full confidence in my orthodontist's office though - this is just a small misstep in an otherwise seamless experience. They were VERY accommodating despite the fact that I was very late to my appointment.

Since my aligner was sitting on top of a misplaced attachment, they got a tiny bit warped in that area so the ortho was pushing it back into place with a small tool. While he was doing that, I decided to ask him about Acceledent and whether this would be something that he could offer and that I could potentially use.

He was shocked that I even knew what it was - only a handful of providers offer it in Canada, and I think only one orthodontist in Ottawa even offers it. He said that it was something he has considered but wasn't fully confident in the technology since there aren't that many studies to support it. I offered to be his "guinea pig" if he did decide to try it out, and he said that he'd look into it and that we could discuss it at my next appointment (mid-March). So here's to hoping that this journey won't take as long as originally presumed!

Tray 4, Day 1!

Just switched to tray 4 as I'm going to bed soon, and feeling a LOT of pressure on my central incisors. Don't know if this will lead into some pain, but at least it feels like something is happening! I compared these trays with tray 3 before I popped them in, and the gap definitely looks smaller on them. Yay! Still very loose over my right upper molars, but that fixed itself pretty quickly with my last aligners so I'm not too worried.

I'm definitely noticing my bite changing - my teeth don't "line up" like they used to, but this hasn't really caused any issues for me. It just feels a bit odd sometimes.

Nothing else really to update about. No use pointing a comparison shot as nothing significant has really happened. I think I will be taking another comparison shot at the end of these trays, as there are a few gaps that look smaller on these trays, not just "the gap".

Hope all is going well with my fellow Invisaligners!

Tray 5 of 20! 1/4 of the way there. :)

Well hello there!

Definitely feels like ages since my last update. Mostly because things have been uneventful. No odd queries or happenings going on with me - just invisalign'ing along as usual.

Just switched to tray 5 and while there is a bit of pressure, there is no pain at all. I'm actually a little surprised at how little pressure there is! Definitely the easiest tray-switch I've had so far. Once again the upper tray is loose over my right molars, but that's proving to be a recurring thing and fixes itself after a few days. Gnawing on a chewie as I'm typing this!

Posted an update photo - beginning of tray 1 versus end of tray 4. The changes are definitely small, but I can see them! It's very encouraging. I've also become a bit of a health freak and am on a mission to lose some weight, so I guess you can say I'm undergoing a bit of a transformation right now. :) Very exciting! And the aligners are definitely helping with the whole "not eating as much" thing.

Something else that I noticed while I was taking the pic of my teeth - my smile is different now. I had to really force myself to get the same "shape" that I had in my first photo to get a more accurate idea of how much my teeth really moved. My smile is a bit wider and even the shape of my mouth when I smile is different. I bit of an odd realisation, but I'm so so happy with it!

I doubt that anyone can help me with this question, but I'm gonna try anyway: I'm planning on attending a hot yoga class this weekend with my brother (in case anyone doesn't know what that is: it is a yoga class that basically takes place in a massive sauna). I'm wondering if it would be safe to keep my aligners in during the class? Would the extreme heat/humidity warp them in any way?

Any suggestions/help would be appreciated!

Hope all is well with everyone :)

Smiling. :)

Hey everyone!

I'm trucking along nicely with Invisalign. I saw a couple of friends over the weekend that I hadn't seen since my first set of trays, and they both commented that my teeth have made such a big change. It was very reassuring to hear!

I took a picture with one of them, and I found that I beamed a big smile in the photo. I didn't even realise it til afterwards. The gaps in my teeth do look smaller when I have the trays in, because of the thick plastic around them and whatnot. I obviously had my aligners in when the photo was taken, and it was a brief glimpse into what I'll look like at the end of treatment. I've posted it on this update for your viewing pleasure (ha!). It's surreal to see myself smiling like that! I'm sure that the angle has something to do with it as well, but who cares! It's still awesome!

It's at times like these when I REALLY appreciate RealSelf. I couldn't post about something like this anywhere else and feel as comfortable and accepted as I do here. We're all here for the same reason, right? To smile confidently without a second thought as to what people may think of your smile. It's amazing.

Anyway, hope all is well with everyone!

Time to worry?

I've really sucked at updating lately... My life has been hectic lately to say the least, so I'm not perusing RealSelf as often as I used to.

I have noticed something that worried me today, and I kind of wanted to see if anyone here experienced anything similar before I go running to my ortho.

My bottom jaw is very, very stiff - especially on the left side. I've also been noticing a hollow popping sound in my left ear every now and then. Has anyone experienced anything like this? Is it something I should be worried about? Any help would be much appreciated!

Tray 8 + Acceledent!

Well hello there!

A couple of posts ago, I talked about how I had mentioned the Acceledent to my orthodontist and asked him what he thought of it. The office did not offer it at that time, but he did say that it was something he had been thinking about for a while.

Well, lo and behold - I got the thought back into his head and the office is now offering Acceledent! I went in yesterday for my appointment and decided to take the plunge and purchase this little machine. At $980, it was quite the plunge. Thankfully they agreed to just add it to my monthly payments, so my payments went up by about $40 which isn't bad at all. I'm the first one in that office to purchase it, so that's quite exciting too. :)

I switched to tray 8 last night and used the Acceledent for the first time. My god, does it ever feel weird! I was sitting and watching something on my laptop, and it looked like my entire screen was vibrating. I was also salivating like crazy (sexy, I know!). To the point where I just tucked a little towel under my chin to catch the mess. Yep, definitely attractive.

I'm so stoked to be able to change my trays weekly now!! Including my refinements, I'm really hoping to have that perfect smile within a year - so thank god for Acceledent!

Hope all is well! :)

Phase 1 Complete + Refinements + Frenectomy

Well, it's been a while, to say the least!

I finally completed my first phase of treatment. I initially had 20 trays, but it turns out that trays 18, 19, and 20 were just refinements, so my orthodontist only had me go up to tray 18. I then went in and got moulds taken for my refinement set (which turned out to be only 12 trays, with 6 "optional" trays afterwards). This is when my orthodontist realised that my frenum was going to cause a problem - since this tissue was so thick, my gap would not only refuse to close, but my left tooth was starting to get crooked. The bottom of the tooth was moving but the top wasn't, because it was hindered by my frenum. Between trays 16 and 18, my frenum would randomly bleed - sometimes it would happen while I was brushing, and other times it would happen without any cause at all. So I was referred to a periodontist, who agreed that my frenum should be either reduced or removed completely so my gap can properly close.

I finally had this done just yesterday. To say that I was terrified would be an understatement. However, my periodontist (Dr. Maguire in Ottawa) was absolutely amazing in reassuring me and making sure I was comfortable before, during, and after the procedure. The whole thing barely took 15-20 minutes!

I'm not sure if another other RS readers who have had a frenectomy went through this as well, but I'll post it just in case. When my gap was closing, my frenum was not only being "squished" but it pinched and was almost "shifted" to my palate (the roof of my mouth, behind my teeth). So my frenum went all the way from just under my upper lip, to almost halfway into my palate. This meant having to get lidocaine injected into my gums AND into my palate. I will tell you this - the pain is indescribable. That "pinch" that you feel when you get this injection in your gums? Magnify that by at least 100 and you get the pain that comes with getting these injections into your palate. I had to get four of them and they were NOT pleasant. However, it was worth it cause I didn't feel a damn thing after that. The periodontist would ask me every couple of minutes if I was okay which was very reassuring to me. It was a bit nerve-wracking when I could feel blood rolling on my palate to the back of my throat, but her assistant was quick to take care of that. I ended up having to get around 10 stitches in total on the inside of my upper lip, my gum, between my two front teeth, and on my palate. I can't smile at all, I can't eat anything too hard or crunchy, and drinking anything is a challenge. Once the lidocaine wore off after the procedure, the pain was pretty bad, and the worst was on my palate. It's hard to explain what that pain feels like until you have it. It's like something is pushing really hard on the roof of your mouth - so it's very difficult to talk or eat anything. I made a big pot of soup and was surviving off that until dinner time today, where I finally caved and got some good old McDonald's chicken nuggets (which I had to break into little pieces and shove in between my molars through the side of my mouth).

I have dissoluble stitches that should go away on their own in around a week, and will be going in for a follow-up next week. I was prescribed ibuprofen (600mg tablets) as well as Peridex, an anti-microbial mouthwash that I apply to the stitches throughout the day with a q-tip.

If you have a significant other, don't expect to be able to kiss them after your procedure. Thankfully my boyfriend is away at a cottage for the weekend, but I had to text him and warn him not to kiss me when he comes back. Any pressure on my upper lip at all is very uncomfortable, so no hanky panky any time soon (haha sorry, couldn't resist).

Anyway, that's my update. Still using the Acceledent which is a godsend and worth every penny. I'm on tray 3 of my second phase so if all goes well, I''ll be done in 9 weeks. Worst case scenario is 15 weeks if my orthodontist wants me to do all of my refinement trays. Very exciting. :)

I've added a photo to update you on my progress. The top picture is tray 1 from phase 1, and the bottom picture is tray 1 from phase 2. It's so cool to see the progress thus far!
Dr. Charles Cohen

Overall I've had a great experience with Centertown Orthodontics. Dr. Cohen comes across as quite the perfectionist, and I can tell he's passionate about his work. He seems to really share in his patients' excitement over their new smiles. His receptionist is also very welcoming and friendly, and had no problems sending me my ClinCheck videos when I called to ask for them. Everyone always welcomes me by name when I walk in, which is pretty comforting. The office is always impeccably clean and the staff members always have smiles on their faces. Maybe it's just me, but I definitely prefer to be "worked on" by someone who seems to genuinely enjoy their job. Dr. Cohen's hygienists and assistants have been great every time I've been in the office. They genuinely shared in my excitement when I started my treatment, and again when I finished and got the beautiful results I have now. When one of the assistants was placing the attachments on my teeth the first time around, she would tell me exactly what she would do at each step before actually doing it. It's pretty comforting for someone who had never done anything like this before. It's a small gesture but it goes a long way. Dr. Cohen himself is a very personable guy, and his sense of humour comes out when he's working on my teeth. I can tell he's quite young and probably fairly new to the game (or maybe he just ages well?), but his quality of work is better than some seasoned older dentists I've gone to in the past. He contacted me by email after I got my first aligners to give me a point of contact with him directly, and whenever I have emailed him he responds very quickly and gives me the information I need. During the consultation he said that he couldn't go ahead with the treatment until I had my cavities filled in. After I told him that I had a negative experience with my previous dentists, he referred me to a new dentist that turned out amazing, too! When I mentioned that I had read about this "Acceledent" gizmo online, he started offering it at his practice within a few short weeks and offered it to me at a reduced cost - while it still had a hefty pricetag, I appreciated that he agreed to let me pay it off monthly along with my treatment. Overall I am extremely pleased with my choice of orthodontist. They are a pretty busy office (there are always a few people sitting in the waiting room) but they still make a point of exchanging some small talk with each patient. Again, it's a small gesture but it goes a long way. Highly recommended for anyone seeking orthodontic treatment in the Ottawa area. :)

4 out of 5 stars Overall rating
5 out of 5 stars Doctor's bedside manner
5 out of 5 stars Answered my questions
4 out of 5 stars After care follow-up
3 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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