26 Year Old Professional, FINALLY Fixing my Teeth

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I have hated my teeth FOREVER. I remember asking...

I have hated my teeth FOREVER. I remember asking my parents for braces at age 13 (who asks for braces?) and they told me they couldn't afford it. My teeth weren't as bad then as they are now. Unfortunately nail biting, time and wisdom teeth set them even more off course and now I'm an adult who is extremely self conscious about her own smile. I was told a few years back that metal braces were my only option. I'm a young woman in a career dominated by older men, so I didn't think that would work.

Fast forward to a few years later when I saw an ad for smile direct club. I wasn't sure I'd get approved, considering the nature of my crowding but I did! I took my impressions early October, got my treatment plan mid October and paid for treatment November 1st, 2016. I used my FSA card and a $150 coupon, so paid $1350 in total and should save about $400 in taxes. My total treatment plan is 10 months and includes 20 aligners at two weeks each. I've read about issues with customer service, and they must have recently pulled a 180 because I've had NO issues and they've been amazing.

I got my first aligner today! November 25th. I want to share my thoughts so far:

1. They are very plasticy. I knew they were made of plastic but I guess I was picturing something slightly different. They look cheap, it was strange to think I put them on my teeth,

2. They hurt a bit, and feel strange. I got a panicky feeling that there was no way I could wear these for 10 months but I'm calming down now.

3. The lisp. I'm practicing my S's. Mine is BAD. I sound like the kid off Stranger Things. Its getting a little better but its not that subtle lisp I've heard other posts described. If it doesn't get better I'd have to take these off before talking to clients.

4. They're near invisible. I'm wearing them in the photos.

5. THEY HURT. I'm lucky I have leftover painkillers from a back injury a while back because DAMN. I pray this gets better. My head is throbbing.

My only concern is my bite at the end of the process. Does it look over-bitey or normal? I'm not sure. But I'm super excited to finish this and hopefully document the process for anyone interested.

Tray 2: Pain is gone, but progress is slow

Update: I'm on my second tray and while the pain has subsided, I'm realizing how slow progress is going to be. I won't add photos until my teeth actually look different. For now they look worse than before because my teeth are being pushed out to extend my bite and make room for other teeth to move.

I do have some tips for wear:

1. The lisp never fully went away but it has gotten a bit better. Initially nobody could understand what I'm saying. No tips for this other than maybe to practice S's. Really I think it has a lot to do with my mouth getting used to them in, and creating less spit means my speech is getting better.

2. Denture cleaning tabs have been a godsend. They've kept my aligners clean and clear. I guess you shouldn't soak them for too long.

3. Buy lots of floss, toothpase and toothbrushes and pack them everywhere. Purse, bathroom, kitchen, suitcase. You will never regret having them on hand.

4. Your gums and mouth will be VERY sore to start. Colgate sells a mouth healing mouthwash that will do wonders. BUY IT. It's so worth it. I spent about $70 on oral hygiene products to start and it was well worth it.

5. Have a plan when you go out drinking. I know you're not supposed to but I keep them in usually and then brush my teeth at the end of the night. I don't go out that much but since I've been back home its been more than usual and I'm realizing the difficulties. I personally have kept them in, because leaving them out could mean HOURS. Because of my cleaner it hasn't seemed to affect the tray color.

I wish I had more to update. I'm honestly ready for the process to be over. It's not horrible, but I work in sales and even a slight speech impediment is annoying, and having to take them on and off constantly. I still think its better than veneers, but wish the process was quicker and didn't affect my life so much.

Tray 3

Tray 1 then tray 3 in photos

My teeth still look the same at Tray 4

Ok I was hoping these photos would make me feel better about progress but I look the same lol. When my aligners are off my teeth are very white because of how often I'm brushing.

As for updates: my aligners keep getting sent early which is nice (I'd rather them be early than late)
My teeth are really easy to floss and I can tell they're moving especially by feeling the back of my teeth. According to my treatment plan the significant difference will be around tray 9 and get better from there.

Basically everything is fine, except for me being very impatient. This is why I wanted veneers!

Tray 8 but not perfect

I'm on tray 8 and starting to see and feel more major changes. Although as you can see in the photo the front two teeth are slanting instead of straightening and aligning. I noticed this in tray 6 and it gets better as I wear the trays longer but it never "perfects" and fits in the trays perfectly, it always has a slight slant. I contacted sdc and they told me to continue wearing the aligners and I have. I've been reading that refinements are either given if the tray stops fitting altogether or if the teeth haven't tracked by the end of treatment, so I'm going to probably have to wait for one of those to get this issue fixed unless it fixes itself. The two front teeth stop moving after tray 11 so I'm hoping 9 trays retainment for them will fix the issue but we will see. I'm certainly not an orthodontist and the other teeth are tracking well.

The snaggle tooth doesnt actually start moving til tray 9 and god knows I can't wait for that!!

I've noticed my teeth track better if I cut the edges a bit since they were pushing into my gums and probably preventing a perfect fit. You have to be a real diyer and someone who is ok spending hours on the internet researching if you want to be ok with this treatment and save $3k. I also try to wear these things as close to 24 hours I can get ESPECIALLY the first two days of wear. I actually eat a huge meal before I change to a new aligner and then skip breakfast and do a smoothie for lunch the next day.

My trick with smoothies and any cold non water liquid has been to drink it with the tray in, but then immediately wash my trays and brush my teeth after. That way my tray is out for 3 minutes rather than 30. I tell myself 15-30 mins won't give me cavities but time will tell. I also stopped giving a shit about staining since it's inevitable, and sooo much harder to manage wearing these things for 22 hours if you are constantly worried about every little thing. I floss daily and brush every time I eat or drink aren't thing other than water so I'm hoping I'll be alright.

Wearing in general has gotten easier but there are days I can't wait until its over. I get a headache if they're off for too long and since my bite and midline is shifting so much it's harder for me to speak with the aligners off than on at this point.

I have a trip coming up where I'm backpacking in Mexico with limited access to "good" water and toiletries and I'm thinking I'll just wear my same aligner for a 3rd or 4th week rather than changing to a new one. I'm hoping at least 16 hours of wear will do for a third week but we will see and I'll keep everyone posted on how it goes. Maybe it'll be easier than I think.

Beginning, and Tray 12

My smile has improved quite a bit, but my front teeth should be completely straight by tray 12 and they're obviously crooked. I think they just have a hard time tracking in the aligners (I see why attachments are needed). I did contact SDC and they said since my trays are fitting well (and otherwise they are), to continue treatment and apply for refinements at the end. That's what I was planning to do. Only 8 trays left and my teeth are WAY better than when I began, and I'm totally content waiting to fix those teeth.

Tray 16

Going relatively smoothly. Treatment is almost over!!

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
4 out of 5 stars Time spent with me
4 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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