Invisalign | 42 Year Old - Mom of 3 ... Looking Forward to 'New-normal' - Reston, VA

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*Treatment results may vary

Tray 1 – 24 hours in :: Wow, those are some...

Tray 1 – 24 hours in :: Wow, those are some really bad pics of my mouth! But hey, I'm hoping at the end of this journey they will be a great reminder of how far I came and that it was (fingers crossed) totally worth it. I've never really *loved* my teeth – but didn't *hate* them either. They were always “straight enough”. Three dentists recently have told me that I would need some sort of Orthodontics soon because my teeth are rotating and I have 50% wear. So I bit the bullet and made the decision, found an Elite Provider in my area and went for the consult. I was able to finance and use some FSA funds to make the financial part of this a little more acceptable. And awwwwayyyyy we goooo!

I went to the dentist yesterday to pick up my Trays. I really should have done more research on this! I skipped in there like I was picking up a cute little container with clear plastic things that would slip on my teeth – perfect fit – a little discomfort due to tightness and head to work. Pop them off, eat some normal lunch, brush and repeat. Uhhhhh, nope! They attached the “Brackets” as they called them (seen them referred to here as “Attachments” or “Buttons” – but really are rough little rocks) and had a few IPR’s done. What the *&^^ is an IPR?? Tooth shavings?!? Well, that sucked and I hope I don’t need many more!! (Ha! I’m doing this for crowding.) The assistant helped me put them on and I was on my way. I was given six trays – so do not have to go back until end of March (28 trays total). I sure am glad I found this site/forum because I learned so much on my first day with them in my mouth.

I have to say, my teeth are so sore I can’t really chew. It also doesn't help that I feel like I’m eating with someone else’s mouth! Everything feels foreign. The ‘buttons’ overlap – so my molars don’t touch. Can’t really mash food – so my meals have been soft (Soup, Cheese Tortellini, shake and oatmeal). I have to eat slow so I don’t bite my lips or inside cheeks. Ate chips with lunch today which was HUGE mistake… it was difficult chewing and they got stuck in my molars like crazy! I can see how I will likely lose weight doing this program!

Thanks to all the advice here, last night I went and picked up some cheap emery boards and some ortho-wax. I filed down one little side of my aligner that was irritating my cheek, and have the file on standby if the area under my tongue becomes unbearable. I was relieved that I slept well last night despite swallowing what has to be a gallon of saliva in the last 24 hours. My husband had braces when he was a kid so I’m not getting too much sympathy from him (lol).

I’m nauseous over the cost of this – so absolutely CANNOT give up. I keep reminding myself this WILL get better, things WILL get easier, I WILL settle into a routine. I see my teeth are already going through “Stockholm Syndrome” because I prefer the aligners ON rather than OFF. Weird.
I’m looking forward to my ‘new normal’… (and the end of this line!)

I would love to find an ‘Invisalign-Buddy’, someone on the same tray going through the same things/timing. Thank you to everyone on this forum sharing their stories, it really has helped me feel less alone in this, and provides wonderful advice & hope! :)

My First Restaurant Experience today

Well about 53 hours in. Went out for breakfast with the family to Crackle Barrel. I was crass and (discreetly) removed it at the table just as my food was arriving. I uncomfortably ate (really not enjoying food, it's so difficult to eat!) and then brushed my teeth (no floss) in the bathroom. All things considered, it went okay.

First woman thought it was weird, I'm sure. Second woman saw my tray and said "oh.... I had Invisalign...!" I looked up and she had a beautiful straight smile. That helped the ole' motivation! She smiled and said, "You'll get used to it...." All in all, it was an ok experience. Can't wait till this all feels normal!

My Invisalign Survival Kit

Soft sided make up bag with:
• Tray container,
• Travel sized toothbrush,
• toothpaste,
• dental floss,
• mouthwash,
• emery boards for rough tray edges,
• Ortho-wax just in case (have yet to use it),
• mouth pain gel, and
• Listerine "pocket pak" breath strips

Want to still add:
• travel collapsible cup &
• lip balm. :)

This little survival kit is going with me everywhere... !!

Day Five..... seeing improvement / relief!

Five days in and (I think) I'm doing better. Eating still sucks, but not as bad as the first day. My mouth isn't hurting as much around the trays, and while my teeth are still sensitive - they seem to be less so.... I think I'm finally producing less saliva (slightly) and my tongue seemingly is growing bored of exploring the edges.... Progress? I'm optimistic! :)

Day Six... Lipstick & Baby Toothbrushes

Well, Day Six. Yes, doing significantly better than the first day or two (or three).... so I'm optimistic I will make it through the next year ++. :)

LIPSTICK: Starting to think I need to give it up. it seems to get on everything! Super hard to get off the trays too. I will be so sad!! I wore lip balm all weekend, but at work I'm a lipstick type of gal. Sigh.

BABY TOOTHBRUSH: This weekend at the store I picked up a baby toothbrush to clean my aligners with. How wonderful, the bristles are very soft & gentle, and the head is so tiny that it fits in every nook & cranny of my aligner. HIGHLY recommend one to add to your arsenal! :)


Well, officially one week in. A week ago, I skipped into my dentist's office to pick up my 'rude awakening'. Like all the friendly kind folks here have said, it did get easier. Eating is still awkward but not as bad; routine is slowly getting better... I still have some work there also, but I see some light INSIDE the tunnel (the end of the tunnel is no where on the radar).

I ordered the "chewies" (not here yet, boo!) and "retainer brite". I've spent a small fortune on toothbrushes and toothpaste to leave everywhere in my life so I don't have to cart them around in my purse anymore. I've picked up a couple of long-lasting Lipstick / Stain to hopefully remedy that newest challenge.

I think I'm doing well with the "keeping them in 22+ hours" recommendation... but I'm embarrassed to say, I have already broken some "rules"... I've drank some stuff with a straw and I've enjoyed White wine with them in, from a glass (no straw). I'm diligent about rinsing/brushing etc. as soon as I'm done, but I don't want to leave them out that long (Read: Happy Hour). As long as the liquid isn't dark - I don't think I have to worry about staining and the only "real" concern would be cavities (so I'm quick about brushing up). I am not advocating this for anyone.... Just being honest.

Dental Cleaning :: Day before Tray TWO goes in...

Well, I saw my dentist for the first time since picking up my trays. I went in for my routine 'cleaning/check up'. I've had a good 13 days of solid brushing & flossing, so it might have been the easiest "cleaning" I've ever had.

I mentioned to my dentist that my molars don't touch when I chew food. So eating has been difficult. She had me bite down and I guess could see where the attachments were preventing my molars to connect. She filed them down (man that sound, smell & feeling sucks) and now they are better!! Don't settle if you feel like the buttons are preventing you from eating properly!! I asked about the 31 vs. 28 trays. She said that the last three were for over correction. She's sure I'll need something, but I guess that far into the game they figure out what needs to be done/fixed or didn't pan-out as planned at that time. Oh well. I figure I have a long way ahead of me regardless. And like anything, it will seem like a short-term on the other end of it - but FOREVER while you're going through it.

I also got my ClinCheck. I tried to attach it here, but it's a ".wmv" file, so it says I can't? Boo.

My Chewies arrived from Amazon yesterday. So excited to use them to set my new tray. :)

I'm slowly falling into the swing of things; figuring stuff out, getting used to other stuff.... teeth are still sensitive, I still occasionally bite my cheek when eating, trays are going on / coming off super easy - but day before tray change, I guess that's normal. Anyhow, hopefully my InvisaBuds are doing well also!!! :)

I ordered these from Amazon for restaurant visits (you know, when the sink is super small, super gross or the bathroom is crazy busy) and I can't 'actually' brush... going to give them a whirl.

Tray TWO is in the HOUSE....

Or more accurately, in the MOUTH....

I was SO nervous last night, watching the clock, knowing I was going to bed soon and I was going to have to take out my first trays. The ones that caused me so much grief, so much pain and frustration, that were now cloudy and a little gross. That I had filed down just so, so they didn't hurt anymore... the ones I had become comfortable with. I kept thinking I'm silly for having such trepidation with a couple little plastic things....

I finally went to bed, popped out number one - rinsed, popped in number two. Super snug... and clear! I took one Advil PM and went to sleep. I think they were in my mouth a total of 11 hours before I pulled them out to enjoy coffee this morning. I didn't wake up with any pain, discomfort or sensitivity. Just tightness. Like a bear hug for my teeth.

Today has been fairly uneventful... a little difficult to pull off. I can feel all the old familiar rough edges so I think tonight I'll be going at it with an emery board again.

Wish I could attach my ClinCheck .wmv file!

Otherwise, doing well. :)

Pics of ClinCheck

Not sure why I didn't think of this... so here are three pics of my ClinChecks.
1. start,
2. about half way through, and
3. 'close' to the end (really hard to capture that image it goes so fast!)

It's amazing how much my teeth look like the Ogre "Shrek" in the first pic! Wow!

OH! And with my new Tray TWO I am lisping more again. Sigh.

A new fear has arrived.....

So I read one review about Invisalign 'not being worth it' and creating an "open bite". Now I'm not overly concerned about that for me since I have a fairly pronounced overjet/overbite and therefore can't imagine that could be an outcome. However, I can definitely tell that after only three weeks (half way through tray two) that my bite has changed. Not sure how exactly, but when I take the trays out to eat, it's not comfortable to have my molars touch. I'm somewhat okay at chewing my food (still a challenge, and I bit my lip last night something fierce!), but when sitting with the trays out it's uncomfortable to try to close my bite. I'm naturally sitting with my front teeth semi-touching and my molars open. Seems so weird and unnatural for me. And while in one respect it could be a good thing since I used to grind my molars for no apparent reason, I'm worried. Is it weird to worry?

At a restaurant last night (man we eat out a LOT), the waitress saw my Invisalign case and said "Oh, Invisalign. I did that for a little while".... and my response was "what? a little while?" and then of course immediately looked at her teeth. Her response was "yea, they messed up my bite". Since this was already sort of nagging on me, now I was really giving this some thought and studying how my teeth sit with the trays off. Her teeth were pretty straight, but she had a protruding mouth. Not sure what the correct terminology is, or if I'm describing it accurately/well. But with her mouth closed, you could see where teeth would be - Both top and bottom. Not sure if that has something to do with it.

I wonder if it's because my jaw has started to adjust being in a position with aligners on the teeth, therefore can't close all the way, and now that's just the position it's used to / comfortable in? And if I had the aligners out for a day/week etc. that it would settle and go back to normal?

Weird Soreness

So, I'm approaching Tray three (change in 3 nights) - meaning I am *well into* Tray two, so when my upper canine tooth started hurting I am finding it odd. If it were a new tray - I would assume it's a moving tooth - but this late into the tray? Seems strange to me.

Mouth sores seem to come and go, but this is different...?

Tray Three - Day Three....

Well it's official... I AM clenching my trays, (I'm thinking) while I am sleeping. I've noticed that my molars don't close when the trays are off... and as (always helpful) TwoPlusOne mentioned - they sink into the soft tissue.... when I snapped on tray three, the molar parts didn't feel snug... and like they were kinda lifted. Then I woke up this morning and my mouth almost hurt and the front plastic of the lower tray right behind my front teeth seemed to be sticking up - jagged little knives that if my tongue touched - it hurt. I think clenching the tray so hard over night might have strained the plastic and bent it up. I've filed it now and all is fine now - but need to figure out how to stop clenching while I sleep....

I DO think my teeth are moving - every now and then one will randomly start hurting for the day. Then it is a different one. Also, there were two all little crooked on the bottom that now look straight. And the Super bent in one seems to be less so - and coming forward. I need to take some more pics and post... Will try to do that soon.

One month to the day...

Okay so here's a pic of the lower... Amazing what light can do; I'm sure my teeth are whiter now then when I started, yet don't look it in these pics. Anyhow, I've seen small improvement on the really bent in tooth next to the circled three... But the three in the circle definitely look like they moved. Two straightened out and the third has pulled out some? Maybe I'm imagining it...

OMG it happened... I've split a tray!!

I'm only 3 days in to Tray four. And taking them off to brush tonight, the bottom one tore on a tooth with a button. I will call my dentist in the morning.... This really sucks....!!!

I'm scared.....

So I called my dentist about the torn tray on day four of my 14 days... And was told to move to the next one.... Wha???? That was NOT what I was expecting. I'm so nervous. I will do it like usual and swap before bed with an Advil PM. And keep Advil close by tomorrow. Soft diet; but still scared. :(
Please Wish me luck.

Tray Six Tomorrow

Well, tray 4-5 was relatively ok. I had a headache a couple of days with the jump in tray after only four days. But I made it through. The first few days I was really nervous removing them for fear of cracking one again. I move to the last tray in my possession tomorrow- tray six. Then I have a dentist appt the following Mon to get more trays.

I am noticing a difference in the bottom really bent in tooth. It's hard to capture a picture to show what I am seeing; but I'm happy with the subtle changes. I'm still sick of plastic mouth and fantasize about the end of all this. All the while being nervous that my bite is messed up and hoping that I will get used to my teeth in their new position. Here's some pics...

6 Months Today!!!

Well, 6 months ago I went and picked up my trays. I also had some IPRs and brackets attached. It was a very traumatic day. Now, six months later and approaching the end of tray 14 (half way point)... Things are plodding along. I am excited by the changes I've been seeing. It's not been easy, sore teeth at the beginning of a new tray, accidental biting of my inside lip when my teeth have moved into a new position; rough trays cutting up my mouth, bite alignment challenges; constantly living in plastic and incessant brushing / flossing. I can't wait to be done. But hopefully half way there!!!!!!

Now THAT is a huge IPR

Went three days ago to pick up more trays. Wearing #20 (whoop whoop) they gave me #20-24... I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel. For the most part I am really happy with the results so far. Bottom teeth are lining up like little champs. My front top tooth however is stubborn and not turning. Well Tues they gave me five IPRs... And check out this one!! It's huge! Feels so weird...

9 months today

Well half way through #21 and it's 9 months today that I went in to pick up my trays. I've been told I have 28 (that the other four on my ~ of *32* are for "over correction) and that my front tooth should start shifting now that all the IPRs of my last visit have been done. Here are some pics.

Oh, hello mid-course correction

So two weeks ago today, I went in to dentist thinking I was getting a couple of IPRs and my last four trays before refinements. Turns out my open bite is too big. There is now this "bite ramp technology " within Invisalign... That they didn't have when I started treatment. So they decided to file off my attachments, take new molds, and send away for a mid course correction. So I am still in tray number 24, awaiting my new trays. Since my teeth were still tracking well, I am trying to remain optimistic that I will not have a whole slew of new trays coming. Coming up on eleven months!

And then.... The disappointing news

So my new trays with bite ramp technology came in; and I went in today to pick them up and get my new buttons on. I sat in the chair, and nervously asked how many... (Remember I had four left when the mid-course correction molds were taken)... 17 she says. Whaaaaaaaa! 8 more months?! Seriously?! My teeth are looking so straight now! I figured I was close. The new buttons feel awful. Gritty and rough. And the bubbles on the inside top tray that help prevent me from clenching has brought back the lisp. Ugh!!!! I will try to post some pics.

Bite Ramps & progress pics

Picture heavy post!

Is that light in the tunnel??

Tray 17 of 20 of my Mid Course Correction (technically Tray 41). I'll write my update after posting these pics....

Okay, where we at?

So, Tray 17 of 20 is in. Mid course correction started at the beginning of the year has 'helped' with the Posterior Open Bite that was a result of me clenching with the trays in. However, some how I have found a way to still clench even with the Bite Ramps. I think I pull my lower jaw back while sleeping and clench my molars - sometimes waking up with a super sore jaw. My ortho is disappointed, I can tell. So, they've cut this tray and my remaining three over correction trays (18, 19 and 20) - so that I only have this itty bitty tray on my top and lower six teeth. Looks so strange, feels even stranger! But the hopes is that with my molars uncovered, and my inability to clench them with the trays in that they will come down out of the soft fleshy tissue. Fingers crossed!

We have scheduled my next appointment for Sept. 8th, 2016 - six weeks from today... half way through my final tray (#20). If my bite is better/fixed, then she will remove all the attachments, contour and shape my teeth, whiten them and then scan for my retainers. She assures me that the crooked looking front tooth will be straight once she contours and that it's an optical illusion that it's crooked (insert skeptical look here).

If you are reading this (thank you!) and please please PLEASE cross your fingers for me that I am almost done....

A Little motivation....

This is probably where I see the most improvement... Hope it makes someone optimistic this plastic process can work (including me!)

My hissy fit

Sad morning. I went in wearing what I'd hoped to be my last tray (#20 of my mid-course correction, but #44 in all)... And instead they took new scans to send off for refinement trays. My open posterior bite has not closed, despite cutting the molar sections off of my last 3 sets (6 weeks). Who knows how many trays I'll get this time. My teeth at the front are looking great. Pretty damn straight. They filed off the buttons (because I'll get new ones on my molars), and even contoured/shaped the jagged front one so it looks significantly less crooked now. Evidently, that was a train light in the tunnel, and not the light at the end of my (invisa)lign.

2 years in...

So, two days ago marked my two year mark. Two years living in plastic... brushing five times a day. Last night I put in number 10 of my (21) refinements. But... something I'm super stoked about. Yesterday I went to pick up my Acceledent device. Seems weird being at (hopefully) the tail end of my treatment... but a new FSA year started, AND my husband will likely need Invisalign (+ my kids will get braces). I'm sure it will see use well after I'm done. So while I started Invisalign 733 days ago... I hope to wrap the rest up quickly.

Tray 12 of my refinements - after a mid course correction. (aka tray 57)

Day 749 (literally). Went to the dentist today to pick up #13-18 (of 21). I'm two + years in and looking at my progress in pics really helps. I found out today at my appointment that my dentist has done about 1,200 Invisalign cases. And she always talks about three... one person that looked like it would take 3 years to complete, and they were done in 10 months. Two - another tough case, and then there is mine. One that should have been done fairly quickly but because of my clenching- it's taking forever. I've joked that I should be keeping a log of all the places I've brushed my teeth... outside the usual restaurants - Lowe's home improvement store, Dick's Sporting Goods, Baseball Stadium, Gas Station etc. lol!! But I'm hoping by April I'll be moving into retainers. Sheesh!!!


Homestretch Picture!!

Don't know why it didn't post the first time, nor why I can't delete it. Ugh. Anyhow... Take TWO...

Day 820....

Yup... living in plastic for 820days. But my brackets have been removed, the whitening complete, and my appointment for a crown and retainer scan scheduled. Will wear those 24x7 for three months... then nights only.... there's the light, I see it peeking at end of tunnel. Teeth aren't "perfect" but about 99% of the way... I'm good with that.....
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