Before getting invisalign, there are some things to think about (month 1) - Richmond, VA

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Invisalign Month 1: Initial Treatment Where do I...

Invisalign Month 1:

Initial Treatment
Where do I start? Picking up my trays was the best feeling, knowing that I was about to begin my long journey to a better smile and greater confidence was amazing. I had read that many go through the initial pains of starting the treatment. Although, there was some pressure and tightness I didn’t feel any initial pain.

I saw a 3D video of what my progress would look like. This is where my orthodontist hit me with his plans for my teeth. Now, when we initially discussed treatment he showed me a model of the most straight and perfect teeth I had ever seen. I of course knew I’d never get that, but he assured me I would. Now he was telling me that 1 of my teeth were too rotated to correct without damage to nerves. He also stated that 1 of my front teeth were larger than the other and would shift my bite once they were aligned. He recommended that I not worry about it….I have other plans.

The costs of my Invisalign were $5800. Insurance paid $2000 which left me with a $3800 bill. There’s no way I’m going through this for less than a “near” perfect smile.

But I digress. Unfortunately, I had to have buttons added to my teeth so that the trays would grab better. This wasn’t something I had been made aware of before starting treatment, but I figured, there’s no arguing at this point. When I got a first glance at my smile with the trays and buttons in the mirror, I was disappointed and became upset that everyone would notice. I mean hey, let’s be honest, you purchase Invisalign not just for the end result, but stealth. Kids don’t even like brace so as an adult why would you want wires in your mouth? I soon got over it and said to myself, in the end everything will look great.

Living with Invisalign
When I say having these trays are a huge pain in the ass, please believe me. Some tips to keep in mind before starting:
• Purchase a travel toothbrush and a large tube of toothpaste because you’re going to need it!
• You have to brush after ANYTHING with sugar enters your mouth. Don’t think you can skip because you’ll feel the difference, plus those sugars can damage your teeth.
• You’ll receive 2 cases keep a tray holder in your car and on your person at all times.
• Keep a backup toothbrush and toothpaste in your car.
• Purchase some denture cleansing tabs (like the alcheseltzer fizzy water tabs). I usually brush my trays clean and soak them in Listerine for a couple minutes, but I use the denture cleaner once a week.
• Keep bottled water on hand for brushing in weird places like your car, or your cubicle (trust me on this).
• Finally, do not fidget with the trays using your tongue. It will leave little paper sized cuts that are extremely annoying and painful.

If you are as social as I am, be prepared to either tell all your friends you have them or have awkward disappearances to pop them out and back in. I know most don’t want people to know they have them, but having at least 1 friend know that can cover for you during disappearances is a great thing. Or just skip on the social outings, 1 thing you can definitely credit Invisalign with is weight loss. I actually avoid eating as much to cut back on the headache of brushing 32x a day.

1 last thing I want to share is what I am dubbing the 2nd week pain. I am currently on tray 3 and I wear them the recommended 2 week span. So far with each tray, on week 2 my teeth feel like they are buried in play dough. They feel soft and tender to the touch. I avoid anything crunchy during this time and by crunchy I mean anything tougher than mid-soft bread. I generally eat soups or boiled meats to avoid the pain of chewing. It’s not horrible, I have gotten used to it, but it is definitely something to keep in mind.

Well, I’ve ranted on enough. My journey is just beginning, but I wanted to share with those who are considering taking the plunge. So far it’s been bitter sweet. In all the experience isn’t bad. Just take the time to think about how you will have to adjust to the Invisalign lifestyle. I’ll continue to make monthly updates for those that want to follow. If you have any questions fire away!

More Details....

So I failed to mention the details about my case in my first post. I'm 30 and I have always had an issue with crowding in my upper teeth. My lower is a bit crooked, but not noticeable from the front only from above. I went in to check out 6 month smiles and was told I was a candidate for both Invisalign and traditional 6 month braces, however both would take about 7 months to complete. I still don't believe that, but here I am a year later and I just decided to go for it. Same dentist office, different Orthodontist states that it'll take about a year or so.

I have 44 upper and 44 lower trays. I got a chance to check out my 3D movements and it seems like my bottom teeth will be pushed outward from the back to the front, then they will be aligned and pulled back in. The top is another story. It is the worst as I have a canine that is higher than all other teeth on my left side due to a tooth further back that is rotated 180 degrees. I was told the only way to rotate that tooth was to either risk damaging the nerves or use traditional braces. I chose neither, however I am thinking about removing it completely since it's far back enough not to notice. I was also told that one of my front 2 teeth is larger than the other so, the alignment won't be perfect unless we plan to fix it later down the road. I imagine this involves shaving the larger one down a bit. I am honestly more excited about the upper teeth moving than anything, but the 3D vid didn't seem to show much movement until around tray 20 or so. So I'm patiently waiting.

I went in this past weekend and picked up an additional 4 sets of trays so I am on tray 4 and working towards tray 8. I was told that when I reach tray 20 I will start replacing them every week instead of every 14 days. My dentist says this is where I'll start seeing the most improvement considering much of the movement right now is driven towards making space between the teeth instead of alignment. I'll pop back in around tray 6 or so for updates!

Tray 9

I went in for my follow up a couple weeks ago. Each time it seems they give me more and more trays to extend the time between visits. I have tray 9 in and will move on to tray 10 next week. Upon my last visit I was asked if I had any pain. I let my dentist know the only real pain I've witnessed was the plastic cutting my tongue from time to time, but other than that any soreness I had become accustomed to. I said I don't think there's much more pain you can put me through with these trays with all of the previous issues I've had with root canals and wisdom tooth pain. He asked me to come back in 4 weeks this time, the shortest time between visits I've had thus far. He said since you're okay with so far no pain I want to try something. I don't know what that means, but I do remember him mentioning that at tray 20 he wanted me to go week to week instead of biweekly trays. Maybe he wants to speed things up or maybe I should've asked, but I'm just going with the flow of things. Don't want to think too much about it that way before I know it I'm done.

Anyway, I tried my best to keep up with my toothbrushes at work, in the car at home in my bag etc. So now I have 1 in each place lol. I find it easier than scrambling to find the one I was carrying around. I noticed that my bottom teeth are almost completely straight to my naked eye, by the final tray I was given this go around #11 they should be good. Still haven't seen much change in my top teeth although when I floss I can tell the gaps between them have gotten greater. That is honestly what I'm looking most forward to. I've been thinking about asking if I can do the Acceledent device, but again I don't want to rush anything and I also don't want another bill lol. I'll pop back in in a couple weeks to let everyone know about my next visit!

Bottoms all straight!

Weekly Tray Changes

As of about a week or 2 ago I was told I can now change my trays each week. My bottom teeth seem to be pretty straight and I'm told that the process of creating space up top is beginning.

Today I'm on tray 19 and I don't feel any pain when changing trays. I am a very social person and the beginning of summer hasn't helped with my total tray time. 22 hours a day feels more mandatory now that I'm on a weekly basis, whereas when I was biweekly I felt like the added week was making up for it. My 22 hours of wear a day were starting to dwindle as my trays were starting to feel more loose by week 2 as if my teeth were already moved to the new positions. Not complaining, but I do feel a tightness when popping my trays back in now that I didn't notice as much before. I'll just have to re-adjust to the new timeframe. I'll post more updated photos taken recently to this site soon. Please keep the questions coming!

Tray 24 Update

So my crowding issues up top are finally beginning to be tackled. I know because the teeth I have issues with are sore now although I can't see any real changes yet. I can tell my two front teeth have a slight gap. I was told my top teeth are now spreading apart like my bottom did in the beginning. This is to create space so my tooth that is pushed back can be pulled to the front. I have noticed some gaps between my bottom teeth although straight now it is kind of annoying, but only visible to me very close in the mirror. Anything I eat gets stuck in between these teeth. I am so looking forward to refinements when I'm done (sarcasm). I am changing to tray 25 tomorrow, I have 20 trays to go so I should be done by December. I'll be posting updated photos soon!

PS. Another small thing I've noticed is I can't fully close my jaw without my bottom teeth bumping into the moving teeth up top. With the new movement my crowded teeth are essentially directly aligned with the bottom while on their way to the front. I'll keep you posted.
Midlothian Family Denstistry

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