32 Year Old, Invisalign with Propel - San Francisco, CA

After years of wanting to get braces, I have...

After years of wanting to get braces, I have finally decided to take the leap. I found a great ortho who is knowledgeable and so far the office staff is great. My ortho is the top 1% provider in northern California. He has literally done hundreds and hundreds of cases.

As seen from my initial pic, I have severe crowding on both top and bottom teeth. I also have a pretty significantly protruded canine on top that I know will be a difficult tooth to move. I got my teeth scanned with the iTero machine, this was cool, no goo and no mess. The trays arrived in about 4 weeks time.

I was set for 32 trays for both top and bottom. Afterwards, I will require atleast 1 refinement to reassess the problematic areas. This is included in my treatment cost. I will also receive Propel treatment to accelerate the process. Propel will allow me to swap trays every week instead if two weeks. This will reduce my treatment time by 40-50%. Ortho recommended two treatments of Propel, one now and one towards the middle of my treatment (~Tray 18). The cost of propel was also included in my treatment cost. I will write a seperate review about Propel once i get it later this week.

IPR: I am receiving IPR on several of my top and bottom teeth. This is the process of filing down your tooth so that there is more room for your tooth to move. This also allows me to avoid extractions. Yay! I will write more about this procedure once I receive it later this week as well.

Attachments: i have about 6 attachments, these are annoying. I did not put in the attachments yet, again will be put on later this week. However, my trays are already made with the attachment bubbles included. One attachment bubble is right on my top canine, and this is irritating the inside of my mouth that touches that attachment (due to constant rubbing). Similar situation for the other attachments as well, although not as severe as the protuding canine. I will ask ortho if there is a way to reduce the irritation.

Week 1 thoughts: I have had the aligners in for 4 days. I have a lisp, which was noticed by many people at work. They said they could not see the aligners, but noticed my lisp. Hopefully this goes away soon. Definitely a discrete way to straighten teeth - it is hard to notice in the mirror unless i stare intensely and look under certain lighting.
In terms if comfort, cant judge yet... You definitely feel something is on your teeth and at times i notice myself repeatedly grazing my tongue against the rough edges if the tray...which is annoying. Hope i get used to it soon. In terms of soreness, it is OK so far, although eating chewier food, such as meat, can be more difficult as the chewing excentuates the soreness.

Ill try to keep a weekly or bi-weekly review depending on my progress.

Trays 1-6, IPR, Attachments, Propel Updates

Time flies and I am already on tray 6. I have not seem much visual changes far, but I know my teeth are moving because when flossing, the space between each teeth is wider. On some teeth, the floss does not tightly go in between the two teeth as there is a slight gap. I'm excited because creation of these spaces will eventually aid in straightening my teeth.

Wear Time: I am finally finding my rhythm. I am a frequent snacker who likes to munch on sweets and beverages throughout the day. At first, was brushing / flossing my teeth around 5 times a day, but this quickly because cumbersome and just not worth it. I slowly cut down the amount of times I ate during the day and started planning my meal and snacks so I can minimize taking my aligners out to eat. Breakfast 30 minutes, Lunch 45 minutes and Dinner 1.5 hours. Currently, I am ranging between 20-21 hours a day.

Interproximal Reduction (IPR):
I have received a .3mm IPR in between my two front teeth on week 2. This is a painless process where my dentist took a hand help electronic device that looked like a pizza cutter. The process was painless. After IPR, I had a rather significant gap between my teeth (see picture). However, this gap has currently closed after a few weeks. *whew*

Attachments:
I had 11 attachments put on, which is 5 more then I thought I was getting. These are not that visible as they are tooth colored, however when you wear your aligners, you can see them because the attachments show through the pre-designed alignment bubbles. At first the attachments really bothered the inside of my mouth as it was rubbing against it. However, after a few weeks, I got use to them and actually appreciate their presence. They definitely keep my aligner firmly in place.

Propel: This was so far the most scariest part of my Invisalign journey. Propel is a device that is used to drill microscopic holes into the tooth gum to accelerate movement. Think of it as a small cork screw that is forcefully driven into your gums then slowly unscrewed out. This procedure will accelerate the teeth movement as our immune system kicked to gear to treat the procedure areas, and during this process, teeth movement is also accelerated due to the increased activity of bone regeneration.

Quick tips for those considering Propel
1. Go after work, take a half day or do it on a weekend if possible. I made the mistake of doing the procedure at lunch time and after the numbness wore off I was in in horrible pain when I came back at work. I had to stay inside my car and cry. This is a very traumatizing process - think about it as, the doctor is screwing a metal device into your gums through your bone and slowly pulling it out. He is also using an enormous amount of strength. Although you can't feel anything because of the local anesthetics, still you know what is happening. OUCH!! He used the device on around 10-15 different locations in my mouth...very uncomfortable.

2. Take a tylenol (extra strength 1000mg) prior to the procedure. Trust me, this will save your life. I had to learn it the hard way. No pain killers and going back to work is a stupid choice. I am not looking forward to my next section in May

3. Be brave and suck it up, this procedure will cut down your treatment time by 50%. I am currently changing my aligners weekly.

4. Be mindful that you need to repeat Propel treatment every 3-4 months.

Will update again in a few weeks!
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