Can I Has Sandwich? - Santa Clara, CA

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*Treatment results may vary

I have a moderate open bite and I am unable to eat...

I have a moderate open bite and I am unable to eat sandwiches properly. Because I can't bite down all the way, every time I try to eat one, half the sandwich gets pulled out instead. One time I bit off more than I could chew. *rimshot* Next thing I knew, I couldn't breathe and my brother had to perform the Heimlich maneuver to save my life. WAT. I was almost KILLED by a sandwich. So I vowed NEVER AGAIN.

Can I Has Invisalign?

I have always been interested in invisalign, but being a fairly broke college student. Could I afford it? I decided to see if I even qualified for the treatment, or if my dream of undercover teeth correction would remain a fantasy. The first office I went to said that my problem could be completely corrected by invisalign. HURRAY! And I was quoted at an estimate of $6,000. BOO. $5,300 + $700 for the retainer at the end (Seriously, $700???). I couldn't afford that or the interest infested payment plan, so I took my empty wallet and tears to the internet.

In terms of getting invisalign through groupon or another deal site, it's not just dentists who have poor business and are desperate/just starting invisalign/need guinea pigs. A lot of dentists/orthos who do these groupon deals are short on their X number of cases for their desired invisalign level, or just want to maintain the same level the following year. So it is possible to find an experienced provider. You can check the dentist/ortho of the groupon on invisalign's website to see their provider status.
Preferred Provider: Treat 10 cases per year
Premier Provider: Has treated at least 50 cases total. Treat at least 25 cases every 6 months
Premier Elite Provider: Has treated at least 300 cases total. Treat 50 cases every 6 months

I ended up finding a very good deal on Groupon after several weeks of searching. I had to make sure it included the entire treatment, that it wasn't the semi scammy invisalign express that would only be 10 trays, if the retainer was included, and that the dentist themselves were experience with invisalign and had shining reviews on yelp. I finally found one for $2,800 which was the entire treatment + retainer + whitening when finished. It was also a repeat of one of 2012's best groupon deals of the year, so I figured I couldn't go wrong. If you are persistent, do your research, and read the fine print, it is possible to find a good deal and invisalign provider online.

When I got to the dentist the groupon was for, he said that it would probably only close my open bite by 1mm and not get my hopes up.... Um, what? Then why did the previous dentist says it could be done, and showed me awesome before and after photos of another patient with an open bite? I decided to wait and see what the clin check looked like before making my final decision. When the clin check arrived, someone else in the office sat me down and showed me the progress of one of their customers. Her bite was 2x as bad/open as mine, but her teeth already looked better than mine and she wasn't even finished with the treatment. Then the moment I was waiting for. She showed me my clin check and MY TEETH TRANSFORMED IN TO MOVIE STAR TEETH. I was sold. (see previous post for the magical transformation).

I purchased this groupon back in June, and FINALLY got my first set of trays the end of August. The wait for the initial appointment, the clin check, and tray delivery was ridiculous. But now I have my first 3 sets out of 22, and I'm so excited! I'm really hoping this can close my open bite, I've seen many before and afters of of open bites that were corrected with invisalign, so I remain optimistic. I'll be wearing these 23/7 until July, so this better be worth it!

Week 1 Reactions & Questions

Initial reactions
Had my teeth cleaned beforehand, but I can't enjoy the squeaky clean feeling of freshly cleaned teeth because of all the attachments/buttons on them. I was aware I needed a lot of them, but I guess I didn't expect them to be this big. I also have about 20 of them. Invisible? Ha! Not quite invisible, but yes, less noticeable than normal braces. My teeth felt quite sore the rest of the day, but psh, I knew this was coming and I was gonna tough it out for my movie star teeth! I had a party to attend later that evening though, so I was a bit self conscious of how my teeth looked and the lisp. The pain was annoying, but hey! Just like putting rum on a baby's gums, hard liquor helped sooth the pain (please sooth responsibly). But when I brushed my teeth a final time that evening, I noticed that one of my buttons were already missing! Less than 12 hours and one already pops off, is that new record?

Missing Button
The next day, I called and left a message about the button. Unfortunately, this was the weekend and their office is closed on Mondays as well. Ok, 4 days without the button can't be so bad. When they tried scheduling me an appointment, I told them I'm only free on Wed. morning and all day Friday (well, I'm free on Mondays too, but they're closed so that doesn't help). They had nothing during those times that week, so they had to schedule me for the following Friday. So I'm going 2 weeks without this button. Kind of annoyed they couldn't squeeze me in somewhere, since it's literally going to to take them 5 minutes or less. I feel like I'm getting mixed messages here, I was told to wear these trays as long as possible and call them immediately if a button pops off. But hey, it's ok if we make you wait 2 weeks to put it back on that tooth you really want moved. Is this ok? Has anyone else had issues with buttons popping off? How long did it take for your provider to fix it, and did your provider stress getting them fixed ASAP or am I overreacting?

Sleeping/Teeth Grinding
I've had problems grinding my teeth at night for as long as I can remember. I mentioned this to my dentist, and they said I no longer have to wear a night guard because the invisalign with act as one. But I'm worried that I might damage the trays because I grind my teeth quite hard. To put this in perspective, I didn't always have an open bite. The reason my bite is open is because some crap dentist from my childhood gave me something to put on my front teeth to prevent grinding. But because I must have the bite force of an alligator or something, I pushed my front teeth up, and was eventually able to have my back teeth touch/grind while still wearing this device. So now I have to spend thousands of dollars trying to fix this, because he just couldn't recommend something for the back of my teeth, which is what I use now, and costs only a buck your local dollar tree. In short, I have the bite force of a wild animal and I'm worried that sleeping without my soft night guard will damage the trays. Does anyone else grind their teeth at night, and have you had problems with the trays?
I was told I should eat with my trays still in, so I can have the trays in even longer. But um, stuff just doesn't taste as good. At first I was talking trays out to eat, that way stuff tastes the way I remember it, and the trays don't get all gunky. I also found that certain foods are super hard to get out of your teeth before you put the trays back on (stuff like crackers and cereal are impossible to get out! I either avoid these or just eat them with the trays in). My teeth however, feel more sensitive without the trays, so some foods are more difficult than others. Sp now, I leave them in for most foods, but take them out if I'll have a lot of difficulty eating with the trays, or it's a super special awesome dish. While I've gotten more accustomed to eating with trays in, I'm still paranoid I might crack or ruin them. Has anyone else been told to eat with their trays in, and any resulting damage to the trays?

My teeth felt uncomfortable for the first couple of days and then subsided. But my poor tongue however got cut on the bottom tray in at least 4 different places and hurt for most of the week. I tried sanding down down the tray at home, but unsure if that helped or not since my tongue was already very sore. My tongue felt swollen and talking was difficult and painful. This lasted for about 5 days, so I maybe the sanding did help and I'm now more accustomed to the trays. I was taking ibuprofen, but my mother suggested oral gel. But no matter how I put it on, oral gel tends to make half my mouth numb and difficult to talk. Since I was already having speech problems, and I work in customer service so clarity is important, I didn't try it. Has anyone else had problems with the tray cutting their tongue, and how did you deal?

I used to eat about 5 times a day (3 meals and 2 snacks) but now it's more like 3-4. I brush, floss and mouthwash after my first and last meals. And just brush and mouthwash for those in between. I have my travel cleaning kit which I take everywhere. I don't mind the extra brushing at home or work, but school and other public restrooms are kind of annoying. All the girls in my class will have seen me cleaning my trays in there by the end of the semester. And public restrooms can be gross, so I've been scooping out the restrooms before deciding if I should have that popcorn during a movie. I'm aiming to wear these bad boys for 23 hours a days. So far so good!

I felt like there's a constant pool of spit in my mouth, and when I talk, it tries to escape! I have to be self conscious about this and not have spit flying around when i have a conversation. And I swear I sound different! Even after all the pain has subsided, I feel like I need to enunciate more. My friends who know about my invisalign all swear I sound the same. But then why do they keep misunderstanding what I say? "Did you say boobies?" "No, said movies!" LIARS.
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