It has literally only been 24 hrs since I put my...
It has literally only been 24 hrs since I put my 1st tray in. My mouth is decorated with sores. I have blisters on both back sides of my tongue, on the tip of my tongue, and a red raw patch on the underside where it scrapes against the lower tray. There are also blisters on both sides of my top cheeks as well as both sides of my bottom cheeks. I'm pretty much just sitting here with my mouth slightly open and my tongue still. Such fun! I have a nail file which I tried to use to shave all the sharp edges but it's too wide and pretty much everywhere on these trays feel like glass to my mouth so I don't know where to even shave without going wild. I've bought one of those long thin emery boards online and will attack as soon as I receive it. In the meantime I suffer in silence.
It's not so bad actually. I don't have any buttons on my teeth yet and nothing was shaved so my aligners are just the starter sets, I'm sure. I go back after my 2nd tray for the real experience. My teeth itself just has a dull ache. When I took them out for the first time yesterday they hurt so very much, but I'd taken pain killers in anticipation and so the ache didn't last very long. Today, the ache is better still. Popping out the trays is very hard for me. I know that once I get the buttons it will become twice as difficult and I can only imagine how much I will struggle. Hopefully, after a month of these 'trainer' pairs, I'll figure out some tricks to getting them off that will work with the attachments.
Meanwhile I eat only soft food. Chewing is nearly unbearable with all the sores and my teeth ache while the aligners are out and are like little rocks banging into each other as if they don't know where they're supposed to be any more. For breakfast I've had tea, but otherwise I'm only drinking water. I am a coffee drinker as well but the dental hygienist I asked, said I can't use whiteners only whitening toothpaste even though my buttons aren't even on yet! Still, I imagine it's better to be safe. For now I watch the clock and am anxious not to keep them out too long. In the past 24+ hrs I've had them in for the require 22 hrs. I hope I don't get too lazy on this.
It's only been 1 day, when I speak I speak with an obvious lisp, and my mouth hurts too much to even try speaking anyway, but I'm actually content. I knew all about the sores and the aches so I've been mentally prepared. I'm being brave and will toughen it out. If not, there is always ambesol and pain-killers. Hopefully the sores heal quickly because really they're my only concern. The dull ache in my teeth is nothing to me. I'm preparing myself for the expected pain of having them in with the attachments. I have 34 trays in total and I'm changing them every 2 weeks. My whole journey is ahead of me so I'm keeping positive.
I'm looking forward to having great teeth! I'll next update maybe on or after tray #2.
Emory boards, Warm Salt Water, Chewie, and TRAY 2
So after the first two days of enduring a mouth full of scratches, I decided that I could wait for my online delivery no more. I popped in to a dollar store and purchased a pack of varying sizes of emery boards. When I got home, as soon as it was time for my next meal I made myself a smoothie, drank it down quickly, popped out the trays, rinsed them out thoroughly, and then spent the remainder of my allocated 40 mins filing away to my heart's content. It took about two or three more meals of this whittling away before I was able to comfortably have them in my mouth. Meanwhile warm salt water replaced my mouth wash from day 2 to early day 4. It helped so much! By day 4 I was doing great. No more pain, no more sores, no more trying not to speak or swallow.
My chewie became my best friend for my first week. In my free time, I sat slowly chewing on it for minutes at a time. I love the slight ache it causes and it makes the trays feel so tight and snug that I'm confident it's doing it's job. I was told that it's important to use the chewie on the first three or four days just to make sure that the trays are snug. I did have a tiny scare on around day 7 when I bit down with my front teeth and felt double to ache. Even though it wasn't awful pain, I thought I definitely hurt the tooth and went to the mirror to inspect. The pain went away after a few minutes but my anxiety now won't let me chew on my chewie like I use to. The first three days is allocated to chewie chewing and then no more!
So what did I eat? Well, no you didn't read what I previous wrote, wrong. I drank smoothies. Bless the person who recommended drinking smoothies with the trays in. I save so much time that way! I'm usually a pretty fast eater anyway. Meals take me around 10 mins to eat and then I pop up and immediately begin my teeth brushing ritual. Flossing, brushing (electric), mouthwash, tray brushing (toothpaste), and then trays back in after breakfast and dinner. Flossing, brushing (regular), and tray brushing after lunch. The ritual takes around 10 mins. So on average my breakfast and dinner routine are 20 mins each and for lunch when I have my smoothie it's down to around 10 mins. This means that during the week I have my trays out for only about 1 hr each day! Snacking went down to 0 and I lost 2 lbs after my first week.
I can't say I actually recommend this style of eating-quickly-then-brushing. After 10 days of this I became very sad. I never get to savour food anymore. If I've eaten something delicious, it's barely cleared the back of my throat before I'm drowning it in minty fresh goodness. I was so rigid on my time that my eyes were always on the clock counting down minutes. Day 11 to 14 saw me relaxing and not always so quick to get to the teeth-brushing. Forty minutes is the allotted time for my meals so I slowed down to around 22 - 22.5 hrs instead of 23. On the weekend I looked at the clock when I took them out and then looked at the clock when I had them back in, and that's it! No panic.
TRAY 2 slid into place last night, rather nicely. In my first 14 days of this invisalign journey I learned so very much. I know what to eat and drink with (smoothie, water) and without (all other food and hot drinks) the trays in, I have it down to an art popping the trays in and out that I can do it in seconds with one hand (simple trays, no attachments!), and I have my teeth-brushing routine down perfectly. Yesterday I spent my breakfast time filing this tray 2 down so that by the time I popped them in last night, I had no pain. This morning I can tell it'll need a bit more fine tuning, but compared to last tray I'm feeling like I'm ahead this time.
I've only had tray 2 in for about 12 hours now. I'll see how the rest of the two weeks go. Tray 3 will be so much more exciting. It's IPR and attachments time then!
TRAY 3 with Attachments
So, tray 2 passed by pretty uneventfully. Except for a migraine one day that made me seriously consider pulling the trays out and honestly never putting them back in again, I also had my first experience having dinner out at a restaurant. The restaurant trip went surprisingly well. While there, the trays were only out for one and a half hours. I had a light breakfast in the morning where I had the trays out for about 1/2 hour and then nothing for lunch, followed by early dinner at the restaurant. So it worked out well.
I got IPR, attachments, and Tray 3 yesterday afternoon. Having the attachments put on was mild torture. The part that got my anxiety going was the cleanup. That sound and the feeling of having a buffer drilling over my teeth was horrid. In comparison, the IPR was lovely! My ortho used a water drill and except for water spraying everywhere it all happened without any sort of worry. My ortho was impressed by how amazingly my trays fit and she said she could definitely tell I'd been great when it came to my wear time. So today, when my trays are off my teeth feel dirty and nasty, the attachments are sharp, and my teeth ache a little. When the trays are on, my teeth feel less sharp but still strange and bumpy, and they ache a little. I've also had a low level headache since the moment they went in. All in all though, tray 3 seems fine.
Tray 6 - Already?!... One week in
30 Jun 2015
2 months post
So I'm one week in to Tray 6 and it hit me that I'm already on Tray 6! Time is just flying by. Each time I've changed trays I sat down and compared the trays of past to current. I can see tiny changes especially in my overjet front teeth but nothing to take note of and just by studying the trays, there hadn't been much to really see unless I squint very hard. I gave up trying to see the changes and carried on with my daily life. Today I looked in the mirror and thought that my overjet was definitely being pulled in. I can see a change! Finally. I am very happy. I imagine the next time I'll see anything of note will be Tray 9 or 19, but I'm hopeful. Something is happening to my teeth, and it's good!
Tray 9, Loose Teeth, and Panic
I changed to Tray 9 on Tuesday (4th Aug) and went to my dentist on Saturday (yesterday) for my regular scheduled cleaning. It's my first cleaning since I got Invisalign. My dentist asked a lot of questions regarding my Invisalign treatment. She seemed interested in me getting adult braces, although she assured me that she was well aware of how to scale and polish my teeth without scrubbing off my attachments. During the cleaning she made a comment - "Your teeth are very mobile. Is it because of the Invisalign?"
Today (Sunday), having assured the dentist confidently that yes the slight mobility is from the Invisalign, I decided to test this supposed mobility. Let it be known that ever since I started my Invisalign journey I haven't poked, prodded, or examined my teeth in any physical way. I know they're moving. I already love the difference in my smile. I can that they have moved. But, I just sat down and wiggled my teeth. They. Wiggle. They don't rock like cradles but they do move! I feel the slight give that's not just my imagination. I can feel the movement, and let me tell you that although in theory I know that it is the Invisalign that encourages this mobility, I have worked myself into a panic.
What if my teeth all fall out?!
Tray 11, Pain, and Lifted Corner
Almost three days into tray 11, and I am not liking this tray at all. The first night I put it in I noticed that it lifts a little on my left wisdom tooth. It's enough that it does a bounce in that small area whenever I tap it or bite there. I know wisdom teeth are not important for the tray, but I'm still indecisive on whether I should call my Ortho and have to travel over an hour for nothing, or keep quiet for now and see if it gets worse on Tray 12. The pain with this tray is damn near unbearable sometimes. This is one of the reasons why I'm not extremely worried about the lift in the far corner. It hurts too much to not be doing its job. I've been taking ibuprofen to ease the pain, but the life of a pill popper is not the life for me. I hope the pain eases over the next few days. My teeth are shaping up nicely, though. I'm really loving my smile, and I'm only about 1/3 way through my treatment.
Tray 15 and My Face Hurts
28 Oct 2015
6 months post
I might be on the edge of getting the flu or maybe just a cold. In any event, I changed to Tray 15 last night and spent all night sleeping through the pain. When I woke I took some ibuprofen, drank a smoothie for breakfast, and carried on with my day. By lunch time the pain was back because I had to take the trays out to eat. I have a low level headache, my nose and jaw sort of ache and I've been dry coughing a bit. Mostly though, my mouth hurts. From incisors to incisors and mostly on the teeth with attachments and my lower four front teeth. I don't know if I should take cold meds, another ibuprofen, or just take a nap and endure the ache.
Tray 17 is my half-way point. I can't wait until I get there, to celebrate!
Tray 16 with Open Bites
21 Nov 2015
7 months post
I change Tray 16 in 2 days but decided to take a few minute to comment on my open bites. I now have open bites on both sides of my jaw. It started from Tray 1 and gradually became bigger. Now that I'm on Tray 16, my side teeth no longer meet. It's a tiny space but it means that I slide my teeth instead of chomping down. I can't chew. This is annoying.
Next up is Tray 17 and a celebration. Tray 17 is my 1/2 way mark!
Tray 17 is Okay
This is my quick update for Tray 17 which seems to be doing okay. It hurt a lot the first night but I'm more or less used to this pain. Generally, everything seems to be fine, just fine, with this tray. There is nothing unusual or outside of the ordinary to report. At the end of Tray 18 I'll go in to see my Orthodontist again and will definitely be asking about the tiny open bites. From what I've read though, this is a common occurrence with those of us who clench our teeth, but it is a relatively easy fix, even at the retainer stage. I'm just happy that I made it half way, and with luck, will continue without complications through the other half.
Tray 26, tray 27, and the growing space in the trays
So I've noticed that one of my teeth has decided it has had enough of this moving business. Not that I blame it too much. These last few trays feel as if they've been trying my patience. Truth be told I'm quite ready for my invisalign journey to be over now even though I still have far too many more trays to go. And now my tooth has stopped tracking so there is a growing space in my tray. I've told my Ortho, sent her pics, and am now awaiting her verdict. I suspect it will need its own attachment, a new mold, and new trays. I'm not not looking forward to all that. But I wait and chew on my chewie in the meantime.
I've just switched to Tray 27 at midnight (late) and might need to switch to Tray 28 in two weeks at 5 am (early). I don't know if I'm being wise. My chicklet teeth are still wobbly.
Tray 28, 29, 30 - 31 with Bite Ramps
Tray 28 had bite ramps. Bite ramps. I had no idea what they were and contacted my Ortho to say that I seemed to be missing attachments at the back of my four front teeth. She e-mailed back to say not to worry, that they were just bite ramps. Tray 28 made me laugh a lot. After one year with invisalign, suddenly I was back to square one, with an awful lisp. My tongue didn't know where to go with the new ramps in the way. Saying the sentence - "My sister says I sound strange" - was a real hit and left me laughing in tears.
I am now on Tray 29 with trays 30 and 31 to go before my over-correction trays (Trays 32 - 34), which I'm told I may or may not need. Then, it's refinements!
Tray 32 and Laser Gum Treatment
Went to my appointment the day after completing Tray 31 with my fingers and toes crossed that my treatment tray wearing days were over and I would be moving on to refinements. The Doctor herself took a look around my mouth to determine if my treatment phase was in fact over. She was very nice and patient. She took a look at my Clincheck video and seemed very impressed with how my teeth improved from overjet to straight. Her disappointment was with the fact that my lateral incisors seems to have given up on moving any lower, leaving me with rabbit-looking teeth and that my smile seemed very gummy as my teeth in general were short. She suggested 1) laser gum treatment on my upper gum line to elongate my teeth, and 2) bonding on the incisors since they looked stubby from being slightly higher up than I like. I don't have any dental insurance so my heart skipped a beat at the (discounted) price, but I agreed.
Laser gum treatment is quite an experience. It began with about 4 - 6 needles of localized anesthetic. After that, everything from the bottom of my nose to the corner of my lips disappeared and went dead numb. I couldn't feel a thing. I didn't want to feel anything. I put on the special goggles, closed my eyes, clenched my fists, and held my breath. She very gently explained that I wouldn't feel a thing but that the smell was going to be rather disconcerting. I couldn't hold my breath that long. I smelled the smell. Actually, honestly, it couldn't have taken more than 10 mins for her to burn and carefully shape my gum line with her matchstick thin laser. I couldn't feel anything, but the smell of burning flesh is now branded into my memory. I think I was shaking for the entire procedure. After she was finish she made me take a look. She said it hadn't bled much and that it wouldn't really hurt much while healing.
She stuck Tray 32 in my mouth right away and said that this would be my last treatment tray as she just wanted my teeth to tighten a little more. Then she sent me on my way with my appointment for my bonding, and my mouth still extremely numb.
It has now been almost 3 day. I gargled salt water after every meal for 24 hrs on day 1, and after breakfast on day 2. I've left it alone today. And so far the pain is only as bad as an irritated or scratched gum. My new tray hurts my teeth more than my gums hurt, but ibuprofen does the trick as always. The gums have been bleeding a tiny bit after each brushing, salt water rinse, and whenever my trays go back in but I hold some ice cold water in my mouth once I notice any bleeding and the bleeding stops.
In 2 days I return for my bonding appointment so Tray 32 will only last for...a few days? I will return to the office to do my bonding procedures, remove my attachments, and get my teeth imprinted possibly for my refinements. I will update again with photos at that time.
Bonding for Teeth and Fitting for Retainers
Today I went in to have the bonding done on the two incisors. It took a while. It also hurt my still healing gums beyond belief, but I toughened it out and endured. The doctor who did the bonding was very pleasant. He accepted the challenge of molding me two perfect looking side teeth like it was an art project. In fact both he and my lead doctor did a little tag-teaming. He molded me the teeth, she came in, took a look and decided to have a go at them too. Then the two of them admired their handy-work fine tuning and encouraging each other. I felt kind of special lying there with tears of pain in my eyes while they happily smiled and carried on with their task.
The end result took my breath away. I couldn't stop smiling. Couldn't stop staring at my teeth. If nothing else worked - or works anymore - for this Invisalign journey I've endured for more than a year now, the sight of my teeth today was beautiful. At least for now.
Next I got fitted for my retainers. Retainers, not refinements. I did a little dance at the news.
I have to wear my final Tray #32 for 2 - 3 weeks at night while my retainers are made. Then I'm told I have to marry them. In the meantime, I have a small issue that I need to discuss, and I'm going to need to file my tray down since I'm stuck with it for weeks more now, because of course, it's one of the sharp ones. Otherwise, I carry on and look forward to the very close end.
Final (maybe?) update and conclusion will come when I get my retainers. I might as well show what they - or mine at least - looks like.
End of the Journey - Retainers and Final Results
On July 14th, 2016 I went back to pick up my retainers. I admit, I was excited. I wasn't sure which retainers I paid for since the day I agreed to them was either the day of the laser gum surgery or the day of the bonding, I believe. I got into the office and my Vivera Retainers were fitted. They looked...exactly like my Invisalign trays. I received four "trays" labelled 1 to 4. I will need to wear each tray for 3 months (10 hrs per night every night) for a total of 1 year then once I'm finished with tray 4/4 I'll go back to tray 1/4 and do it all over again. So my retainers are for 2 years and I will need to clean each one and not toss it out. Along with the retainer trays I received packets of cleaning crystals, a retainer case and as part of my special package, a take-home whitening kit.
I'm not going to lie, I'm disappointed with the retainers. I still have to file it down, it hurts my teeth, and for the first 2 days I had to wear them full time so that my teeth could get used to them. I thought I was done with Invisalign trays but Vivera is the same company that makes Invisalign so it makes sense that they use the exact same technology. I've been good, like I was with my trays, I've been wearing them. I am even still brushing my teeth every time I eat a meal and a few times have found myself laughing and reminding myself to take the trays out because I only need to put them in at nights now from here on out.
All in all, good experience with Invisalign! I do recommend it. My teeth look great, and surprisingly white this past year and a half. I do think it was all worth it for the result I received. Hopefully, everything remains great from now on.
Good luck with your own journey! And remember, smile :D