Smilelign Aligners - United Kingdom, GB

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Smilelign Clear Braces are relatively new to the...

Smilelign Clear Braces are relatively new to the market, so I believe. After trying to find as much information as possible about the procedure I was stuck with reading about Invisalign but nothing really regarding Smilelign itself. So here I am, writing my first blog... Hope I don't disappoint!

As a kid I have always had strong teeth, my mother fed me up with calcium tablets which resulted in calcuim deposits on the front of my teeth. In the past few years I have had composite placed over the front of my teeth to hide some of the stronger marks. I have also had an unfortunate fight with a wine bottle which proceeded to nick a chip out of my front right tooth. Wine bottle 1, me 0!

I think in the past few years I have noticed my teeth getting worse, the front bottom and top are twisting inwards, I am by no means bad, but for myself I know there is room for improvement.

I first visited my Dentist in May and enquired about their Clear Braces procedures. I knew that they did Invisalign as this was the main reason I joined their clinic but until I had all my 'maintenance' in order I didn't want to start any treatment. My Dentist told me about 3 options that they did, 1; Invisalign, 2; 6 Month Smiles & 3; Traditional train track braces. He ran through a quick rundown on each treatment and then proceeded to add that he has just been approached for Smilelign however he didn't at that time know much about it and he hadn't done it on anyone before. I was to go away, research each procedure and get in contact if I was interested.

My theory was, I would go in with the first level of treatment ie; Smilelign, get an assessment on the condition of my teeth and dependant on what level of treatment I would need, I would get. I didn't want to go in for a full train track procedure if I really didn't need it. I'm not wanting 100% perfect teeth but I do want a significant improvement.

The first step was to take molds of my teeth to send to the Smilelign Lab to see if I was even a candidate. This involved my Dentist filling a teeth shaped plastic mold with this blue Smurf coloured rubbery substance and holding it to my upper teeth until it dried. The substance was completely tasteless and was a very weird, but strangely pleasant experience. My bottom set went fine, however I had to have my top done twice as the first didn't take, no big deal, just did it again. I had X-rays taken as well.

I returned after about a month to take a look at the results where we had a look at each profile and each stage of the process on the computer. It's quite strange because it is not until you look at your actual teeth on the monitor that you appreciate how your teeth look. I know it sounds strange but you kinda get used to looking at yourself in the mirror and I know that I didn't think much about it until I saw photographs of myself and wished I had better teeth. And it reconfirmed when I saw my mouth on the screen that yup, I did want to do this.

I was told that I require 4 sets of aligners for my upper teeth and 7 for my bottom. I don't need any teeth removed or any filing which was a relief.

It wasn't until this point that I needed to confirm that I wished to go ahead with the process. My Dentist is great and is not pushy at all, and I never felt at any stage that I was in too deep to say no. At that point all I would have been out of pocket would have been the Lab fee for my initial consult.

I was given my pre-aligner to try. It was very tight and fitted like a glove. It was also very tricky to remove and at first I had trouble - my Dentist had to remove the upper aligner for me. It wasn't until I got home and found a YouTube clip of how to remove them. I was trying to remove them by clicking off the back on each side however you just have to pick one side and work it off on that side in order for the other side to pop off.

I was given a little Smilelign carry case with the aligner box a pink aligner grabber and a box of Nitradine to get me started.

I really can see the point in your pre-aligner, it has allowed me to 'trial & error', I have had to work out eating & drinking patterns. I used to just eat at lunch and dinner and drink tea (&fizz :-o) throughout the day however I am now I have cut down on the drink and save my cup of tea (no fizz!) for my eating times, I am now drinking a lot more water. I also have purchased a couple of more tubes of paste & brushes to place in multiple areas at work and home so it is not such a chore to go brush before putting the aligners back on. I keep floss in the aligner case that I was given.

At first after wearing my pre-aligners, I found an excess of saliva, I found myself slightly drooling at the sides of my mouth however that saliva wasn't reaching to my lips so my lips have dried out a little - I just put more vaseline on now. I did start to speak with a slight lisp and spoke like I had a mouth load of saliva. That has calmed down slightly but I do still over pronounce my S & F's. I find drinking more water helps to not make my mouth so gooey.

After about a week of my pre-aligners, I find that my teeth are kinda achy. I eat most solids on one side of my mouth now as it does ache on my left back teeth when I chew. I grind my teeth during my sleep so I did have a splint to stop that which I never really used as I ended up sleeping with my mouth open. Now my aligner kinda acts as a deterrent except it isn't so large so I can sleep normally and on my face.

Feel free to ask any questions, I will try to update this as I progress. So far... so good :-)

Photographs before treatment

Ordinary smile

I am still waiting for my dentist to phone so that I can come pick up my first aligners so I am still on my pre aligners.

One thing I have noticed though, I have whitening toothpaste and with all this extra brushing and wearing the aligners, my teeth are whitening.

Three weeks in.

So I have had these bad boys in for three weeks and 1 day today!

I first put them in on a Monday around midday, they were very tight around my teeth and slightly off set, the material was thicker than my pre aligner and the edge didn't really reach far up my gum line either so I found my lips, which were dry, catching on the edge of the aligner when I spoke. It didn't hurt but I felt like a bit of a weirdo. Initially I hoped that they were a right fit as they kinda seemed like they didn't fit very well. Now, the teeth have moved into position and they fit just like normal.

That first night I didn't have dinner, I was in so much pain, I didn't even take them off to brush for a good day and a half as trying to remove them was very painful and difficult. I just took some paracetamol and that kept the major pain in bay.

Eating: I found that for the first two weeks I stuck to softer foods and really just chewed on my back teeth, even into week three I avoid biting with my front teeth. I wait until my food cools as I dread burning my mouth and having to put the aligners in. I drink much more water now and have really stopped drinking alcohol, which I was quite partial to a glass of wine after work. If I am out for dinner or socialising with my friends then I am conscience of the time they are out and am eager to get them back in.

Brushing: I spoke to my dentist about the toothpaste whitening my teeth and he strongly advised against brushing so much and with a whitening toothpaste as it would soften my teeth and cause more damage. Stick to fluoride toothpaste and to try not to use toothpaste when putting them back in during the day, dry brush & mouthwash with a good scrub at morning & night. I have stopped with the whitening paste but I do still use a little drop of paste during the day after I have eaten as I just feel fresher and cleaner and can't stand putting the aligners back in if my teeth aren't clean.

Cleaning: Before I put the aligners back in I tend to brush the aligners along with my teeth. I have been keeping an eye out to see if this was damaging them but it doesn't appear so. I do keep good care of them and I haven't noticed them smelling and they haven't discoloured.

I am finding this treatment amazing, as the weeks progressed I feel which tooth is moving into position and when that one is in place then another is being focused on.

My lower set which has the most movement to do (7 aligners) was the sorest but is now very passive and I am ready to move onto my next one. My upper set (4 aligners) are still a little tight and I feel the pressure on my front teeth so is not ready yet, probably one more week. I have written to Smilelign to see if it is OK to move onto the next aligner for my lower set or if I have to simultaneously move onto the next aligners.

First week or so trying to remove the tight aligners were tough, I accidentally cut my gum with my nail which was quite irritating but now I am more careful. There is a trick to removing them. The hook supplied I find is useless for me, I find it too thick and sore to try and squeeze it in between the aligner and gum so my nail will do.

Speaking with my friends, they have no idea that I have clear braces in until I point it out to them although I am a teeny bit conscience of the shiny look of my teeth when I smile or have conversation with people as my work requires holding conversation with guests.

In summary, I can't wait to move onto the next set and I know that I will be back to square one with the soreness but I know what to expect now and you forget the pain after a few days anyway. No pain, no gain!

2nd Upper Aligner, 3rd Lower Aligner


I was due to move onto my 2nd upper aligner on the 28.07 however I did feel that it was still a little tight and after halfheartedly trying on the 3rd and it not fitting, I thought to keep it on for another week.
On the 04.08, I was really struggling to fit the 2nd upper aligner, no matter how much I tried, I could not get the thing in my mouth and I had sensitivity on my front right tooth which didn't help. I called my Dentist who advised to wait one more week and if it still did not fit then to come in. On the 12.08, I went in to see him and he agreed that it was ill fitting and checked to see if it was not mixed up. BTW, it is very difficult to tell what number aligner it is if you mix two of them up, you do need to judge by the look of them but I do wonder why there is not some sort of stamp on them to easily identify which is which. Now I am very cautious to keep each one separate and I don't handle two at once to eliminate any doubt. Not that I take them all out of their bags, but I did have confusion between my pre aligner and my 1st upper aligners. Fortunately I had chosen the correct one to wear :-)
Soo, after brute force, my dentist managed to get the 2nd upper aligner in my mouth. He took a photo to send to Smilelign to check if this was normal. It did not fit very well at all and it was only just clinging to my teeth. I had a big gap between my front teeth at the gum line where I could easily suck air through and when I spoke I blew spit bubbles as well as having a speech impediment, it was all very funny. I knew there was no removing this guy for a couple of days as there was no way I was going to be able to put it back in. The next couple of days were painful and now feel my two front teeth moving, which are sensitive.
On the 14.08, I had an email from my dentist saying he was talking with Smilelign who were going to remake aligner U2#2 with more blocking out of the undercuts and in the meantime to continue to wear Aligner 1. At this point, the 2nd aligner had done it's thing and my teeth had moved that I could take it out and put it back in, I had gotten over the hard first bit. I said as such to my dentist and he said that after speaking to the Smilelign Team, the quick techs had already made the new aligner and had it in the post!!
On the 18.08, I went into the practice to collect my U2#2 upper aligner and.. I couldn't get it in however I could now get in the original 2. We left it that I was to continue on with aligner 2 and if I have trouble with aligner 3 then we will need to remold and get a new set of upper aligners as putting too much force on the teeth would not be good if I am struggling.

This coincides with my lower 3rd aligner! No trouble at all with my lower aligner, just the usual first few days of pain and tenderness. I am still to remove the lower aligner after one night which I will do later today so I can eat and brush.

I will work on getting some photographs uploaded to see the progress. :-)

Progress photographs. U3, L4

Finished Smilelign

Wow, it has been a while since I have updated and I have not posted any photographs either, soz!

It was the 2nd Nov 2014 when I put in my final lower aligner and I had completed my upper aligners. They had been in since the 1st Oct 2014. I was heading away on holiday for 2 months at the beginning of Dec & I really did not want to be faffing around with aligners whilst away so I booked in for my final Dentist appointment the day before I left.

When I visited the Dentist before leaving, we left it that I was going to take away teeth whitening solution to use the gel in my final aligners and that I was going to keep using my final aligners at night time as retainers until I returned and we could discuss further retainer options then.

After time, I was using the aligners as retainers each night however I did notice that they are tight to insert after my teeth moving throughout the day. I also forgot to take the whitening gel away so I have not done anything about that.

When I returned, we discussed having a fixed retainer vs ones you put in the night. I am still undecided on this one and welcome any feedback on opinions. We have left it that I keep using my final aligners as my retainers at night time. Every now and then I wear both upper & lower aligners for a couple of days solid so that they can go back into place. They obviously move throughout the day because when I put them back in at night time they are tight to go in.

I was unhappy about my chipped upper front right tooth. And the two teeth next to the front teeth were set slightly back and not fully in-line with the front teeth - the right one was worse than the left. When I run my tongue across the back of my upper teeth they both feel set back as well. I had 2 options, to remold and get another set of aligners or my Dentist could fill in to make the teeth appear more in line, mostly working on my upper front right tooth and the one next to it.

We went with option 2 and I went in to get my chipped tooth filled in and the next one shaped. The process has made them look better than what they were and I will post photographs.

I welcome honest feed back on the appearance and if there is further work I can have done (I am still to whiten). I also welcome feedback on my retainer situation, I don't quite feel like this has been resolved and I am slightly paranoid that my teeth are slipping out of alignment.

All in all though the whole Smilelign process has been great. Yes it has been painful at times however that seems like nothing compared to how I feel now. I look back on photographs of myself from before and really see that my teeth were crooked and now I have no worries, they look fantastic.

If you are deciding to go through Smilelign here are some of my thoughts:
- It is quick
- Mildly painful to start however you get used to it and no straightening process is going to be painless
- Good if you are wanting to align your teeth, mine have not turned out perfect perfect like you would expect with train track braces but they are a lot straighter than they were
- UK company, therefore if you have any trouble they are so quick at their response and it is personalised
- Although you are aware they are there, it is not until you point them out to others that they notice they are there

Information that would be beneficial on the Smilelign website could include post treatment information ie; retainer & whitening suggestions. Also, a final debrief of some-sort, could some sort of assessment be done with them so that I know that there is nothing further to do and that I have the best result I could get?

Photos to follow...
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