I’m embarking on a journey to straighten my teeth using Invisalign, and thought I would share the process with those of you who may be considering it. I know what you’re thinking: your teeth are already straight! And they are pretty straight, but after orthodontics in high school I failed to wear my retainer and my teeth started slowly moving. Since I am marginally more responsible now at 31 than I was at 18, I figured I would get them into perfect alignment once and for all.
March 17th, 2016
The first step in the process is a consultation. At this appointment, Dr. Hicks evaluated my bite and we discussed my goals. After determining I was a good candidate, she began assembling the pieces that would help Invisalign understand the current position of my teeth. She took several photos, upper and lower impressions, a bite registration and some basic x-rays. It was an easy appointment that lasted about 50 minutes. Afterward, Dr. Hicks sent the whole package off to Invisalign to develop a treatment plan.
March 31st, 2016
Invisalign used the information we sent to create a digital 3-D image of my teeth and proposed a treatment plan. We evaluated the virtual representation of how my teeth would move with each stage of treatment. The plan addressed my concerns and was going to take about five months to complete, so I gave Dr. Hicks two thumbs up and we ordered the trays.
April 12th, 2016
Day one of Invisalign! We received all 10 pairs of custom made trays. The trays are clear and made of somewhat stiff, smooth plastic. Dr. Hicks tried the first set in to make sure they would fit. Next, she added some small tooth colored “hooks” to the outside of my teeth. Imagine little tiny bumps that help the trays snap-in, they felt rough the first day but I quickly got used to them. I have 6 “hooks” on the top and 7 on the bottom, but the placement and number vary per case. The process was painless and took about 45 minutes. She showed me how to take the trays in and out, advised me to wear them all day except when eating, and to brush and floss regularly.
April 15th, 2016
I’m finally getting used to having the trays in. The first day my teeth were pretty sore. I didn’t take ibuprofen as instructed because I thought I was tough. On day two I took it. By the third day my teeth are a bit tender, but much more tolerable. I have a ton of saliva, along with dry lips so I’m keeping chapstick close by. I also have a slight lisp when I say a handful of sounds, but I don’t think it’s very noticeable. I’m only taking my trays out to eat, and brush the trays and my teeth after every meal. It is a little bit tedious, but so far it’s a good diet plan because it’s not as easy to snack. Also, food tasted weird at first. I think was due to the change in texture when I was still getting used to the hooks, and perhaps that my saliva was thicker than normal. Otherwise, relatively uneventful and I have seen some movement in the right direction.
April 26th, 2016
Two weeks in. My first trays were snapping in really easily, which meant it was nearly time to go to tray set #2. The standard is to change trays every 2 weeks, however, I started a few days early due to an unforeseen event. While on vacation the housekeepers threw away my first set accidentally. Lesson learned: do not leave clear trays in an empty paper cup in a hotel room while eating breakfast, the maid will not notice them and they will be gone. POOF! So, I started #2 trays ASAP to avoid anything moving back into the original position. Today is my second day with #2 trays and things are feeling good. My teeth haven’t hurt since the beginning and I’m fairly used to the routine of brushing, flossing and keeping track of the trays during meals. I have noticed some staining of the material that makes the hooks, so I put some whitening gel in the trays to brighten things up a bit and it worked perfectly.
May 3rd, 2016
My second set of trays are fitting great and I’m excited about the progress. The staining of the trays is pretty minimal and only really noticeable when I take them out. I still have really dry lips, so chapstick is my BFF. I have become a SUPER DUPER ROCKSTAR brusher and flosser, and my gums have never been happier. I’ve also lost a few pounds, not sure if that is the result of less snacking or my increase in exercise, but a great side effect nonetheless. So far I have only had 2 people ask me if I was wearing Invisalign, otherwise, I don’t think anyone really notices. I feel a little self-conscious when speaking occasionally because my lisp is still hanging on, but I think I am my own worst critic (plus I have a tongue thrust so I am the more likely to have this issue). Other bonuses: I have a tendency to clench my teeth at night and sometimes have jaw pain as a result. However, wearing the trays seems to be protecting my joint and I have less tightness than before. Looking forward to my new trays in a few days! Keep ya posted!
August 9th, 2016
Today I started my last set of trays. Everything is coming along just as I hoped! Almost done!!!