I started Invisalign about mid-June last year. Kind of funny how it happened... my Moo-ma had been hassling me for a while to get braces and even given me some funds for it but I just kept putting it off because honestly, I didn't think my teeth looked too bad. Sure they were a little crooked, but they were the kind of teeth that my Dad would describe as "lending charm to a smile".
I did however, want to get my teeth whitened. I have yellow teeth from antibiotics (wayyyy back from my adolescent acne days) and they've bugged me for ages... but friends and family advised that if I was going to get my teeth whitened, and then get braces, my teeth would only turn yellow again so I may as well have my braces done first.
One day, I casually mentioned this to my dentist and she almost burst with excitement. Coincidentally enough, she was just about to begin her Invisalign training, and needed a guinea pig. Would I do it at a discount of half price?
So that's how I decided to start Invisalign. At half price.
It was going to cost me about $8000 for the entire package, but at my special discount, it was only $4000, and I claimed quite a bit back on private health.
The first consultation was one where they took imprints of your teeth, photos and discussed how you wanted them to look. This was also the day I found out that I had a gummy smile (is there something that isn't wrong with my smile?). Would I also like to fix that? I gave it some thought, and decided not to... I didn't think my smile was gummy, and I think I'm the only person whose opinion counts in this matter, so there! Imprints and photos took a while (an hour and a half) but it was my dentist's training session, so it's much faster for others.
And then, Invisalign lost my imprints. And I later found out that they also lost the photos that I painstakingly modeled for... which is why I haven't got any before photos, but I do have the moulds so hopefully that suffices to show how much progress my teeth have made.
|You can see that while my bottom jaw is fairly straight, my top jaw has teeth that are quite misaligned|
Then I found out that those were the training wheel aligners. Next came the attachments. Can I just say that having attachments put on was one of the most tormenting experiences of my life... ok so my life is pretty cruisy so that doesn't say much... but it was! It took over an hour to get my attachments on... my lips were so dry and cracked and swollen from all the prodding and pulling that I got it stuck in my aligners when I put it on the first time, and boy did that hurt! I think I felt pretty miserable that day...
...only to find that the next few days weren't much better. Trying to get the aligners off with the attachments on was a nightmare! I cracked the aligners because they were so tightly on that it was so difficult to get them off... and I told my dentist that the next time I saw her. She sympathetically handed me an Outie, a little hook thing that helps you get your aligners on and off. And they worked! I was sooo relieved because my nails were sore from having to remove the aligners all the time.
|Outies. Also known as Life-Savers|
After I got used to taking off and putting on the aligners, the other aligners were a breeze. Meal-times were still a bit of a bitch, but gradually I got so used to them that I didn't even think about it or feel awkward to remove it at the dinner table. My friends were very understanding though.
Only a few weeks ago, I came off my final aligner, number 24, and am now on retainers. Hooray!!
Here are my final aligners and my new smile.
|My final aligners. The teeth in my lower jaw are angling outwards now, and my upper jaw's progress is incredible!|
|I think my smile is pretty straight now, albeit still yellow :P The amazing thing is I haven't even bothered to do any whitening treatment|
Things you need to know before you start Invisalign
- If you need to take frequent meals in a day, this is not for you. If however, you want to lose a bit of weight, this might actually help to control your diet.
- Invisalign aligners are quite hard to keep clean. You'll have to brush your teeth before putting your aligners on which means every meal time. I found that this caused my gums to become a little sore and inflamed, so I let it slide and only brushed twice a day. Luckily my "orthodontist" is also my dentist, and she'd scale my teeth and cleaned it often.
- You will need to keep all your Invisalign aligners after treatment in case you need to go back to them in the future.
- Invisalign are not really invisible. You can see them,, especially when you have attachments on. In fact, they may be more obvious than regular white ceramic braces, because not all of your teeth may have attachments.
- You can see the final result of your Invisalign treatment, so you know what your teeth will look like by the end of your treatment.
- Part of the Invisalign treatment is to file down the sides of your teeth to create more space for movement. I had no trouble with this, but I can see that this would make some people uncomfortable.
- Invisalign, while not as painful as traditional braces, still hurts. Don't listen to what the orthodontist might tell you... it hurts.
- If your aligners crack (and not because you accidentally stepped on them), it's because you didn't wear the previous aligners long enough. It happened to me a few times and I was so alarmed... I didn't know why it was happening and couldn't find any reasons on the internet at the time.
- If you suffer from night bruxism, invisalign could be for you. I actually found that these worked well in place of a night guard, although you do get bruised gums from teeth clenching etc.