Invisalign Week 10 Update

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign

Last night, I switched to my tenth Invisalign tray! Since my last update, there hasn’t been much new or different to report.

It’s amazing that I’m already at Invisalign Week 10 – it doesn’t feel like two and a half months have passed. The first 2 days

Attachments at Invisalign Week 10

As the orthodontist suggested, the roughness of my attachments has subsided. That said, they aren’t what I’d call smooth; when I eat, food is attracted to them. All the more incentive to quickly address oral hygiene after eating!

Changing Teeth

My teeth have changed a lot! Each week when I change, I compare my newest tray against my first tray and marvel at the changes. My husband notices a difference in my smile already – so do I.

I’m smiling openly, more often. I’ll never have perfect teeth (it just wasn’t in the cards for me) but I am so excited to have significantly better ones.

Adjusting to the Process

I feel like I’ve had an easy time adjusting. I personally don’t feel that it is a huge imposition to my life to carry around a small tube of toothpaste, floss, and a brush. I suspect my perception differs because the magnitude of my corrections is far more significant than most bloggers talking about their Invisalign experiences. I’ve seen a lot of bloggers with minor adjustments – not that they don’t feel like a big deal to those individuals, but realistically closing a gap the width of a pin or moving a single tooth 1mm isn’t as drastic as what I’m undergoing.

I’m not having any difficulty keeping my trays in for 20-22 hours per day.

The Bottom Line

Even with my complicated case that includes drastic changes I feel that my experience has been smooth sailing so far. I also have an extremely experienced provider – so that is definitely a factor that contributes to my success. If you’re considering Invisalign, do your homework on the process and on providers in your area so you aren’t surprised by anything. At no point was any discomfort I experienced significant or unable to be addressed by ibuprofen, if it was needed at all.

branch

Getting My Invisalign Attachments

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign attachments

August 22 marked the beginning of my fifth week with Invisalign braces. I’m fairly surprised time is moving so quickly! Overall, I think I have adapted to the routine well. I’ve been devout about the hygiene protocol it requires.

That same day was also my appointment to get my Invisalign Attachments applied. Attachments are clear resin nubs they apply to your teeth to help the trays get the leverage they need to force your teeth around. From an application or installation standpoint, I understood the process – but I was not prepared for the reality.

Getting Prepped for Invisalign Attachments

The orthodontic technician who prepped me for my attachment installation reclined me in a standard dental chair. Once reclined, she placed a (highly attractive) set of orthodontic cheek retractors in place to keep my lips and cheeks out of her work area. Next, she polished the teeth that would receive the attachments with a standard dental cleaning/polishing wand and standard prophy paste. I then rinsed the gritty paste away. So far, so good.

Once I rinsed, I was to hold a suction wand between my teeth to minimize saliva while she used a small, forced air (expulsion, not suction) wand to dry the surfaces of the recipient teeth. This would typically be fine but I have one tooth that is jarringly sensitive when it comes to cold. The air from that wand was cold and I was just not ready for it to hit that tooth. I writhed in discomfort in the chair.

Read more…

Wearing Invisalign for 20 Hours Per Day

wearing Invisalign for 20 hours per day

There tons of blogs and forums out there with reports from people saying that wearing Invisalign for 20 hours per day is, “impossible.” Invisalign recommends 22 hours of wear per day, which I strive for, but many orthodontists confess that between 20 and 22 should do it.

How I Manage Wearing Invisalign for 20 Hours per Day

I personally haven’t found it hard to wear them as directed. My average wear time is about 22 hours and 23 minutes per day; my maximum time with the trays out so far has been two full hours, and my minimum has been one hour and fifteen minutes.

For me, it’s simple – I really want straight teeth and I invested a lot of money to achieve a smile I am happier with. This takes short-term sacrifice and diligence on my part. The trade off is easy.

At Home

At home, I pop my trays out, eat and drink, then take care of oral hygiene. During dinner, I place my trays in my ultrasonic cleaning bath (okay, seriously, it’s just a little tub with a motor – but that’s what they called it) with some Retainer Brite. After dinner, I’ll take a quick shower (and whiten my teeth with Plus White at the same time) while my trays are still marinating in the solution. Then, I get out, do the whole oral hygiene thing, and I’m good to go!

When I’m Out

Even with eating meals away from home, I do the following to keep them out as little as possible:

  • Order water to drink. If I want something other than water, I’ll wait to drink it until my meal arrives.
  • Keep trays in until food is about to arrive.
  • Be mindful of eating pace; I’m naturally inclined to be a slow eater. Invisalign is forcing me not to linger over my meals.
  • As soon as I’m done eating, go take care of oral hygiene. Frequently, if I’m out to lunch with coworkers, we leave shortly after and I just take care of this at the office.

At least half of my meals are consumed away from home – it isn’t that hard!

Stop the Excuses

Anyone should be able to average at least 20 hours a day and most people, I’d argue, should be able to achieve 22 hours per day wear at least half of the time. The complaints I read cited excuses that sound an awful lot like non-commitment to me.

But snacks!

Get over it. You just spent, directly or indirectly if you’re lucky enough to have insurance that covers them, thousands of dollars on orthodontic treatment.

If you eat properly at mealtimes you will be less inclined to snack. I’m not perched atop some high horse; my diet isn’t the model by which anyone should be basing their life. I’m not a dietician or nutritionist, and I need help; I use MyFitnessPal to record what I eat and to make sure I’m getting enough of what I need.

I’ve been snack-free since July 23rd.

You can, too.

Well I’m a busy mom and, like, it’s just *hard*

No doubt; I bet being a busy mom is hard! But no one said orthodontic treatment is a cakewalk. Being negligent towards your own orthodontic treatment sets a poor example, too; if/when your kids end up in braces or Invisalign, how can you expect your kids to take proper care seriously if you can’t be bothered?

I don’t have time to bother with wearing Invisalign for 20 hours per day! I have a life!

Here’s an unpopular truth: you have time. We all have the time. You just aren’t choosing to reserve some time for this, which you should have done before you committed to Invisalign in the first place. Part of the commitment is making the time to take it seriously; it isn’t like you’re just forking over a few grand to wake up the next day with a straight smile.

I need my coffee.

Join the club? Get up, eat something and drink a coffee. If you need to refresh your lifeblood coffee reserves throughout the day, the nice thing is that you shouldn’t have to floss. You can just brush (or even skate by with an aggressive rinse as long as your coffee of choice isn’t chock full of sugar).

The Bottom Line

Orthodontists don’t keep the requirements for wear a secret. Don’t choose treatment unless you can also choose discipline! I suggest going through the motions of what your life will be like with them before you commit. Can you eliminate snacks (or make the time to take care of oral hygiene after each snack)? Can you eat your meals quickly and remember to tend to your oral hygiene and reinsertion of trays with a sense of urgency? Will you be able to overcome the potential of a slight lisp? If you cannot commit to wearing Invisalign for 20 hours per day, consider other options.

If I, a 50+ hour-per-week working professional who eats more than half of my meals outside of my house, can manage to wear them for 22 hours a day, you should be able to wear them for twenty.

First Week with Invisalign

Aiming to correct my teeth - Invisalign

My first week of Invisalign flew by; I’m already on my second tray and a lot has happened.

First Tray – Tuesday, July 25

I went to the orthodontist’s office after work. An orthodontic technician came over showed me my trays and went over some of the minutia like:

  • Keeping trays you’re done with so you have back ups if anything happens to your current tray
  • Cleaning your tray(s)
  • Teaching me how to insert and remove them
  • Teaching me how to use Chewies

Then, the orthodontist came over and examined the fit, made sure I was good to go. We went back over my ClinCheck – by tray 25 (of 40) I should have what appears (compared to now!) to be straight teeth.

I was surprised to find, however, a space for the tooth I just had extracted. They offered to add something to it so that spot appeared to have a tooth, but since it is clear, the gap is tiny, and my lower teeth don’t show when I speak, I opted out of it. The spot for tooth 26 is there in my first through third trays, then is absent starting the fourth. It makes sense to me to have it extracted before starting treatment, but I’m not entirely sure I understand why there is a tooth-shaped space for it in the trays.

 

First Week with Invisalign

Read more…

Invisalign X-Rays and 3D Scans

On Monday, I mentioned regular content was returning next week. I have an Invisalign update for now – so here’s this for today, then we’ll be post-less on Friday, then back on Monday.

A week ago, I went in for my Invisalign X-Rays and 3D oral scan that are used by my orthodontist and Invisalign to develop my treatment plan. X-Rays were taken like any are, but the scanner – man, if you appreciate technology, this thing is neat.

Instead of taking impressions with a weird goo that you bite into for a couple minutes (which I would have had to do, had I opted for SmileDirectClub), my 3D scan was taken via an iTero Element intraoral imaging device. A tech uses a small wand to take high-resolution scans of your mouth; it then assembles them into a 3D rendering of your mouth. It is weird and awesome all at once. I haven’t had issues with impressions before, but apparently using the scanner is better for people who have gagging issues.

My orthodontist says based on experience, my case will run about 18 months, require a single extraction, and require attachments. Attachments are small, tooth-colored nubs that they will affix to certain teeth to facilitate the process. The clear aligners will fit over the nubs. Patients report varying degrees of visibility of them; regardless, I’m fairly unconcerned. Most people in my life, including people I work with, know that I’m pursuing this. I’m not embarrassed by that much.

I return to the practice in about two weeks to review my ClinCheck – that’s what Invisalign calls the progression of their treatment plan. In the meantime, I’ve been trying to get a head-start on adjusting my eating and drinking habits to support my soon-to-be-restricted eating and drinking regimen.

In support of that, I’ve started assembling a purse-friendly care kit. Because I 1) work and 2) can’t just eat breakfast and dinner and still be a reasonable human being, at least five meals a week take place away from home. I need to be prepared.

Read more…