So most people keep Invisalign blogs and update each month. That’s not me. Instead, I decided to make one huge, super duper post while on my last retainer. Before I go into the pros and cons I’ve experienced, I’m going to show you my before and after pictures. Unfortunately, I have to say my teeth are worse, yes WORSE, than they were before. And so as it happens with my luck, I should have expected this to happen. You see I had major crowding on the right side of my mouth. Oh, this has been fixed. But in fixing this problem, it created another problem smack dab in the front of my smile. Argh.
Before (see crowding in left of picture)
After (see uneven front teeth)
I don’t know what the heck happened. All I know is I want my old smile back. Now, there will be “refinements” where they take impressions of my teeth and new retainers are created for another couple months of wear. But I don’t know how they’re going to be able to fix this. I pray they do though. Or else I paid $4,000 to look worse. This may not happen to you. In general, I don’t think it does happen. One suggestion I would make is to go to an orthodontist, not a dentist. I went with a dentist. Probably the worst mistake I could have made. But let’s pretend everything came out great. Overall, the process was simple and not too invasive in my opinion. Here is my review:
Pain Level. It doesn’t hurt. I read blogs that had me scared, thinking I had to take ibuprofen before going to get my next retainer in. I did initially, then forgot a couple of times and decided it wasn’t a big deal. On that first day, the worst pain is when taking them out the first time. And even then, the pain isn’t that bad, and only lasts maybe a minute.
Convenience. I’m iffy on this one. I love that you can remove then whenever you need to. But it disrupts your eating habits. For nine months now, I’ve watched my finace eat popcorn in bed next to me, smelling that wonderful smell, and not being able to indulge. On the plus side, it forces you “not” to snack, which is always a good thing for the waistline. However, I haven’t lost any weight while wearing Invisalign, probably because I make up for it during my 3 meals a day.
Cleaning. This is another area where peoples’ blogs had me worried. Flossing, brushing teeth in public restrooms, soaking retainers… Not needed. Oh, yeah, I did it in the beginning (even in Disney World), but after a while I realized I was going overboard. Here is my current routine: After breakfast, brush teeth, floss, brush retainer (with toothpaste), after lunch, brush teeth and retainer, after dinner, brush teeth and retainer. Done. In public, I make sure my teeth are food free, then pop my retainers in (dirty). I know…ewww. Then, as soon as we get home from the restaurant, I pop out my retainers and brush my teeth. I figure a couple of hours of non-brushing isn’t going to create instant cavities. By the way, I haven’t had any pop up while using Invisalign.
6 Month Dental Cleaning. I’m giving this it’s own paragraph because I hadn’t been prepared for it and want to warn others. You know how some hygienists are agressive cleaners? And your teeth ache for a day or two after your cleaning? Well, match that up with a retainer pressing up against your puffy gums and that pain goes from one to two days to two weeks. Yup, it took two weeks for my pain to go away. If I had to do this again, I think I’d skip that mid-year cleaning. It’s just not worth the pain.
Extras. If you’re getting Invisalign because of tooth crowding, you’ll either need to have a tooth removed or your teeth shaved down. In my case, my teeth had to be shaved down. This happened during multiple visits and there were times where my dentist accidentally cut into my gum or the corner of my mouth with the diamond edged floss. This last visit, I think she took off too much enamel, because now breathing in frigid air outside is making my teeth scream, where it hadn’t walking into the office right before. My fiancee told me to use Sensodyne toothpaste for a while and it should go away. *Fingers crossed* Another extra you’ll need are attachments. These are little button-like things they attach to your teeth (you can see in my pictures) that assist with turning stubborn teeth. This is another area where an orthodontist would have been better than a dentist. Although, my dentist took an extensive Invisalign course her methods of attaching the buttons didn’t match those of orthodontists I found online (remember I’m a research queen). She cut open a retainer template, put it on my teeth, then “guessed” at how large to make the buttons. Of course, they were never big enough, which made them utterly useless. Orthodontists actually squirted the “paste” into the template so it matched perfectly, placed it on your teeth and dried with the UV light. When I’d suggested this method to my dentist, she grew defensive and said that’s not how they taught her and that the other method causes the buttons to come off more frequently. Guess what? So did her way.
Fit. At first, the retainers fit nice and snug, like a hug for your teeth. But as the months wore on I noticed my right canine wasn’t moving down, yet the retainers were. This caused an ill-fitting retainer. I voiced my concerns to my dentist but she said “it’s still engaging.” Yes, it may still be engaging, but it’s not getting fixed. Obviously, something is wrong. The moment she noticed my tooth wasn’t moving down she should have redone the impressions and got another set of retainers sent over (you’re allowed to have one redo during your treatment – she used none for me.) She also should have noticed I needed elastics, which I’ll talk about more in the next paragraph.
If you look closely you can see that the retainer is halfway down my canine.
Refinements. After this retainer, I’ve already told my dentist I want refinements. There are two teeth that have not moved down at all and Invisalign offers elastics to help with that. I have no idea how I’m going to have an elastic on my front tooth and be able to talk, but I may have to do that. I’ll just look like I have a gigantic saliva string. Oh gosh, what did I get myself into? Ugh. Then after that, if I’m still not satisfied with my smile, I need to go to an orthodontist and get braces. My fiance says whatever I need to do he’ll support. But wow this is a lot of money to spend on a smile. *sigh* I think this could all have been avoided had I gone to an orthodontist to begin with. 😦 So I guess that’s my advice to you. Use an orthodontist. Ask for references. See other before and after cases he’s done. Do your homework! Your smile is the first thing people see about you. Take pride in it and don’t just go with a dentist becuase it’s easier or cheaper. I’ll post again once my refinements are completed. I pray my smile is ready for my wedding next June!