Category: Dental

My Invisalign Journey is Finally Finished!


This morning I had my final appointment with my orthodontist, I am now Invisalign-free!

I started with Invisalign braces back in March 2012. After some refinements back in Spring (one of my teeth wasn’t turning as planned), and an extra two months of treatment, the books on my orthodontic treatment have been closed.

I had my attachments on my lower teeth removed at the end of June. The top attachments (or “buttons”) were removed today (including the extra one they had put in over the winter to get that stubborn tooth to rotate). I was given a set of retainers to wear full-time for the next few days, then nightly thereafter.

The retainers closely resemble my regular Invisalign trays, but are a tad bit sturdier.

I am beyond happy with my smile now. It’s amazing the sense of confidence one has with a set of well-aligned pearly whites!

I killed two birds with one stone today and got my semi-annual cleaning done at my dentist later on in the day, so now my mouth is truly glowing!

Thanks to the staff at City Orthodontics for their friendly and professional work over the last 18-months. I was even given a mylar balloon with the word “Congrats” written on it (makes a wonderful conversation-starter on public transit… I should try that tactic in the future), as well as a cute water bottle (ironically, filled with candy).

So, what did I think about the Invisalign process? I think if you’re considering orthodontic treatment as an adult, if you have the extra cash (and if you’re responsible, because remembering to keep your trays in and proper hygiene are important), definitely go this route. Every time I told someone that I wore braces, they didn’t notice at all because Invisalign is so “invisible”.

Sure it was a bit of an inconvenience to have to remove them every time I would eat a meal (sometimes I kept them in if it was a light snack, but was careful to brush right after), and took a few days to get used to every couple of weeks when I would put in my new trays, but I wore them for at least 22 hours each day for the last year and a half and my smile has changed for the better.

Plus I’ll probably be still brushing my teeth four times a day.

Post-Invisalign smile and the "congrats" presents from my orthodontist!

Post-Invisalign smile and the “congrats” presents from my orthodontist!

Invisalign Progress – Consultation, Tray 1 and Tray 2


Invisalign Starter Kit

Just as I hinted in my previous post about my wisdom teeth removal, I will start to document my progress using Invisalign. I’ll try my best to do an update at the end of every tray, but some posts may be combined (like this one).

Initial Consultation
I decided to go with my current orthodontist based on great reviews online: he’s a premier provider of Invisalign and a member of the Invisalign Clinical Studies Group, so I’m thinking he knows his stuff when it comes to orthodontic work (plus his wife is my current dentist).

I got a lot of valuable information at the initial consultation, about the typical framing of smiles (I didn’t realize I showed so many bottom teeth when I did), and the personal concerns I had with my own. He told me that I would be a good candidate for Invisalign… on my upper teeth, but I would probably have to get braces for the bottom, since they would need to be moved downwards and back. In my head I was thinking that I really didn’t want to look like the students I taught, but I sucked it up and signed the forms and booked my first appointment for a mold.

Now my teeth are pretty much straight (with the exception of one of my canines), it’s just the gaps that have caused me to be so self-conscious about my smile over the years. The fact that they’re smaller than average, doesn’t help matters any.

Why decide on braces now after all these years? We’ll I finally got partial coverage from my day job. Still costing me an arm and a leg though (looks like that iMac I wanted to purchase is going to have to wait for this year).

Appointment 1
An early-morning appointment, I was looking forward to getting the orthodontic process started. The dental assistant gave me two types of impressions: upper and lower for the Invisalign and braces that I would need on each. It was kind of like putting silly putty in my mouth (not that I ate silly putty before). Initially I was only supposed to have a scan for the uppers, but the machine was getting serviced that morning. I was told to wait about 4 weeks til the Invisalign lab south of the border do their magic and my trays come in.

Tray 1
When I got the call that my trays were in I was so excited! I was on my way to a more beautiful smile. The dental assistant unzipped the Invisalign pouch and took out two aligners. Wait a minute? I thought I was going to get braces on the bottom? Looks like my orthodontist managed to work wonders and I got the upper and lowers I wanted (hopefully they’ll do the job well enough). She showed me how to put them in and pop them out, and told me all the tips I needed to keep in mind when using them:

  • They must be worn at least 22 hours of the day for them to be effective – You can take them out to eat, floss and brush.
  • Brush the aligners with cold water and a toothbrush to keep them clean – Using warm water might warp them eventually.
  • Use an alcohol-free, fluoride mouthwash – Because your teeth are constantly in the aligners, they aren’t exposed to your saliva which contains the minerals that your teeth need to stay strong. In order to prevent decalcification, a rinse with something like Crest Pro-Health Complete  twice a day will help against this.
  • Each aligner is worn for about 2 weeks – switch them out at night so that your teeth can get used to the pressure by morning.
  • No gum – They can be a pain to clean off the aligners.
  • Use the “chewies” – Little pieces of pliable plastic that you chew with your aligners in, in order to get your aligners fitting properly against your teeth for about 5 minutes a day.
  • No sugary or dark drinks with them in – Drinks like coffee or tea can cause staining, and sugar-filled drinks can lead to plaque/cavity formation if you don’t take care to brush/rinse afterwards.
  • I could eat with them in (again, just be sure to brush often)
  • I’d probably talk a bit funny (e.g. with a lisp) for the first few days, until I got used to talking with them in.

Now having been hungry throughout the day, I decided to go and buy a sandwich from Subway. Knowing that I could eat with my aligners, I tested the theory (because I didn’t want to starve, and at least keep them in until later on in the evening. It took me 10 minutes to try to chew a piece of lettuce. Felt like I was chewing with dentures sans Polident adhesive. So I think I’ll be removing them before eating from now on.

The trays go on and snap off easily enough. I didn’t experience any painful discomfort with them, like some patient reviews I’ve read about online (some had said they had to pop an Advil before bed). No pain for me, rather just a tiny bit of pressure/discomfort.

They are pretty invisible. When I wore them to work, no one noticed that I had them in, until I actually told them. 16 months and 34 trays to go…

Invisalign Tooth Movement

Tray 2
Switching to the second tray went well. Felt a difference in fit right away. Again, no real pain putting them in the first night, just that my teeth were getting used to the new fit. About a week into the second tray, I noticed a bit of discomfort in my right canine when I took my trays out to eat… I hope that means that it’s just moving into it’s new place!

I have become extra vigilant in my oral care… I think I’m brushing upwards of 3 times a day (making sure to floss and rinse as well!). I’m getting used to having them in for all those hours of the day. I actually notice more when they’re not in my mouth. Been noticing that without them in, my bite seems to be a bit different… which is a good thing, because it’s proves it’s working!

After seeing my case graphics of how my teeth would look after this Invisalign process, I almost shed a tear of joy, because I was amazed at how the computer and Orthodontists were able to plan out the movements, tray by tray. Obviously the actual results are going to vary, but as long as I get close enough to this, I’ll be satisfied.