Posts Tagged ‘dental’

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.

Wisdom Teeth Update


Back on January 18th I got all four of my wisdom teeth removed. Although none were impacted, one was growing on an angle and difficult to clean. Plus I eventually wanted to get orthodontics to correct my smile, so I mustered up the courage, made sure I had proper dental coverage and decided to take those suckers out. Here’s my day-by-day account to how it went down for the first week.

Day 1:
My sister came to the dental surgeon’s office with me as my chaperone, as I didn’t want to end up aimlessly on the streets of Toronto, high of pain pills and Novocaine.

Got to the office on time (around noon), filled out the appropriate forms, tried not to have a panic attack in the washroom minutes before my surgery after thinking about having parts of my body removed while I was knocked out.

Once I was sitting in the chair, the dental assistant informed me of how I’ll feel after the drugs were administered. She asked if I was nervous at all. I told her a little, so she gave me some laughing gas to calm my nerves.

The surgeon walked in and greeted me, then they gave me the anesthetic. The last thing I remember was asking, “Am I supposed to be feeling this dizzy?”.

Next thing you know I start coming to. I distinctly remember my legs twitching as they were finishing off extracting my teeth.

When everything was complete I was gently walked into a separate room and my sister came in and asked me how I was feeling. Obviously I felt like I just had 4 teeth extracted from my mouth (which was full of gauze).

The dental assistant gave me and my sister the rundown of what to expect now that my teeth had been removed, and how to use the syringe to clean out the gaping holes that were now left in my mouth. I was told that I had a few stitches that would dissolve/come out over the next few days. She gave me a care kit and my wisdom teeth! Then I was off. I wonder how much money I’ll get if I put these under my pillow?

I told my sister (through mumbles) to drop me to the grocery store so that I could pick up the food that I’ll need to eat to fit my new liquid/mushy diet. I’m surprised I wasn’t more groggy than I was. I managed to locate the soup aisle quickly, and also got a box of instant mashed potatoes. Also picked up my Tylenol-3 prescription.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t go straight home and rest, so I had to follow my sister to an important meeting at a community center, so I spent the next hour and a half watching kids dive in an Olympic sized swimming pool until she was done (thank goodness I had my laptop with me).

Stayed at the family’s house that night so that I wouldn’t choke on my own blood while sleeping. I was super hungry, as I wasn’t supposed to eat or drink anything prior to the surgery. Managed to down some tomato soup and some baby food (custard is so yummy), with a little baby spoon, while my sister and our friend chowed down on a hearty meal of chicken and rice.

It was around 9pm when I tried to eat a tiny piece of chicken, as I was still hungry). I knew I couldn’t chew it, tried to swallow it whole seagull style, but it wasn’t working, so I just rinsed my mouth out, put in some new gauze and went to bed.

Sleep was uneasy. Woke up a couple hours later and was talking to my sister about a conversation I thought we had, but was really a dream. Turned out it actually did happen. Felt like I was living int he Matrix. Had trouble sleeping as I didn’t want to choke with the gauze in my mouth, yet didn’t want to take it out b/c I was still bleeding from one of the extraction sites a bit.

Day 2:
Changed my gauze again and brushed my teeth in the AM. It’s strange opening my mouth and not seeing teeth where there used to be. Surprisingly there was hardly any swelling. My left side was just puffed up a tiny bit, but I was happy that I didn’t end up looking like a chipmunk. As for the pain, my mouth felt sore, like I was trying to recuperate after being punched in the face. As per the doctor’s orders, I was taking the pain med and the antibiotics alternatively.

I got a nice call from the surgeon’s office asking how I was feeling and again giving me tips for my recovery. I changed my gauze multiple times that day. As for eating, I had some more baby food and mom made me some mashed potatoes. Headed home later and looked forward to eating my pre-made Jell-O-filled ramekins I made prior to the surgery. Jell-O has never tasted so good.

Day 3:
Mouth is still a little sore, but the swelling is pretty much gone. Still on a baby-food diet, as I’m afraid to attempt to eat real food lest it get lodged into one of my mouth holes and cause dry socket. My cheeks still have the faintest tinge of numbness. Had to go into work today, but at least the weekend is here. I found out that pieces of brie inside tomato soup is quite a delicious dish! Still not feeling any major pain (more like discomfort), so I stopped taking the Tylenol-3, lest I became an addict.

Day 4:
I’m not sure how much more soup, baby food, Jell-O and mashed potatoes I can eat. I’m wasting away here! I had a charity auction party to go to at a friend’s house tonight. My awesome friend made me some red pepper soup on account of my condition. :-) Slurped that down as I was bidding on items that I didn’t really need (but it was for charity). I also managed to eat some veggie noodle stir fry. Yum!

Day 5:
The numbness in my cheeks are finally gone! That was my main worry before even having my wisdom teeth removed. Using the syringe is a bit tricky. But I got to make sure that the gums heal properly. Still staying away from drinking anything with a straw, as I heard that the suction can dislodge the needed blood clots in my gums.

Day 6:
Eating real food more regularly now! Although trying to chew with your front teeth is a bit tedious. I think I felt one of the stitches slide out, so I opened my mouth and lo and behold there’s a string hanging from behind my molar. I didn’t dare pull it out (I thought they would dissolve).

Day 7:
I have my follow-up appointment tomorrow. I hope all goes well. Still gingerly eating, syringing, gargling (non-alcohol mouthwash, and with salt water) and brushing! I lost about 5lbs since the procedure (since I’m practically afraid to eat) so I guess that’s a plus!

Day 8:
The follow-up appointment went well. The dental assistant took a look inside my mouth and told me that my gums seemed to be healing well. Although there was a tiny bit if bleeding still in one of the sites. Reason was I wasn’t using the syringe properly: I was supposed to put in right inside the gum. I guess I was still a bit doped up after the initial surgery to remember that tiny fact. I was under the impression that the pressure of the water would be enough to squirt any food out, and that putting it inside my gum would lengthen the healing time. Whoops!

After a recent visit to my dentist, my mouth has healed great. Looking in the mirror myself, I no longer see the gaping holes that were there just over a month ago. I also was able to get fitted for my Invisaligns… but that’s another post.

Goodbye, Wisdom Teeth!


Tomorrow I’m having all four of my wisdom teeth extracted. I am scared out of my mind. I haven’t been this anxious since the release of the last Twilight film.

I know I probably should’ve had them extracted years ago when I was in my prime, but they came in late and never really bothered me (for the most part). They all are fully erupted, but like with most people, can be tricky to keep clean. Especially the lone tooth that grew in on an angle and who’s roots are poking through my sinus wall. As big as my mouth is, it can be a pain to floss those suckers!

After thoughtful deliberation, and dentist’s recommendation, I’m chucking the suckers. Going under the knife in less than 12 hours. I really don’t want to have any major problems with them further down the road, so it’s now or never (thank goodness for insurance coverage).

The main phobia I have is suffering any permanent numbness, but I’m praying that everything will go well! Got my pantry stocked with Jell-O, yogurt, soups, ice-cream, pudding and quick-serve mashed potatoes anticipating the baby-food diet that I’ll have to endure for the next few days while my gums heal.

Perhaps I should’ve have watched those YouTube videos on wisdom teeth extraction before my appointment. I’m too curious for my own good. I hope I don’t chicken out before they put me to sleep.

Looking forward to eating a real meal once this is all over!