Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Invisalign Update 2: The Consultation







It's official - I had my Invisalign consultation and my first aligners are being made, right now! For those of you who missed my last post (read that post here), I'm starting Invisalign® treatment, and I'm receiving complimentary treatment in exchange for sharing my experience, once a month. I'm so relieved, now that my first appointment is over. I don't know why I get so anxious, but I was having dreams that they would crush my dreams and tell me I wasn't a candidate, that my teeth fell out before they could even do an exam, accidentally put traditional braces on instead of Invisalign - I'm a weirdo. Which reminds me, why do half of my dreams involve my teeth falling out? Well, turns out that my dreams were just that, and it was a breeze. I was in and out and on my way to straighter teeth with no bumps along the way. I wanted to break down the consultation so that if you're thinking of trying out Invisalign, you have a general idea of what to expect.

First, they had me fill out a new patient form, where they asked a series of general questions - just your run of the mill form that you would fill out anywhere. Then, I met with the dental assistant who took pictures of my smile and bite from all angles and gave me an overview of Invisalign. After chatting about why I wanted it and what I wanted to change, she told me that she had a very similar "before" situation and was currently wearing Invisalign to correct it. I didn't even notice it until she told me! That immediately put me at ease, because after years of braces, I want something more discreet. She also informed me that three people in the office were currently undergoing treatment, and I ended up meeting another one of those employees. It's always reassuring when you can speak to someone with direct experience; it's pretty great that the people treating me are also patients.

I then had some scans done, met with the doctor, and went more in depth about my issues that need resolving and the treatment that will fix them. She immediately noticed my clicking jaw, a lifelong nuisance that has gotten much worse in the past two years (it locks up a lot), and not-so-coincidentally lines up with the rapid shifting of my teeth. It's crazy how much I have felt my teeth shifting - it's a constant, dull discomfort. If I'm going to have that feeling, I'd prefer them to be shifting in the right direction! She then explained that my jaw problems were actually a contributing factor in my shifting teeth: it was narrowing my smile. Today, I was looking through old pictures and realized that my smile used to be much broader, with teeth visible all the way through. Now, I have gaps on the side of my smile (see here), and my tongue feels way too large for my mouth. I know that sounds weird, but it's true - it pushes against my teeth. Invisalign is not only going to straighten my crooked teeth, it's also going to broaden my smile! And hopefully make it so that I don't constantly bite the sides of my tongue.

The next part was the 3D scan of my teeth with iTero (as seen above), which was actually pretty interesting. I guess I'm just an old grandma, because I felt all futuristic. I remember biting a putty like substance to make a mold of my teeth for braces (they still do that - I asked); I didn't know this was a thing. But apparently it's exclusive to Invisalign and since everything is digital, it's all very accurate. They used this bright light thing - pretty sure that's the technical term - to scan every part of my teeth and get a super detailed, 3D image. Now you can see what the doctor was talking about: see how my teeth on the sides are so far inward on the gums? After going through the details of what needed to be done, Dr. Zhu said it would be approximately a year to complete the treatment, but that I would start seeing results a lot sooner than that. Now that they have a model of my teeth, I will be receiving my first two sets of aligners within weeks. After those initial two, I come back in to get the attachments, which will be removed once my teeth are in place. This is the part that I didn't know about, until friends told me to ask how many "buttons" they would attach and where. The dental assistant had to point them out to me on her; they were hardly visible and only on her canines (I think). I, however, will need them along my sides to help broaden my smile - and I might need an additional one on that little tooth that's next to my two front teeth. I'm not going to lie, that made me nervous. But if I'm going to go for it, I want to go all in - and at least it is a lot less noticeable than a metal bracket. She assured me that the attachments are clear to match the tooth's enamel and reminded me that her assistant's were barely visible unless pointed out. But since one of mine will be in the front, I'm curious to see how noticeable it will be. I'll keep you updated.

After that, I was told I would receive a call when my aligners were ready, and I promptly left and had a celebratory brunch with Bobby. I felt so much better after the consultation, knowing that my doctor was confident in the ultimate outcome. I'm one step closer to a better smile. Now I'm patiently waiting for my first aligners, and I can't wait to get this started!



p.s. If you are interested in Invisalign treatment, you can request more info, here.

23 comments:

  1. I have dreams where my teeth fall out. It's actually a very common dream. My friend once told me what it meant but I forgot. You could just google if you really want to know.

    That sweater is adorable. I can't see where it is from?

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  2. I'm most of the way through my own Invisalign year, and overall am very happy with them. No one had told me about the attachments until I went in for my first aligners, though - when I found out I had to have them on all but my back two molars on both sides and top and bottom. Ho hum. They're not as invisible as I'd hoped they'd be as a result, but still much less obvious than regular braces would be. Fair warning - the first few days with the first set were SO uncomfortable. Go to the drug store and buy that wax you probably had when you had braces - the bumps (under which the attachments fit) and the edges of the trays really irritated the inside of my mouth at first. By the second set of trays, it was no big deal, and hasn't been ever since (I'm on my 18th biweekly set now), but that first set was so much more uncomfortable than I'd expected.

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    1. AND - by the way - the results really did start to show so quickly. By the end of the second month it seemed noticeable already, and by the 18th set of 26, my mother is already marveling at how much better my teeth and bite are than after several years of braces as a young teen.

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    2. Ooh, thanks for the tip! They did warn me that it would be a little sore at first, but I didn't think about the wax. Right now my jaw and mouth are sore all the time, from all the shifting and my tongue pushing against my teeth. So I think as long as it is a good change, I can take the initial discomfort!

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  3. Good luck on your Invisalign! I have it and I love the way my teeth are turning out! I just wanted to say that the attachments are not clear. You can see them because they stick out from your teeth. I was actually in a restaurant with my friend and her kids the other day and her son said, "your teeth are bumpy". I explained it was for my braces. They are a lot less noticeable than metal braces though so I don't care. I can deal with it for a few more months so that I can have straight teeth. Good luck!

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    1. I'm really nervous about the one on the front. She said that if I hate it, I can have that one removed - that it's not 100% necessary but that it will help get them perfectly straight. So I'm going to try it out and if it's too much, I will have it removed. But hopefully it won't be *too* bad, because I do want to get them as straight as possible!

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    2. P.s. Do you mean they're not clear as in they have color to them or that they're not invisible? Just curious because they said they are made to match the enamel. I was thinking of having my teeth whitened so that they will be as nice as possible before getting the attachments. Haha!

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    3. i am a dental hygienist and i just finished treatment. they are made to match the enamel but people will think there is something stuck on your tooth all the time. your teeth will be really sore when you change aligners or if you're bad and don't wear them like you should. did they also tell you they will need to shave some space in-between your teeth so there is room for movement? a lot of food impaction will happen in those areas. its nicer than traditional braces though because you can floss! also when i first got them my mouth was really dry and i would clench a lot. dry mouth can cause cavities so make sure you also use a fluoride rinse throughout your treatment! haha sorry i am talking too much, but i just love talking about teeth :)

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  4. Where are those shoes from?! Dying for them.

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    1. Ugg, from this past winter. Probably on sale, somewhere!

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  5. Thanks for sharing your experience! My smile was quite similar to yours before I got Invalign when I turned 30, and it was well worth the investment. The only annoying aspect of it is having to wear my retainer at night for life! I find that even 4 years later if I skip a couple of nights I can feel my front tooth shifting forward again! lol

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    1. My orthodontist never told me I had to wear it forever - he even told me I could stop wearing it! If I would've known, I could still have straight teeth:(

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  6. My teeth are crooked again (as a 30 year old) despite having braces in my teens, and I've been pondering Invisalign for years. Finally called to make my consultation appointment. Thanks for the inspiration, Keiko!

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    1. Please let me know how it goes for you! Hope we both have good results:)

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  7. Love the shoes!!! Where are they from?

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  8. Cool shoes!! I love it!

    Welcome to http://valecore.blogspot.com

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  9. You are the cutest!

    xo Jennifer

    http://seekingstyleblog.wordpress.com

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  10. i'm so excited for you! i work in a dental office, and it's always so fun seeing people's smiles transform and how happy they are with the results :) Just stick it out, and it will all be worth it in the end!
    xo jac
    thesunshinedistrict.blogspot.com

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  11. Invisalign is really a very good alternative to Traditional braces. Because, these Invisalign clear braces never gives pain or irritation of mouth like traditional ones. Also, Invisalign aligners solves teeth bite issues in a short time.

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  12. I'm so excited about following along through your journey. I first heard about it when Carrie from Wish Wish Wish posted about it and I've been thinking at getting a consultation - the only thing putting me off is the price! I'm determined to do it, but it's going to take a couple years of savings to get going haha!
    Have a lovely weekend!
    April Everyday

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