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.