The rest of my journey..

I started this journey with so much apprehension and worry so I started this blog to document my experience but truth be told it was just so easy to do.

Step one: put on new braces every two weeks and wear them as much as you can (they say 20 hours+ per day).
Step two: see your dentist every 8 or so weeks.
Step three: repeat.

I have done this for 41 aligners (82 weeks plus). Just before Christmas the great Dr gave me the all clear to not wear braces for a few days to see what happened. There was (what I thought) heaps of movement and I was freaking out. Luckily got in to go see the dentist and he said to put the braces back on to stop it. Then he mentioned that some of the teeth had over corrected. This means they had moved past what they were supposed to. Bugger.

More braces for me to correct the over correctedness!

I have finished paying off my braces now and I was expecting to have to pay more for the extra sets but nope – all part of the package. Nice!

All in all the end is in sight – but it’s been so long what’s a few more weeks right?!

Update – Trays 1-10

I am well into my Invisalign treatment, having just started tray 10 (out of 48). I am used to the routine of brushing my teeth after each meal, and rinsing the trays, and have even inspired some work mates to brush their teeth after lunch too. They do not have Invisalign, but they approve of good oral hygiene.

The one thing that I thought that I would hate was the pain. Honestly, so far, when I put my new tray in at night, it hurts for 20 minutes at MOST, and then feels fine. After I take them off the next morning it can be a little tender if you are biting into hard foods, but it doesn’t hurt to have them in. Looking after my teeth and the trays has been pretty easy – although I have some observations.

Firstly, I have been getting a little worse with wearing the braces in the weekends. I will always wear them every night, but on Saturday morning I will have a lazy breakfast and a few coffees before going to the gym so sometimes they can be out for a long period of time. I have noticed that they are much tighter when I put them in again – it’s amazing how much teeth move. If I leave the trays out for a whole day (over 8 hours) then I will just wear them for an extra day before changing the trays to the next one. I would not recommend not wearing them for long periods of time over a day, but just know it won’t ruin your treatment as long as you make up the time. With keeping the trays clean, I find this the easiest part, as I just soak them in the denture cleaner every night (mostly) and they don’t smell or discolour. I did have some Indian snacks at work, and had to put my trays back in without brushing, and that did stain them yellow, but luckily it was my last day on those trays anyway.

Secondly, it is a lot easier to brush and maintain my own teeth, because they are moving, there are bigger spaces between them. The dentist recommended I purchase an electric toothbrush to help out, but my $40 OralB from Countdown (supermarket)wouldn’t suffice. I purchased a different toothbrush, for NZD$150. It is an expensive purchase, but as this whole thing is expensive I thought why got give my teeth the best treatment! And it does a great job. I must admit also I don’t floss as often as I should, so this good quality toothbrush makes this ok too. On the actual tooth surface however, I have noticed some slight discolouration. I have read on other blogs and asked my dentist, so apparently this is normal. I am definitely going to be getting some tooth whitening after this is over!

Thirdly, cost. It’s expensive. It’s hard to manage the repayments sometimes, living in the city that I do (Auckland – ridiculous house prices), and the rent prices how they are (outrageous).

I would definitely still recommend doing this, if you are reading this still doubting whether or not to go ahead. It is a large cost but your teeth are the only one’s you have, and the results will last you for always!

Comment below with questions/feedback or worries I am happy to respond.

Offical Start on Tray 1

I have now started my first set of trays.

The night before I started I went back to the dentist to get the attachments put on. Attachments are bumps that are glued to your teeth and help provide more grip for the invisalign to move your teeth with. It was utterly painless, and the hygienist at epsom dentists was a very nice guy. The process for putting the attachments on, is to first dry and polish the teeth that the attachments will go onto. Then, they place (horrible smelling) glue on the teeth as well as the stuff that hardens to become the attachment. After that, they place a duplicate of your invisalign tray on your teeth straight away so the stuff is moulded to the attachment holes, and set it using a light. Afterwards it was a strange feeling running your tongue over the attachments some of which are somewhat sharp. After I put my invisalign trays back on, they were so much tighter and harder to get off! I have figured out though to lift the trays out before trying to lift them up, and this will allow the tray to get over the attachment first.

My first day wearing the trays for the full minimum 20 hours had it’s ups and downs. I had got used to putting the trays back in after meals, and have sorted out a routine for taking the trays off at work and when to brush my teeth and so on. The hardest thing to get used to is the rubbing and irritation of the sharp edges against my tongue and lips. The dentist has let me know that using a nail file on those edges would help a lot, and on a particularly bad edge I filed the crap out of it, but it made minimal difference. For a job, I have to talk all day on the phone, so having this kind of irritation was unacceptable and I was feeling super down as to what I had got myself into. Luckily I managed to find something to try on trusty google. There is this product called orthodontic wax. The idea is you rub it on the sharp edges and it creates a barrier or a smoother surface between the sharp edge and whatever is irritated. For me, the worst was on the inside lower tray, but as soon as I put the wax on the sharp edge, I could feel the difference. Hallelujah. It does make the trays a little bit harder to clean, however so worth it.

I cannot recommend this enough – GET SOME! If you’re in New Zealand, it’s available from http://www.toothshop.co.nz/ – otherwise they have a physical shop too in Auckland (Pakuranga).

So I start my second full day as a happy chappy with the tooth wax and my invisalign. I no longer find these trays tight, so I am excited for the two weeks time when I get to move on.

For reference, here is a picture of the tooth wax.

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Tray 1

I have non-officially started my first invisalign trays. I say non-officially because my attachments have not been put on yet, therefore am just wearing the trays to get used to them!

Last night I put the lower and upper ones in, and I did feel some discomfort, because honestly its not a feeling you are used to. I took some panadol (painkillers) and slept pretty well. In the morning the discomfort was still there and although the tightness had eased slightly, it still feels strange. The closest words that I can use to describe it is irritating and itchy. I realise that you can’t have itchy teeth but it’s an annoying feeling nonetheless.

 

I baked some cookies today and when I went bite into the cookie I forgot about the trays, until too late. No mess was made, though it must’ve looked strange! I’m hoping that I will just get used to the feeling and the irritating nature of the pressure will decrease. As for talking, so I far haven’t noticed a huge difference, and maybe a VERY slight lisp, however the trays aren’t bulky and it is very easy to enunciate properly.

I am off to the dentist on thursday to get the attachments put on, which is when the treatment officially starts!

Picture to show the trays on, and I do have quite a lot of attachments to be put on as well, I feel like they are more noticeable than some of the other cases I’ve seen.

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Oral Surgery and almost beginning my treatment

I am about 2 days away from starting on my first upper and lower trays for invisalign.

Today, I had to go to the oral surgeon to get a baby tooth removed, and also an impacted canine, which leaves me with a gap, however I am hoping to get an implant to fill the space once my invisalign is finished. I had a great experience with the surgeon Dr Neil Luyk, he’s very to the point and explains everything very well also. This extraction was similar to wisdom teeth extraction, however today’s procedure was definitely not as sore afterwards, because I had 4 wisdom teeth removed previously.

I went back to Epsom Dentists last weekend to get my first trays, along with all the items that you need to keep the trays clean.  The first item of course was the two trays. Mine obviously look very different so it’s very easy for me to tell the difference, however if it is not readily apparent which tray is for which, there is a L for lower and a U for upper printed in black text on the tray on one of the back molars. Helpful!

Next was a tooth brush traditionally used for dentures as far as I can tell. It has a traditional tooth brush head but backing on a pointed brush, and it was explained to me that it’s for the small indents where the attachments go onto your teeth. Also traditionally used for dentures, was a packet of steradent. I am to soak the trays while having dinner.

Also included in the invisalign pack was two handy cases for your trays, and I was advised that it’s best to keep one at work and one with you all the time – great! I am super forgetful and loose things so easily so fingers crossed!

Lastly, there was a tube of tooth mousse. The instructions were to coat the inside of the trays right before you put the trays in for the night, which helps stop decay.

Finally time to start the treatment.

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Before The First Trays – Post 5

I have a before photo of my teeth – isn’t it a pain that teeth are so difficult to photograph and make them look not horrible! There is crowding on my lower canines, and also most of the other teeth that aren’t molars, are crossed over either a small amount or a lot. Molars are also slightly out of line also.

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Cost of Invisalign in New Zealand

I decided to proceed with the planned Invisalign treatment, and the team at Epsom Dentists hit me with the quotes.

So my planned Invisalign should cost $9545.00 including GST.

Ouch.

There’s a couple of options regarding the payment, you can take their interest free option to pay it off, or pay it off in one lump sum. Since I wanted to be able to afford to get to work and eat, I opted to pay it off monthly. With the option I chose, there is an initial deposit of $3500 to send the treatment plan away to the US to get the invisalign trays made. Then for my treatment, a balance of $1000 payable when the treatment starts, then a monthly amount of $280.28 per month for 18 months.

It is a huge cost in the short term, but I figured that since I’m in my (early) 20’s, it is definitely an investment. Surprisingly, it is the cheapest option when compared against the metal option or the ceramic braces option.

If you’re considering the Invisalign, and are put off by the above costing, just remember my case is quite bad, and my cost is on the upper end of the scale!

At the moment, I have paid the deposit, and am waiting for my Invisalign to arrive! Photos and the next steps to follow.