Monday, December 31, 2018

My Invisalign Journey

The History of My Teeth

When I was little, I had awful teeth. They grew in weird, I had cavities, I had to get fillings, and I played hours and hours of Sega in the waiting area at the dentist office between various procedures. Once that was all taken care of I became obsessed with having nice teeth. I am one of those crazy people that LOVES going to the dentist. I'm always sad there are 6 months between each visit. And don't even get me started on x-rays of teeth. Could there be anything cooler?! Should have been a dentist. Fascinating.

Braces Life

I had braces in all their shiny metal glory with awesome brackets in shades of blue, red, pink, and everything in between. Gosh, they were good looking. I got them off the day before homecoming my sophomore year of high school. I was PUMPED. I wore my hot pink (with glitter) retainer every night, had a permanent bottom retainer, and was so glad to have survived the braces life. It wasn't bad, really. I never had all the pain people complain about or the dreaded headgear. 

After a little while, I noticed that one of my teeth seemed to have moved. It appeared to have a mind of its own. It started retreating into its own world slightly behind another tooth. It looked fine as soon as I took my retainer out but over the day it would just move back into its new home. I started having to stand on my good side for photos so you couldn't see that side of my mouth.

For a few years, I was bummed about my tooth but I didn't really know what options I had. Fast forward to February of this year. Thankfully, two of my friends happen to be orthodontists and I went to see them for my first appointment! They loaded me up with all the information on how they would fix my partial anterior cross-bite, told me important Invisalign things, and showed me the progression video of my smile over time. Next thing I know, I was ready to start my Invisalign journey!

Invisalign Journey

Since I'm not an Orthodontist and don't work in anything related to teeth, I can offer you zero guidance on how your personal smile alignment could benefit from Invisalign. I don't even know if it's an option for everyone to correct the various issues. However, I will tell you that if you are on the fence about going to meet with an Orthodontist for something that bothers you JUST GO. Find out what your options are.

If you are in the East Texas area, I highly recommend you visit with Mack & Hansen Orthodontics! They are fabulous Orthodontists and their staff is SO sweet! Check out their website here for more information on braces and Invisalign and give them a call! You won't regret it!

First things first. You might need attachments for your clear aligners to do their magic. They are like little pieces of glue for the tray to hold onto and provide traction for moving the teeth. That's my best guess, anyway. They also needed to make a little space for all the movement that would be happening. So, they made some small gaps to accommodate. I was not into the whole random slivers of space I could suddenly see but news flash, you pop your trays in and you don't see them. The gaps also started closing in a handful of days. MAGIC. 

Once you put your trays in for the first time you'll need to use the chewies (sadly, these aren't gummy bears) to help them 'seat' which is effectively to allow them to get situated more flush against your teeth/gums. Popping the trays in and out takes a little bit of time to get the hang of depending on where your attachments are. By day 2 though, I was basically a pro. Hint: grabbing the trays with both sets of fingers at the back will save you a lot of time and struggle.

You are supposed to wear your trays for 22 hours a day. I know that seems like a really long time but literally, you won't even realize it after a while. In fact, I'm missing my trays as I write this. #wheredyougoimissyouso

The first time I forgot my trays I was headed out to the field for the day and there was no way I was getting them until later that night. I panicked. I was convinced that would derail my entire tooth alignment process. Dramatic? I think not! Turns out, it was totally fine. Just don't make it a habit. There are also obvious times when you won't have your trays in the full 22 hours. Hello holiday season where you may in fact just eat for 22 hours a day. It's fine. But be sure to pop those trays right back in as soon as you can. There may also be days when you keep your trays in while you sip white wine. Oops. Rinse your trays and go on about your life. 

Is it super sexy popping your trays in and out? No. But you'll get over it and your smile will be beautiful! Restaurant bathrooms are disgusting germ playgrounds so plan ahead and pop your trays out in your car when you reach the parking lot. Which brings me to the most important tip I could possibly share. Your Invisalign will come with a storage case. Between traveling, switching purses, and just flat out forgetting to take it with me anywhere and having to make makeshift holders (napkins aren't great, FYI) I highly recommend just keeping some sandwich bags in your car, your purse, your office, your spouses' car etc. Trust me. You're welcome.

I wore each tray for 10 days at a time. You may have a different length of time for each tray but it's really cool to see how much movement you have from tray to tray!

I finished my Invisalign and got my attachments removed the day after Christmas and molds made for my retainer. Considering I had my hot pink glitter retainer until the day I got Invisalign (16 years-ish) I'd say I'm committed to excellence when it comes to teeth. If you do have Invisalign or you are getting Invisalign WEAR YOUR TRAYS and then WEAR YOUR RETAINER. It's not hard and your smile will thank you.

Before and After

I'm very pleased with the results from my Invisalign journey! I documented as often as I could to track the progress over time. Here are just a few photos of the transformation month by month (with my trays out). It took 10 months and it flew by! Sorry these photos aren't filtered. Deal with it.

Before Invisalign
See how that tooth was hiding behind its neighbor?

Invisalign Day 1 February 2018

March 2018

April 2018

May 2018

June 2018

July 2018

August 2018

September 2018

October 2018

November 2018

Invisalign Graduate December 2018

Thanks for stopping by!
Taryn

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