Invisalign- An Ending

Get the tissues ready.  This is the last Invisalign blog entry I’m going to write for the foreseeable future.

At long last, after a circus-like struggle, I finally got my retainers.  I decided (well, come to think of it, I wasn’t given a choice) on the Vivera plastic retainers by Invisalign:

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They are not nearly as bad as a lot of people complain about.  Yes, they are more stiff than the weekly aligners, but don’t I want them to be?  They are also more smooth around the edges, which my tongue very much appreciates!

Although he contradicted himself a few times, my orthodontist gave me a schedule to wean myself off of ’round-the-clock retainer wearing, and I wanted to share it because I like it:  every week, reduce daily wear by 2 hours.  When you get to 8 hours, just wear it at night:  eventually, just wear a few nights a week.  Right now the retainer is tight and this feels impossible, but I am hopeful!

So, as I reflect on my overall experience, I ask myself if it was worth it: worth the cost, worth the constant annoyances with a completely incompetent ortho office, worth my tongue and gums cut on plastic?  Over all yes.  I’ve been self-conscious about my smile my entire life, and although it’s not perfect now, I’m no longer ashamed of it (I will say, though, that the psychology of it all is still there… I still cover my mouth a lot).  My biggest gripe is that NONE of my back teeth (you know, the ones I chew with?) touch, no matter how hard i try.  But, since my orthodontist is moving to New Jersey and gave me no plan for future work, I guess it’s a lot of soft foods in my future.  Smoothies are the new steak now anyway, right?

 

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Invisa-wha?

Hello.
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I’ve been trying to find the right words to write after not writing for, let’s see, a MONTH, but Adele has been in my head non-freaking-stop, so I couldn’t help it.  And how cute is that kid?!  I am so thankful for parents who don’t care about putting pictures of their children on the internet.  As someone who is highly entertained by child antics but is very thankful that I do not have to put up with the rest of their ridiculousness (for now), I am grateful to the moms and dads who share moments like this with me.  So, after that, if you haven’t clicked on that link, you need to.  It’ll make your day.

Let’s take a brief detour and discuss where in the effin-A I’ve been.  Well, after making my New Year’s Resolution to blog more, I decided to take a more liberal approach and not blog for 30 days straight.  Just kidding.  I went on a cruise vacation that took me off the grid for a week, and I HIGHLY recommend it; except, when I got back, I had a flu and cold that took me out of commish for a solid week.  Sick as a dog.

Where does that term come from?  Until my dog was 17 and lost his eyesight, hearing, and control of his bowels, he was healthy as a horse.  Where does that come from, healthy as a horse?  Okay, I’ll stop.

Anyway, to top off my cold, I had a nice bout of vertigo, which I never experienced.  You know how sometimes you’re on an elevator for a while, and when you get off the elevator, you feel like you’re still on it?  Multiply that by *#*&$*(&$(&@@ and that’s what it felt like.  For 3 weeks, I thought I was still on the ship, and looking at a computer screen for longer than I had to was out of the question.  Now, I am happy to say that as of a few days ago, I finally stepped off the boat, and am ready to be to quality time with you fine folk.

So.  Where to start, where to start.  How about my tooths?  Why not.  I say that because I am getting my attachments off TOMORROW.  TOMORROW.  Did you catch that?  I said, TOMORROW, PEOPLE!!!!!  And even though my teeth aren’t perfect, I have already decided that I am done-zo with this business.  Well, full disclosure, my orthodontist is done with me, so I don’t have much of a choice.

Yep, I went into my check-up 3 weeks ago today, and my orthodontist informed me that he is moving his office the next day to a temporary facility, and is slowly transitioning into a new practice out of state.  Then he infoms me that we are done with treatment, and I will need to decide which retainer-style I will want to go with when I see him on the 2nd. You know what?  I’m not complaining.  Fine by me, because I wanted them off off off.  If it were under different circumstances, like if I needed a lot more work done, believe me, I would not be as cool.

So, I’ve been back and forth for the past few weeks on which type of retainer to get:  the permanent (a wire behind my teeth), or the plastic aligners.  I was all about the permanent retainer:  I don’t like long term commitment to routine, and the idea of wearing these plastic aligners for another day, let alone the rest of my life, was too much to bear.  However, I keep reading these horror stories about how hard they are to clean, about folks who have the wire begging their dentist to take them out, and about them breaking.  So, it looks like I’ll be stuck with these plastic nuisances for much, much, much longer.  Like, ’til death do us part.

So, although my teeth aren’t as straight as they could be, in comparison I’m pretty happy.  This is a comparison (not very good, sorry) of the day after I got Invisalign last spring, and today:

and a bunch of open-mouth pics:

 

Invisalign Take Two: Week 4

In my swirly-twirly life of all-work and little play, I have had this update on my to-do list for a while now.  Well, here I am, week 4 of my refinement aligners.  So far, it’s been fine:  my first day was much more painful than I was expecting, but it hasn’t been that way since, thankfully.  The only issue, which hasn’t changed from last time, is the discomfort from the edges of the aligners.  I am constantly trying to file down my aligners to a tolerable level that doesn’t cut up my gums, lips, and tongue, but it’s nearly impossible.  I suppose I should expect that when I place foreign plastic object in my mouth around the clock, right?

Anyway, I have been given 14 weeks of aligners, which doesn’t sound bad at all; however, February 2nd feels like a really long way off!

Here’s week 1:

and today (three weeks later, beginning Week 4 today):

 

No noticeable difference to me yet, although my teeth are beginning to touch more when I bite down, so I know progress is happening!

Invisalign: Let’s Refine

So I know it’s been a while since I’ve written any updates on my Invisa-lame experience, but that’s pretty much because I haven’t experienced anything noteworthy.  Also, I’m not supposed to be complaining this month, so it’s easier to stay away fro this subject.  But, tomorrow  is supposed to be Day 1 of my Refinement Aligners, so I thought it was high time I bring folks up to speed.  Here’s the Cliff’s Notes version:

  • We last left off in Week 22, which ended September 4th.  SO excited I was getting my attachments off!  Nope.  After waiting for 40 minutes to see the doc, I sat in the chair for under 60 seconds.  “Looks good, let’s take your buttons off next week.  Bye!”  WTF.
  • September 9th:  waiting another 25 minutes in reception isn’t so bad, bc today was my day.  I was getting attachments off, getting molds taken for refinement aligners (which I was told through a phone call I would need).  After the doc pinched off the attachments (NOT a pleasant experience, btw), he told me to come back in a couple of days to get molds taken.  He had a flight to catch.
  • September 11th:  super long story, but the molds were eventually taken that day.  And I was told that since I was in the office 3 times in a week, I would not need to come back to approve the Clin-Check.  The doctor would approve the plans, and we would move as quickly as possible.  It would take a few weeks.
  • October 8th, 9th, and 13th:  I call to check on what on Earth is going on because I haven’t heard squat.  I leave messages with reception, on the answering machine, with an assistant.  No calls back.
  • October 14th:  Finally I get through!  A nurse tells me that they have been waiting for me to….ready for it?…come in and approve the Clin Check.  Of course.  Because that’s exactly what we agreed on, you know, to speed up the process.  Once I filled her in on this ridiculous situation, she said it will be another two weeks to get them ordered.

So, my appointment is tomorrow.  I have no idea how many weeks this round will be for.  I have no idea of what my attachment situation is going to be.  I do know that my expectations for this place are about the same as my expectations to lose weight on a pizza-and-beer-only diet:  wishful but very low.  If they didn’t have all of my dough (see what I did there?), or if my teeth met when I bite down, I would not be going back.  But, on to the next chapter!  Fingers crossed that this goes smoothly.  And that I don’t have attachments on my front teeth 🙂

Invisalign – the Dark Ages

For the rest of you, that was a Wedding Crashers reference.

That’s the nicest thing I can call my current situation with the wrap-up of this fiasco.  Let me catch you up to speed on the past several days between me, my aligners, and my orthodontist:

Last Wednesday – as you recall, I was so thrilled to get my buttons off, and talk next steps!  Didn’t go as planned.  After fighting traffic for an hour and a half, sitting in the waiting room for another 40 minutes, I was finally called back.  The result?  Less than a 60-second sit-down with the doc:  “Looks good, we will schedule you next week to get your buttons off.”  What what what??!  I KNOW that this was the appointment for removing, talking next steps, etc. The worst part?  I had to keep my gross, discolored, fraying, smelly aligners in for an extra week, until my appointment made for Tuesday.

The following Tuesday:  another fight through traffic, another 35 minutes in the waiting room (seriously, what’s the point of making an appointment at this place?  Come to think of it, I have never been seen sooner than 15 minutes after my scheduled time).  The doctor sat me right down, and crude-tooled my attachments off immediately.  One hurt so badly (and still hurts) that I think he cracked my tooth.   A 10 second glance at my teeth, and a matter-of-fact statement from him:  “Yup, you need refiners.”  I was told we would discuss everything on Tuesday when I came in; at that point, whenever I had a question (like, why don’t my teeth touch when I bite down), he brushed me off, stating that we can discuss that at my ClinCheck. Then, my breaking point was reached.  I was told that his assistant left for the day, and I would need to come back another time this week to get impressions of my teeth done.  Oh, and just keep wearing my current aligners until the new ones come in about a month after they are ordered.  And just like that, I was rushed out of there, while he was already on to someone else.  Not a good experience.

Why.  Why. Why why why why.  Why.

Why couldn’t they have called me and told me on the phone today that the assistant needed to leave early?  Why couldn’t they order another aligner, if I would be wearing this one for a minimum of 6 weeks, whether I chose refinements or a retainer?  This was really poor planning, which is ridiculous considering that the entire system is planned out in advance.

Okay, I’m done with my #firstworldproblems.  I’m just trying to make it through the next several weeks without taking out my frustrations on fellow commuters as we sit in traffic together.

Invisalign: the end! (but not really)

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Today is the day!  The end of the 22 weeks, and the day I get my attachments off.  It went by so quickly!  It’s true that you get used to your aligners really quickly, and brushing just becomes a daily routine.  In fact, now that I know just how gross my mouth gets, I doubt that regimen will be lost.

But it’s not really over, regardless of what the next course of action is.  In reality, unless the cost is crazy, I will most likely be going for refinement aligners, thanks to my bottom teeth being stubborn.

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From late June

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From Sept 1

There has been very little improvement, and I feel like I’ve come this far.

I’m not so concerned about the bottom crookedness as I am about my teeth touching oddly– my front 4 bicuspids touch first, so my back teeth barely meet together at all.  I’m hoping it’s just the attachments getting in the way, but I’m not usually that lucky.

However, if I do not continue, I still get to wear a retainer for the rest of my existence.  And, to make it even more awesome, the first months of retainer-wearing get to be around the clock, so it’s pretty much the EXACT SAME as wearing an aligner.  Shhchweet.

More things I’ve learned from this experience:

  • You WILL need refiners.  Find out if the cost is included when you begin.
  • You should buy stock in toothpaste, because you’ll go through at least 3 a month.
  • You’ll be wearing your retainers around the clock for a long while, so the finish line is pretty much non-existent.
  • Your aligners will get rough at the bottom of teeth from tooth grinding, eating/drinking highly acidic foods and drinks (like coffee!), and drinking things that are too hot.  This is the aligner “shredding,” as they apparently do because of the new material they are made of.
  • Your aligners not only stain easily, but they will smell rounchy.  Using retainer cleaning tablets are a life saver!
  • Invisalign is not nearly as noticeable as they feel in your mouth.  I’ve had a lot of people never notice them at all.
  • Propel = totally worth it.

Invisalign: week 20

I would say that probably my biggest flaw (so few of them to choose from) is my irrationally absurd reactions to people/events not adhering to established time limits.  If someone tells me they will get back to me by Monday, and I don’t hear from them until like Thursday, they might as well be dead to me.  In college, if a professor let us out late from class, I completely tuned him out from the time we were supposed to get out until he released us; even if he said we would get out 10 minutes early, and we end up getting out on time, those 10 minutes might as well have been taught in sign language to a blind man.  I was seething in my chair, thinking of the lies I was told about the past 10 minutes.

I wish I could say I’ve outgrown this, but I still struggle with this.  If the T monitor says the next train is arriving in 5 minutes, and 6 minutes have come and gone, I break down.  If I am waiting for a package to arrive and it says to expect it COB Monday, and its 8:30pm, I am on the phone with the delivery company.  How did (read:  does) my mother deal with me?

This brings us to my Invisalign, and my struggle with the choice to continue with refinement aligners or just be done with it.  Weeks 20 through 22 are to “hold the shape” of my teeth, meaning they are done moving.  So, this is where I am at:IMG_5533IMG_5534

I can’t get two things out of my head:

  1. the dental assistant’s statement showing me the screen of my perfectly-aligned CGI teeth, stating this is where your teeth should be.  What the heck, teeth!  Can’t you see the screen?  Get with the program!
  2. the idea that 22 weeks is 22 weeks.  not 32, not 40, not whatever they are going to tell me in September when they get a new plan from Invisalign.

If you give me a deadline, I cling to it with a death grip, and have a toddler-style meltdown if that deadline is not met.