Invisalign: Week 19

Week 19 of 22.  That’s right, 4 sets of aligners to go, including the ones hugging my teeth right now.

…But maybe not.  I went to the orthodontist to pick up these last 4 sets, and received some unfortunate news:  a couple of my teeth are not behaving.  See, the cool part of the Invisalign process/system is that the company sends the doc a video of what your teeth are supposed to do under the pressure of the aligners.  By now, my teeth are supposed to be all perfectly straight.

Well, this is what my bottom teeth are actually like:

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Yes, a vast improvement, but still no where close to the perfectly straight and beautiful teeth that I saw on the screen.  So, what does this mean?

Well, I have a choice at the end of all of this, when I go in on Sept 2nd to get the attachments (aka buttons, aka teeth warts, aka there’s something on your teeth there) removed:  I can leave them as-is and get my retainers, or I can do refinement aligners.  I knew refinements were a possibility (but was really crossing my fingers that I would be the lucky one), but had no clue what was involved.  I asked the hygenist what I was to expect with refinement aligners, and she said it’s the Invisalign process all over again!  Come in for molding and pictures, send to the Invisalign company, come back in to get attachments and the dreaded Propel (the gross drilling into the jaw bone) done, and start with the aligners.

Okay, I can make my peace with all of that, but here’s the kicker:   I asked how long I would need to wear them, thinking “refiners” would be a tweaking of just a few weeks max, right?  Nope.  She said it can be up to the length of my original aligners.  Another 22 weeks of this?!  I was not prepared for that answer.

So I really need to think about this:  I mean, I’ve come this far for a straight smile.  Should I think of it as good enough and leave it, or sign on for another few months?

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Insivalign: Week 17 (bringing tears to my eyes)

Yes, you read that correctly.  I just put in Week 17’s aligners last night!  17 out of 22.  That’s 119 in dog years.  Or dog weeks?  Is that the same conversion?  I need coffee..

I haven’t been noticing a change in my teeth (especially the bottom front 4), until I put these two pictures side by side (today vs a month ago):

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For the first time IN MY LIFE, my gap is officially closed.  I am almost in tears looking at this.  You have no idea what the gap between my two front teeth has done to me all of my life.  As an adult, I’ve grown to no longer give a flying fill-in-the-blank; however, as a child, this was my biggest source of insecurity.  I would NEVER smile for pictures big enough to show my teeth if I could help it.  One of my childhood nicknames, Pumpkinhead, was not simply an affectionate pet name.  I would later learn that it was because of my tooth deformity that reminded people of a Jack-o-Lantern,  It’s okay, you can laugh.  I’m 29 and over it.

But today, a Pumpkinhead no more.

Invisalign: Weeks 11 and 12

halfway-thereWhoooooooaaaa, we’re half way there!

Okay, permission to block my site for the Bon effin Jovi reference.  My deepest apologies.  I’m better than that.

Anyway, as I mentioned last week, I went in for “spacing.”  Yup, it was the orthodontist taking sand paper between my front two chompers and filing back and forth about 6 times.  Then, it was see you in 6 weeks.  Totally worth the 40-minute wait, right?

I can’t tell the difference, can you? The left is before filing, the right is after:

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I wish he took more off, because I am really afraid of them still touching/crossing… or of the dreaded “black triangle” that he and the hygienists warned me about considerably.  It sounds like it should be the next Pirates of the Caribbean title  Pirates of the Caribbean:  The Black Triangle– food gets trapped like buried treasure.

Alright, I’m done.

For those wondering if I am still a food blog:  yes, thank you for asking!  I have two more weeks of working crazy overtime hours, and once that winds down I fully intend to return to the tasty tasty.  I have about 5 entries waiting to be written at the moment as we speak.  Fear not, maties!

Invisalign – Week 10

Nearly half way!!!!!! Can you feel my excitement oozing through the screen?

It’s been same-old, steady as she goes for a few weeks.  Teeth are sore the morning after I change my aligners.  No matter how much I file down those suckers, my tongue still manages to get cut after a day’s worth of talking.  To be fair, though, I talk A LOT.

But something new did happen!  For the first time, someone noticed my teeth looking straighter.  A friend of mine who I haven’t seen in a few weeks randomly  (and unprompted) said that she can see a change in my teeth.

I didn’t take a picture of my week one (dumb, yes), but my orthodontist has them.  Anyway, here is a comparison of week 6 to today:

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Week 6                                                                                        Week 10

I am completely used to them now.  I actually had the insane thought this week:  what will I do when this is over?

Answer:  eat.

I go in next week for “spacing,” which the hygienist described as oh, he takes sandpaper and files down your front teeth.  Awesome.  Count me in.

Invisalign – Week 7

New Gross Habits

I have a feeling this entire page is going to be filled with nothing but nasty things about myself.  I have become the least attractive person, which is mostly due to my outlandish personality mixed with my inability to embarrass easily.  And now, I have a new object to be gross about, talk about with no boundaries (like my last entry), and be completely disgusting in public. My own 10-year-old nephew told me last weekend this is why you will be alone forever.  

Here’s my latest level of WTF am I doing:  I was on a long drive home to visit my family for my little bro’s graduation, and to see my newborn niece for the first time.  I am not a huge fan of car trips, and just wanted to get there ASAP, so I wanted to minimize my stops; however, drinking coffee and eating with aligners make this a challenge.  Well, I decided that brushing, flossing, and rinsing wasn’t going to slow me down.  I just so happened to have an empty water bottle next to me, which I fashioned into a make-shift spit cup, and proceeded to brush my teeth, while driving, in the middle of the day.  (I will spare you pictures.  You’re welcome.)

Yup.  If you are reading this, and you told a story about the nutcase who was brushing and flossing while driving on I-90, you now have it in writing.  It was this girl.#noshame.

Hey, gotta keep those aligners from getting nasty, and gotta fight off those cavities, right?  What do I care?  I’m never going to see those jabronies driving with me on the highway again, and if I do, we will have a good laugh about it.  No cares.

Invisa-lame: Week 5

I am more than one-fifth of the way through!  Can you believe?  I know it’s all you think about, so this isn’t news to you.  I was thinking last night when I was changing my aligners that I am only on 5 of 22… but then, thinking that I am this far along is pretty cool.  October feels a long way off, but I am very used to the routine now.

One thing that TOTALLY blows about Invisalign:  having a cold.  Have your sinuses ever been plugged so badly that your teeth hurt?  Well, multiply that pain by A TON.  All I could think about was ripping out my aligners for relief; unfortunately, it didn’t feel much better when they were out.  To be fair, it was a really bad cold…

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Invisa-lame: Week 3

I made it through the first two weeks and lived to tell the tale!  From all other blog posts I’ve read on this subject (which as A LOT), everyone kept saying two just hold on and make it through the first two weeks:  the lisp, the routines, the odd feeling of plastic will all fall into place.

Like we have a choice, right?  What if I didn’t want to go through it after those two weeks?  I mean, the doc drilled holes into my jaw to make my teeth move.  What would my mouth decide to do if I said, eh, this isn’t for me after all.

Best news so far:  I went home this past weekend, and neither my family nor my friends even noticed I had them until I took them out to eat. I wasn’t expecting that at all!

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So anyway, I just had a follow-up with the orthodontist, and everything is going well so far.  I have to get some spacing done about half way through.. apparently that involves in in-office procedure of sandpapering my teeth to file them down.  Sounds good, I’ll take it!  More good news, I may not need to do another round of Propel after all.  We shall see.

The take-away so far:

– you DO get used to the aligners in your mouth, over time. I honestly barely notice them anymore.

– your lisp DOES go away.  Mine took about a week.

– Filing down your aligners is crucial.  My tongue and gums were uber cut up last week because I didn’t do a thorough enough job filing.  This week, I took a solid hour the night before I changed them to make sure all of my edges were smooth.