Set 15 Of my Invisalign Braces- and some ugly Pre Invisalign pictures!

I don’t know whether my orthodontist had in mind George Bernard Shaw’s quote “My way of joking is to tell the truth; that’s the funniest joke in the world” when he handed me the CD of pre Invisalign pictures taken of my teeth at my initial appointment, but if he didn’t, then he should have had. Digitally printed on the front of the CD were the words “Ugly photos” along with a picture of a goat in braces, and never has a title been more apt.Whilst it was kind of him to give them to me, (I think!), I’m not at all sure that it is kind of me to put them on here, but I will, with the proviso that if you have just eaten, please, please, don’t look at them. They are alarmingly, distastefully, graphic and ugly.

As well as giving me the photos, we spent a large part of my appointment talking about retainment and refinements, things that seemed so distant in the early days, but now look so promisingly close. I’m excited even to be thinking about such things let alone talking about them.
After the next couple of aligners I can get moulds for any refinements that I want on my top arch and then switch to retainment mode for the top arches until they arrive. I will continue to wear each of the remaining 17 sets of lower aligners as usual but only my last set of top aligners at night. I had to double check this with him twice, but apparently that is the case; nighttime wear only will be fine. He reiterated that I have three attempts at refinement included in his price so I am happy to use one up in fiddling with the top arch whilst the bottom completes it’s first run. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll want to change yet, but I already have a few ideas of things that I’d like to tweak, so no doubt I’ll have a long, perfectionist, type A list by the time we make the new moulds in a few weeks!
My orthodontist has said that I can also get my new crown to replace the ugly old one that is really showing it’s age lately and that we’ll do refinements around it. Initially, this was definitely what I wanted, however, one of my two front teeth is not quite in the position that I want it to be yet, and unless it moves fairly significantly in the next two aligners I think it will need to be worked on during refinements. As the new crown will be right next to it, I have the feeling that I might be better off leaving it until the end of the whole process and getting the crown made then to perfectly fit the shape of the final gap. I’ll make a decision on this in the next few weeks, but please,let me know what you think. Bear in mind that a new crown costs $1500. Gulp. I really don’t want to have to do it twice.
My orthodontist is a lovely guy and I usually enjoy the banter that his visits entail but I have to say that I enjoyed this one a lot less than previous ones. Not the fault of my orthodontist, rather that I had an attack of heart palpitations in his office. The last few months I have been having these a lot, when I bend down and stand up too suddenly, when I twist into certain positions, and also I now know, when I get tipped upside down, head above my feet, in a dentists chair.
My heart, for some strange, electrical reason goes into a crazy irregular pattern for 30 seconds -2 minutes. I have seen two cardiologists, one of whom specialises in electrical problems, and had numerous tests and they have assured me that it is nothing serious, but still it is unnerving and extremely unpleasant. Luckily, my orthodontist has had some experience of this and he and his assistant were very calm about it and just kept my head above my feet for the rest of my
appointment, meaning that it quickly stopped, but it was a little scary nonetheless. I plan to do all the rest of my appointments in a more upright position: I’m prepared to put up with a lot for my new teeth, but heart arrhythmias weren’t something I had planned for!
Set 15 has been going very smoothly, no pain, little discomfort and no other problems. There is a tiny gap between my tooth and the aligner along the bottom of one of my front teeth, but I showed my orthodontist and he was happy that it was normal so I think all is well. I must confess that I haven’t been wearing them the full 22 hours of late so whether this is my comeuppance only time will tell. I will try to be more disciplined over the next two sets. No really, I will.
Here are the hideous photos. Can I just point out in my defence that the water on them is from the things that hold your mouth back, whose name entirely eludes me. It’s not my saliva! Honestly.

Comparison pictures set 1- 10 of Invisalign braces

Before Invisalign braces

After 10 sets of Invisalign aligners

Unfortunately I still have that horrid yellow crown that you can see on the upper left here, but I am hoping my ortho might allow me to get that fixed before refinement. Hoping, but not expecting!

Click the following link to view the same before and after invisalign pictures at the 28 sets point!

Set 10 of my Invisalign braces..Halfway there ish…

Once or twice I have watched Extreme makeover, that show where ordinary people undergo transformations through plastic surgery and dental procedures to make themselves look and feel better. Or, at least, that’s the idea. The thing that has always struck me about the whole “reveal” experience on those shows is that very often the thing that makes the most difference is not the breast enlargements, the liposuction or the face lifts, it’s their new teeth. The teeth alone can make someone look ten years younger, wealthier, healthier- like a completely different person.

I think that may be one of the only problems with Invisalign as far as I am concerned. Whilst I love- really love, the ability to remove them at whim, it does mean that I am watching my teeth improve week by week and the ultimate reveal may be something of an anti-climax. I imagine that with metal braces it is much harder to see the results as they happen, and getting them removed must therefore be much more exciting. Of course, it is motivating to see your teeth improving set by set, but you have to go back to your preinvisalign braces photos to see how bad they really were at the beginning and why you are going through this process.
The thing is, you see, that I am starting to really, really like my teeth- well the top ones at least. They look straighter, they look whiter (thanks to the bleaching), they look, well, like someone else’s teeth to be honest! It is such a thrill to see them like that. I am now getting ridiculously excited about getting my new crown on my upper right incisor(despite how much I am dreading the actual procedure) as that is the only thing marring their new improved look. Nonetheless, I am delighted with how things are proceeding.
I am on set 10/17 for my uppers, which is why I am now seeing such an improvement. (More than halfway through, yay!) My lowers however, are on 10/34 so they still have a long, long way to go. I can already tell though that it is harder to get my fingers between my upper and lower front teeth, so there must be some movement happening, it is just less obvious to the eye. I should point out that although I have a large overbite it is caused by my bottom teeth being too far back, not my top teeth being too far forward. Apparently, the way that I used to suck my thumb (and frankly, I don’t even want to tell you what age I stopped, it is truly, truly shameful!) pressed my bottom teeth back.
Set 10 haven’t been a problem at all. The bottom set of aligners were spectacularly difficult to insert at the first few attempts, in fact, I went and checked the packet very carefully, just to be sure that I hadn’t skipped a set. I hadn’t, they were the correct ones. I think the reason is that they are having to work very hard now as there is such a long way for my bottom teeth to move. You can see how much work they have to still do on my clincheck here.
I think I am back on track compliance wise, bar the odd slip up, and judging by how tight the last set were I need to be.
I have a small issue that I have been discussing with my orthodontist regarding one of my upper molars. I think it is too long, he thinks the one next to it is too short and is attempting to pull it down. Whilst I disagree with him on this one tooth, I am happy to finish this course of treatment and see how it looks. He has promised that if I don’t like it we can adjust it through refinements. On balance given what Invisalign cost and as he has studied orthodontics for 30 plus years and I have only been wearing braces for 4 months, I am prepared to concede to his better judgement on this one. I’ll let you know if he was right!

Will I make the medical journals? A little Invisalign IPR.

My orthodontist seems like a nice guy. He is certainly experienced with Invisalign, is funny, reassuring and seems to know what he is doing. Generally he fills me with confidence. I must confess I wasn’t wild about his lectures to his postgrad students on my teeth being called “A silly thing to try and do with Invisalign” but I took it in fairly good heart. However, when at my latest visit he told me that if what he is trying to do to my teeth with Invisalign works, he will write about it for the medical journals, I really started to get nervous…

Funnily enough, I don’t like the sound of that. Not that I mind being in the medical journals- I have been in hundreds of magazines in my prior career as a model and presumably I wouldn’t be identified, so that isn’t a problem. Rather it is the feeling that I am some kind of orthodontic guinea pig that is scaring me.
Now I should be fair here. My orthodontist was extremely straightforward with me and told me from the outset that the tooth that I have at the bottom of my mouth would be very hard to move. See my clincheck here. He also warned me before treatment started that there was a good chance that it won’t move at all, and that even having created a space for it, it may just not move up into the place we make for it. If it does, I will need a fixed brace on that tooth and the ones next to it to get it to move. I know all that, and I accept it fully. If the tooth in question fails to move I will have that tooth extracted and either close the gap again or get some kind of implant tooth or similar.
I think what maybe I didn’t appreciate, however, was that it hadn’t really been tried before, or that if it worked it would be such a new technique for Invisalign it would make the medical journals! I thought it was more of a “this could be a bit tricky” scenario, rather than a “this might be a world first” Still, I am going to remain positive, nonetheless. Repeat after me….I believe that my teeth can move, I believe…
Other than scaring me half out of my wits the appointment went well however. He did a tiny bit of IPR even though it wasn’t on my schedule, just because he felt that two of my teeth were a little close together and might have difficulty moving past each other. I haven’t had IPR before and it wasn’t the most pleasant of experiences but it wasn’t awful. He simply took some type of metal file and slid it into the gap between my teeth. He then moved it backwards and forwards between my teeth in a sawing action. There was a grinding, grating sensation, and it very definitely felt like he was shaving the sides of my teeth off, but there was absolutely no pain whatsoever. I spent the whole time a little petrified that he would somehow miss and file my gum, but that didn’t happen.
Other than that everything is on track. I picked up sets 9-11 and will put set 9 in tonight. The great news is that comparing sets 1-11 I can definitely see some differences in the aligners now, so I shall post some pictures of that over the next couple of days.
Finally, thanks again to everyone for all your comments. I really enjoy getting them and knowing that people are actually reading this!