I was dreading this appointment. I have been scanning other people’s blogs endlessly over the last few weeks, and had read some fairly revolting descriptions of how awful having impressions taken is. By the time I got to the my appointment my heart was racing, especially when I found that I had arrived half an hour early, so I had to wait in reception, slowly winding myself up into more and more of a panic. I have a pretty well developed gag reflex- even the numbing gel that they put on your gums before they inject you when you are about to get a filling tends to set it off, so I was quietly confident that I would have problems.
My initial consultation had been in an office with a stylish chaise longue, but for this appointment I was led instead to a room that had both the look and smell of a traditional dental surgery. I thought I had long conquered my childhood fear of dentists, but obviously there is some residual fear because being in this room only added to my anxiety.
I was handed a pair of sunglasses and put into the dentists reclining chair. He tilted it until I was in that position where your head is lower than your feet, something which I despise (is this a new thing? I’m sure as a child you tilted back but your head was still above your feet) Still I managed to do a pretty good job of hiding my fear and chatted away nonchalantly.
First of all he had a quick check around my teeth, and confirmed that nothing untoward had happened since I had seen him last. He then got out a large syringe of chocolate flavoured gel- it had a similar consistency and look as a thick toothpaste. He put this onto my teeth and left it there for one minute. It didn’t drip, move or in any other way bother me other than the inconvenience of having to keep my mouth open for a whole minute. Having said that the chocolate flavour was more like that of chocolate flavour bubblegum. let’s just say you wouldn’t intentionally swallow any.
Following that he took out a blue plastic mould shape that was roughly the shape of my top arches, and pressed some blue stuff into it that had the consistency of firm dough or plasticine, and a taste that was a chemical copy of berries. He warned me that he would be putting a LOT of pressure on this mould whilst pressing it against my top arches. He kept reiterating that it would be a lot of pressure, but in all truthfulness although he pressed firmly, it wasn’t that hard.
He kept his hand in my mouth whilst the stuff formed the shape of my teeth, all the time holding it firmly in place. He then removed it, and on top of the blue plasticine mould that he had created squirted in a softer green gel, I have forgotten what flavour this third course was. He pushed this back onto my teeth, again holding firmly and held it in place for a couple of minutes.
There was one point during this process when I felt that the gel was starting to come out of the back of the plastic tray. However, it cerainly wasn’t liquid enough to run down my throat, it simply touched the back of my mouth, and didn’t make me want to gag at all. I did find that my mouth became dry and I needed to swallow a couple of times which was slightly difficult with the ortho’s fingers and the moulds in my mouth, but it wasn’t impossible. I was more concerned about accidently catching him with my teeth as he had give me dire warnings about what would happen if I bit him, and whilst he had a twinkle in his eye I didn’t wasnt to test it!
When it was time to remove it he warned me that there would be a squelching noise, and some suction, and there was. Secretly I had been terrified that my crown at the front which is very old and will be replaced as soon as this process is finished, would come out with the gel, but fortunately that didn’t happen, or even feel like it would.
He then had to repeat the whole process on the bottom arch. I found this even easier for some reason. It somehow felt less intrusive to have someone applying a lot pressure to the bottom rather than the top jaw. My orthodontist had warned me that as I have a stray tooth which is growing sideways across the bottom of my mouth he might need to take several attempts at making a mould of this, however he got it in one, declaring himself a genius! I hope he’s right- if my case is as complex as everyone suggests, he may need to be.
Then it was time to take the photographic records. First of all shots were taken straight on and in profile from a normal social distance. I then went back to the chair, where plastic wishbone shaped implements were used to hold my lips back out of the way. A mirror was then placed on top of my tongue to allow him to take pictures of the top and bottom arches, and I was done. None of this was in any way unpleaseant. It wasn’t exactly nice, but it was perfectly fine.
At one point in the process, the otho mentioned “when I was at a meeting last week I was talking about your case” which filled me with a little trepidation. I’m not sure whether to be glad that he is seeking other opinions, or worried that my case is so complex that he needs help. We shall see!
I will try and get copies of the pics he took to post on here when I next visit for my fitting appointment in December. In the meantime I have taken a few of my own- I’ll post them on over the next couple of days as a starting point reference. Apologies for the quality, hopefully I will improve.
One thing that surprised me is that the next appointment is for fitting. I have read about other people getting to view their clincheck (computer simulation of how your teeth will look during and after treatment before the aligners are ordered.
I will just have to rely on the good judgement of the ortho I suppose, although in truth, contol freak that I am, I would rather have had final veto first!