Just a little pre-warning to you, there will be some gross up close pictures on my teeth in the post, I don’t want to scare you.
I thought I would tell you a little about my teeth straightening journey. It began with me deciding what the best method of teeth straightening would be and I went to see serval specialists and discussed all the options, which included fixed braces, lingual braces and Invisalign. There wasn’t a huge difference in the price of them all and I decided Invisalign suited my life best, as I could actually take them out if needed.
The idea behind Invisalign is that you wear the clear retainers for 22 hours a day and you wear each set of trays for 10-14 days at a time, depending on what your dentist advises. Each set of trays is ever so slightly different, so it is gradually moving the teeth. So at the end of the 10-14 day period you swap to the next set of trays in the sequence. You have to remove the trays to eat and have to brush your teeth after each meal before putting them back in.
Once I had chosen Invisalign as my treatment of choice, I had a number of x-rays taken, as well as really gross up close pictures of my teeth. These are then sent off to Invisalign in America who send you back a video of how your teeth will move over the course of the treatment and how they will look at the end. This is called your Clincheck. This is the time to be SUPER picky, as this image is exactly how your teeth will look at the end. So my dentist got me to come in with someone I trusted – so my mom came along – and to pick apart any slight changes I wanted made to the end teeth, no matter how minute. This was quite a long process, as my mom and I are VERY picky, so the clincheck went back to America with changes request and then was sent back to us – three times. Finally we had an image we were happy with (don’t get me wrong, my teeth still aren’t perfect, but it was things that were not anatomically possible and were mainly down to the shape of my teeth. Things like that can’t be changed by Invisalign.)
Once we were happy with the images, the process began to getting my trays made. This involved filing down between a few teeth, to create space for movement. When I say filing, it is only the tiniest amount that the untrained eye wouldn’t be able to see, it isn’t filing huge gaping holes between my teeth. They then had to create the moulds, to send off and have the trays made. I know a lot of you will have had moulds made before, for various things, like gum shields etc. and I have to say it is truly unpleasant. These particular moulds have to be so accurate as they are making all of my trays from them. So I got a lot of the silicone stuff dribbling out of the tray onto my tongue and setting rock hard, whilst still having the huge mould in your mouth, and making you feel like you need to be sick.
Once all of this was done, the mould were sent off and finally my trays were sent back and I was given my first few trays. These first few days were fairly uncomfortable. You had to get used to talking with these in your mouth, which mainly led to a lot of lisping. They also gave me a lot of ulcers from where they were rubbing along with a lot of aching from the pressure on your teeth. It did however get better and very quickly I adjusted. The first few days of a new set of trays could be painful, as the new set of trays would be really tight and putting pressure on the teeth to move them, but weirdly I kind of looked forward to it, as I knew they were doing something.
After the first 4 weeks, I had to go back and have some attachments added to certain teeth. This was to add some more pressure to certain teeth that needed more assistance in moving. You will be able to see them on some of the pictures below, as they are big nodules of enamel, glued onto the teeth.
Before I ramble on further, let me show you some pictures of what my teeth started like. This first shot is one of the ones the dentist made me take, so he could see the full mouth.
I did warn you it wouldn’t be pleasant. Here is a picture of me smiling, before the treatment, so you can see how they looked normally. I do look really young here, as my treatment ended up lasting three years (more on that later) and I have been finished my treatment 8 months, so it was a while ago.
So, I started the treatment and didn’t notice a difference for AGES! This is mainly because a lot of work had to go on in widening my arch. If you see on the picture above ( I am on the left) rather than having a big wide smile, it was really narrow. So month and months of work went into pulling the arches wider, before they could start straightening out my teeth.
Here are a few pictures part way through my treatment…
So as you can see, my teeth still looked pretty bad, even after months and months of wearing the trays. The picture directly above is me actually wearing the trays, and you can actually see on a number of the teeth the attachments.
After the first cycle was completed, we were able to make further refinements to the teeth. This is where we can look at how they have finished up versus the clincheck and for me there was still a lot of work to be done. So the process started again, further moulds, further clinchecks and then a whole new set of trays. This actually went on for nearly three years – when the original time scale was 18 months. I did play a part in this though, as I got married part way through the treatment, and so for this my dentist kindly removed all of the attachments and whitened my teeth. So I just used to sleep in the retainers and then after the honeymoon, I went back and returned to my final set of trays.
Here are some pictures from my hen do (this is about 18 months before I finally finished my treatment and you will see I still had the attachments on here – sorry about the drunk eyes, it was my hen do) and from my wedding (which is about 16 months before I finished)
The final months were really small refinements, so you probably won’t notice much difference between my teeth from the hen do and wedding to the finished thing, but as I was paying for the treatment, I thought I may as well be really picky and get the most from it. So these next pictures are literally a couple of months before it was finished.
So, hopefully you can see by this point, there has been quite a big change to my teeth and it was just real fine details now.
This picture below has my before teeth on the left and on the right is my teeth around this point, so not quite the end, but nearing the end.
These are just a couple of the finished teeth.
I ended up with I think over 60 trays all together, and 3 years of wearing them, but I was really pleased with the final results. I still sleep in retainers almost every night and will need to for the rest of my life. If you don’t wear them, your teeth will naturally start moving back to their originally position, which I really don’t want after thousands of pounds and years of my life wearing them. I would really highly recommend Invisalign and my sister has actually also now had it too.
Anything I have missed or any questions please leave in the comments and I will come back to you. xxx