The entire process of Invisalign is fascinating to me, so I will go over some of the basics for you. First, you consult with your dentist…. I found the wonderful Dr. Durling in Joplin because one of my teenage cousins, Sam had just started his treatment and the staff at ADC was highly recommended.
In my case, the consultation included looking at some before and after examples of other people who have had Invisalign and we went over the length and cost of treatment, both of which were a factor for me. Because of my strange inward overbite, my treatment was projected to take around 18 months, which is a little long compared with other, less complex, treatment issues. With such a long treatment plan, the costs are a little more, but were not enough to be a deterrent for me.
Invisalign generally runs anywhere between $3299 to $5299. ADC gives free consults on Invisalign treatment if you’re ever interested in more information.
ADC works with a dental health financing company to provide payment options. I was eligible for no interest for two years (and I actually already have all the costs paid off, 6 months early!) Oh, and ADC provides FREE whitening through the course of the envisaging process, an incredible value!
After consultation, patients go in to have pictures and molds of their teeth taken so that a lab can recreate a plaster model of the mouth and trays designed to move the teeth to achieve the desired results. FASCINATING!!
Usually, I am ready for any photo op with my ‘Nellie face’ but this photo shoot was like nothing else I had ever experienced. I had to hold my breath and try not to fog up the mirror that was shoved into my mouth so that Dr.Durling could take some pictures of my upper and lower jaw. Awkward!
The worst part was the fitting for the mold.
I had to hold this plastic tray filled with silly putty in my mouth for 3 minutes while the resin, or whatever that stuff was could set up. That doesn’t sound so bad in theory, but it is so uncomfortable because you can’t talk, or swallow, or move…and you feel like the silly putty stuff is dripping down the back of your throat choking you (because it is!) and you have to do that for the upper and lower jaw…and if the stuff gets squirted into the tray inconsistently, and the impression is bad, it has to be redone. When I walked out of the office, I had small orange chunks of silly putty down my throat and on my face. A little uncomfortable, but definitely not a deterrent for me!
About two weeks later my trays were ready and I went back to Dr. Durling’s office. The best part about the visit was seeing the computer model of my mouth how it actually looked that day and how it would look at the end of my treatment. I was elated that the small amount of discomfort I felt at the last appointment would lead to such wonderful results.
Dr. Durling told me some of the rules about wearing the plastic trays.
- Change your trays every two weeks.
- Come back every month for two new sets of trays.
- Don’t drink hot coffee, tea, coco or anything that might stain your trays including pop.
- Actually, don’t drink anything with a lot of sugar because that will give you cavities.
Oh, and you have to take the trays out to eat, and brush your teeth after you eat anything…no gum…and make sure you floss.
Pretty easy stuff to remember and follow…I was sad to give up coffee, but I still drink it a couple times a week with breakfast, I just take my trays out and brush really well afterwards.
The small amount of discomfort I felt at the mold-making appointment was nothing compared to what happened next.
I slid the first set of trays on my teeth.
And then I had to bite down on this little chunk of balsa wood to snap the trays into place.
The pressure and the pain instantly consumed every thought and I remember panicking…. and asking “Are they supposed to be this tight?”
If you have an option, never get your trays first thing in the morning, especially if you have to work or do something important. It is uncomfortable and foreign and too thought consuming to get any real work done.
Also, you will talk with a lisp for up to a week so be ready for that too. If you can’t take a full day off work or school the day you get your first set of trays, at least make an afternoon appointment so you can take some Tylenol and then go to bed early so that by the next morning they will be less noticeable and less uncomfortable.
After the first 24 hours, the pain was pretty much gone. I only remember it now because I am writing this blog. I would never tell a friend thinking about Invisalign that the pain was unbearable; it was completely bearable, more uncomfortable than anything else. And since getting Invisalign I have only had one small sore in my mouth, probably from stress, so if you are trying to decide between traditional braces and Invisalign this is huge.
The other pictures in this post are ‘before’ my treatment. Below is the first picture ‘during’ my treatment. You can barely see the trays, if at all…they are practically invisible and most people don’t even know I have them in. This picture was taken about a week after I got my first set of trays.
Invisalign is a great option for me. Check this blog soon for an update on my treatment to see more during and some after pictures.