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Ever since I was a child I have had hangups about my teeth. I wanted the perfect smile but I never wanted to put in the time for braces. I initially saw my dentist at 14 and they said that my teeth were not that bad. It would be strictly cosmetic and my parents would need to pay for it if I wanted braces. I decided it was the time to just go for it with Invisalign. I hope you enjoy this Invisalign before and after blog post.
In my mid-twenties I had gotten to the point where I would only smile in photos from a certain angle or certain side of my face. I knew that my wonky teeth were not visible from that angle. I had heard that Invisalign was expensive and like any investment, I thoroughly researched before even booking a consultation.
My fang was the main bug-bear that I had with my teeth (pictured below). There was also a slight overlap with my two upper front teeth and a gap in my front bottom teeth. There was also a molar that was slightly set back because of the overcrowding in my mouth.
This decision was not made lightly and I had three consultations before I settled with an orthodontist. These consultations were all free, it was important for me to find someone I was comfortable with and could understand what I wanted out of my smile transformation.
I settled on the dentist that was ironically the most expensive. They had great previous results and it was the only dentist that asked me what I wanted to achieve from Invisalign. My dentist was realistic in the goal setting for my transformation. It is important to know that whilst Invisalign will straighten your teeth, it will not do anything for worn or misshapen teeth. I will explain what I had done with those later.
The first step was the initial ClinCheck. The dentist will scan your teeth to create a virtual simulation of what your teeth will look like (see video below). You can check here how your teeth will look at each step of the treatment.
My ClinCheck results showed that I was eligible for the treatment. Remember, you made not even be eligible for Invisalign, it is all dependant on what you need changing. My scan showed that I was a comprehensive case and that my teeth could be straightened in 24 trays. This was providing that I change my trays once a week, and wore the trays for 20-22 hours per day. 24 weeks, surely that was doable, right?
I was so beyond excited to get my first few trays but some housekeeping needed to be done first. In between my teeth had to be filed to make room for the movement. I also had to have the attachments put on my teeth. Attachments for me were the worst part of the treatment, they were rough and slightly yellowing and could stain easily. They were a necessary evil though. Attachments are essentially small resin hooks that are glued to your teeth to help hold the Invisalign in place. You can see the attachments in the before photo on this post.
Once this was all done I was ready for my first tray. I will not lie to you, it was uncomfortable and it ached. When I took it out for the first time it felt like I was physically ripping my teeth out of my body. I slowly got used to it and found out that the trick is to unhook one side of the brace and then pull that across to the other side and unhook the other side.
The most important thing to remember is that your teeth only move properly if you wear them for the recommended time. This means 22 hours a day and only taking them out to eat or drink. They will tell you that you can only drink water with them in but as someone who cannot even function unless I have had two coffees before 9, this wasn’t an option. I would just wait until my coffee cooled a bit and then drink it through a metal straw. People might gasp in horror at that but it was honesty fine.
I will say that you must stay away from turmeric at all costs because it will stain your trays and can stain your attachments. It is important to ensure that you brush and floss after you eat. Otherwise, you risk trapping bacteria in between your teeth and the braces and causing tooth decay.
The weeks went on and I changed trays every week. I also used these little foam pieces called chewies to chew on because they help the brace move your teeth quicker and firmer. I used to chew on these on my drive to and from work (around one hour per day).
Throughout my treatment, I had to go back several times to the dentist but twice to have my teeth filed some more. As some teeth move and close gaps, other teeth now need the space to move. There was nothing painful about this, just a little discomfort.
Fast forward to the ‘end‘ of my treatment and I still had some hang-ups about my teeth and some little tweaks that I wanted to be changed. The beauty of Invisalign is that you can have as many revisions (within reason) until you are happy. I was scanned again and had another 11 trays to go through. I was a bit disheartened but it had to be done. After all, I was paying a king’s ransom and they were going to be perfect.
Luckily, these next 11 trays only required one or two attachments, as opposed to the initial 18 original attachments I had at first. I patiently went through the weeks until I came to week 9.
Included in my treatment cost was teeth whitening. I started with Zoom Nitewhite Teeth Whitening. I used my Invisalign trays and had to put the gel in my trays each night, go to sleep and then rinse and brush in the morning. The whitening treatment was for two weeks and during this time I was not allowed to eat anything of colour. The gel opens the pores of your teeth and makes them more susceptible to staining. Whitening made my teeth super sensitive so I recommended using Sensodyne or similar to brush with. If they become too painful then brush with Sensodyne, do not rinse and leave for around 20 minutes to help with the sensitivity.
Composite Bonding Before and After
I loved how white my teeth became, it was slowly all coming together. Now time to address the misshapen and worn teeth. I used to suffer from terrible nightmares and would grind my teeth in my sleep. This left a lot of my top teeth worn. To improve the shape and texture of the teeth I had composite bonding. To fix the shape a composite resin is added to the tooth. You have to have your teeth whitened first because the composite bonding will be the colour of your teeth and cannot be changed with whitening. I had composite bonding on five teeth in total. This was not cheap but was worth it in the grand scheme of things.
Before and after
Invisalign Starter Kit
Can you drink red wine?
I only did very rarely and would have a glass with my meal and then double brush to make sure that my teeth were clean before I put my braces back in.
Does it affect kissing?
No, it does not affect kissing. They will probably not even notice that you have them in.
What if I lose a tray?
Try jumping to the next tray and use the chewies to help your teeth adjust. If not, go back to the tray before and let your orthodontist know so that they can order replacements.
How do I clean my trays?
I would brush my trays before I put them back in my mouth, Every few days I would also soak them with an anti-bacterial tablet and warm water.
How much did it cost?
My full treatment cost £4550. I know, it was expensive. It was £3850 for Invisalign and then £700 for the composite bonding.
My payment plan was an initial £1250 deposit, followed by monthly payments of £260 until the balance was paid.
Not all treatments would be this much. Mine was a comprenhensive case. You can get Invisalign Light, this if you require 14 trays or less and costs considerably less (around £1600-£2000).
Does it require any aftercare maintenance?
I sleep with my retainer in every night, this is less than ideal but I can suffer it. It also means I can use my retainer for whitening topups which I plan on doing every 4-5 months.
The composite bonding could wear away over time as well and need to be replaced. This probably will not be for 7-8 years though.
How often do I need to see my dentist throughout treatment?
I would go every few weeks because I wanted to make sure everything was going right and to also have the filing done, attachments moved, etc.
I would go back to my dentist for my normal hygienist appointments and check-ups every six months from now.
Can I drink with them in?
The dentist will say no. I did but only really with milky coffee and through a straw. I did not have any fizzy drinks, red wine, or squash with my braces in.
Where did I have my teeth done?
Focus Dental Clinic in Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex.