invisalign journey

MY INVISALIGN JOURNEY

November 13, 2020

After years of considering Invisalign, I decided to go for it and invest in the perfect smile! I, like many, DID have braces when I was younger and never wore my retainer. I obviously regret that decision often… and so does my bank account!

I found Dr. Lauren Steddum on Instagram and after chatting with her, went in for a consultation. She thought I was the perfect candidate for Invisalign and after scanning my teeth, said my treatment should last roughly 12-14 weeks. If you’re looking for a dentist, I can’t recommend her enough – her office, Carolinas Dentist, is located right in Cary! Here is her Instagram.

I decided to invest in Invisalign for a few reasons. The first being that my teeth have shifted from not wearing my retainer and my cross-bite WAS BACK. Two, I noticed my gums have started to recede AGAIN.. I just had gum surgery a few years ago! Dr. Steddum explained to me that misaligned teeth can be a cause of receding gums – especially if you grind your teeth in your sleep. Ideally, your front 6 teeth should not touch your bottom 6 teeth – there should be some space between them when you bite down. My teeth touched.. in all the wrong places.

I am sharing some truth bombs about Invisalign to really prepare you for the process. Scroll down to see my insane before and after!

WHAT TO EXPECT BEFORE YOU START INVISALIGN

  • Everyone’s treatment plan is different. It could be a few months, to a few years.. it all depends on how much movement your teeth need!
  • Invisalign offers several different packages, which all vary price wise. I went with the Invisalign Comprehensive as it covers ALL retainers and has a 5 year warranty.
  • Their technology is really cool so, before you even start your treatment, you’ll get an idea via a computer generated image what your smile will look like after treatment (like the image below!)
  • They place bumpers ON your teeth that hold your retainers into place. They are clear and to you, very noticeable. These bumpers are really what makes Invisalign work! So, do not opt out of them.
  • You will need to take your retainers out to eat. Not fun, but necessary to ensure you don’t trap food underneath your retainers (aka cavities) and the retainers stay clean and don’t break.
  • You will need to clean your retainers to avoid them turning yellow. I used this foam every morning and found it much more convenient than the crystals that come with the retainers.

WHAT TO EXPECT DURING INVISALIGN

  • You wear each set of retainers for one week. I swapped mine every Tuesday night.
  • The more you wear your retainers, the quicker your treatment will be. Aim for 22+ hours a day.
  • Your teeth will hurt the first few days after you put in a new tray. Pop a Tylenol.. no Ibuprofen!
  • You will need to visit the dentist’s office every 4-6 weeks to a) check in to ensure your teeth are moving as expected and b) get your next set of trays.
  • It’s common to notice a big shift towards the end of your treatment. I really didn’t notice a shift in my teeth until Week 9. I noticed when I hit Week 8, 9, 10, my teeth were really starting to hurt which means they were moving big time.
  • Safe to assume that your treatment will be longer than initially expected. I was told 12 weeks and Week 12 came and we noticed several of my teeth were not in the ideal position so, I got 6 more weeks of refinement trays.

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER INVISALIGN

  • You will be so happy you may cry! Honestly, I teared up. You don’t appreciate a nice smile until you have one!
  • If you have any teeth that need filing or bonding (aka filling), ask your dentist! Dr. Steddum was kind enough to file down one bottom tooth that stuck up a bit too far, and added some bonding to my two front teeth so they were straight. It may be an extra cost but it is worth it!
  • Consider a whitening treatment, which you can do during your treatment or after. Whitening treatments whiten the inside of the tooth, not the enamel like you’d expect, so even if you have bumpers on the whitening treatment will still work. I’d consider it towards the end of your treatment so you’re good to go once your bumpers are off!
  • Once your treatment is over, you will receive your night retainers which you will be scanned for during the end of your treatment.
  • You’re not out of the retainer woods.. yet! You have to wear your night retainer once your treatment is over so your bones adjust to the final state of your teeth. Dr. Steddum recommended I wear them whenever I am home (you don’t have to wear them out) for the next 4 weeks and then I can switch to only wearing them at night to bed.

INVISALIGN BEFORE AND AFTER

Amazing, huh!? I was analyzing the before (the top pictures) to the after (the bottom pictures) and it’s drastic how less red and inflamed my gums are now that my teeth are aligned. Also, who knew filling the grooves and waves in my front two teeth would make such a difference!? It’s the little thing.. sigh.

I am so happy with my Invisalign smile that I, from here on out, plan to take great care of my teeth! If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask. You can also hop over to my Instagram and find a detailed account of my Invisalign journey in my IG Story Highlight titled “INVISALIGN.”

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