Today we sit down with Michael Alexander-Shafer to discuss his Invisalign experiences in Australia. His after results are something that every Invisalign patient aspires to be like!
First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
A little about myself? I’m 34 and work as a business analyst in the mining sector here in Western Australia, in particular Iron Ore. I have a fair bit of travel with work both interstate and to various mine sites. I am also studying Commerce with a major of Business Information Systems and hope to have that finished in a couple of years.
You took several months before deciding to take the invisalign plunge. How did you finally decide to take the plunge? There were factors for sure, but was there any one tipping point?
I wanted to be as informed as possible before deciding on which Orthodontic product to use. Back when I was a teen and my friends were having their teeth straightened, there really was only one option (which at the time was both expensive and considered social suicide).
Nowadays there are a few different methods/products available so (at my age) I wanted as little negative impact on my lifestyle. I wanted to avoid the appearance of a 16 year old having their teeth straightened while working in a professional setting. With work I attend regular meetings with external stakeholders and management, so the idea of a mouth full of wire was unappealing.
A tipping point? I guess I got to the point where I had invested enough time researching orthodontics and came to the conclusion that I could either go another 6 months doing so or just jump right in! The timing was also important as I paid for the treatment across one full financial year. Here in Australia we have a tax deduction that applies to out-of-pocket medical expenses when you reach a certain amount. How could I resist?
Editors note: If you’re looking for a New York City Orthodontist, keep in mind that your medical expenses may also be tax deductible as well!
On your first day you had some complications involving a key… what did you discover and what should readers know about?
In short, I found myself trapped in my aligners and starving on the first day. Like any hungry wolf in a cage, I mysteriously found a way out. It was not the solution I thought it was. When you get your first aligners, insist on an ‘outie’ to remove them. DO NOT USE A KEY to remove your aligners! Why do I say this? I broke off an attachment in the process and had to go back to the dentist immediately. Plus by not using a key, you will avoid a great deal of panic, shame and possibly a sense of impending doom.
Some people suffer a lot in their first few weeks of invisalign while others don’t. How did you fare?
There’s a general ache that you get when you have a new set of trays. While it’s uncomfortable, the reality is that you are moving your teeth and it’s unavoidable. You do get used to it after a while and it’s also not every set of trays that are uncomfortable. The added bonus is that when you get the new set, they only ache for a few days. I’d recommend avoiding eating hard foods for the first few days. I had an unfortunate experience biting into a chocolate biscuit that had been in the fridge.
You did some travelling too – what should people know and what did you learn the hard way?
All I can say is to be prepared. Carry a small toiletries bag with your essentials whenever you travel. Think about where you are going and you’ll avoid any inconvenient situations. What did I learn? Air travel has the potential to be annoying and a tad embarrassing when meal time arrives.
You had to go through refinements after your first go at Invisalign. How’d that come about?
I guess we got the the end of the first treatment and decided the job wasn’t exactly finished. The way I see it, I’d had 14 sets of trays do the bulk of the movement and we needed another set to ‘fine tune’ the finishing result.
Tell us about the dreaded IPR.
HAHA I clearly made an impact with my blog here! I really can’t say it was ‘dreaded’ as I never ended up with anything more than a diamond strip being used. It was only a little uncomfortable but I’m a total wuss!
Editors note: Interproximal reduction (IPR) is the removal of small amounts of outer enamel tooth surface between two adjacent teeth. In plain English, you’re using files to increase the space between your teeth.
You did some additional work after your Invisalign that included veneering and some lingual wires. For our readers, can you explain what those are and what your experiences were like?
Let it be said that Invisalign isn’t the miracle fix-all one might assume. Orthodontic work can involve a few more solutions before you get your desired masterpiece. I had to close a couple of gaps and ended up using veneers to do so, along with a need to create a smooth line on the top of my lower set once the aligners had moved them into a nice line. Surprisingly this was a very simple process and took only one appointment. I was amazed at how you can just ‘sand’ your teeth into shape, like a haircut…where the hair doesn’t grow back!
What else should people know about Invisalign, teeth alignment and life?
It’s one of the best investments I have ever made. If you are concerned about your teeth or lacking confidence as a result. Take the plunge and get it done. You won’t regret it. I’ve already lost count of the many compliments I have received!
Michael had his work done with Dr. Peter Worth at Accent Dental Care. For more information about his journey, be sure to visit his blog at http://invisalignguy.blogspot.com/
If you’re in New York City and looking for the best NYC orthodontists, take a look at our New York City Orthodontists Directory today!