Our Invisalign patient experiences continue with Elena, a student in Toronto who had her treatment done at Village Orthodontics. Her blog can be found at http://unikidz.wordpress.com/ where she documents her Invisalign journey.
First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what treatment you’re going through?
A little about me: My name is Elena, I’m 22 years old and currently a university student. I decided to have orthodontic work done because I had/have a lot of crowding of my teeth and I was very self-conscious about it.
The treatment I’m going through is Invisalign. These are clear plastic trays that are designed specifically for my teeth and function very similarly to braces (from what I know). The first step to getting invisalign was to go see my orthodontist and have impressions of my teeth done. It’s like this putty they put onto a tray designed to fit in your mouth, and they stick your teeth in it and hold it on for a few minutes for it to harden. This provides the exact shape of your teeth so that when the ortho sends these to the manufacturer, they will make your invisalign braces to fit perfectly on your teeth.
When the invisalign came in, I had little hard bumps put on my teeth (same color as my teeth) that act as little grips for the aligners to sit on and grip better. They’re very small and only located on my back teeth. The invisalign braces come off before every meal and get placed back on after you’ve finished eating (and brushed your teeth).
The ideal wearing time is 22 hours per day. You can eat anything you want, as long as you take the aligners out. You shouldn’t eat anything with them in. While the aligners are in, you’re not allowed to have any drinks except water because sugars and other particles can get stuck in your teeth and cause cavities.
How did you decide on your orthodontist?
My ortho was the first one I visited. I did go see others after. My main concern was the cost. The initial price they gave me was $6800 and that was just too big of an amount. I then went to other orthos and they contacted the first one to get my xrays. They gave me lower estimates (one said no more than $5000, another $6500). I came home to find a message on my machine from the first ortho saying that they could drop the price to $5500. That definitely played a big role. I liked the orthodontist when I met her, the setting was very professional, and they had a lot of experience with invisalign, so I chose them!
Did you visit many before you decided on this one?
I visited one about 5 years ago, and then three when I finally decided to do the orthodontic work for good. The one I picked was the first of the three I went to.
What made you decide to not do it five years ago?
I didn’t do it 5 years ago because I was younger and wasn’t sure I really wanted to do it. The expense also put me off at that time. Now, I just decided it was time and I didn’t want to put it off any longer. Had to take that jump.
Any tips or tricks you used to make them more affordable?
Let the ortho’s know you’re shopping around. They seem to gauge their estimates on other orthos in the area. The second ortho I went to asked how much the first one’s estimate was and then gave me one about $300 less. There are discounts online (coupons for like $500 off) in certain areas. Some ortho’s may have deals for new patients if they’ve been referred by others. Look into it!
What made you decide on Invisalign over Damon Braces or Lingual braces?
Appearance was a big selling point (or lack thereof). As an adult, I didn’t really want to look like a 12 year old with braces. I’m going out into the job market and want to be taken seriously and look more professional. That’s really all there is. I looked into Daemon Braces, but their cost was very similar to invisalign so I picked Invisalign.
Ok elastics – not fun on the 2nd day – any tips for users?
You just need to get through it. I found no easy way around it, suck it up, and go. I think if you put them in just for the nights first it may be better because you’d be sleeping, but I just wore them through the pain.
Invisalign retainers can be a bit of a pain to remove and install. Did you develop any tips and tricks for removing them?
Removing them takes practice. I start with my bottom ones and pop them off my very back teeth because those don’t have the little buttons/grips on them so it’s easy. I pop off the right side first, then the left, then it’s easy to pull out the whole thing.
For the top ones, I have a little blue hook that I received from my ortho because I had a lot of trouble taking them off at the office when they made me practice. Those are a life saver. As your teeth get straighter, it’s easier to remove them. For putting the aligners in: my only tip is to make sure they’re lined up with your teeth. Then just shove em right in there!
Chewies! What are they and what did you learn about them?
Chewies are little rubber tube-shaped things that the ortho gives you. They help your aligners sit on your teeth properly. Through my own research I found out the using chewies for about 5 minutes before bed time (and after putting the aligners in) helps blood flow around the roots of your teeth which helps them move safely and more quickly.
How did people react when they found out you got Invisalign?
My friends were really excited for me, when I told them that is. They couldn’t even see that I had gotten them, which was really nice. A lot of my friends said that they looked a lot more comfortable than braces (because Invisalign doesn’t tear your gums/lips), which is true. But then again, I have nothing to compare it to.
How has your life changed since you’ve gotten Invisalign?
I take much better care of my teeth now because I have to brush so often. I hope this habit keeps up after I am done my treatment. I also think my confidence will increase when the treatment is over. Right now though, there are not really many changes. I go about life as if I didn’t have invisalign.
How are you going to celebrate January 2013 when your retainers come off?
I haven’t actually thought about this. My first plan of action is to take lots of pictures! There will probably be a big post on facebook. I’ll probably be smiling all day, showing off my teeth!
Any final words of wisdom for someone just beginning this journey?
Document it. I’m very happy that I have taken pictures throughout my journey. It keeps you motivated, and you’ll have something to look back on when it’s over.
Have a blog about braces? E-mail us and we’d love to check it out.