The months seem to be flying by as I go through the process of Invisalign. Despite this, there hasn't been a huge amount for me to report on throughout the initial stages of the treatment. Everything I mentioned in my previous post was covered right up until tray five technically, because all I had to do was change my aligner once every two weeks. The differences between each one was very minimal, where, in order for my teeth to move the aligner changes shape ever so slightly. Of course with each new aligner it took some getting used to as for the few days they were quite tight.
When changing my aligners I had read from the very start that it was easier to change them of a night time, just before bed. This was so that you would sleep through probably the most uncomfortable part, which, having now done so for myself I would completely agree.
It wasn't until I was due to change to my fifth aligner that things had to change in terms of my treatment. After my initial eight weeks of getting used to wearing the aligners each day it came to my next dental appointment whereby I would receive the all-important attachments. The attachments help to anchor the aligners on much better so that the teeth are pulled in the direction that they need. In total I have fourteen attachments that I have counted, in fact I had to double check as I wrote this as I couldn't quite remember.
In order for my Orthodontist to attach them I had to have a forty minute appointment. During that time he cleaned and polished my teeth and then proceeded to attach little plastic attachments to the teeth which required them. This was not painful in the slightest, although it was quite uncomfortable as my mouth had to be pulled open wide so that he could get access to the teeth at the side of my mouth.
This appointment also required the process of reduction. Essentially this is the method whereby the Orthodontist files between your teeth with an extremely fine strip of metal; it is a bit like a nail file only much thinner and smaller. This is used in order to create space between the teeth so that they can move whilst you wear the aligners. Out of everything so far this has probably been the most uncomfortable part of the process. It can be quite tough at times for the file to go between your teeth, whereby it can often take quite a few attempts to get free movement between the teeth so that the file passes through without catching. On occasion it did feel as though my Orthodontist was really struggling to pull it through between my teeth, so much so that I joked afterwards if he had ever got it stuck. To this day no he said, although there is a first for everything! He did proceed to reassure me that it is easy to remove if that ever does happen, although I wasn't too convinced at the time.
The reduction process did leave my gums and mouth in general feeling quite achy, as quite a lot of pressure had to be used. It is also worth noting that it was the first time that this had been done, so there was quite a bit which had to be carried out for the process to really get going.
Due to the fact that I now had fourteen little attachments on my teeth my aligners naturally had to change to incorporate the new shape. I think it is important to state here that when I learnt that I would have to have fourteen attachments I did feel a little bit worried as I was concerned at how visible they would be. In all honesty, they do make the Invisalign treatment more visible, there is no escaping that fact, however they really are not that bad at all.
The aligners from tray five right up until where I am at the moment (tray eleven) all have the designated spaces on for each attachment. This means that when taking them off in particular, I have to be mindful that they can catch if I am not careful; although after a few practices I did get the hang of removing the aligners once again.
The picture above shows the current stage of my teeth at tray ten. There is a notable difference in my opinion in comparison to the picture in my entry to the Invisalign My Smile Matters competition just over a year ago. There is still quite a way to go as I approach the half way mark, yet when I see pictures of my teeth starting to look much straighter it feels me with encouragement and motivation as wearing these for over twenty hours a day can often be quite a challenge.
If you are looking into Invisalign and would like to know more about it, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I will reply to any questions in the comment below, or if you prefer you can always email me on 'firstname.lastname@example.org'.
I was given the opportunity to enter a competition to win Invisalign back in February 2015 where I am delighted to say that I won. Throughout the course of my treatment I will be writing about my journey as part of the rules of the competition. My treatment is free, courtesy of Oasis Dental Care however my opinions and my shared experience of my Invisalign journey will all be that of my own.