Growing up I never had braces, or much dental work to be entirely honest. I think I may have gone in for a cleaning maybe 5 times in my entire life. I know, kinda gross right? The times I did go I always LOVED it though! And to this day I get a small thrill from sitting in that big comfy chair awaiting some tools being prodded around in my mouth. I know I know I’m one of THOSE sick people that loves the dentist.
However I have been blessed with pretty awesome sturdy teeth (thanks Mom!) and have only had 1 teeny tiny cavity. Which I got filled at a natural homeopathic dentist who did it WITHOUT using those horrific mercury filllings. Seriously, if you have mercury fillings go get them taken out and replaced IMMEDIATELY! They’re leeching toxic mercury into your system slowly but surely. Not to scare you or anything…
Anywho, my teeth were honestly one of the things I was always most self-conscious about due to their un-straightness. (Is un-straightness even a word? Oh well, it is now!) And we could never afford braces as I was growing up so I simply just learned to deal with it and accept it all the way through high school and partially through college.
Then one magical day I found a Groupon (that magical online place you can basically find anything discounted) for HALF OFF Invisalign treatment! That brought the price-tag down from $7000 to $3500! What a steal so I BEGGED my parents to get it for me as an early birthday gift until they caved.
The Groupon was for Smiles by Design in Carmel Mountain, CA with Dr. Daniel Javaheri. I googled his practice and read every review I could find on him. He passed my online stalking test so I decided he would be great. Now this is not a promotion for him, however, he gave me one of the BEST services I have ever received from a medical/dental professional. He always had a smile on his face and always made sure to remind me that he was there to help me reach my goals, whatever those were; if I was happy, he was happy.
I ended up going through 2 rounds of treatments, and here is how it went down (you’ll find my tips and tricks at the bottom of this post):
Treatment 1: 24 trays, a new set of trays every 2 weeks, about 1 year.
When I got my first trays it was the WEIRDEST sensation having plastic over your teeth all of the time. It also caused me to have a lisp for about a week while I got used to speaking with them in. John-John thought this was hilarious at the time, anything for a good laugh I guess. The only downside was that my gums and the inside of my lips got really irritated and a little cut up from the trays so it was a bit painful to brush and eat for a while until the inside of my mouth got used to the constant contact. Other than that they were totally invisible and I couldn’t have been happier!
Until I got my second round of trays. This time the doctor had to add these little white-buttons in order to give the trays leverage to move my teeth faster. I thought ‘okay this will be fine you still won’t be able to tell I have invisible braces.’ Unfortunately he had to put 2 huge ones on one of my front teeth and a myriad of others all throughout my mouth. I was a little devestated at how odd they looked and it made it much more obvious that I had braces. It took me a while to get used to the buttons, but after a while I started to notice them less and people only saw them if they were really close to me.
After I had finished all of the trays my teeth were still not 100% straight, but dramatically better than from where I had started. The doctor said that the retainer would continue to straighten my teeth and that it would most likely finish the job (PS the retainer was not included in the Groupon and I had to pay an extra $500 for it. Still a great deal I think compared to paying the full price for the whole treatment). So I wore my retainer religiously for a few months, and in my opinion they didn’t change much more. Also the retainer is an even thicker plastic than the normal trays! I thought my gums and lips got cut up before, that was childs play in comparison to the cuts I got from these bad boys! So I went back to the doctor and told him I wasn’t satisfied with the results and he said “no problem let’s get you started on a refinement series!” AT NO ADDITIONAL COST! I was floored; he wasn’t kidding around when he said that he was there to get me the smile I had always wanted.
Treatment 2: Refinement Series, 12 trays, about 6 months.
I had to have some more buttons put on, this time they were much less noticeable than the first round and they really didn’t bother me much after having had the other ones for a full year.
I went through the treatment and when I hit my 10th tray I was about to move to London with my hubby and I needed to get my retainer ASAP and be done with my treatment, after all Dr. Javaheri wouldn’t be able to help me an ocean away. My teeth were nearly 100% straight, but not quite. However I came to the conclusion that having a slightly off smile gave me character and that I was confident enough in my teeth to not feel self-conscious about them any longer. So I asked the doctor to take off my buttons and he had a retainer made for me in a matter of hours. I mean he was incredible and was genuinely happy that I was happy with the results.
Here are some tips and tricks I learned from my experience:
- Find a Groupon or some sort of discount. But make sure your dentist is reputable and check their reviews online before commiting!
- If your gums and inner lips get irritated from the trays, try swishing your mouth with a tablespoon of coconut oil every morning for 20 minutes (with the trays out of course). This will help the cuts heal more quickly plus the coconut oil is anti-bacterial and soothing.
- BRUSH YOUR TRAYS TWICE A DAY! Trust me, those things will get NASTY. Get a toothbrush with really long bristles that will reach deep down into all the nooks and crannies of your trays.
- Don’t waste your money on those effervescent denture cleaners. They won’t clean your trays like a solid brushing will.
- The doctor will tell you not to eat or drink anything with your trays in. While I agree with the eating part of it, you can totally drink smoothies and coffee with them in. Just make sure the coffee isn’t boiling and you should be good to go! I’ve even eaten bananas and ice cream with them on and it’s been a-ok!
- Always carry your tray case with you. Seriously, the last thing you want to do is lose a set of trays! You have to pay for a new set and wait for them to be made, this sets you back $100 and sets your completion date back too. Carrying your case with you will ensure that when you do to take them out to eat that you don’t lose them in a napkin (I have done this far too many times and have even had to ask my waiter to bring my plate back to retreive the trays I had hidden in my napkin). Whoops!
- Wear them AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE. The more you wear them, the better they will move your teeth. It’s that simple. The recommendation is 22 hours a day. However, I had a few nights (birthdays, Christmas, etc.) where I left them out for 4 hours or more so that I could eat, drink, and relax without worrying about taking my trays out every 5 minutes. And to be honest I don’t think it set me back at all. They will hurt really badly when you put them back in at the end of the night but it is was well worth it to have freedom for a night
- At the beginning you will be super self-conscious about taking your trays out in public. You have to make a really awkward face in order to get your fingernails in the right place to pop them out and it can be a little embarassing. You’ll soon get over this and become a ninja who can take out his/her trays in a matter of seconds without anyone noticing.
- Stick with it because the end results will so be worth it! ❤
Have any of you had success stories with Invisalign? Any horror stories? Share them in the comments below!