STARTING MY JOURNEY
After finishing my first official week wearing Invisalign I figured it was a great time to give you an update. As most of my readers probably know via Instagram I’ve been using Invisalign through Perkins Orthodontics in Fort Worth, Tx (find them on IG here).
Ever since I was around 12 years old I’ve wanted braces or Invisalign. My mom always thought I was crazy and didn’t think they were bad enough to correct and therefore I never got them. In her defense I also begged her to get glasses and contacts with no vision issues (HAHA). After working for an eye doctor I no longer want the glasses or the contacts and cringe at the thought of WANTING them. lol but the want for a corrected smile has never faded away and I have been so stoked to get started on this Journey with Invisalign.
Let’s talk about my smile and what I have been seeking to correct all these years. Like I said, I never had any correction as a kid so my teeth have been unrestricted to move around my entire life. I feel like the older I have gotten the worse the bottom (front) teeth have crowded as well as my two front teeth on top. Of course the bottom was really only noticeable to me as you couldn’t see my bottom teeth much when I smiled but I felt like there was also some discoloration due to not being able to clean them as well because of the crowding. I also found myself hating photos that were taken at certain angles because all I could see was my front teeth overlapping. Secondly, when I had my first consultation appointment with Dr. Perkins he pulled up the photos they had taken of my smile and asked me if there was anything I seen that I didn’t like. Of course I started with the obvious of my teeth not being straight but I also told him how I had noticed that in photos on one side of my mouth there was always a dark space between my cheek and my teeth. This was super unflattering to me and I honestly had no idea if this was something that could be corrected. Lastly, just as I told Dr. Perkins I felt like I had an overbite but was also totally unsure of where your teeth should align exactly. So if I did have an overbite I wanted that corrected as well. These were the three main things that I wanted Invisalign for.
My first appointment at Perkins Orthodontics was a basically a consultation to determine where I was at, where I wanted to be and how Invisalign was going to get me there. First they did x-rays, took scans of my teeth (3D Images), the doctor measured my overbite, and looked at the health of my teeth. The process is SO advanced, I honestly wasn’t expecting so much detail of the overall health of my mouth. It was incredible. I’ve personally never seen myself as a skeleton which was slightly shocking when I seen the images (LOL). You also get to see computer images of what your teeth will look like realigned at the end of your treatment. The staff at Perkins Orthodontics was extremely knowledgable and super friendly. They took their time with me to make sure I was comfortable with everything that we were doing as I was a little nervous being 20 weeks pregnant (of course I had this all approved by my OBGYN) I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
I am of course using Invisalign, but Perkins Orthodontics offers additional services including, early, teen, and adult orthodontic treatment, forsus appliance, jaw surgery, palatal expanders, temporary devices, and braces. If you have any orthodontic concerns I would definitely reach out to them. I truly can’t say enough good things about them.
MY TREATMENT PLAN:
After getting the images of my current situation Dr. Perkins discussed with me what exactly would take place with my treatment. As I mentioned I did in fact have an overbite that needed to be corrected as it can cause a breakdown of my teeth over time due to how the bottom and top landed on each other when biting. I also had obvious crowding and lastly we would be widening my palate to be symmetrical helping to make my smile more full. Currently with my treatment it looks like I will be wearing the aligners for 48 weeks as of right now. Each Monday I replace my aligner with a new one. This is customized to each individual and what their treatment looks like.
After my initial consultation appointment they recommended that I have my teeth cleaning done through my dentist sense I was due for my bi-annual and to verify that I did not have any cavities that would need filled changing the “shape” of my teeth in anyway. After getting my teeth cleaned I verified that all was well and the aligners were ordered. The process to get them in can take several weeks, mine only took around two. YAY!
Once the aligners arrived, I scheduled another appointment to be “fitted”. This is where they apply the notches to your teeth (where the aligners attach and lock into place – unfortunately I do not know the technical term). Of course these match your teeth color and your treatment plan determines the placement of these notches. I unfortunately had to have them on almost every tooth (EEEKK). These notches are permanent for the duration of your treatment. Don’t worry this is super painless and very quick. After they were in place they put “Tray #1” on and verified that it was aligned and fit correctly. Again, because of my treatment plan I had some additional design details added such as hooks on both sides of the top aligner to hold the rubber bands in place to correct my overbite.
WEEK 1 OF WEAR: What to expect.
My initial thoughts before actually getting my aligners was that I might experience headaches and being pregnant I thought this may be intensified. Dr. Perkins let me know this typically doesn’t happen but there would obviously be some sensitivity to my gums and teeth because they are moving. I am not one to take medicine unless absolutely necessary so I was prepared to be out of commission my first day. Luckily it was so much better than I had expected. You can most certainly continue with your normal activities and in my experience there was no need for Tylenol.
I will say my first day having the aligners was a learning curve, something I didn’t expect for some reason was that I ALWAYS have something on my teeth. My innocence was that I would take them out to eat and it would be my “break” but as I said above those notches that are placed on your teeth are permanent. They do not come off. When taking your aligners out you still have something on your teeth and it was one of the hardest parts for me to get use to especially after eating. You know that feeling of having food caked into your teeth? Prepare yourself now, that is what it feels like after every meal LOL. My first few days I wanted to brush my teeth after every meal and I kept thinking, “wow, this could get annoying” but as the days passed I realized I was perfectly okay with swishing some water around and putting my trays back in. I know I keep talking about the “notches” but they were totally unexpected for me as far as comfort. Just keep in mind that they are slightly sharp and cause your lips to push out a little more than usual which may cause you some dryness and cracking on your lips. Also my first two days I had sensitivity on two teeth when anything touched them and my doctor assured me it was normal due to my teeth moving and “waking up”. This went away on day three approximately.
The other big thing I can’t say I was expecting was WEARING the aligners. Before getting the trays I was so confused how people just don’t wear them and why everyone was making a big fuss about the responsibility of wearing them. Here’s what I am assuming they are referring to…eating is my livelihood, literally I love food. I snack all day so to take your aligners out every time you want to grab a little snack can be slightly annoying. It’s not just taking the aligners out but like I said before you want to make sure your mouth is clean again before putting your aligners back in. So to be snacking all day is kind of a nuisance. This also gets tough when you are going out to eat and there is appetizers, then a meal, and maybe you grab some coffee afterwards (Im a slow drinker, I like to savor it for a few hours) before you know it its been 3 hours and you haven’t had your aligners in. It’s not a huge deal but I have definitely found myself being more mindful when heading to the kitchen. Which may be a great thing for you if you’re trying to be more conscious of how much you eat, but this pregnant lady isn’t missing any food. Haha
Unfortunately I got super sick with a 24-hour stomach bug about half way through my first week and ended up in the emergency room just to make sure I didn’t get dehydrated. Somehow during my ER visit I managed to lose “Tray 1”. Honestly I had no idea what the heck to do because of course I didn’t have a previous aligner to use, but after discussing it with my doctor he had me go ahead and move to “Tray 2” and wear it for the remainder of week one and continue it for the second week.
Moving to tray two sooner than expected I did notice some sensitivity when biting down on food which was expected as my teeth were moving at a quicker rate.
CARING FOR YOUR ALIGNERS:
-Only drink water when aligners are on.
-I personally clean them with a toothbrush every night.
-Rinse the aligners off with water when taking them out.
-Rinse your mouth (or brush your teeth) before placing the aligners back in your mouth.
-Soak your aligners in denture cleaner or the Invisalign Crystals…changing them out weekly I don’t think this will be necessary for me.
Overall I feel like I am finally starting to get use to the process of it all and cannot wait to see the end result. It’s been such a seamless process and just like anything takes time to get use-to. My next follow up appointment will be in 6 weeks to make sure everything is progressing as it should.
Huge shoutout to Dr. Perkins and his team at Perkins Orthodontics for making this such a great experience and caring so much about my smile.