Invisalign – Before and After

Since I’ve shared some other before and after photos recently, I would like to share my invisalign before and after photos:

I had 47 aligners.  So, that’s 94 weeks of invisalign plus 1 year of wearing my retainer every day and night, and now I wear my retainer every night (and will continue to forever).

I had braces as a middle schooler, and didn’t wear my retainer.  As my teeth shifted as an adult, I become more and more insecure about them.  I hated seeing my teeth in pictures, it was ALL I saw in every picture I took.  If you are on the fence about getting invisalign… I say do it.  You will invest so much money in other stuff in your life… why not this?  Why not invest in your smile?

I’ve never lost one minute of sleep over the cost of my invisalign.  I have gained tons of confidence and now LOVE my pictures and my smile.

Monday Musings…

Wouldn’t it be great if liar’s pants really did catch on fire? I don’t mean like immediate ball of flames for every white lie, but an appropriate amount of flame for the severity of the lie would be nice.  Maybe just some warm buns for, “no, that doesn’t make you look fat”… but full of flame for… “i didn’t call because my cell phone didn’t work due to the very isolated meteor shower that happened during boys night out”. 

Words of wisdom from a father to his son (who happened to “fall” {quite happily} into the pool as it was being cleaned): “Make sure it doesn’t get in your butt hole, p*nis, ears or hair… funny stuff will grow on them.”

The relief of handing my nieces back to my sister with all their fingers and toes still attached and no stuffed animal carnage by the newest addition, Brodi.  Add to that the re-affirmation as to why I haven’t made little cublets of my own.  No matter how cute you think they are, there is still a great sense of relief that at the end of the day you can give them back.

The realization that my wedding day is 1 year and 17 days away… yeehaw!  Reached out to a photographer today and am waiting to hear if they accept my proposal of them spending my wedding day with me!

Excited for my ENT appointment tomorrow to try and get to the bottom of the endless vertigo problems I’ve been having.  Already had an MRI which ruled out any aliens living in my brain, brain infections (thanks for that one mom) and/or brain tumors.  I have a boring brain… thank goodness.

Taking the weekend to relax and try to recover from being sick, having vertigo, etc.  Not working… which was hard. 

Putting in my 24th set of aligners last Thursday.  That puts me just a hair past the halfway mark of my invisalign journey!  I’m definitely noticing some progress, although I try not to look too much for it since it is such a slow-going process… but halfway… man that feels good!

Invisalign – Progress Report

I’m on tray 13 now, which puts me 26 weeks into the process.  That would be more exciting if I didn’t have a total of 42 trays on this journey.  However, I’ll take it!  The last 26 weeks would have passed with or without braces.  I’m glad they’ve passed moving my teeth tiny little millimeters at a time.

Little tidbits of information I’ve learned along the way:

  • Wine, coffee and crystal light will all make it hard to keep your trays nice and clear for the full two weeks.  If you partake in any/all of these, be sure to rinse with water while drinking those things and also brush your teeth and aligners right when you are done.
  • You will go through more toothpaste, floss and toothbrushes than you ever thought possible. Stock up on the flosses from dentist appointments and ask Santa to put some of that stuff in your stocking.  I have a set (tooth brush, tooth paste and floss) in my purse, in my cubicle at work and at home.
  • Carrots and steak are so tasty, however they will be your nemesis through the process because they super love to make a little home between your teeth and you must evict them with floss. 
  • I change my aligners from one set to the next at night.  That way they can sit in there and do their move-thing for a good 8-9 hours before I remove them to brush or eat.  I also take ibprofin before bed on those nights.  That really helps with the mild discomfort my teeth feel when new aligners are put in.
  • The little “chewie” that they put in your invisalign case is AWESOME.  Use it every time you switch aligners and use it for the first few days.  You might think you have them tight to your teeth, but chewing on that for just a couple seconds after you put the aligners back in really sets them into place.
  • Get used to having to either turn down little munchie foods (because you can’t eat them in public) or learn to have little qualms about ripping those bad boys off in public to throw a free chocolate truffle in your mouth. 
  • I’m pretty good at removing my aligners at meal time without anyone noticing, but when people do notice they usually stare and ask questions.  It really doesn’t bother me, but if it bothers someone else they could always just go to the restroom before the meal arrived and remove them then. After the meal I generally brush before I put them back anyways, so that isn’t an issue.
  • Brushing in public places.  Sometimes it’s gross, but personally having food stuck in my aligners is gross-er.  So, I try and carry my case and supplies with me at all times.  If I don’t have my case I make a little aligner nest out of paper towels, or if I’m in a real bind I will put them in a loose pocket of mine until I can brush them and pop them right back in.  Also, I keep the water running the whole time I’m brushing and flossing.  I understand this might be wasteful, but it keeps me from hearing what is going on around me and it takes the pressure off the pooper, er… toilet goer and they don’t curse my name the whole time they are in there.
  • People generally don’t notice that I have the aligners in.  Most people aren’t even aware that I have them during meetings when I’m talking.  It’s pretty nifty and even with the attachments on my teeth (which totally bummed me out at first because I thought they were going to be so noticeable) people rarely know.  Surprisingly, most people are very supportive and tell me about their deepest desires to get braces on their teeth.  This would be much cooler if it didn’t often happen in public restrooms to the soundtrack of flushing and other misc noises I’m sure you can only imagine.
  • My smile.  Just knowing they are in there and slowly straightening my smile has been the most amazing confidence booster.  My smile improved the day I put them in.  There is something so satisfying and freeing about knowing that you are in fact doing something about a feature that has bothered me for years. If you are considering it at all, it is at the very least worth a consultation.
  • Why not teenagers?  I get this question all the time.  Parents who think the aligners are so cool and wonder why their teenager didn’t get offered them.  Seriously?  Hygene. Preparation. Planning… the list of things you need to have/do goes on that a teenager simply doesn’t have.  My sets of aligners are pretty expensive when you break down the cost all together and if I accidently threw them out in the lunch room garbage (we all did that with retainers at least once when we were little)… I’d be pretty upset.
  • Dogs think the aligners are tasty.  Don’t leave them sitting out.  Ever.  Anywhere.  Grossest moment ever was my Husky taking a lick as I was walking by with my aligners in hand to go brush them off… So gross.  Pretty sure I soaked them in mouthwash and refused to share bacon with the dog after that.  Life is cruel sometimes.  Don’t. Touch. My. Aligners.
  • I do not pay attention to if/how my teeth are moving.  The progress is slow, so I just don’t care.  I’ll pay attention on week 42 when I’m skipping through the streets yelling “sweet freedom”.

 

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Smiling big with aligners in and with my cousin Jackie at Thanksgiving on the farm.

Let’s Play Catchup… Go Long!

Where does the time go?  I don’t know, but I can tell you how it goes… fast!

Tattoo

Jason and I both have tattoos and both have talked about adding on to them off and on.  That happens to many people with or without tattoos I know.  Well recently we were discussing it again and I went the extra step of reaching out to my tattoo artist here in town.  Not only did he have an opening for a consult Monday (last week), but also had an opening the next night for the real deal!  Could this be a more perfect situation for a patient-impaired person such as myself?  No.

The concept: I love to communicate.  Talking, writing, anything that connects me to those around me.  It’s how I cope, learn, and generally get through life.  What better way to visually represent this than a quill.  They are old, classy, aesthetically pleasing and something I found a quick peace with being on my body for the rest of my life.

The big difference: This tattoo was for me.  And me only.  I love all my other tattoos. I’ve loved them since the day I’ve gotten them, never had a second thought about having them (accept my foot tattoos in time of crisis in the bathroom where it is unfortunately obvious who I am… but that’s another story).  However, they were each significant to me because they reminded me of someone dear to me.  My Mom, my Sister and my Dad each contributed inspiration to my previous tattoos (willing or not… ahem… Dad).  This one was all me.  Which was surprisingly personal, emotional and extremely special.

The result?  1 freehand drawn quill which received immediate approval from me. 2 hours of tattooing and this…

My quill. Right forearm.

Being Sunday now… it has already peeled once and is close to looking “finished”.  It has some itchy tendencies at the moment, but I love it.

Training

Tuesday through Friday last week I spent trekking to Verona (just over an hour commute) to attend training at Epic.  Through work I am going through the process of becoming certified in some software that they offer.  8 hours a day of training.  Checking work email during that time.  Learning all kinds of stuff and loving every minute of it.  Lunch prepared by Epic’s master chef and cook staff daily.  It was a mixture of luxury (location and food) and pain (melting my brain and pushing it to the limits).  And the obvious discomfort of having to go to the bathroom every time there was a break to either brush my teeth and clean my invisalign braces or wash and treat my tattoo.  I was feeling pretty high maintenance by the end of the week!

Training went really well and all my exams are scheduled during the next two weeks.  I spent a good 8 hours at least this weekend studying at home.  I enjoy learning.  I have discovered that it really doesn’t matter what it is… the process of learning and troubleshooting is gratifying on a deep and soulful level.

I dig it.

Some fun decor at the Epic Campus

Book cases

Oh, those darn book cases.  I’ve been waiting and waiting for them to appear… be built… be purchased… flown by magic fairies… constructed by book elves… or pulled from someone’s buttocks…

And finally I caved and purchased 4 from Wal-Mart for a price that made it seem like a steal.  Free shipping and super cheap price?  Sold.

I ordered them on Wednesday evening and they arrived on Friday.  Once again, for the patient-impaired this could not have been a more ideal situation.  We put them together as soon as I got home (HE put them together while I watched and organized the screws into pretty little plastic organizers). Then he went off to hockey and I was left with the blank canvas of empty bookshelves to fill my time.  His parting words were “don’t finish this all tonight babe…”  Foolish.  So foolish.

Several hours later, some good jams on the radio and finally my books seeing the light of day… and we have this wondrous masterpiece in our living room:

It looks a million times better in person, but it still makes me smile in this blurry little phone picture.

Girl bonding

Today was not only Veterans Day, but also a day I decided to drive up to Milwaukee to surprise my sister with a visit.  I got to hang out with my hilarious nieces, help everyone eat breakfast, get ready, catch up with my sister.  Talk about how happy we are.  Talk about how crazy babies can be.  Took a bazillion funny pictures and just enjoyed each other’s company.

Getting ready is a team effort.
Note: The water did “accidentally” come on and new socks, shoes and tights were needed before we left.

Note: When Jason asked how my day was, I responded, “It was great, but I’m pretty sure my uterus shriveled up a little”.  It was likely an over share, but there is nothing about trying to get a 2 year old and a 1 year old dressed, clean, dry, good smelling, with all their blankies, binkies, bottles and booties out of the door in under 1 hour that screams to me, “Wow, this is so cool… I’m going to go make one right now!”.  Nope.  

We all went out to lunch at Noodles and Company.  This was a treat in itself because Lily is in a definite stranger-danger mode and wouldn’t eat when people walked, talked or seemed like they might do one of those things anywhere near her.  Which made lunch not a reality for her at that time.

Stranger. Danger.

We spent the next few hours at the Johnson Creek outlet mall where the girls found a new fascination with the mannequins and my sister spent a good deal of time rolling them around to each mannequin so the girls could pet their hands.  It was a little weird but kept them really quiet. So we approved.

We also got some free truffle samples.  It’s good to know that at a very young age chocolate is important enough for them to each have a taste for something different.  Lily likes white chocolate.  Evie likes minty milk chocolate.  I love them and their chocolate ways.

I may or may not have left with an obscenely large bag of chocolate that was on sale.  I cannot confirm or deny this at this time… nom nom nom.

Wrapping up the wrap up…

There was more!

Jason and I had a lovely dinner out Thursday night that included sweet potato fries and a birthday shot for a friend.

Jason did win his hockey game on Friday night.

Saturday night we had dinner and drinks at the Grumpy Troll in Mount Horeb for my cousin’s 30th birthday party.  During which I also ran into long lost friends Meghan and Misty.  Who knew?

An important distinction between the phrase “lover butt” (cute) and “butt lover” (graphic and creepy) was made.  They are not equivalent and the latter should not be used.  Ever.

Our roommate who is so in love and so engaged found another place to live so shortly we will be without a renter for the first time since we have been dating.  A whole new world of running around with free reign and clothes-optional evenings is in our future!  (maybe or maybe not… but I like having the option)

And most importantly I got to have a lovely relaxing evening on the couch with my friend, lover, and pretty much one of my favorite people.  AND I got to have wine, beer bread, cheese and honey… and some chocolates after a dinner of pizza burgers.  I’m even jealous of my night and I experienced it!

Perfect beginning to a perfect evening.

I know there is still more… but I’ll save that deliciousness for another day!  I hope your last week/weekend was full of really good stuff! Or at least not full of crappy stuff!

Invisalign: End of Week 4

Well, I’ve had my invisalign in for 4 weeks now.

I have had to carry/stock some new daily accessories. I now have a spare toothbrush and toothpaste in my purse and another set at work. I keep one container/holder at home and one in my purse. I also have floss at home and at work too.

My daily routine has changed up a bit also. When I wake up in the morning, I brush with the aligners in {because I haven’t eaten breakfast when I leave for work}. When I get to work, I take out my aligners and eat my oatmeal and drink my coffee.  Once I’m done with breakfast {I now drink considerably less coffee} I grab my work set of teeth cleaning stuff and brush both my teeth and my aligners and floss my teeth.

I have low blood sugar, so I eat often during the day.  My morning snack {around 10:00am} is usually a banana with a little peanut butter.  I used to change it up once in a while, but now I stick with that because it isn’t crunchy and hard and I can just swish with water afterwards instead of brushing and flossing again.

Lunch means the same routine as breakfast: eating, brushing, flossing.

My afternoon snack I have changed to yogurt so that I can just swish with water again. I used to be a much bigger snacker, but now that I have to take out my aligners and possible brush, etc if it is something crunchy… I have cut down on my snacking.  This means my main meals have become a little bigger and a little closer together.

My boyfriend made the comment the other day that I must not be snacking as much… must have been the shoveling motion I was using to eat and perhaps a snarl or two that escaped my lips if someone came near my food.

When I eat out, I’ve become pretty adapt at pulling out “my teeth” and putting them back in without people even noticing sometimes.  I recently had a family reunion where literally hundreds of my family got together and hugged, talked and laughed together.  Not a single one noticed my teeth.  When I pointed them out, the responses were, “wow… you can’t even tell… that’s awesome… good for you”.  Every picture I’ve posted on my blog and facebook lately has me with my aligners in.  You can’t tell at all.  Mainly I’m just so happy with life and the people I’m with when the pictures are taken that I’m just glowing lately.

Probably the biggest change has been my confidence.  Even though it’s only been 4 weeks and not much has changed with my teeth yet, I’m so happy to have the invisalign in.  I used to mention, complain or be self conscious about my teeth at least once per day.  Now, my focus is on the routine of what is happening and I’m smiling bigger and have nothing to complain about.  I can’t even explain the kind of joy that gives me… in a very deep part of me.  Jason even noticed that I haven’t been bringing it up.  He has been so supportive and pushed me to follow my heart and do what I needed to do.  Even though he assured me I was beautiful just as I am, he knew how important this journey was to me.

Deciding on invisalign was a very long and drawn out process.  Years of agonizing over the decision, the money, and my self esteem. The balance between wanting to fix a cosmetic issue and being okay with myself as I am. I finally realized that getting braces didn’t mean that I wasn’t being true to myself, it just meant that I was making the decision to do something for myself. Since making the decision and starting the process a few months ago, I have not looked back for 1 minute and regretted anything.  For me, it was the right thing, the right time.

Tomorrow I start my 3rd aligner and that means ibuprofen and softer foods tomorrow… but that is just a small price to pay for the peace of mind, soul, happiness that I’ve gotten.

In 2 weeks I’ll get the attachments added to my teeth… I’m a little nervous about that, but still looking forward to it because every new change and appointment just means I’m that much closer to the end of this very personal journey.

Jason and I at a Madison Mallards game.  Can’t even tell the aligners are in… but they are!

 

Invisalign: Week 1 Down… only 93 left… Yay?

Tomorrow will mark the first complete week I have had my invisalign in. 

My main lesson I have learned this last week is that keeping a toothbrush and toothpaste in my purse is the best plan of action and lets me be the most versatile with these aligners in.  Also, I snack(ed) pretty often.  Now, I weigh whether it is worth pulling out my aligners (sucking the spit off them) placing them in a tray, snacking, then rinsing the aligners (if I can’t brush) and popping them back in is all worth having a handful of chips or a piece of chocolate.  In most cases, I find that I’d rather just wait until the next meal and make it worth the “process” that has become preparing for my meals.

The first 36 – 48 hours were the hardest because I also had a lot of pressure on my teeth from the new aligners and a headache.  Then the following 48 hours were a different kind of hard because while the initial pressure and headache had gone away (hello solid food… i missed you the last two days), the inside of my lip was starting to get scraped up from the front of the aligners. 

The aligners in the front have a little piece that sticks out on my front two bottom teeth to allow them to tip backwards or forwards (I forget which way).  So, my mouth didn’t like this little scratchy intruder and I was worried I’d end up with a canker sore or just a really sore lip. 

However, by Monday (5 days in) my mouth had adjusted to the little sticky-out-thingies on the aligners and now there is no soreness there either.

Now I notice that some of my other teeth feel funny when I take my aligners off, which to me just means that they are being gently persuaded by the aligners to move in a certain direction or another.  I kind of like the feeling.  It lets me know that things are moving and shaking in there.  I notice it more when the aligners are off and my teeth feel like they are saying, “I’m free, I’m free… nom nom nom…”

I’m finding out which things I can tolerate drinking with the aligners in and which things kinda gross me out.  I was told I could drink whatever I wanted as long as it wasn’t too hot (which would deform the aligners).  I just needed to rinse the aligners and my mouth afterwards so no sugar or icky stuff was left behind to start forming a chain gang to make a cavity.  Mostly when I drink with the aligners in I can feel the liquid moving around in the aligners and unless it is water, it kinda grosses me out. 

So, while I do have some beverages with it in… like during work meetings when it’s 2:00pm and I’m just dying for a Dr Pepper.  However in the morning I just have a really small cup of coffee now with my oatmeal and when I’m done eating, I toss the coffee too.  I just don’t want to brush my teeth 8 million times a day… nor do I want to feed the cavity chain gang.

I’m both excited and anxious to see how the next week goes and to see how my bottom aligner continues to loosen up.  The Ortho mentioned that if the bottom aligner isn’t popping on and off easily that I should leave this first set in for 3 weeks versus the normal 2.  My only question is… how loose is loose enough? 

There is always some hesitation as they are meant to stay on your teeth, they shouldn’t just fall out while I talk.  However the bottom teeth are crowded so they have a little more detours to work around when I pop it in.  I’m hoping for a moment of, “ah hah!” When I will pop in the bottom aligners and I will just “know” that they are loose enough.   ESP & Invisalign… let’s work together here.

It’s all a learning experience.  I did have a moment on day 2 of, “What the hell did I do?  Maybe my teeth weren’t that bad after all.  Sucking on a Oreo until it’s a consistency that doesn’t involve chewing takes too long.”  However, that passed.  Now I’m just trying to work out my new schedule and Jason has been very accommodating thus far and he hasn’t snacked as much either since I started snacking… which is very considerate of him. 

Here’s to the next 93 weeks of invisalign.

{rips aligners out of mouth and sucks drool off…} 

CHEERS!

{rinses aligners and pops them back into place}

 

Invisalign

23 hours and 7 minutes into my Invisalign experience… oohhh hold on… let me take more ibuprofen.

Yesterday I didn’t want to blog about my upcoming appointment because I was sure that something would happen and it wouldn’t work out that I would get my trays put in.  Luckily (I think) that was not the case and I left my 9:30am appointment (on 7/11/12) with plastic aligners on my upper and bottom teeth. 

These suckers are snug.  I’m only supposed to take them out for 2 hours per day for eating/drinking/cleaning and leave them in the other 22 hours of the day.  I have these particular trays in for 2 weeks, then I get the next set.  I have 47 sets in my future.  That’s 94 weeks of braces.  658 days.  1,974 meals that will require me to pull my drool filled trays out of my mouth and eat/drink/clean them.  Forget GTL (gym, tan, laundry — clarification for mom).  I’m going to be living EDC (eat, drink, clean). 

Not that I’m counting or that I had a moment of WHAT THE HELL WAS I THINKING this morning when I took 4 more ibuprofen with my chewy vitamins… which by the way I just swallowed this morning because chewing them would have hurt a little. 

The really good news is that I can have ice cream with the aligners in.  This news was what really tickled me during my appointment.  The silver lining in the cloud of braces for the next 2 years.  Also, after gumming a pbj sandwich for dinner last night I discovered that I can also just suck on the individual layers of the Oreo cookies until they are soft enough to swallow.  Top cookie, check.  Middle white stuff, check.  Bottom cookie, check.  It’s these little successes I will be celebrating. 

Over the next few days it should get better and in 2 weeks when I can pop in those aligners with no problem and my teeth aren’t sensitive, I’ll “get” to put in brand new trays and start all over.  Weeeeee.

Despite my complaining, I am incredibly excited and happy to be starting this journey.  It has been a long time coming and the invisalign is still light years ahead of the brace-face phenomenon that was my middle school years (yup, 2nd time with braces already).

So, here’s to the next 2 years… and many Invisalign blog posts to come :)

 

Me right after getting the invisalign “popped in” at the orthodontist yesterday. Big smile with the aligners in! Day 1… and go.

 

Oh, PS… apparently the aligners are like candy for dogs.  I was warned very sternly not to leave them anywhere that a dog might be able to get them.  They will eat them.  Not just chew, eat.. digest… and poop out in a mangled heap.  Also, they are not safe in the little travel container they gave me to keep them in.  The dogs will chew through the container to get to the trays.  So weird.  Something about the smell of saliva and food.  Anyways, bad dog… no aligner!