Dental nurse Leolie, who many of you will have met in the practice, is currently undergoing Invisalign treatment provided by our dentist, Richard. Here she shares her journey so far and how she’s benefitting from more than just straighter teeth.
I began my Invisalign journey just before Christmas last year. Having been unhappy with my teeth for a while, I finally decided to do something about it.
I had an accident as a child and, as a consequence, now have a root-filled front tooth, which is slightly darker than the rest of my teeth. I had been debating having cosmetic dental treatment to improve the aesthetics of my smile for a long time. In fact, there were more concerns than just my discoloured tooth.
I grind my teeth quite badly at night-time, which meant I frequently woke up with headaches and jaw pain. Richard kindly made me a night-guard, which has helped. However, if I forgot to wear it just for one night, I awoke immediately with the same problems and this led me to consider other options.
One of the solutions suggested was orthodontic treatment. I had what is called an anterior open bite, which meant that when I bit together with only two or three of my back teeth came into contact and the rest were separated.
My teeth appeared to be relatively even but, because the teeth were not meeting correctly, it was thought this could be a contributing factor to my tooth grinding, as they were constantly trying to find a comfortable resting position.
Orthodontic treatment, however, was not a guaranteed fix but could improve it to some degree.
After a few months of deliberation, I opted to have Invisalign. Richard provides it here at Coombe Dental Care and has created some great smiles with the popular clear teeth-straightening aligners.
One of the most exciting things about Invisalign is that it provides a digital simulation of how your teeth will move before you are fully committed to the treatment. This is great as it allows the dentist to create different treatment options and can even create solutions that avoid moving certain teeth should you so wish. In my case, we asked that it only minimally move my front root-filled tooth, as this was in a good position already. Once the simulation was complete, I was amazed at how the predicted movement would improve my bite.
So we clicked go!
Two weeks later, my course of Invisalign aligners arrived. The aligners are virtually invisible and also removable and are sequenced to move your teeth by a predicted amount every week, which means you know exactly how long you are going to be wearing the aligners.
Little tooth-coloured pieces of filling material are added to your tooth surface, which are specially formulated to aid movement of your teeth in the direction you would like. In some cases, very tiny spaces need to be made between your teeth in order for them to move. Richard very kindly fitted these for me, made the spaces and away I went.
The first aligner felt tight – as if someone was pushing really hard on all of my teeth at once – but it wasn’t painful and, within 48 hours, my teeth felt strange when I wasn’t wearing the aligners!
I was also amazed how discreet they really are and even had to tell my family I had them in. I can see why so many celebrities and people in the public eye opt for Invisalign.
The aligners can be taken out to eat and drink anything other than water and, because they are removable, oral care is made easy – no nasty brackets and wires to clean around or worry about breaking.
After a couple of aligner changes, I was onto my third week and noticed my teeth were already moving – the weeks flew by. I am now on aligner 23 of 28, so I am on the home straight and hope to be finished by mid-July.
I now need to think about which kind of retainers I would prefer. These are usually available in two options – fixed or removable. There are benefits to both and it is a really hard decision to make but also an important one.
Retainers are designed to keep teeth in their newly straightened position – there really is no point going through all of the time in orthodontics only to seem them fall out of place again. Teeth constantly like to move around, even just microscopically, so although your teeth won’t suddenly appear back how they were at the start of treatment, they do sometimes go back to this position over time without on-going retainer wear.
You can opt to have both fixed and removable – this is considered the gold standard. However, I think I am swaying toward removable retainers that I wear every night. They can then act as the night-guard I would wear for my teeth grinding.
I am now considering teeth whitening and will have a crown placed on my front root-filled tooth – the very problem that started me on this journey in the first place!
If you want to discuss our cosmetic dental treatments at Coombe Dental Care – or want to know more about Invisalign– then why not give me a call on 01722 341 291or come and chat to me in the practice to see my smile transformation for yourself!