Sep 19

Starting the Invisalign Journey

Starting the Invisalign Journey

This week I had an appointment to pick up my first trays for my Invisalign journey. I was quite nervous about them – especially given I dropped so much money on this process that I would have to go through with it even if they were slightly painful or worse. find more information here @ https://cochranorthodontics.com/invisalign/

When I arrived at my appointment with the Orthodontist, where I am being treated, I was surprised to find a “Registered Dental Assistant” there to greet me. My initial thought was “ok, where is the orthodontist I met who gave me the sales pitch?” Well, the answer, I later found out, was that he wasn’t there. Despite his big sales push that regular dentists should never be allowed to do Invisalign work, he isn’t even around for the first appointment.orthodontists

That said, the dental assistant was nice and talked me through the basics of my Invisalign program. She is actually going through getting Invisalign herself so it put me at ease knowing she not only was telling me about what would happen but she was experiencing it as well. Still I was a bit unhappy that the orthodontist wasn’t even around for the first appointment just for show.

In any case, the appointment didn’t take long at all. I was informed that the important part – the “prescription” – was all done by Dr. David R. Boschken who is my orthodontist. I understand, they’re trying to keep costs down (hence why I was able to get a reasonably good deal at a reputable establishment) so I’ll go with the flow. What matters most is that this works and doesn’t cause harm. I am still faithful that I made the right choice.

So the appointment was fairly uneventful. My first set of trays – which I was told were kind of practice trays as they wouldn’t be moving much – were to be put in with my hands (never set in place by biting down on them) and I was warned of all the ways I could lose or break my trays (don’t ever, ever leave your trays in a napkin, she warned.) Then I was shown an animation of my teeth moving into place over the next 12+ months. One thing I noticed on the animation was these blue squares on a bunch of my teeth. Uh oh, what’s that?

Apparently that is the attachments – which – if they were mentioned to me at all in the sales pitch, were mentioned as quickly as possible without any emphasis. It seems this is a common theme among Invisalign dentists and orthos — they show you the invisible, thin plastic trays but fail to show you the giant tooth colored bumps of cement that are going to be glued to your teeth for the next year or more.

I didn’t count all of my attachments but it looks like a lot. The need for them makes sense – these plastic trays can put pressure on teeth but only in certain ways, whereas traditional braces actually attach to the teeth so can pull or push better – however I wish I had a better idea of what I was getting myself into. In my mind this was a great solution because if I needed to take the trays out for a picture – say when I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding this November – no one would have any idea that I had Invisalign in many years to come. But, nope, I’m getting two big attachments on the teeth next to my center two, along with many others.

The attachments will be installed at my next appointment in three weeks. I’ve read all sorts of fun horror stories about the Invisalign attachments/buttons (scratching up your gums and just looking strange if they don’t match your teeth perfectly) so I’m a bit nervous. I’m not going to ask for them not to use the attachments though because that would be silly and a waste of money. At the moment I’m giving my full faith and confidence to my orthodontist and letting him call the shots. It would be nice if he showed up to call the shots or ease my concerns re: the shots, but you know, minor details.

I’ve now had the trays in for about two days. I think the description I read elsewhere of a firm grip on your jaws that’s somewhat claustrophobic is accurate, as is the tale of how one Invisalign user rubbed his tongue on the edges of the trays out of habit until it got rough and sore.

If you don’t know anything about Invisalign – here’s a quick overview of how it works: Basically you get a bunch of trays made up for you (in my case there are 24 of them) and then you change them out ever 2-3 weeks until you’re done. Then if things don’t move as your dentist or ortho wants, you get refinements, which basically means more trays to focus on problem areas. Then you’re done and you wear a retainer for the rest of your life while you sleep to keep all this hard work you paid for.invisalign retainers

While you’re using Invisalign you have to wear the trays about 22 hours a day, give or take. You basically take them out to eat and that’s it. This is unfortunate since I have a horrid lisp while wearing the trays but I’m hoping I get used to my new and – uh – improved speech. At least it makes my boyfriend crack up.

Invisalign definitely isn’t invisible. People are going to notice you have them.But so what? They’re still better than braces. My boyfriend explained that it looks like I’m walking around with crest white strips on my teeth. So, yea, there’s that.

At the moment one of my lower teeth feels sore from pressure (the good kind of pressure) and my tongue feels sore from being ripped up on the tray edge. Ouch. I’ve been really good about wearing the trays so far and following a religious cleaning routine where I brush and floss after every single meal or snack. My dentist is going to love this.

Also, a side benefit of these things is prob going to be weight loss. It’s just too much of a hassle to eat and it probably will be more of one once the attachments are glued on. So I’ll be able to hit both my teeth straightening and BMI wedding goals. Hurrah. Stay tuned for more updates along my Invisalign journey. I’ll post pictures soon as well.
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Jul 25

Orthodontic Retainers – Braces – Invisalign

Orthodontic Retainers – Braces – Invisalign

Orthodontic treatment is a process of moving teeth from one position to another. In doing so, the bone and gum tissue surrounding the teeth have to adapt and adjust to the new tooth position.
More information about Orthodontics San Antonio Can be found here:

The teeth are held into place by many microscopic elastic fibers. These fibers are spread all along the tooth and attach the tooth to the gum tissue, the tooth to the surrounding bone, and the surrounding bone to the gum tissue. They are like tiny rubber bands that hold the tooth in place but allow it to move when pressure is placed on the tooth. If the teeth were not allowed to move, they would crack and break when we bite down on them. These elastic fibers are like the springs and shock absorbers in your car, allowing the car to go over bumps and dips with relative comfort.orthodontics san antonio

After a tooth has been moved through orthodontic treatment, it needs to be held into place. This is where the orthodontic retainer becomes a valuable tool in someone’s orthodontic treatment. Since the elastic fibers around the teeth have been stretched, they will tend to pull the tooth back to it’s original position unless resistance is applied to that tooth. This is the role of the orthodontic retainer.

And since teeth continue to move and shift throughout our lifetime, the orthodontic retainer is generally recommended to be worn many years, in fact many orthodontists recommend lifetime wear of the retainer at least at night.

There are two basic types of retainers: fixed or bonded to tooth (“permanent”) retainers and removable retainers which can be taken out to eat and clean.

Advantages of fixed retainers include:

1) they stay on the teeth all of the time;
2) you don’t have to remember to put them back on after eating.

Disadvantages of fixed retainers include:

1) they can be hard to clean around with brushing and flossing;
2) if they become loose, it can be uncomfortable and the teeth can move out of place quickly.

Advantages of removable retainers include:

1) they can be taken out while eating so there are no restrictions for types of foods eaten;
2) there is nothing in the way to prevent excellent oral hygiene and cleaning of the teeth.

Disadvantages of removable retainers include:

1) they can be taken out and forgotten or lost;
2) if not worn regularly, the teeth can move out of position.

Since retainers are such an important part of the orthodontic treatment, it is important to take good care of them. Well taken care of retainers can last many years. Patients report back that even 20 years later they are still wearing the same retainers they were given after they completed their orthodontic treatment.

Caring for orthodontic retainers is quite easy. Following are recommendations for the successful care of orthodontic retainers:

1) Brush the retainers daily with toothpaste;
2) Store the retainers while not wearing in a dilute mixture of mouth rinse with water;
3) Keep the retainers away from anything hot – like boiling water, the microwave oven, the dashboard of a car;
4) Keep the retainers away from animals, particularly cats and dogs.

Wearing orthodontic retainers will help to maintain the beautiful smile your orthodontist was able to give you. Taking proper care of your retainers will ensure they will last many years to allow you to continue to smile with confidence. See more here: https://cochranorthodontics.com/treatment-options/

Jun 25

Invisalign Buck Teeth – San Antonio Orthodontics

Invisalign Buck Teeth

Getting braces is a huge event in a persons life especially if you’re a teenager. I grew up in Suffolk County on Long Island and as a pre-teen; I became very self-conscious due to a pronounced overbite that happened when my permanent teeth grew in. In 5th and 6th grade my nick name became Bucky Beaver and I was teased quite often. Basically, being a quiet person by nature, this was torture for me.Orthodontics

At age 10, teeth straightening became my focus; I started following my mother around the house, moping and begging. I wanted to get braces in the worst way. When I was 12, after several years of pleading, my Mom, finally took me to see an Orthodontist. I was just mortified when he told me I had to wait until I was 15.

At age 15, in the world of nicknames, I traded Bucky Beaver for Tinsel Teeth and went through high school with heavy metal brackets and rubber bands and a variety of creative names. It wasn’t until I completed my first year of college did my braces come off. That was truly a great and liberating time for me. I hadn’t had a confident smile with straight teeth since I was a little kid. It was great to not have the very heavy social burden of buck teeth or braces. I felt free.

Since my experiences with dental braces there has been much advancement in the art and science of straightening teeth. Several years ago a new system of invisible braces were developed for adults called Invisalign. They are designed for each person from a custom impression made of their teeth. From the impression custom aligners are designed and manufactured. These custom plastic aligners are worn approximately 20 22 hours a day and are easily taken out for eating, brushing and flossing. Every two weeks or so there is a brief visit to your Invisalign dentist to get the next set of aligners. The whole process usually takes only one year!

Currently, my niece, also growing up on Long Island, needs to get it. Up until recently her only option (many years after my experience) was also to get a mouth full of heavy metal, as the new clear braces were only available for adults. Well the great news is, that not too long ago, a miracle happened for my niece and for thousands of other teens facing getting it. Invisalign recently announced that Invisalign for Teens was now available. The teen program also includes extra aligners, in case oops, I lost my braces happens (A little extra peace of mind for teens and parents alike).invisalign retainers

Invisible braces are not the solution for all orthodontic conditions. An exam and consultation with an Invisalign dentist will determine if clear braces will work for you or not. The good news is that they do work for most people on a quest for straight teeth.

Some words of advice from a teenage survivor of old fashioned braces. Whether you are a teen or a parent of a teen, they are a life changing experience.

For those of you who need to get it and happen to need the heavy metal type, just trust the process and know its not forever (though it may seem like it at times). And if you’re a lucky candidate for Invisalign, it should be a relatively easy experience. Even though my experience with getting them was a very long 4 year period in my life, the resulting self confidence was transformational. Whether you get visible or invisible braces, have patience, be optimistic, and know your new smile, and your new life after braces is very much, worth the wait! More here @ https://cochranorthodontics.com/