Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Invisalign - Stalling

So far my Invisalign updates have all been really positive, but as I am always completely honest in my reviews I am saddened to say that my recent experience has not been so seamless.

Rewind to 6 weeks ago, when I finally finished my set of trays. I was a little concerned that my teeth hadn’t moved nearly enough, and looked quite different from the digital images the Clincheck had promised, even after going through a couple of over-adjustment trays. The dentist reassured me that this was normal and often a re-evaluation is needed towards the end of the treatment to get the perfect results.

I was given my last set of trays to take away and was told to come back a week later to take new moulds to be sent to the US and for my new movement to be mapped. On the day of my next appointment I was told that it had to be cancelled and rescheduled for the following week. Of course I pressed to know why… and I was quite shocked to find out that Invisalign had come back with a plan involving 20 more trays! That’s (at least) 40 weeks! Bearing in mind I was told the entire treatment would take a maximum of 9 months in total, and I have been wearing the trays since May, I was extremely confused.

Yesterday I had my rescheduled appointment with the dentist and after 6 weeks of wearing the same trays I was desperate to get my hands on the new ones and get the treatment moving again. When I was shown the new trays I couldn’t help but gasp and all I could say was ‘no, please, no thank you’. The trays I was presented with would sit on top of large, new square attachments on my front 4 teeth. Essentially the same as metal braces, except covered in plastic.
(This photo is not me, but one I found  to illustrate the attachments).

To me the whole point of Invisalign is exactly that, it is invisible, or near enough! It can be removed for a special occasion and will not impact your life as much as metal braces. I tried on the proposed tray (of course without the attachments being in place) and I have to say that it was plainly obvious I was wearing braces. To give credit to my dentist he was understanding when I explained that I was unsure about getting the treatment in the first place and what persuaded me was the fact the braces would not be noticeable. I was already a little concerned about the large attachments on my canines, but to put them on my front teeth was just not an option. Given my job is very much front office (on the trading floor where I interact with so many people on close proximity) I just couldn’t face explaining why I had braces at age 27 to every single person. I had had enough questions with just my trays and it was just not a talking point I fancied repeating with the 30 or so clients I see every day! If I my teeth needed a large movement, I would have agreed, but I didn't feel that the benefit of such a minor adjustment outweighed the discomfort of the attachments.

The reason for the attachments, I was told, is that because I have small teeth the Invisalign system was trying to pull them down to expose more of the actual tooth. I am no expert, but to me this doesn’t sound like something I would ever have asked for. I wanted a very small alignment, which so far hasn’t really happened, and given I now have to wait another two and a half weeks to see what the next step will be I have to admit I’m quite disappointed. By the time the next trays come I will have stalled my treatment for over 2 months, wearing the same tray for all that time. To me that seems like the worst of both worlds – still wearing the trays, but not getting any benefits. In addition I can’t help worrying about the hygiene aspect. Of course I always clean the trays thoroughly, but there is only so much that cleaning can do and the discolouration is now pretty obvious!

This has been my experience so far. This is not to say that I regret getting Invisalign, but hiccups do happen, so I wanted to share every step of my journey with you. I am sure others would have been absolutely fine with having the extra attachments, or indeed wearing the extra 20 trays, so would not have the same issues.

My main concern is that the time frame, the aesthetic element involved and the progress for my smile has differed from what I was lead to expect at the start, though I have to stress that my dentist has been great throughout. Luckily, I am not getting married till July so have time to fix any mistakes, but if you have a special event coming up you should bear in mind that delays can happen! I guess it is difficult to seek perfection in biology through a computer algorithm, it can’t calculate everything and predict how your teeth will move… and unfortunately mine have been stubborn little things!

I shall update you all after my next appointment when I will (fingers crossed) be finally back on track with my new trays!!
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