ClinCheck Videos!

I was only able to obtain two different angles of Invisalign’s virtual models of my teeth.  I was quite surprised at the fact that I was the first patient in this particular office of Dr. I’s to request ClinCheck videos.  He is undoubtedly the best orthodontist in my town.  I know this not just because of my personal opinion (as I haven’t been through treatment long enough to make an informed decision) but because of his reputation, the years he’s been in practice, and also the fact that he has three separate offices in this area yet still manages to make time for every single one of his patients.  On top of that, his staff is friendly and professional.  I am happy to fork over the extra cash to ensure that my treatment is handled correctly and professionally, without any worry of careless mistakes or set-backs caused by laziness. (I had unsatisfactory experience with the staff at a different orthodontist’s office here in town.)

My usual RDA and I sat at her station trying to figure out how she could save the videos to my flash drive (we ended up emailing them instead).  I’m not familiar with PC systems (not that they’re inferior to Macintosh, I just don’t know how to navigate them!) but, with her controlling the mouse, she concluded that there were only two available options in which to save the video clips.

I know there must be other ways because a with a quick search on YouTube for “ClinCheck Videos”, you’ll get a plethora of results with many variations of angles.  I guess I should just take what I can get, right?

Here is my first video:

Notice how my upper teeth are clearly shown making a drastic move upward.  Before beginning my treatment, I was asked to sign a consent form stating that I understood that, without the use of traditional braces, I had been informed that Invisalign most likely could not make these kinds of corrections.  After seeing my videos for the first time, I was very puzzled.  This will be something I plan to ask Dr. Jason K Tam– a popular orthodontist and an Invisalign Elite Preferred Provider out of Toronto, who regularly offers educated, and professional advice on some of the orthodontics forums I like to read.

Here is my second video:

I truly wish I could have separate videos of both my lower and upper jaws.  My bottom teeth are pretty crowded and I’d like to watch them move too!

And when it’s all said and done with, I’d really like to have second gingivectomy; I had my first back in 1994 on my top, front teeth.  I did some crafty Photoshopping with my favorite tool (liquify tool) and here’s what I came up with:

I do understand that only a dental professional, after examining my teeth, would be able to tell me whether or not this is actually possible, but I can dream right?!

I also have my before pictures printed out on some photo paper… I’ll have to scan them and so once I do that, I can post them here as well.  I know it’s still early in my treatment, but I can’t even begin to imagine that my teeth could possibly look like the after image in the .gif file above.  It would be a dream come true!  On that note, I’m going to get greedy and state that what would be even better is if I could have my “gummy smile” corrected as well… and there are certain procedures for this.

I am the poster child for a person with a gummy smile:

Smiling is one of my biggest insecurities.  How sad is that?  Okay, enough of my pity party, here are my options:

1. Refrain from laughing too hard, which I already do in many cases.

2. Botox to restrict lip movement

3. Hypermobile lip lowering surgery

4. Orthognathic Surgery

The last one is pretty crazy.  Though I’ve toyed with the idea of facial plastic surgery in the past, I don’t think I could ever go through with having pieces of my bone removed for cosmetic reasons alone.  I think that if I actually wanted permanent results, I’d have to go with option 3.  Who knows though, I may actually like my smile a year from now.

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Pros and Cons- My Take On Invisalign

EDIT: If you’d like to read a very much updated version of this post, click here!

 

I’m only on set four so I’m not sure if I have enough cred under my belt to actually write about what I like and dislike as I am not quite yet a ‘seasoned user’ of Invisalign.  I may change my opinions later but as for now, I’ll go ahead and list things anyway.  Let’s begin with what I like.

PROS:

• The aligners double as perfectly fitting teeth whitening trays.  It is best though, that you wait until you’re about to switch to a new set before you whiten.  I’ve found that my teeth sit more… evenly (?) in the trays thus creating a more evenly distribution of precious whitening gel.  Be careful and make sure to check to see if there are parts of the trays that cover your gums.  I noticed on my third set that some of my gum was covered next to my canines and the gel burned my gums to high hell in those places.

• The dull pain.  It’s the best way I can tell that these plastic things are actually doing their job.

• The ClinCheck videos.  It’s really motivating to watch a virtual model of my teeth morph into teeth that look like someone else’s and not mine.  When I went in for my initial consultation, Dr. I. was extremely concerned about my top right canine as it is turned pretty badly.  He told me that I would most likely need four months of braces prior to, or following my treatment and I wasn’t too happy about that.  Plus, it would cost an extra $800, on top of $5,880 bringing my total to a whopping $6,680. Yikes!  And my teeth aren’t even that jacked up! Luckily, the very day of my consultation, Invisalign G4 technology was released.  I recommend watching this video:

I was extremely excited about this!  According to Aligntech, there are many advances with this new system and hopefully it’ll help correct my problems.  The folks at my orthodontist’s office made me sign a consent acknowledging that I understand that Invisalign will not correct this canine tooth or make any extrusion or intrusion movements (moving teeth up or down from the gum line).  I was quite puzzled with this as my ClinCheck video clearly shows my top front six teeth making a significant move upwards, revealing my hidden bottom teeth, towards the end of my treatment. Now, I know these videos are only an estimate but why would they tell me this when the outcome shows the complete opposite of what they’re telling me?  Hmm… I suppose I’ll leave it up to the professionals.  I will post my ClinCheck videos once I get them formatted properly;  they don’t seem to want to work with my iMac.

• I like how the aligners are pretty close to being ‘invisible’.  They’re advertised as being completely invisible, however I disagree.  When you have attachments, and your aligners are in, they are somewhat visible but I’m okay with that.  It’s a huge difference than traditional braces, metal or clear.  I like when I take the aligners out… my attachments almost disappear into the color of my teeth… and I have seven on top and seven on bottom… that’s fourteen lumps of cement crap!

CONS:

• Does your home have busily-patterned granite counter tops like mine does? Given the fact that I’m pretty lazy, it’s almost guaranteed that when I remove my aligners at home, I won’t store them in one of the two cases Invisalign so kindly provided in the starter kit.  So that you can kinda get a feel for what my typical dilemma is, let’s play the Can You Find The Aligners game!  It’s like Where’s Waldo.  Sorta.

Take a long look at this first picture:

Here’s a hint if you haven’t spotted them:

Here ya go…

The camera isn’t playing tricks on your eyes; it is always this hard to find them.  So instead of searching, I just get eye-level with my counter tops and bam! there they are.

• I hate the fact that I have to clean the stupid things so often.  A little bit of cloudiness, again, drives me nuts.  So  yesterday, I decided to Google “dirty aligners” just to see if mine were actually bad… and this beauty came up at the top of Google’s search results:

Dirty Invisalign Aligners

Really??  REALLY??!!!!!  ..DISGUSTING…. just dirty.  How does someone let their aligners even get this way?  My gag reflex is fully engaged right now.  If your aligners ever end up like this… well, all I can say is that you’re probably doing something wrong.  And that’s an understatement.

• It’s hard to get used to the attachments… especially if you have 14 like me.  I stated earlier that I like how clear they are but that might just be because I’ve bleached the shit out of my teeth.  I’ve seen pictures of other Invisalign bloggers where the attachments are very visible due to the color contrast.  Or perhaps their orthodontist office used a different material…?  I don’t know.

When they bonded my attachments, there was a big mess of composite left behind that, after a month and a half, is still there.  When my aligners are out, the surface of the teeth with attachments constantly feel dirty… even in places where there shouldn’t be any composite.  It drives me absolutely nuts.  So much that in order to make myself feel better, I run my tongue over my favorite tooth because it’s smooth (yeah, I’ve got a favorite tooth ’cause it actually looks straight in pictures… don’t judge me).  I’m sure this excess composite material can be buffed out or chiseled but over the weeks, some has gone away so I’m just hoping that’ll happen to the rest.

• I can’t bite on my nails. (Gross occasional habit that was easy to kick!)    …Well, I suppose, I could just remove my aligners but I choose not to deal with the hassle.

• Water spots on my mirror.  I absolutely loathe water spots on my bathroom mirror but they are almost inevitable when brushing the trays under running water.  I am in no way a perfect housekeeper… water spots are just one of my pet peeves.  I keep a roll of paper towels and a bottle of Windex under the sink for when I need to clean off the mirror!

• I found out that I’m not a total pig like I had thought I was.  I read that it’s fairly common for people to lose weight during treatment because having the trays in cuts out snacking.  I haven’t lost any weight because I realized I never snacked much in the first place.  Oh well… so much for my $6,000 diet plan.

• Dining out can be a pain.  Notice the word, “can”.  If you’re anywhere near as classy as I am, then removing your aligners at the table won’t be a problem.  I’m not exactly discrete about it anymore… I just make sure no one’s looking and I know my husband couldn’t care less anyway.  If I’m with a group of people, I’ll excuse myself though.

• Brushing your teeth in public bathrooms is awesome!  Especially if someone’s defecating in the stall closest to the sink.  Disgusting.  I think I’d almost rather risk a cavity.

That’s about it for right now.  Of course, I’ll continue to add things as I think of them.  All in all though, I love Invisalign and I actually like wearing my aligners… They don’t bother me one bit.  Despite all my “cons” I definitely wouldn’t have taken a different route.

UPDATE!

I have developed a strong relationship with Polident!  Try soaking your aligners in this denture cleaner several times a week and you won’t be disappointed.