Almost finished! Maybe…

9 month comparison

Only 14 days until the end! Unfortunately I have no reason to be excited because my two problem teeth are still just slightly off. I want to believe that they’ll magically rotate and shift forward into their proper “straight” positions but I have my doubts. What’s scary is that these that these last few trays are over-correction aligners meaning that my teeth should technically be straight and in the fine tuning stage. Most would look at my teeth in their current state and say, “Good enough!” but not me. I’ve been wearing aligners all day every day for the past 782 days. I’ve come too far to just settle.

Despite my request to wear my aligners for two full weeks (sounds crazy, I know) my orthodontist has insisted that I go down from wearing them for ten days to only seven days. I even told her that my teeth didn’t feel seated only after ten days which is the reason why I’d add on extra time. She assured me that it would be okay because “Invisalign can be worn for as little as seven days” and a few moments later, “we need to get you in retainers”. Trust me. I want so badly to be finished, but I want things to be done right.

While Invisalign trays can be worn for as few as seven days (or so I’ve read), I was always under the impression that the provider must build this into their treatment plan and not just cut wear-time down at the end to wrap up their patient’s case, unless of course, the patient’s teeth are moving faster than anticipated… which mine are not. If the decrease in wear-time was planned, wouldn’t my orthodontist have told me so when I expressed my uncertainty? It is a question that’s been running through my head but I keep reminding myself that she is the professional. Not me.

I was originally told I’d be getting fixed retainers on both my top and bottom six anterior teeth because of the likelihood that they would start to drift back to their crowded position over time. She even encouraged me to consider having a fiberotomy procedure done.

She must’ve changed her mind about the fixed retainer – or there was poor communication between her and the assistant – because during one of my more recent visits, they removed my lower attachments and took an impression for what I’d later learn would be my final retainer. I was instructed by the assistant that since I’d been wearing my last aligner for six weeks, I would only need to wear the retainer at night. I was skeptical but figured, ‘okay’. When I went to pick it up a week later, I let the assistant know right away that the retainer didn’t feel quite right. She took it to the back and shaved some off which made it a lot more comfortable but oddly, it still seemed almost loose. There was also pressure on certain incisors but I just assumed that maybe my last aligner had given in in certain spots and that maybe the looseness was because I was used to having attachments on my teeth.

I left the office only wearing my top aligner and within a few hours, it was already starting to get slightly roughed up where my lower teeth would make contact with my bite ramps (remember, the new Invisalign material tends to peel).  I decided that I’d just wear my retainer along with my top aligner to prevent premature wear. Sounds logical since I’d essentially be doing the exact same thing at night, right? But after a short time of wearing the new Essix retainer with my upper aligners, the plastic started to crack all the way across the biting surfaces of the two front teeth.

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And here is a short clip of the retainer. I added this because it’s kind of difficult to tell exactly what you’re looking at in the pictures.

The crack goes all the way through the plastic and because of this, one of my most notoriously crooked incisors was quick to rotate… and it’s only been a couple weeks. I decided that I couldn’t let it get any worse, so I dug out my last aligner despite its disgustingness, and put it back in… not only was it gross (peeling, yellowness, etc.) but it was tighter than it ever was. If the tooth is starting to turn now after only a couple weeks in a retainer, where will it be one year from now without a fixed appliance?? Fortunately, after wearing the old aligner for a while, I was able to get the tooth almost to its straight position but not all the way. It is unnoticeable to anyone but myself but this can only spell doom, right?

So I had an appointment last week I was pretty nervous going in. I was worried that my orthodontist was going to put the blame on me, but she didn’t. She offered to contact Invisalign for a replacement of that same tray, but I suggested we hold off for a couple weeks since we may need to go into my third refinement anyway.  So to sum things up, I’m certain my top teeth aren’t going to be finished by the 4th of March.

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