Third Refinement… The end is near!!

My third refinement is here and I’m beyond excited. In fact, I made sure my orthodontist knew how much I appreciate her doing this for me. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll recall that I only paid for two refinements. She held the power to demand more money or send me packing with nothing but a retainer and tears in my eyes, but she didn’t! Also, it only took three weeks –as it should– for this refinement to show up, unlike my last two which took two months and three months respectively. I have my opinions on that but it’s neither here nor there. I’ve moved on.

And just in case you’re interested, here is a brief overview of how I understand the refinement process works with Invisalign Full (when your treatment is through an orthodontist at least):

  • Along with your new impression molds, your orthodontist will submit instructions to Invisalign’s technicians on how he or she would like your teeth moved.
  • Once Invisalign has received your impressions, they’ll create the movements step by step in their computer and send the simulation back to your orthodontist to be approved. Together they collaborate back and forth until it’s just right.
  • Your orthodontist okays the production of your aligners.
  • Invisalign then ships all your aligners to your orthodontist.

If I’m not mistaken, the molds are sent to California to be processed and scanned. From there, the actual aligners are made in either Costa Rica or Mexico (someone correct me if I’m wrong!) and then shipped back to wherever you live. This is where it would be beneficial to find a provider who utilizes an iTero scanner. Rather than shipping your actual molds, they can simply scan your teeth with a wand and send the file lightning speed through the interwebz! That shaves off some of that waiting time and virtually eliminates errors that can occur with traditional molds. I fell victim to that once, and paid for it with a month of my time.

Anyway, back to my refinement. I’ve got just nine weeks left… and if my asshole teeth decide to behave properly, I could really be finished in just six. The last three trays are overcorrection aligners and sadly, I have a feeling that I will be needing them. I don’t care though because the light at the end of my tunnel is no longer dim.

My next concern will be retainers. After a month of wearing a standard Essix style retainer, I am certain that I want the extra “insurance” that a bonded retainer would provide. Why would I want wires glued to the backs of my teeth for eternity?? Simple. Because as I mentioned before, my teeth are assholes. They want nothing more than to creep back to their crooked state, and without those wires I fear that this really expensive 2.5 year investment will quickly find its way swirling down the drain. And who in their right mind would want that?

Here’s the kicker though: I still have somewhat of a deep bite. What if that bonded wire impedes on my ability to completely close my jaw? I don’t think that’s an irrational fear. Over the past month, and per the instruction of one of the assistants at my orthodontist’s office, I’d often leave out my lower retainer for the day. By evening time, those anterior teeth were visibly out of alignment. Visibly, people! I’d wear my retainer all night in hopes to wrangle in my unruly teeth. That worked in the beginning but as time went on, the retainer just couldn’t seem to keep up.  Now before you wag your finger at me, I want you guys to know that I intentionally ran this experiment knowing that my refinement was on its way. Thankfully my first aligner whipped everything right back into shape in less than 24 hours, but seriously, what the hell. It’s crazy how quickly strong-willed teeth can move. And why didn’t that retainer do its job? This is why I want need a fixed retainer. My orthodontist also suggested having a fiberotomy procedure done. I’m making a consultation appointment with a periodontist this afternoon because it’s something I really may consider. It all boils down to the cost which I will report back with once I’ve seen the doctor.

And one more thing about retainers. After that month of wearing the non-scalloped Essix retainers, I am absolutely positive that I’d rather have a more contoured fit that the Vivera retainers provide. It’s all about comfort, and of course comfort comes at a high cost just like everything else that’s nice in this world! It was such a relief to toss those suffocating Essix things aside for my new refinement trays. I’ll post some comparison pictures as soon as I get around to not being lazy (hopefully by this afternoon). They weren’t too bad, but I’d much prefer Vivera given the choice.




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