Monday, November 12, 2012

Tray 32

Well, another four weeks and another two trays completed. Before I get into the events of the past month, I want to mention one thing that I keep forgetting about. I actually only have 20 bottom trays and 23 top trays with this 2nd round. This makes a lot of sense since my bottom teeth were never really as bad as my top teeth. Now onto this past month.

Like last time, it's been a pretty routine month. Every day consists of me getting up in the morning and soaking/cleaning my trays while I get ready. I brush my teeth and pop them back in before I leave my apartment. I take them out to eat and brush my teeth before I put them back in. And I take the trays out and brush them along with my teeth before I go to bed. I think when you have such a large set of trays, you get used to all of the brushing and cleaning and rinsing. It just becomes part of your daily schedule. But it can also become cumbersome when you've been wearing the trays for so long (about a year and a half in my case) and you just want to be done. I think it really takes discipline to keep up with the routine and make sure you are actually wearing the trays enough. This is really something to take into consideration when weighing the options between Invisalign and traditional braces. You don't have the choice of taking off traditional braces like you do with Invisalign, but this means you could forget to put the trays back on, which may prolong treatment. I just wanted to point this out. If you have teeth that you know will require quite a few trays, think about whether you will actually be able to keep up with it through the end.

Anyway, enough of my lecture. I did have an appointment with my orthodontist this past week. I received more trays; enough to get me through the holidays. If you do get Invisalign, be sure your orthodontist does this. This is especially important for people like me who go out of town for the holidays. I go home once school lets out for winter break, so an appointment during that time would be a little inconvenient because I live almost 6 hours away from Austin. I actually know of a situation in which a woman was not able to take her daughter to an appointment because the orthodontist left town without informing his patients and she was not able to get another appointment for a month. The daughter was having her lower jaw pulled forward by her braces. By the time she finally got to see the orthodontist, her lower jaw had been pulled forward too far and her orthodontist told her she would need jaw surgery in order to fix it and he took no responsibility for what happened. This was NOT my orthodontist in case anybody was wondering. And although this does not relate to Invisalign per se, I think it is just a good example of choosing your orthodontist wisely and making sure you get everything you need for the holidays so nothing bad happens. But this woman and her poor daughter had no choice in the matter. I'm the type of person who likes to have a plan, a backup plan, and a backup plan for my backup plan so I just want everybody to be cautious and prepared. So that's basically the moral of that story.

Also at this past week's appointment, my orthodontist told me he would start the process of smoothing out my teeth at my next appointment. I mentioned in a previous post that my top front teeth are shaped a little weird because the edges are very thick (marginal ridges), causing there to be a dip in the center of those individual teeth. So he will work at smoothing down those ridges so that my teeth do not dip and look a little more normal. But since it is holiday season, I'll have to wait until January before this happens. Oh and before I forget, I will be doing the bigger posts every 8 trays for this set instead of every 10 trays since I have 23 top trays. That should be it for this post. If I think of anything else or remember something I'm forgetting, I'll make sure to include it in my next post. As always, here are the pictures (I found my actual camera so I was able to take pictures of my teeth this time. Yay!) I also included a picture with the trays on so you can compare these to the first set that had attachments and were made using traditional putty molds whereas these new trays were made using the iTero scanner. All of this makes the Invisalign trays even less visible than the first set in my opinion, but you can judge for youself.



Wearing Trays

Not Wearing Trays

Top Arch


Lower Arch

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tray 2 again...(Tray 30)

A new post is well overdue so here it is. I meant to post after Tray 1-(2) (Tray 29), but I got so busy with presentations, papers, and exams. But I'm now on my 2nd day of wearing Tray 3-(2) (31) so I knew that I really had to post. I'm still wondering how I should number the trays for the posts. Should I start over and number them according to the number on the tray? Or should I just number them continuing from where I left off? I think I'll have it settled by my next post because it'll probably get confusing if I post both numbers. Now onto my past few weeks of being back in the trays. It actually hasn't been very eventful. It's been painful, but not too bad. Just enough to make me feel like my teeth are being straightened. Aside from that, nothing exciting has really happened. But then again, I've worn so many trays already that I don't think I'll have many more exciting events happen to me, but we'll have to see. I suppose it's better for nothing to happen than for something bad to happen, right? Anyway, I couldn't find the camera I use for close-ups of my teeth so I could only do the facial view. I usually like to take both types of pictures because my teeth look great close-up, but the facial view is where you can really see the imperfections that are still there. I hope to have more to post next time. Until then, happy readings.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Getting Back on the Road

Today I received my second set of trays and I'm pretty excited to get my teeth in place and fix the last little problems. Before today, I didn't plan on comparing the trays made using traditional molds with those made using the iTero scanner. But after I tried on these new trays, I just had to say something. I'm actually glad I got to experience both methods so that I can give my own opinion for those who may be wondering how they compare.

My first set of trays was made using traditional molds in which impressions of my teeth were made using putty. I leaned back and had the tray with putty pressed against my teeth. Then, a pink goo was put into this mold and it was pressed against my teeth again. This was a little uncomfortable because the goo seeps out and can get to the back of your throat. And if the molds get messed up when being pulled off, you'll have to repeat the process until the molds come out correctly. The iTero scanner took about 10-15 minutes and basically just took pictures of my teeth from several different angles to form a digital mold of my teeth. I went into just a little more detail about the iTero scanner in A Surprise Finish. Everyone at Dr. Kunik's office kept telling me how much better the second set of trays were going to fit because they were made using the scanner. I believed what they were telling me, but I was just having a little trouble understanding how the trays were going to fit better. I figured trays either fit or they don't. Mine had always fit so I was more so just curious to see what the difference was and if it would be as noticeable as everyone was telling me.

Let me just say, after wearing both kinds of trays, there is definitely a difference in the way they fit. When I would wear my first set of trays, there was always a small amount of space between my gums and the top of the tray, especially on my front 6 teeth, which needed the most movement. Every now and then the inside of my lip would get pinched because of this space. Nothing terrible, but it did hurt a little. I did always think the trays would look better if they were right against my gums instead of having this space, but I thought that's just what Invisalign trays are like. I thought maybe they would be irritating if they were right up against my gums. But this is not the case. I tried on my new set of trays and not only did I see the difference, but I felt it as well. As soon as I put on the trays, I noticed the space was gone! They felt perfect. So smooth and they line up with my gums so effortlessly. I honestly can barely tell where the edges of the trays are (using my tongue) because they fit that well against my gums. And they don't hurt my gums at all. They feel so much better than the first set of trays. Then, when I looked in the mirror, I saw how much better the trays look without that gap. Without that space, the trays are even less noticeable, making them pretty much invisible. Duh, they are called Invisalign after all. They look so great that I can hardly tell they're on....and I'm the one wearing them! I can see how these trays will move my teeth better because if they fit better, it only makes sense that they'll move my teeth better than trays that didn't fit as well.

So after wearing both sets of trays, I can vouch for the iTero scanner. I can't fully say that the iTero scanner is more effective just yet since this is only my first day wearing these new trays, but I really do believe it will be.

Aside from my comparison, I also wanted to write about my first day back in the trays since I've been on a break for about 3 weeks. Now remember, I was wearing my last tray (28) as a retainer. It was nice to not have to wear the trays all day and to not have to worry about brushing my teeth right after eating. I thought I might have a little trouble getting back into the rhythm of overly superb dental hygiene, but it hasn't been too difficult on my first day. The tray also doesn't hurt like the first set used to. I can still tell which teeth are going to be moved because I do feel some pressure on those teeth, but they don't hurt. But in my last post, I did mention that I didn't think these trays would be as painful because the movements looked smaller in the ClinCheck videos. So maybe I was right. I sure hope so.  I think that may be it for this post. I'll post again soon after I've been wearing the trays for longer than just one day.

Oh! and I wanted to attach more ClinCheck videos. These are faster than the ones that show each individual tray. I like having them show from different angles because you can't always see which teeth are moving from the straight view.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Preparing for Round 2

Finishing the first round of trays felt great because the transformation was so drastic, but as we know by now, I'm not quite finished. My teeth aren't quite perfect, and that is what this second round of trays is really meant to accomplish (hopefully). I looked at my account online today and noticed the ClinCheck videos had been updated to represent the new set of trays that I will get in about a week and a half. It helps that I have a busy class schedule to help the time pass by quickly and I get to take a class trip to Dolan Falls next weekend to collect insects. Yay! But getting back to my teeth, you'll get to see the new videos...




So as you can see, I will be wearing a total of 23 trays this time around. It may seem like a lot since my teeth are much straighter than before, but it seems to me like the movements from each tray are much, much smaller than with the first set. There are quite a few trays that have such small movements, I can BARELY even see which teeth are moving, and I'm looking really hard. With the first set I could see exactly which teeth were moved by each tray and by how much, but that isn't the case this time. I just love watching the video go from the last tray back to the initial position of my teeth because then I can really see the overall movement and I can't help but say "Wow" every time. I thought my teeth looked great from the first round, but the second set just looks so amazing. I never thought my teeth would be that straight, and without anyone ever noticing that I was getting them straightened. My orthodontist likes to say that he shoots for an A with the first set of trays and then an A+ with the second set, and these videos definitely show that.

Now I know I've raved a little about my orthodontist already, but I have a little more to do. He and I had a conversation over FaceTime to discuss this mid-course reboot and what would be the best proposal of how to further straighten my teeth. I was also lucky enough to see some behind the scenes action during this conversation. Basically, my two front teeth will be turned a little more so they are more rounded because they are very straight across. My canines will be turned a bit also so they don't stick out as much compared to the rest of my teeth. My lateral incisors will also be rotated so that the front six teeth all line up nicely because right now, they're still a little off. I would say those are the major movements that will take place this time, but other teeth will be moved as well as you can see in the videos. So what I really liked about this was that Dr. Kunik really wanted to discuss with me what he wanted to do and he also wanted to know what I wanted done and what I thought could be improved. We were on the exact same page about which teeth still needed work and how they should be moved. It really feels like he reads my mind and addresses the issue right before I think to bring it up. I guess my point is that he knows what he's doing and I needed somebody with his talent and experience to really get my teeth right in a decent amount of time. He's constantly making me so grateful that I chose him as my orthodontist. When I researched Invisalign, I knew the orthodontist is supposed to make comments about how to move the teeth for the technician in Costa Rica, where the trays are made. I also knew that Dr. Kunik is very detailed in his comments so that he is really the one straightening your teeth, not a stranger in Costa Rica who is not an orthodontist. But I just have to say, I had absolutely no idea that Dr. Kunik did so much work for my case. When he showed me the comments section where he wrote, it was just completely filled with tons and tons of comments. So once again, I felt so wonderful to have an orthodontist who was willing to spend so much time and effort on giving me the perfect smile.

There's also another reason this conversation was so impressive to me. I said before that Dr. Kunik basically reads my mind and this part of the conversation proved he has supernatural powers. I've noticed, as I'm sure some of you have as well, that my teeth aren't exactly shaped normally. Most people have teeth that are smooth and just slightly convex (rounded outward). My teeth are just the opposite. The edges, especially on the front 4, are very thick compared to the middles, so they are more of a concave shape (rounded inward). I was a little nervous to bring this up to Dr. Kunik (I have issues with speaking up) and I figured it's just how my teeth are and how they'll always be. Well, I didn't even have to say anything because Dr. Kunik brought this up all on his own. Apparently, they are called marginal ridges and are not uncommon with Hispanics/Latinos and some Asians. But, he actually will be able to wear the edges down so that my teeth will have a much smoother and more normal appearance. I was just so glad that he brought it first and I'm even more glad that it can be fixed because I thought I was just destined to have odd-shaped teeth. I guess that will be it for this post. I think I gave a good amount of information for what is to come in the second half of my journey to a beautiful smile. I just want to quickly say that I'm glad my posts have been so helpful to some of you and I hope it continues to help more. As always, feel free to ask questions and happy researching!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Surprise Finish

Hello again. I know I was supposed to post after I finished Tray 30, but to my surprise, I did not receive my 30th tray. Instead, Dr. Kunik (my orthodontist) decided to go ahead and make new trays at my last appointment. So for the past week I've just been using Tray 28 basically like a retainer. I wear it at night when I sleep and just a few hours during the day if the trays are feeling a little tight. It actually feels weird to not have to wear the trays constantly because I've gotten so used to wearing them. But this freedom will soon come to an end. I have an appointment for September 17 to go in and get my new trays that should finish up my treatment and perfect my smile. I didn't have to use the traditional molds this time. Instead, Dr. Kunik uses the iTero scanner. It is supposed to be more accurate than putty molds, which leads to a really straight smile. The scanner is a like this handheld bar that has a camera on it. The asistant uses it to take several pictures of your teeth from all different angles. The computer than uses these pictures to construct a 3-D model of your teeth and it forms the "mold" in this way. Then, once the assistant sees that the mold looks right and there aren't any missing spots, they send the model straight to Invisalign. This helped cut down shipping time because the orthosontist doesn't have to manually ship out the molds to Invisalign. They just send them over email now. I can't wait to get my new trays, but in the meantime, I will go ahead and do my big, last post. It's a little anitclimactic because I already posted for Tray 28 and I haven't had any other trays to post about, but oh well. I still get to post lots of pictures and let everyone see the before and after. And these pictures give so much proof that Invisalign is not just for simple cases. If you go to the right person, Invisalign can work for pretty much anybody and I feel like my case is proof of that.


  Top             1                                    10                                    20                                        28
Bottom         1                                       10                                   20                                    28 

Top                    1                                                      14                                                    28
Bottom              1                                                  14                                                   28

Top                               1                                                                                      28

Bottom                         1                                                                                28

Facial (again)




Top Arch

Lower Arch

As you can see, it has been a HUGE transformation and my teeth will only get even straighter.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Tray 28

I am getting more and more excited by the day. I have an appointment on Monday to go in and get my last 2 trays and finally get my attachments removed!It's taken so much time and patience to get through this experience and it's almost over and I just can't wait. I keep thinking that just a little over a year ago I was barely getting my trays and I never thought I would have straight teeth so quickly, but my talented orthodontist made it possible and I couldn't be more grateful to him. I'm finishing up Tray 28 so my next post will be a big one with  LOTS of pictures so be sure to watch out for it. For now I'll post a few pictures from this tray.



Top Arch

Bottom Arch

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Tray 26

26 trays down and 4 more to go (not counting refinements). I am soooo excited even though my teeth aren't as straight as I would like them to be.I think just finishing this many trays will feel like such an accomplishment. But hopefully they will be straight after I get done with my refinement trays because that was the whole purpose of gettting invisalign. I can see a HUGE difference when looking back at when I first started, and it feels good to not have to constantly worry about smiling too big because my teeth aren't that bad anymore. This tray wasn't very eventful so I'll just post the pictures and as always, if there are any questions, I will be glad to give my answer.



Top Arch

Bottom Arch