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!