Michaela’s Accelerated Invisalign Journey.
If I could pass a note back in time to my high school self, it would be a sternly worded warning about wearing my retainer, perhaps with a short section on investing in bitcoin. Throughout my teenage years, my teeth were pummelled into upright submission with every orthodontic appliance in the books. So once my braces were off, I was committed to enjoying my new smile without much thought into upkeep.
Years later, I learned that teeth have memory, and like most things that peak in high school, they were desperate to go back to how they once were. My increasingly crooked tooth didn’t bother me that much, but as they became crowded and overlapped, I began to have problems with my bite and was disappointed that I threw so many years of orthodontics out the window.
I first heard of Invisalign when a friend introduced me to the concept by taking her Invisalign trays out in front of me to demonstrate the magic of clear appliances. I was impressed, but concerned about the time commitment it would need. Years went by before I came across Dr. Peter Brawn and OrthoPulse: in the same manner I discover most things in my life, using Google. What caught my attention was the reduced treatment time; plus, the catchiness of “Invisalign in half the time” didn’t hurt either.
The first step was a painless and simple visit to Dr. Brawn where he showed me, with no pressure to commit, what my smile would look like when treatment was done. The Star Trek fan in me was wildly impressed by the smile simulator he uses; it’s pretty amazing to be able to see step by step how your teeth will change and shift during treatment. That was all I needed to see.
A short time later, after impressions were taken and the order placed, I was called in to get my trays and have attachments glued to my teeth to help the trays facilitate movement. While in the chair, my excitement was replaced by an internal narrative asking “what have I done?!” Although painless, having the attachments put on feels like you will wake up with a mouth full of giant plastic squares. Probably sensing my terror, Dr. Brawn quickly held up a hand mirror to show what the attachments looked like. I saw pretty much the same smile I went in with, and I said out loud “whoever invented this is a genius.”
Slenderizing – feels bad, looks fine
What is usually a welcomed concept when attempting to fit into summer pants can be a terrifying idea when you’re in the chair and a dentist is using what feels like metal sandpaper to narrow your teeth. Slenderizing is a way to make space for teeth to move into their new (straight) positions. It may feel like you’ll end up with gaps in your smile, but the amount of tooth removed is so small you barely notice anything, especially when your aligners are in.
The first week
It’s the same feeling when you get a new haircut and the world doesn’t stop. No one will notice your aligners and attachments unless you’re an extreme close-talker, or you point them out.
Initially, the trays were a bit uncomfortable, but nothing a few Advil couldn’t fix. That went away after the second tray, so it was only a few days of mild discomfort before my teeth had to accept that they were going to move whether they liked it or not!
Every night, for 10 minutes, I felt like Blade Runner as I used the OrthoPulse device. What looks like a glowing mouth guard is actually shortening treatment time as low levels of light energy stimulate the bone surrounding the roots of your teeth and facilitate tooth movement. The only thing you’ll notice is a feeling of warmth on your teeth while you wait for OrthoPulse to work its magic – it’s a relaxing thing to do and became almost meditative for me, as I am rarely silent and the treatment ensured a few minutes of silent introspection per day.
Tooth Fairy on Speed Dial
Over the course of treatment, the Invisalign trays and OrthoPulse appliance didn’t disrupt my life at all. I needed very few appointments to check in with Dr. Brawn regarding my progress and the trays are so easy to use that all you have to remember is when to switch them out for new ones. The only time I experienced a hiccup in an otherwise smooth journey was when I felt a small amount of movement in one of my teeth, a feeling I hadn’t had since childhood. Dr. Brawn saw me right away (within the hour) and let me know not to worry, as teeth can become a bit looser during the process as they move to a new position. It only took two weeks for the tooth to go back to normal.
It really is half the time
A friend with similar orthodontic issues began Invisalign treatment without OrthoPulse months before me – and she still has six months to left in her treatment. I went from crooked and overlapping teeth to a textbook “perfect” smile in less time than it takes me to need a hair trim. I couldn’t be happier with the process; in terms of comfort level and convenience, its worlds away from my first experience with orthodontics.
Although I don’t feel it’s fair to spare an entire future generation of children the humbling horror of conventional metal braces, I am thrilled I didn’t have to go back to the traditional methods to correct my teeth. For those of you wondering about Invisalign, I would whole heartedly recommend you visit Dr. Brawn and chat about your options and treatment plan. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be bragging about your smile – much like I am right now.
Michaela d. finished her treatment in less than five months.