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My Invisalign journey! Results so far + Everything you need to know before you correct your teeth

You never realize how imperfect your teeth are until you see yourself in pictures

I’ll admit, I’ve always been jealous of people with perfect teeth! And me – I’ve had the curse of gapped teeth all my life. So a few months ago, I decided to fix this problem once and for all.

Achieving the Hollywood smile – the 2 most popular ways to correct your teeth

  1. Veneers – wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance
    Pros: instant results, can last up to 20 years as long as they are cared for well
    Cons: expensive (Dr. APA charges around AED12,000 per tooth), so delicate that you cannot bite on hard food items such as celery, bread, etc
  2. Braces – multiple options in the market such as traditional metal braces, lingual braces (mounted on the backside of your teeth), Invisalign (clear, plastic trays that are custom-designed for your mouth)
    Pros: natural way of correcting your teeth, can treat problems related to crooked teeth, crowded smiles, or poorly aligned bites
    Cons: Can take as long as 3 years to completely correct your teeth, can cause low-self esteem if your braces are not transparent, possibility of relapse

My pick… Invisalign! 

A lot of people don’t believe the fact that wearing Invisalign can actually change the position of your teeth. 

Invisalign aligners are the clear alternative to metal braces for adults and teens. These clear aligners are virtually invisible and can improve your smile just like traditional braces.

The most important factor about Invisalign is that you wear them for at least 22 hours a day. Not wearing them for long enough/removing them frequently can elongate your treatment. 

My dentist – Dr. Anil Ramu at Dr. Joy Dental Clinic, Karama

I found out about Dr. Joy Dental Clinic from my sister. A couple of years ago, she got traditional metal braces from Dr. Joy himself in the Umm Suqeim branch.

In their Karama branch, Dr. Anil Ramu is an Invisalign specialist and provides a free consultation for Invisalign. I used the clinic’s website and booked an appointment with him for a proposed quote and an estimated time duration for the entire treatment.

I felt very comfortable sharing my teeth problems with him. He also took time to share previous Invisalign cases that he has successfully taken care of. It’s really important that you have a good rapport with your dentist because you’ll be seeing him/her almost every month.

The entire Invisalign procedure – step by step 

What a ClinCheck looks like

  1. Get a free consultation from a certified Invisalign center. Ask them these questions: How long will the treatment take? What is the total cost? What services are included in this price (dental visits, retainers, whitening, etc)? Do’s and dont’s? Any past cases for referral? Dentist’s experience in Invisalign?
  2. If you decide to go ahead with the treatment, the clinic will take a dental x-ray to make sure your gums and teeth are well-suited for Invisalign.
  3. The dentist will take a mould of your upper and lower jaw to create a Clincheck
  4. Your ClinCheck will be ready in 2 weeks. A ClinCheck is an animation that shows what your teeth look like in the beginning and the end of the treatment.
  5. Once you approve your ClinCheck, your customed Invisalign trays will go under production. This can take as long as 4 weeks.
  6. When your aligners arrive, there is a possibility that you might have to get attachments on your teeth. These are enamel-colored ridges that help your aligners sit better.
  7. Once you receive your Invisalign aligners, wear them for at least 22 hours a day.
  8. Meet your dentist once in 4-6 weeks to make sure the treatment is on track.
  9. At the end of the treatment, your dentist will decide if you need any refinements to further improve your teeth structure. This can take another few weeks.
  10. After completing your refinements, your dentist will install permanent retainers behind your teeth in order to make sure your teeth don’t move in the future.

Total Cost & Duration of my treatment 

Start date: Wednesday, 5th July 2017
Expected end date: Wednesday, 3rd January 2018

My 14-week treatment cost me AED 15,000. There is an option to pay in installments, however, that turns out to be more expensive so I made a one-time payment.

Traditional metal braces at Dr. Joy Dental Clinic would cost me around the same amount.

What I wish someone told me about Invisalign 

  • Wearing Invisalign for 22 hours a day is very difficult – The only time you can remove them is to eat/drink.
  • There will be a lot of saliva production in the first few days. When something foreign is in your mouth, your mouth thinks it’s food and starts the digestion process. This takes a few days to correct.
  • You will develop a lisp every time you change your aligner, especially in the beginning of the treatment. In order to combat this, I sing aloud when I’m alone so that my tongue adjusts quicker to the new aligner.
  • Flossing is a very important aspect of the treatment. You cannot get away with poor oral hygiene while on this treatment as you run a higher risk of developing a cavity.
  • For the first few weeks, your teeth will feel sensitive every time you chew. This takes a few weeks to adjust.
  • In the beginning of the treatment, the shifting of teeth may cause slight migraines. This is a normal part of any orthodontic treatment.
  • It takes at least 8 weeks to see any results. The first few weeks can be demotivating as you cannot detect much difference.
  • You will develop a love-hate relationship with eating. You cannot remove your aligners as often as you wish. I used to eat as often as 8 times a day, but now that’s come down to 2-3 large meals a day.
  • Caring for your teeth is going to take extra time. It’s very important to brush and floss after each time you eat and before you reinsert your aligners. It’s tempting to skip a step, but with Invisalign on, your teeth are soaking in whatever is on them.

Before/After (as of Week 11, 13 September 2017)

What I carry in my dental kit 

  1. Blue box – to store my current aligner
  2. Red box – it contains my previous aligner (in case I lose my current aligner)
  3. Travel size toothbrush (foldable)
  4. Travel size toothpaste tubes
  5. Denture tooth brush – to thoroughly clean my aligner
  6. Chewies – small cylinder made of a soft spongy material to help close any air gaps between your teeth and your Invisalign aligners
  7. Floss picks
  8. Travel size mouthwash

Do you have any questions about Invisalign? Ask me in the comments section below!

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