I’ve completed my first “round” of Invisalign and now on to my revision! Ok, so what this means is that when I originally went in to get Invisalign back in August, Dr. Tatum, my amazing dentist here in Charleston (and Invisalign master!), sent my scans off to a team of doctors at Invisalign who created my game plan. They basically said, “Hi Megan, here are 17 aligners that will make your teeth look straight!” However, come to find out… it’s pretty rare that that first set of aligners is all you will need. People’s teeth just don’t move 100% perfectly, so there’s normally always a need to revise the treatment plan. This can take place after your finish the first set of aligners or in the middle of that treatment time.
How does a revision work? Well… first of all, revisions during your treatment are included in the price of your full Invisalign treatment—at least that’s the case with Dr. Tatum. You will have your smile re-scanned (with this amazing tool—and more on that later in this post) and the process will be just like it was when you first started Invisalign. The scans are sent back to the Invisalign team and a new course of action is made. In my case, I was given 13 new aligners that should get my teeth near perfection. Ideally, this should be the last set of aligners I have before I finish my treatment, but for some, multiple revisions are needed (and sometimes none are needed!).
How long have I had Invisalign now? Invisalign recommends the period of time you should keep each aligner tray on. It’s normally a week to two weeks before switching to a new aligner. If you remember from my first Invisalign post, I got my hands on a tool from Dr. Tatum called AcceleDent, which you bite down on for 20 minutes per day. It uses the most gentle vibrations to ultimately speed up the time it takes for your teeth to move. So instead of doing one Invisalign tray per every two weeks, I was moving through my Invisalign trays every FIVE DAYS! It sped up my treatment a LOT.
I’ve had 17 trays so far, but for ease, let’s just say it has been 17 weeks or maybe a little more because I didn’t switch my aligners as quickly over the holidays (because I wore them less—shame on me) and because it took a few weeks to wait on my revision aligners to come in. (So I “stretched” out my time in my last two aligner trays while waiting for that revision to come in.) In summary, if you want to have a super quick time with Invisalign, then wear your aligners all day long and use the AcceleDent device daily.
Have I been happy with the Invisalign process? YES! You guys, I cannot sing the praises of this technology enough. I honestly didn’t realize how bad my teeth were until seeing them now at being almost perfectly straight. Not only has Invisalign taken care of my overbite, crowding, and out-of-place teeth, but it has improved the way my face looks as well. My jawline is more defined and the way my lips are situated is more pleasing. I didn’t realize that crooked teeth could change the way you look when you aren’t even smiling.
If you’re interested in more Q & As, then check out this post where Dr. Tatum and I answered a lot of your questions! But now, onto some progress pictures and a few tips if you’re getting started with your treatment or considering it.
Here are some progress pics. I know this is what everyone wants to see anyway!
This is a photo just after I started my treatment in August 2018:
Here’s another one at a different angle that better shows the crowding I had in the front—this was before I got started with Invisalign. I remember so clearly thinking…. gosh I love this photo, but my teeth look so crooked! I know I was only halfway smiling to try and cover up my teeth because it was an insecurity of mine.
Fast forward to 17 weeks with Invisalign later…. Here is my smile now.
The technology at Dr. Tatum’s office is incredibly cool. She uses the iTero scanner and in just a few seconds of running the camera over my smile, it pulls up a direct simulation of my teeth.
It can even show which teeth are moving the way they should (the green ones below on the right) and which ones aren’t moving like they should (the yellow ones below on the right). Seeing some teeth in the yellow was what signaled Dr. Tatum to do a revision. Ideally, I will have only green teeth the next time we scan! (Never thought I’d wish for green teeth… ha ha!)
Above, the simulation on the left is what my smile looks like now. But again, below you can see what my smile simulation looked on DAY ONE. I just cannot believe such a change happened in so little time.
Here are some tips I’ve learned along the way.
- You need a really good dentist or orthodontist to guide you through this process. I go in to see Dr. Tatum about once per month for a quick visit. She makes sure things are looking good and makes any tweaks that are needed. I just don’t know how those mail-in services like Smile Direct Club work since you don’t have an in-person professional watching over the process all along. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think those mail-in services will make your teeth better, but there just isn’t any way they could achieve the level of perfection that an actual Dentist or Orthodontist ould be able to achieve with your smile in person. If you’re in Charleston, I cannot recommend Tatum Dentistry enough. They are a Gold Provider in Invisalign (which is something you need to look for!) and have all the latest technology to make the process so seamless. And they do free consultations so you can see how your smile would be totally transformed by Invisalign immediately during your appointment. (See this post to see my original smile simulation!)
- You’ll want to clean your Invisalign aligners every day so they don’t yellow. I soak mine with Retainer Brite Cleaning Tablets. All you do is break one of the tabs in half and put it in warm water. Leave your aligner in the solution until the water goes from blue to clear… then you know it’s all clean and free of bacteria!
- When you switch to a new aligner, do it before bed! This way, the first eight hours in the new aligner are done while you’re sleeping. The first handful of hours might make your teeth tender, so this way, you won’t even know it since you’ll be sleeping.
- Wear them all day. It’s so important to wear your aligners 22 hours per day. If not, your teeth may start moving not according to the treatment plan and may form new bone in the wrong place, creating even more issues.
- It will take 2-3 weeks to get used to them when you first start. The first few weeks are uncomfortable—not going to lie. Your mouth will hurt. But after that adjustment period, it’s no issue at all! You forget you are even wearing them.
- Using an AcceleDent device can cut your time in Invisalign in HALF!
- Your teeth may need a shave. I talked about this in my previous posts (post 1 and post 2), but if your teeth are too crowded, they may need a little shaving in between them. I had this done multiple times in between multiple teeth and it was no bother! No pain and only made my teeth look better. This gives your teeth room to move properly.
I can’t wait to add one more selfie to this mix when I finish my treatment!
Before: This first one was on day one with Dr. Tatum and Dr. Grainger.
Now: And here we are 17 weeks in! I’ll update again after I finish my revision aligners in 13 weeks or so!
In the mean time, if you want to check out my other Invisalign updates:
Invisalign Update #1: What to Expect From the Very Beginning
Invisalign Update #2: Progress Update and a Q&A with Dr. Tatum