My junior year of high school, my parents announced to me that I was getting braces.

I was less than pleased.

In their defense, I’m  sure they didn’t really announce it like it was some grand event, and they were unable to afford it any earlier. Still, I fought it (are you ready for this?) tooth and nail, and with the help of our then exchange student, I “won”. Kinda. I mean, I escaped the confines of metal tooth jail made prettier with hot pink rubber bands and in exchange I got to keep my crooked teeth. The dentist promised they’d be off by senior pictures, but I’d heard that story before, and at the time the thought of senior pictures with metal mouth was simply too much to bear.

Oh the days where that kind of nonsense was a game changer.

Anyway, given the fact that my teeth weren’t really THAT bad (I had a gap between my front teeth, a slight overbite from a few *cough* seven *cough* years of thumb sucking and some crowded bottom teeth, I wasn’t really that bothered.

At an overdue (oops) teeth cleaning last year, in a passing comment, the dentist told me I’d make a good candidate for Invisalign. I asked for a quote for fun and didn’t give it much thought. A couple of days later, though, I realized that I might really like to do it. Nothing like someone telling you you’re a good candidate to really bring that gap in my teeth to the forefront of my mind. Bryan supported it and with the help of Care Credit we were able to finance it for a year interest free. They threw in whitening for free as a bonus.

You can see the gap in the picture below

Hi! I'm a gap in your teeth
Hi! I’m a gap in your teeth

The initial appointment was interesting. They took impressions of my teeth to send off to the company who would then make and send back the recommended number of trays. The whole process, for me, would take about 5 months. It took about 6 weeks for the trays to come in and I went in for a second appointment. I had 10 trays total that I would change out every 2 weeks. I was to wear them all day except when eating or drinking anything other than water. That second appointment was even more interesting because they computerized images of my teeth that showed each step from start to finish. Looking at it on the screen, my teeth seemed more crooked than I realized. I wish I had taken a picture. I did take a picture of my actual teeth, though they look a little freaky.

"Before" - in quotes because its actually one week in, but you can see the fangs
“Before” – in quotes because its actually one week in, but you can see the fangs
Before bottom
Before bottom

Usually, they allow you to try the trays for two weeks so you can use the whitening before they add the “buttons”, but since I was breastfeeding at the time and unable to use the whitening yet, they threw them on that day. The “buttons” (or fangs, as I call them) are glued on certain teeth to help keep the trays in place. They are triangular and sorta resemble fangs (hence the nickname).

The dentist showed me how to put them in and take them out, gave me 2 sets of trays and sent me home. The first couple of days were a little painful, not only because my teeth were being squeezed but also because the inside of my mouth had not adjusted to the plastic, and it rubbed the insides of my mouth raw. I took a couple Advil to take the edge off, and wondered what I was getting into if every tray switch resulted in this. Fortunately, that first set was the worst by far. Each subsequent tray did feel tight at first but my teeth/mouth easily adjusted and it felt normal after a couple of hours. I returned to the office every 4 weeks for the first 4 trays, and after that every 6 weeks. Each appointment took only a couple of minutes because I was really only there for them to check and make sure they were working and give me the next set. I felt like I could really see a difference even early on, and that was really cool.

6 weeks in
6 weeks in

Today, I am DONE and go back in to have my buttons removed and get impressions for the retainer I will have to wear every night while I sleep.

Stay tuned for a final appointment update, my overall likes/dislikes, and the long awaited (at least for me) AFTER picture. 🙂