Wednesday, March 20, 2013

My Invisalign Experience- The Beginning

Hi all!

I have had my Invisalign since February 28th. Hooray for me!
I can't wait to have straight teeth. I have been wanting this for so long! With that being said, apparently Invisalign is not the only thing I need to straighten my teeth... let's start at the beginning.

Going back as far as I can remember I have had really bad teeth issues. When I was four years old I had to have nine caps put on my baby teeth. I was terrified and would not hold still for the dentist. I was running away from him and there were three dentists chasing me around. They finally got me to sit down after luring me with soda. They had to knock me out with laughing gas and some other stuff. It was the most terrible experience of my childhood.

Then when I was six years old I was playing tag during recess and I tripped and fell on the concrete. I chipped the corner off my front tooth. I was crying my eyes out and just wanted my mom to come pick me up, but they could not get a hold of her. I had to stay at the school for three hours until she came to pick me up when school let out. I did not have my tooth fixed until I was 20 years old. That's how scared I was of the dentist.

Then my perpetual cavity problem began when I was ten years old. I would get cavities so fast that the tooth would either need to be pulled, or have a root canal. I guess my pain tolerance was high enough that I didn't notice I had a cavity until it was too late. (Now I know why this was happening.) I got a root canal and it only lasted me one year and it cost me over $1,500. I have had six molars pulled (not including my wisdom teeth) from the ages 10-22. Unfortunately, my dentist never told me the damage that was being done to my face and bone structure.

When I met Tyson and began to spend more time in Joplin, I started going to his family dentist. Last May we discovered that I had, yet another, deep cavity. The dentist explained to me that if I had any more molars pulled, I would need extensive oral surgery including implants, bone grafts, and more. I got a root canal to save the tooth. Goodbye $1,860 dollars!

It was last summer when I started researching Invisalign. I was searching online for success stories and cost. I found a "Premier Preferred Provider" in Joplin and made an appointment for a consultation. When I sat down with him I told him I had one request: to not pull my wisdom teeth. They are the teeth I use for chewing so I can not afford to have them pulled. They are good teeth and there is no reason to pull them because I will just continue to lose more bone structure. He disagreed with me. He said that he would need to pull my wisdom teeth for the treatment to work. I listened to his suggestions but was not confident that he was the right person to do this job. The price they gave me for treatment was $4,799.00. I also should add that he is not an orthodontist. He is a general dentist that went to the training to be and Invisalign provider.

After leaving his office, I was convinced that Invisalign would not work for me, but I kept looking for a fix. I found an orthodontist in Fayetteville, Arkansas that was an "Elite Preferred Provider" and that specialized in six different types of braces, Invisalign being one of them. I stalked his website for a few months reading about all of his patients testimonials and their experience with his practice. He is well respected all over the country, has written a book, and is in the top 22 Invisalign providers in North America. By December, I decided I needed to schedule a consultation.

Lucky for me, Tyson supports my quest for a beautiful smile, so for Christmas he gave me a suitcase full of money as a down-payment for my braces. I was so excited and could not wait to make my appointment!
Tyson and I met with Dr. Richard Roblee on January 14. This was the day that I learned about all of my oral and facial problems. They did a 3D scan of my head, took photos of me at all angles, and took numerous x-rays. Dr. Roblee explained to me that one of the reasons for my oral/facial issues was that I have a deviated septum.
I have had a crooked nose my whole life and I have never been able to breath well out of my nose. My left nostril is about 80% blocked and most days I can only breath out of one nostril.

This is where things got interesting... Dr. Roblee explained to me that sleeping through my mouth my whole life has caused a lot of problems. Humans are not supposed to sleep with their mouths open. Humans are supposed to breath through their nose while asleep. Teeth are supposed to stay moist throughout the night. My teeth have been dried out every night for 25 years. This was the reason my cavities came and destroyed my teeth so quickly. It had nothing to do with my brushing and flossing routine. (Which was really good, I might add.)

He also explained that without the pressure of my tongue on the roof of my mouth every night caused my bite to be very narrow and my teeth to slightly lean in. It also explains why my tongue is so massive! The same issue has also caused my upper teeth to "fall" slightly. I have a "gummy smile" (see pic above) because those teeth have not had the constant pressure from my lower teeth holding them in place all night. Thanks gravity!
my narrow, V-shaped teeth

The fact that my upper teeth are not high enough in my maxilla also plays a roll with my chin, jawline, and profile. My mandible cannot rotate far enough up for my mouth to close properly. This causes my profile to appear "off" and my chin is tense because it is actually pushing my lower lip up to meet my upper lip, something those muscles should not have to do.

Anyone confused yet?

Yeah... I was, too.

Dr. Roblee suggested I see a periodontist and an ear/nose/throat doctor. I met with Dr. Curry, a periodontist that Dr. Roblee works closely with on February 28th. Dr. Curry told me that I would need to have bone grafted in to my lower right jaw, get three implants, and have a procedure done called "corticotomies" that will move my upper teeth farther in to the bone. It's a really disgusting procedure where they cut back your gums to get access to the bone and then they score the bone between the teeth. This damages the bone simulating a break and then they use the next three months of healing time to move the teeth very quickly. They install small hooks on the inside and outside of my gums and I would have to attach a little tiny spring that would pull the teeth up with constant pressure. Yuck. Makes me wanna yack, especially when he told me that I would not be under general anesthesia. He said he needs me to be "kind of awake" in order to know that I am not drowning from all the water he uses during the surgery. This surgery would enable my mandible to rotate farther up and therefore my chin muscles would relax and my profile would be better. It would also reduce my gummy smile.

Here is a before and after picture of Bristol Palin when she had a similar surgery.

I met with an ear/nose/throat doctor on March 14. She told me my nose was pretty effed up. Haha! I don't know a lot about noses so bear with me... she said my septum was bent kind of in the shape of a "V" and that is what is blocking my left airway. She also said my nostrils aren't symmetrical because of some thing I can't remember but she said she can fix it. She scheduled me for surgery next month and I am freaking out. I still have a few things to get in place before I commit to the surgery, though. The surgery only takes about 30 minutes but I will have to be under general anesthesia which I have never had. Apparently it takes about a week to recover and they suggest you should really do as little as possible. Week two is when you can return to your regular schedule but it takes around six months for the full affect to be noticed. She also said she would put two splints in my nose to keep the correct shape for healing. I watched a YouTube video of someone having their splint removed and it is freaking nasty.
my effed up nose

So now that I have learned how entirely messed up my face is, I want it fixed. I find it very interesting that these issues are health related and affect my quality of life. A lot of people have told me "Oh don't worry about it, you are your own biggest critic." Yes, this may be true, but I want to fix the root of the problem, not disguise it with Botox.

This whole process is probably going to take around two years. Right now I am changing my aligners every week and I have 53 aligners. That's one whole year if Dr. Roblee doesn't increase or decrease me from changing them once a week (which could happen). Dr. Roblee is a perfectionist and he told me that after I finish these 53 aligners, he will scan my mouth again and order me a set of "refiners" which are more aligners that will basically make my smile perfect... just small changes that he will make after he sees how my teeth have moved.

I must add that this process will not be cheap. My treatment (only the Invisalign) costs almost $7,500 dollars. That does not include the possible oral surgery, implants, or my septoplasty.

It's going to be a long road and I am very excited and nervous! I just hope everything works/heals/moves the right way and there are no scary surprises along the way!
Thanks for reading!

Want to read more about my Invisalign treatment? Click the links below!

Invisalign Survival Kit

How to Keep Invisalign Clean

My Dental Implant Experience

Invisalign Update: October 22, 2013

Invisalign update: One Year Appointment


  1. Holy cow woman, why didn't you tell me any of this?! I never would have thought those things were wrong. Glad you met with excellent doctors!

  2. Wow! You already are beautiful......I would have never guessed this in a million years. Praying for a quick recovery.

  3. i never would have thought you had all those issues just by looking at you. my friend had a similar procedure done and looks awesome now. good luck with everything and can't wait to hear about your journey!

  4. as an orthodontist, it was a real shame for me to see you treat this case with invisalign....I know you did what you thought was best for you but those trays are really not for a complicated case like yours....lots of profile issues and open bite issues could have been dealt with in a better fashion if you used traditional brackets...unfortunately because of the esthetics of the appliance itself and the fact that any general dentist can utilize these clear aligners, we often see far too complicated cases tackled with invisalign....not the end of the world, but many of these cases will of luck to you and your treatment and I will finish in saying, if you are considering adult orthodontics, please do yourself a favor and just stop by the office of a board certified orthodontist to see what he has to say before you undertake using invisalign or any clear aligner treatment modality...almost all orthodontists charge zero for consults....only anonymous because I don't want any calls from any general dentists about my comments

    1. I'm sorry you feel that way but I would like to clear up a few things that it appears you missed in my various posts about my Invisalign treatment. To begin with, I did not see a dentist for my Invisalign treatment. I saw an orthodontist for the entirety of my treatment using Invisalign. Also, I told my orthodontist that I would be happy to use traditional braces if it would work better for my case. He assured me Invisalign would the the best tool to treat my case. My orthodontist is in fact a board certified orthodontist... he is actually a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics which is a distinction that less than 20% of practicing orthodontists actually receive. He is also an Elite Preferred Provider which means he is in the Top 22 providers of Invisalign in North America. I have completed my treatment and could not be more thrilled with what my orthodontist has done with my teeth. He is truly an amazing orthodontist and I feel 110% confident in his work and what he has done to create an amazing smile for me.

  5. What was the recovery time from your procedure with Dr. Curry?

    1. I have a gummy smile and want to know the pain and recovery time of that procedure?

  6. Did they take out the plates after your teeth work in place? I am getting the same percedure and want to know when they take out the plates and were you under anesthesia when he took them out?

    1. .....The corticonomy procedure with Dr. Curry, sorry I didn't specify

    2. I'm not sure as I did not end up getting the coricotomy procedure.

    3. Alright girl. Thanks so much for responding to my questions!

  7. I have a thought like it was a painful treatment but my friend must need to get this invisalign treatment. she will not interested to get the treatment so i collects some informative blogs and i wish to bookmarked this page for her. After referring those treatments and experience, she understands well and get the treatment with more confidence.So, Your informative blog also very helpful to my friend's treatment.

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