Invisalign diary – Attachments, IPR & filling mishaps

Well, hello to people who may be interested in this dental themed topic of conversation (I know I am and love to Google other people’s experiences).

I wanted to write an update on my ‘journey’ so far with Invisalign as I’ve had the retainers for 5 months now, and time has flown by.

In my last post I hadn’t had my aligners fitted yet. So I’ll thought I’d fill you in on all the details chronologically and then give a brief overview of my thoughts on Invisalign to date.

Here we go…

The first aligner appointment

I was fitted with my aligners 2 months from my initial Invisalign appointment. My dentist gave me 4 sets of trays (to wear for two weeks at a time) and I did not have any of my attachments added initially (my scan said I’d have 14). The first 2 weeks were quite uncomfortable but mainly in terms of my mouth adjusting to having a chunk of plastic in there which did give me a couple of ulcers/bleeding. However, this did stop after a couple of weeks and it wasn’t that big of a deal. Nothing I couldn’t cope with. My teeth felt a bit sensitive but mostly when I was taking the aligners in and out. Oh, and they made my mouth water so much for those first few weeks, which was quite strange! Too much saliva! I have to say though, it was pretty smooth sailing really. (I don’t know if I’m a bit unfazed by dental pain though, as I’ve had some brutal wisdom teeth experiences/dry socket so anything is better than that.)

4 weeks passed and I was booked in for another appointment to check on my progress and to have my attachments fitted, ready for trays 3 & 4…

Attachments fitting

I’d read quite a lot about the fitting online and how uncomfortable attachments were: 1. To be added at the dentist, and 2. In your mouth afterwards.

In my experience – 1. Yes, it’s not the most comfortable thing getting a random chunk of god knows what added onto your teeth – but it wasn’t painful. 2. They feel like they shouldn’t be there, but you get used to the feeling of them quickly.

The only thing to note is that it does make your aligners feel a lot tighter, but I quite like that feeling as it means they are moving your teeth effectivly. Also, the attachments do make your aligners harder to pull in and out of your mouth as they literally do feel more ‘attached’. It takes a few days to figure out your own best way to remove them.

So with that completed, I then went about my life with trays 3 & 4 until my next appointment where I would receive trays 5 & 6 and have ‘IPR’. But oh no, things were going a bit too well..

Emergency appointment – a filling fell out!

The first two months were going well, probably too well. And so my mouth decided to cost me more money and therefore ‘more problems’ by disposing of a filling after eating a popping candy chocolate bar. Not really what you need or want when you’ve already spent thousands. Obviously I panicked. I Googled! It hurt too so it needed fixing, quick.

I called my Invisalign dental practice and told them what had happened. The receptionist said there were no appointments & that I should go urgently to my own dentist (the one I used normally before Invisalign). From various Reddit threads/blogs/random internet articles I felt this was not the right thing to do because 1. My trays may not fit if my normal dentist gave me a filling and didn’t consider the fit of the tray (because he is not an Invisalign provider himself). 2. This would then potentially slow down my treatment if my trays don’t fit properly as there is the risk of having to have a rescan (apparently) and then trays reordered.

I really wanted to avoid the above so I pushed back and managed to get an appointment within a few days (at the Invisalign dentist) to have a temporary filling put in, while waiting a few weeks for a proper appointment to have a permanent filling. The dentist then made sure this was filled so it didn’t impact the fit of my trays and all could continue as normal. £160 later.

IPR – Interproximal Reduction

As with attachments, IPR is a hotly discussed topic in the ~ internet world of Invisalign ~. Some people (who I now suspect are rather dramatic) write about it as though it’s a life threatening illness. IPR is kind of like a dental flossing of the teeth using metal (full description here). It doesn’t sound nice, and physically the idea is undeniably quite grim. I wasn’t looking forward to it but again, it really was nothing to worry about and did not hurt. It wasn’t pleasant but I just popped on some Alice in Chains and pretended the sounds were part of the grunge era. I don’t think I would like to actually listen to it happening as it was quite a cringe inducing sound.

To date, I’ve had IPR twice across 2 different appointments. 4 weeks apart. This was so they could monitor how much spacing I needed as to not do too much.

Changing the frequency of aligner changes

Until tray 6 I was changing on a bi-weekly basis. Because my teeth were tracking well and I had been good at wearing them for 20-22 hours every single day, I was allowed to change to 10 day changes from trays 7-10.

I then had to go back to the dentist for trays 10-14 (I have 14 in total for the main set of trays before any refinements).

At that visit I also had a hygienist appointment, of which during, another filling fell out. FML. MORE MONEY ON DENTISTS! However, for the moment they said to leave it till my next appointment as it was a small one.

Fast forward to that appointment / now. Currently I have just finished my final tray (14) after being able to move to weekly tray changes. I now will be wearing tray 14 until my refinement trays are created (I had another scan). This is going to take 4 weeks and I will wear the tray at night only. This makes me a little nervous that my teeth will move in the day… (though the dentist says it won’t) but at least I can eat all the food over Christmas!

Invisalign pros and cons

The first point to mention is that I can’t quite believe how fast this has gone already and it’s not been a big deal at all. It becomes part of your daily routine and you sort of forget you have it in. I would say it’s not THAT noticeable to others, and you can always take it out for meetings/events for a couple of hours. Another pro is that it’s definitely working. My teeth are almost perfectly straight. It is hard to notice the changes day to day/weekly but if I look at photos it’s really obvious. Personally, I have also not found Invisalign painful. Just a bit annoying at times to have in your mouth – it can feel a little claustrophobic.

Another pro (depending on your own eating habits), is that it really has stopped me snacking which I was mindlessly doing. It’s just not worth the effort for the below con..

The worst thing about Invisalign is having to brush your teeth all. the time. I know some people can be quite slack with this from the start eg. not brushing after a meal/drinks but just rinsing and putting the tray back in (which is fine on occasions Invisalign say), but I just find it a bit gross so really try not to do it (apart from alcohol). In the past few weeks I had been doing that a little more, though now I have a missing filling I have to keep up with the diligent brushing. I will be so glad to not have to brush my teeth 4-5 times a day when this ends. I have also had some weird looks in public bathrooms, mainly from old ladies who probably have no idea what I’m doing/think I’m being rude spitting toothpaste in a public space. And tbh I can’t blame them, it is a bit weird!

The other con is obviously the ongoing cost if things don’t go to plan, eg. the fillings falling out. I mean, it is what it is so it may or may not happen to you, but I have been told it can happen to older fillings when the teeth are shifting. Just another cost to consider.

Hopefully all of the above is helpful and the next time I post maybe I will have finished my treatment completely & can review the final results! Any questions just drop me a comment below :)

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