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Mike’s Story

My name is Mike. I am a 36-year-old married dad of three from Ipswich. After speaking with Derek at my last check-up he suggested writing a blog for the Christchurch Dental website so that I can let you know how my Invisalign treatment is going and pass on any hints and tips.

Why have I chosen to have treatment and why Invisalign? I have played sport, rugby, martial arts etc the whole of my like, so my teeth were never a cosmetic priority. I have never really liked the look of my teeth. Health wise, they are good, but cosmetically, not great. Having a father-in-law as a dentist never really helped. Although my treatment from him was excellent and very cheap, whenever I mentioned cosmetic procedures, I was met with the classic line “there’s nothing wrong with your teeth!” the truth is that there is nothing wrong with them health wise, but to look at, they always bugged me. My front two teeth are twisted and worn. My lower teeth have “crowding” and this makes it very difficult to floss. I also have a few chips on the upper front teeth from a passionate prop from a well-known Essex rugby club! So I made the decision to investigate the procedures available for straightening teeth, braces etc.

I found Invisalign from “googling” online. Several large practices in London were offering the services for a competitive price, but I was really looking for something more local. I left it for a little while, and I just happened to be on a search for a new dentist in Ipswich, when I contacted Christchurch Dental to see if they were taking on new patients. During my initial visit, I noticed that the practice was offering the Invisalign treatment. After a detailed chat with Anna (the practice manager) and Derek (my new dentist), they gave me the rough costs of the Invisalign treatment. I had some idea before, and the costs were looking good, even compared to the London practices, and even better, this was on my doorstep.

“What were the costs?” you all ask. Well, this is the tricky bit. It’s a bit like quoting to repair a faulty car, without going in the bonnet, or looking underneath the chassis. The answer is until the dentist investigates, he can’t really give an accurate price. The next step gets you the price you want. I had four 3D x-rays done of my teeth, as well as the detailed photos from Derek. (WARNING….prepare to see yourself/teeth in the most disgustingly detailed way, I don’t think Derek could have purchased a more advanced camera, with higher megapixels!!) With this information, Derek sent the x-rays and shots offer to Invisalign in America. The cost so far: £50 for the initial consultation, and £400 for the x-rays, BUT DON’T PANIC!!……. These costs come off your final Invisalign package price.

Following these x-rays and photos I now have my price, x-rays and my Invisalign predictive video, which shows what is achievable with their technology. This in itself is an incredible insight to what is available to your own requirements. I have decided to go ahead with the treatment and my Invisalign braces should be ready any day for fitting. I will be updating my blog the day after fitting and then periodically after each fitting, change, mood swing, or argument with the wife.

Regards Mike

Thursday 31st March… Fitting Day

Today is my fitting day. I went in to see Derek and the team, paid my balance (various options available, I went for the payment up front, to gain 5% discount) and had a final chat with Derek discussing the pros and cons of treatment, what our end goal was, and what to expect. Derek started his work…

Several of the front teeth had to have a tiny amount filed away to allow for the “movement” of the teeth. Apparently, some people find this procedure uncomfortable, much like fingernails down a chalkboard, but I found it ok.

Next, I had several “stoppers” fitted to the teeth. These act like handles to steer the teeth one way or another. They feel strange at first but are teeth coloured, so are not too invasive.

Finally, the aligners go in. The accuracy of these things is incredible. They literally “click” in. No movement or play whatsoever. My Invisalign braces are in! When asked how i felt by Derek, I won’t lie, by saying ‘normal’. Very similar to wearing a slim line gum shield…Not sure at the moment. Physically they are very clever.

When i returned to work, nobody noticed, until i spoke…. I have inadvertently created a small lisp like thing! I also drool quite a bit at the moment. A rogue dribble hit my minutes page, in a meeting (nobody noticed). It seems my body is trying its hardest to break down the aligners with huge quantities of amylase. Hopefully, this will calm down. Spent the rest of the night with tenderness to front teeth. Most tenderness coming from the removal of the aligners for eating. I can already feel the aligners “working” my teeth. People have no idea that i have a fitted brace in at all. All in, really pleased though, if a little bit uncomfortable at the moment….

Regards Mike

Friday the 1st April (no jokes please!)

OMG! I have woken up to see Barry Gibb looking back at me in the mirror!! Not quite. I have now had the braces in for one whole day. How do I feel? Well, honestly the drooling is no better, my wife keeps asking me to say “Invisalign braces” as she thinks it sounds funny with my new impediment. Couldn’t they have called it something else?! cruel joke, Invisalign directors!! One of the stoppers has come off, no big probs, as Derek has fitted one in 10 minutes…Back to normal…

The braces really are just what they are, the only thing i am struggling with at the moment, is thinking about them. You know they are there, but i am constantly feeling, touching and thinking about them. Probably the same as when a person has their ears pierced, maybe? Still slight discomfort in front lower teeth on the removal of aligners.

Regards Mike

Sunday 3rd April

One of the biggest things i have noticed is my diet. I never realised how many teas, coffees, soft drinks and snacks i eat and drink all day! These have all stopped because i have a system in place, where i remove the braces to eat every six hours. Breakfast at 6 am, braces back in at 6.30am… lunch at 12 pm, braces back in at 12.30pm…This seems to work well for me. I occasionally have a hot drink at 9am, but i have cut back on all snacks and teas – that requires me to remove the braces. I also cannot finish off juicy morsels left over by 3 children, and every meal seems to taste much nicer! so far i have lost 3 pounds since Friday! unbelievable! I would like to add, this is a bonus, not my intention, so i will keep this to myself from now on.

It has come to me that 6 months of this will be a huge commitment on my behalf, something you readers may want to consider. I feel great for it, but if you love your food, think carefully. I prepare to be ripped for this summer!! Soreness in front lower teeth has now gone, and i have now controlled my dribble much better.

I am starting to get into a real routine now, which suits me fine. I carry some sugar-free mints to take away the stale taste sometimes and drink water in between. Will update shortly…….

Monday 23rd May

Apologies for the short absence… I went into the surgery last week, to see Derek and to see how my Invisalign treatment was going. I sat in the immaculately clean waiting room and picked up “Esquire” magazine. I then instantly realised I was probably a third as cool as I thought I was and I cannot afford a £1000 briefcase. The waiting room is like a small WH Smith with every conceivable magazine worth reading.

I progressed upstairs and stared at Derek’s ”Belmont” lamp. It doesn’t matter how many times I read the name on the lamp, I then read it another 25 times. I felt like Tom Hanks and his ”Wilson” ball.

Derek continued on with some more “intercontinental filing” or something that sounds like that… I am getting used to this now, but it can be quite uncomfortable in the tight areas between the teeth. After this visit the filing stops for a while, so i need not revisit for a month now. Quite sad really, the practice is a lovely place to just gather your thoughts and realise how cool you could be… (re: Esquire magazine).

On leaving, Derek hands me my two new sets of aligners, like the dental Santa Claus of Ipswich. Gleefully I accept them and carry them away like my two newborn babies downstairs. Secretly I feel that Derek likes the power he has over us Invisalign patients, we crave our next set of aligners to progress this wonderful and exciting treatment!

I have a little bit of soreness as usual with the new set, usually on the teeth that are doing the most “work”.Invisalign top tip: when removing the trays, i find that alternating the removal side stops the trays from warping. Too much removal in the same place has stretched the plastic and can lead to some small amount of play.

I am off to Portugal for a week, will update soon, any questions, please forward to me via the practice.

Best Regards Mike

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