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Monday 20th February

Hello, and welcome back to my Invisalign blog. The story so far…

10 months ago I visited Dr Derek van Staden at Christchurch Dental to discuss the Invisalign method of invisible braces. My goal, to get a nice smile and straight teeth.afterapproximately 7 months of wearing the Invisalign aligners, it was decided that the end result, although significant was not quite enough. Derek contacted Invisalign who, along with a specialist, made a few adjustments and asked me to continue on for a while longer, to gain the desired result. This is what they call a refinement.

I am now 6 weeks into my “refinement”. The Invisalign course has become even more technical, as I now only have 2 “steerers” glued onto my teeth. I still do the same routine of eating, then cleaning, with my old friends Evian and Smints, but also occasionally my old friend Kitkat sometimes comes to the party just to say hello. Derek’s wife Luci, told me that you do become quite accustomed to rapid removal of the braces to accommodate the odd treat. As Luci is Invisalign Yoda, I too am the young Skywalker, stealth in removal, quick cuppa/Kitkat,then back in, without so much of a squelch or a pop of the braces. I have noticed the significant movement of the top teeth, the ones which concerned me, but not the bottom ones. Derek (Obi wan kenobi) has assured me that the bottom ones are “passive” so do not need to move at present.

I have noticed in the media recently, an ever increasing amount of celebrities that have had cosmetic dentistry done. Following this Invisalign technique reassures me, that I am able to achieve a nice set of teeth, with my teeth, rather than being made to look like someone, who has had the teeth of a newly born foal, transplanted into their gums. This “look” bemuses me, do you people actually ask for this?

I am back in the surgery next week to collect my new set of trays, a quick pint of Explorer in the Greyhound, then back to the blog. Speak soon.

Monday 3rd October

I have finally reached the end of my initial course of treatment. I visited the surgery today to discuss how things were going with Derek. After 12 sets of aligners and nearly 6 months of brushing and cleaning relentlessly, cold turkey, suffering from lack of snacking, Smints and Evian water by the truckload, and 1 stone 13 pounds lost in weight, 2 inches off the waist, to this point, had we finally reached our goal? I sit in the lounge, avoiding Esquire, trying to spot people I might know in the back of “Suffolk” magazine when the smooth and reassuring tones of Derek greet my ears. I am called up to “the room”…

Derek and his lovely assistant make me feel at home as usual and we discuss the treatment and look at the digital imagery regarding my case. We know where we want to be with the treatment , but are we there yet..? Unfortunately, no we are not. It seems that the last 3 sets of aligners may not have worked their magic quite as effectively as the previous ones. However, Derek did mention that this could happen so now I am entering the ‘free’ refinement process stage, where we can continue alongside Invisalign to achieve the result we want. It works out that I need approximately another 3 months work and a few more sets of aligners.

I can’t wait to get my teeth and smile perfectly. I am booked in next week to see what further treatment I need, will update then.

Regards Mike

Monday 22nd August

I have turned a significant corner in my Invisalign treatment. The lower retainers have now finished, and i now have 8 weeks left of the upper retainers to go. The last of the lower retainers remains in situ, and i now regularly change the uppers every 2 weeks as before. Derek gave me the option of installing a permanent retainer on the lowers, this is a metal bar on the inside of the teeth which no-one will know is there, but i decided to leave this until I have finished the full course of treatment. After the uppers have finished, we will then reassess whether any further treatment is needed. Derek tells me, I do have the option of continuing with more aligners at the end if i am not happy with the result, free of charge.

I really have noticed an amazing change in my teeth especially the”twisted” uppers that were always bothering me. I have noticed a minute “triangle” that has appeared between the 2 front teeth. Derek warned me of this. I can only describe it as about the size of a pin head, only noticeable when the light is behind it.

Work on the discoloration of my teeth has started in a very simple format. I add a small amount of whitening gel to my trays every other night and leave in overnight. I would suggest that every other night is sufficient as it can make your teeth quite sensitive the following day. The days I don’t use it I replace with Sensodyne and leave that in instead. This works well for me. The teeth have taken to the whitening gel very nicely and have changed shade.

I would like to write about the “politics” of Invisalign for a moment. This being, not the company itself but the actual treatment of your teeth. When I made this decision I was totally confident in what I was doing and why I was doing it. You will, however, come across people with very different views on what you are doing. I have managed to narrow it down to these groups…

The Family… Almost every member of your family will say that you do not need it doing; they almost feel guilty that you dislike your teeth. At one point you would have thought I was having every single tooth removed and having nothing replaced.

The Intrigued. Have almost certainly looked into it Invisalign themselves, and are very interested in the whole procedure. Derek’s next customer.

The Jealous/ intrigued. Have also looked into the treatment but are too nervous to proceed, or cannot afford it.

The Condemnation… Complete disrespect for what you are doing, and look at you and think, what a complete waste of time and money.

The believers. The people who realise that you would not go to this effort, without having a good reason (usual brothers in law!)

Noticeable facts

  • I can no longer “Mexican whistle”. I have embarrassingly tried to recall my dog with a non-effective ” ssplargghhsst”. He didn’t come back…I am hoping this will return when I am free of aligners.
  • Whenever you try and do a stealth removal of the aligners, the whole room will go quiet, followed by you wrestling with your jaw bone, a pop and a splutter. The noise is like nothing else known to man. Every single person stares and thinks, “what is that bloke doing to his face?!”
  • I am now wearing 32 inch waist trousers again!! waahooo! Now going to dust off my white clingy t-shirt and black leather jacket. I’m 18 again!

Regards Mike

Thursday 28th July

Snug. Tight-fitting. Doing their job. No, not Kylie Minogue’s hot pants, but my new Invisalign retainers! My apologies for the delay since my last blog, i have been sunning myself in the Algarve, pretending to be Cliff Richard with my newish teeth, speedos and linen shirt. The weather was a little offish, but not enough to dampen spirits or the local ”vino tinto” for that matter.

Just to fill you in, my visits to the surgery are now further apart, where i visit and Derek checks everything and gives me my new trays. Firstly i had 4 weeks worth(2 sets) but now i am on 6 weeks worth of trays( 3 sets), so this means i will not be visiting for another month.

So whats been happening? i have just continued with my procedure, spacing my meals to suit the removal of the trays. It had really worked well for me, but as my friend Lucy van Staden advised, i am starting to get quite efficient at speedy removal, to allow for the odd treat. To put things simply, i have been snacking occasionally in between. This has no affect on the trays. Every single set i have put in, have been incredibly well made and fit perfectly. Once again, on Friday i put in my new trays and got that strangely satisfying “snug” feeling. Uncomfortable at first, but after 20 minutes the ache subdues. This uncomfortableness reassures you that the trays are pushing/puling those teeth extra gently into the required position. I love it! I have definitely noticed that both lower and upper teeth have moved considerably, to which i am really pleased.

My wife is bored of my Invisalign prowess…Whenever people ask me what the procedure involves, she looks at me, rolls her eyes and says “ oh no, here we go again!”. I do not care, for i am proud to be the ambassador of the white teeth wonder. I feel like Angelina Jolie working for Unicef. i will not however, be having the surgery’s coordinates tattooed on my arm. Love the Facebook updates Derek!!!

Regards Mike

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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