Hi! My name is Deirdre and I am the Practice Manager of Portobello Dental Clinic. This week I began my Invisalign treatment plan with Dr Helen Walsh and I thought it would be informative to share my journey as a patient.
I was very excited to start my Invisalign treatment but I was not without some trepidation and fear. That might sound strange coming from someone who works in dentistry. I am confident that the treatment will be carried out in the best possible manner with the best possible care and I myself have received training about the Invisalign process. That does not mean as a patient I wasn’t nervous. It’s not uncommon for many patients to feel a certain amount of apprehension when they embark on a large treatment plan such as braces. You are signing up to not only months of treatment but also a commitment to yourself to continue to be diligent with your oral hygiene and wearing retainers as instructed. I suppose what helped me manage my nerves, was my aim to improve my smile and knowing that having braces was the right choice for me and my lifestyle, especially as Invisalign is more discreet than traditional brackets and wires.
My First Appointment
I had the fit appointment of my aligners on Monday, which is the next step in the process once you have reviewed your clincheck (3D diagnostic scan) and are happy with the projected outcome of your treatment. At this appointment I was having attachments (tiny composite dots) placed on some of my teeth to aid rotation and movement and then also IPR (Inter proximal reduction). The IPR is what I was most worried about as it involves polishing between the teeth to help make space for the moving teeth.
Being honest, the IPR wasn’t the most enjoyable but it certainly didn’t cause me any pain. It felt like a deep pressure in my mouth and teeth and was almost overwhelming from a sensory point of view. Some teeth were more sensitive than others and that was where I asked for some breaks or Helen stopped, and started on another tooth, to give me a breather. I required a significant amount of IPR as my case is a little bit more complex but it’s specific to each patient. Throughout the appointment Helen and Anna (one of our dental nursing team), updated me on how long was left and provided reassurance. Needless to say I was very happy when Helen said we were finished!! I would recommend using the sound cancelling earphones we have in the clinic or bringing your own, as listening to music definitely helped me to zone out and relax.
Once that portion of my appointment was completed my aligners were fitted and I was sent home with my starter kit and 3 weeks of aligners. Helen also instructed me on how to take my aligners in and out and very importantly advised I needed to wear them for 22-23 hours per day. As the afternoon wore on I didn’t have any pain but more a new awareness of my teeth and a discomfort sometimes if I bit down hard. My lack of discomfort may have been down to taking some painkillers after my appointment and I also kept to a soft diet for the day just to give my teeth a break.
Taking my aligners out for the first time was scary. It felt like they weren’t going to move and I feared I might damage my teeth – not to mention my manicure! Despite having previously talked patients through how to do this, I still panicked. So if I had one word of advice it is to be relaxed when you first attempt to take them off and know you won’t get them on the first go, and that’s okay. Start at your back molars and from the inside of your teeth and take it slowly. As I have learnt, it will take a few minutes the first few times you try to take them out but they will come, I promise!
I am almost 4 days into my Invisalign journey and things are going well so far. Of course it has and will continue to take some time to get used to them but other than eating softer foods for the last few days it has not had a negative impact on my day-to-day lifestyle and I’m hoping the next time I write my blog I will be a pro at taking my aligners out and putting them back in.
For the purposes of transparency, Dr Walsh has had no input in my blog and all opinions expressed are my own.
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