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inevitable...

It was inevitable that one night I would forget to put my retainers in. I actually thought it would happen sooner than it has.

Last night I went up to bed reasonably early. Our inconsiderate neighbours were outside barbecuing and watching a movie or something. Apparently a funny movie, because they kept laughing. Loudly. It was also pretty warm. So I was annoyed. Not that this has anything to do with teeth, but these all contributed to my completely forgetting to brush my teeth and put my retainers in.

With the aid of ear-plugs I slept soundly all night, and didn't realise my error until I woke up.

So after breakfast I brushed my teeth and put them in. They feel a bit tight, but not massively so. Certainly not as bad as some of the aligners felt during treatment. So I have tackled that barrier - I went retainer-less for 26 hours. Rather glad that it happened by accident, as I would probably have lay awake for ages stressing about whether it was too soon or not had I done it intentionally.

Going to wear them until about 10.30 today and then revert back to nightly wear. I reckon I could probably get away with missing a night or two here or there, but there isn't a great deal of point in doing that, so I might as well keep going as I am for a few more months yet just to be sure.

I had forgotten how difficult it can be talking with these things in when you aren't used to it.
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All good

As you'd imagine (and hope) after over 6 months in retention, I have very little to report. Still wearing my retainers every night. Not sure if I need to, but don't dare go a night without them yet. Will have to get brave one day and try it. Maybe set an alarm in the middle of the night so I can check they still fit. After spending £3k on this, yes I'm a little paranoid.

That mouth ulcer I talked about last time just got worse and worse, and Bonjella did nothing for it. So I went to the pharmacy and she told me that Bonjella was rubbish, and to try Anbesol liquid instead. Amazing stuff, and I won't bother with Bonjella ever again. I have no idea if the Anbesol helped it heal, but it was worth the price for the numbing effect alone. Christmas was saved! I could enjoy food again.
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looking forward to christmas

Looking forward to Christmas without invisalign this year! Visiting my mum on Christmas day and will be able to leave my retainers at home, yippeee.

Got a nasty mouth ulcer for no apparent reason yesterday. Right at the back of my tongue where my back teeth keep catching it. Chewing, swallowing, talking - all painful. Out comes the trusty bonjela that I bought for my aligner days. Reminds me of those early days of aligners rubbing my cheek and lips raw.

My retainers are getting a bit horrible now. They've got black stains on them from my fillings. Trying to work out the wear time and if I should switch to a new pair yet or not. Given that my first pair started off 20+ hours per day at first, but my next pair will start off just 9/10 hours per day - the next should last longer. Still too early if I want 5 years out of 3 pairs me thinks.

Anyway, just rambling on at the moment, thought I should check in and let you all know what is going on with my teeth.

Had another regular check up with the dentist last month - all fine. I'm no longer getting told off for not flossing (even though I'm, ahem, not actually flossing any more) - and that is all thanks to my new straighter teeth being easier to keep clean through regular brushing alone.

New years resolution - floss at least 3 times a week.
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major milestone

Wait for it.... wait for it...

Today I ate an apple. Without cutting it up first. Very exciting. While my teeth were actively being moved, such a thing was too painful to consider. While my teeth were first being retained, they just felt too delicate to be subject to such forces. All is good now.

I wear my retainers for around 10-12 hours per night. So nice to be a normal person and be free to eat at any time of the day, and most particularly not having to brush my teeth in awkward places! Went to london for work a couple of weeks ago, and very much enjoyed munching on a sandwich on the train home without having to contemplate brushing my teeth in the train toilet!

Am I glad that I now have straighter teeth? Yes.
Would I do it again if I knew what I was letting myself in for? Hmmmm, not so sure. I've gotta remind myself that I've done this for the rest of my life and as more and more years go by and I get to keep my teeth, the more benefits I reap.
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freedom

I am now able to go without my retainers for 9 hours at a time. This is amazing. Total wear time is now down to around 12 out of 24 hours. A couple of weeks ago I went out to dinner, then to the cinema, and was able to leave my retainers at home. A joyous occasion.

I am entirely paranoid about my teeth getting damaged. It feels like it is inevitable now that I've spent £3k fixing my teeth some annoying accident will occur and I'll break one of them. 2 weeks ago while playing netball I got hit on the forehead with the ball fairly hard. Once I'd established that my head and my glasses were okay I was then thinking sheesh, just a few inches lower and I could have broken a tooth. Such things never used to worry me before.

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retainer wear time

This week I've been wearing my retainer for 16-18 hours a day, with a maximum of 3 hours off at a time. 3 hours seems to be my limit at the moment, they are tight enough after that long to make me nervous of leaving it any longer.

Having 3 hours in the evening makes me feel almost like a normal person - brushing my teeth shortly before I go to bed.

No soreness on my teeth now. I'm confident that in the next 2-3 weeks I'll be able to push it to 4 hours at a time and be okay.

I think it is time I started looking at sonic cleaners. Going to do a bit of retail research with a view to buying one next week.
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Retainers, and having more time to eat


Over a month since my teeth officially stopped moving.

 

These days I allow myself 30-60 minutes off time for breakfast, 2-3 hours for lunch and 2-3 hours for the evening meal.

I feel compelled to update right now, because it is lunch time and I'm having major difficultly in not cramming my afternoon's food down in one go! It is proving difficult to break the necessary habit of the last year. I used to give myself 30 minutes for lunch, and in that time I would have a sandwich, a snack and a cup of tea. Now I can spread that across 2-3 hours and it is rather difficult to get back into that mindset. Just eaten my sandwich and had a coffee, now resolutely trying to ignore the fact that there is a very nice cereal bar in my desk drawer just begging to be eaten. I will save it for 2pm though, no matter how tempting it remains.

In other news, I'm loving my retainers. Not having teeth 'buttons' is great. And unlike my aligners the retainers are practically invisable (The aligners were difficult to see compared to metal braces, yet with the attachments in them they looked odd and some people did notice.) to the extent that people don't believe I'm wearing them until I grin like a maniac to show them.

I've had more tooth soreness than I expected with the retainers. My husband pointed out that it is probably because my teeth are moving a little in the 3 hours I have them out sometimes and then the retainers are putting them back. But at least they are no longer causing a lisp or cutting up my mouth as they did in the first 5-6 days.


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Finished

I have my retainers. I've taken 'after' photos. I am done done done!

Had my retainers in for about 21 of the last 24 hours. And ouchy. I wasn't quite prepared for them to make my teeth this sore. Nor the rest of my mouth. They are cutting me up some, and making talking a little difficult. Got a bit of a lisp on 'es' (esth!) thounds, but that is getting better quickly.

The retainers, despite the current discomfort that I am sure will pass soon enough, are so much nicer than the aligners! A lot less noticeable without them attachment spaces and a lot easier to clean too.

So what you all want to see. Photos!

Upper Before and After



Lower Before and After



Silly grin Before and After


Awesome. Just that stubborn lower canine but otherwise great.

Here is my natural smile, first with naked teeth then with retainer. Could you have spotted which was which if I didn't tell you?

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retention is for life, not just for summer

Today was finally the day. I walked into the office. My dentist has clearly forgotten what we were talking about 3 weeks ago, because he was talking about taking refinement impressions yada yada. I said nooooooo, I'm all done. He double checked a few times, and I confirmed I was sure. All finished.

So instead he removed my attachments, took 'after' photos, and ordered my retainers. Wohoo.

The removal of the attachments. Not Fun. He assured me that while the tool sounded scary, it wasn't strong enough to cut into my enamel. It did however fill my mouth (and cover my face) in a fine white dust. When he finished I felt like I had a mouth full of the stuff. Icky.

Retainers should take about 10 days to arrive. Teeth feel smooth when the aligners aren't in, and it is so odd! The wonkey canine looks better without the attachment on, still wonkey but less so.

Took advantage of a 'buy one get one free' deal and got 2 spare sets of retainers for £300, in addition to the one I get included in my original treatment cost. Dentist reckons that should cover my retention needs for 5 years. 22 hours a day for a while, then I can start increasing my non-wear time until I am (eventually) down to one or two nights a week. I'm just looking forward so much to nightly wear. Or even just having afternoons off :)
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where is my sugar free lollypop?

Saw the dentist this morning. First up - my teeth are in good shape. He cleaned a little bit of plaque from the back of my teeth, which hurt like hell because of sensitivity, but otherwise was a very comfortable and pleasant checkup.

Second of all, he said that I have clearly done a good job following all the invisalign rules and consequently I've got a great result. With all this praise I felt I deserved a lollypop or at least a sticker. Too bad I'm 27 years old.

He asked me if I was happy with my teeth. I pointed out one of my lower canines, which is still quite tilted and spoils the line of my teeth. He predicted it would take an additional 6 months to move it, and that I should think about it for aesthics only, its probably going to be okay functionally. I also pointed out that my arches don't meet. This would be harder to fix, would make me look like I had overly long teeth, and it isn't really going to do any harm to leave it as it is. So, all in all it sounds like I will be completing my treatment on time without refinements. The end result won't be perfect, but will be good enough for my original target - which was for healthier teeth that are easier to look after and a better bite.

This evening aligner 24 of 24 goes on to my lower arch. Very excited. I've got another appointment in 3 weeks time where we will discuss any final problems and the retainer phase.

The end is in sight!
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