OK. I am finally back with updating you all on my Invisalign treatment. I wanted to do the update for a while now but had many other things in mind that Invisalign always took a back seat.
As you have probably seen on my blog, we have moved to another continent since my last update over half a year ago.
The Move and Retainers
Finishing up Invisalign while still living in the States stressed me out a lot.
When we first found out that we would be moving last summer, I immediately let my orthodontist know about it. I had an appointment that same day!
Back then, I still thought we were moving much sooner, expecting to be in Germany around October/ November time frame.
That day I was at the orthodontist for a regular check-up to see if I was tracking correctly. Back then, the Dr. thought I would be done after that second round of refinements. But as I have told you before, I called them later, realizing I would not be happy after that round of trays.
To sum it all up, I was rescanned again and received ten more trays. All in all, that was my third set of refinements. It was crucial to me that I would still receive my retainer stateside before our move. I did not want to pay more money, transfer my case, or deal with new insurance.
In the end, it all worked out, and I was scanned for my retainer end of November, received that retainer in mid-December, and we moved two weeks later. Intense!
Happy with my Outcome?
Now, I have to say that if we had not moved back then, I would have gone for another round of refinements in the States. I still see room for improvement with my teeth, especially some black triangles on top and some shaping/movement on the bottom.
My orthodontist in the States agreed that there is some room for improvement. But she also said that I should wait some time and get used to my new teeth before going ahead and doing more corrections.
Honestly, Dr. Almy was right. With time, I got used to my new smile. Some black triangles are up top, but I think most people would only see them if they are actively looking for them. A regular person I meet on the street would not notice them at all. It is only when you focus on something intensely that it becomes visible. And the bottom row is not visible to anybody except for me anyways. So I think it is a fine line between obsessing and wanting to have something perfect and just accepting that the shape of your teeth is personal and not something you can always change.
Back then, though, I felt so worried about the outcome that I went ahead and scheduled an appointment with a German orthodontist while still being under treatment in the States.
Wearing my Retainers
Like I mentioned above, I received my retainers in mid-December. My retainers are clear aligners (Essix retainers, which means they are not the Invisalign brand, but the orthodontist’s own brand) that she told me to wear two months full-time and then only ten hours at night.
I had heard online, though, that most orthodontists recommend wearing the retainers full-time for six months and then gradually reducing wear-time to at night only.
So here I am, end of May, and I am wearing my retainers from around 8 pm until 7 am, and again, from around 8 am until noon. So that is 15 hours a day. Initially, though, I wore my retainers 24/7 for the first four months. To me, it feels right to wear them still this way. But I know as soon as life is back to normal with everything being open, I only wear them for ten hours at night.
Now, it is six months later; I am much more confident with my new teeth than I was by the end of treatment in December 2020.
Orthodontist Visit in Germany
When we first got to Germany, I still went ahead and visited a well recommended German orthodontist in February of this year.
He checked everything and did not recommend shaving my teeth anymore, trying to get them more perfectly. He said that my lateral incisors are already relatively small, and more shaving could potentially affect my teeth and make them sensitive.
The German orthodontist also said that he recommends wearing wired retainers instead of the clear aligner ones. He said they would still make a set of clear aligners but that I should only wear them two nights a week?
The orthodontist also said that my bite is not entirely correct, and with the clear aligners on, the teeth can not work on settling correctly.
I can feel that my bite is not 100% correct, but it is not bothering me a whole lot so far.
Different Orthodontists, Different Opinions
I think that every orthodontist probably does things differently. So, I am unsure what to think of his recommendation not to do any more Invisalign work and only wear wired retainers. Still, I am debating on getting a second opinion about getting the wired retainers instead of clear aligners in the future. However, I have heard mixed reviews with wired retainers also. Especially keeping them clean seems to be something to get used to.
Actually, many people have both clear retainers and wired retainers at the same time. However, I have never heard of not wearing the clear aligners.
Of course, if I get a second German opinion, I would also ask the other orthodontist about more Invisalign work, but I do not feel like that is a priority in my life right now.
Invisalign gives you five years from start to finish (only with the comprehensive Invisalign plan, not Invisalign lite), where you can utilize Invisalign trays for free. So, if I decide it becomes more important to me again during the next two and a half years, I would get the trays for free again. Of course, I would have to pay the orthodontist for his time and new retainers, in any case.
Next will be an update about the day I received my retainers in the States and what kind of work was done on my teeth back then. Also, what kind of recommendations the US orthodontist made, and how to take care of my retainers now. On top of all, I also have some great tips on how to help your black triangles close up.
On a different note, I am about to receive my second Covid shot this Wednesday, and I am super pumped to get life back to normal soon.