OK. Today I give you more information about the day I received my Invisalign retainers.
I was scanned for my retainers in mid-November, and about three weeks later, I had my last appointment.
The retainer scan was the same procedure as getting scanned for more Invisalign aligners.
I knew I was not getting Vivera retainers (that is, the Invisalign brand retainer) but that I would be getting Essix retainers. Essix retainers are also clear aligners that look very similar to the Invisalign trays, but they are cut to fit all the way to the top of your gum line.
In the Invisalign Facebook group that I have recommended before, people talk about how Essix retainers cut unto their gums, and for some, it is an awkward adjustment to get used to the Essix trays. However, I have not had any problems with the shape or fit of my Essix retainers. They feel about the same as my Invisalign trays.
My attachments were not removed the day I was being scanned for my retainers.
However, the orthodontist performed some more shaping to make my teeth look even, especially straightening the top front teeth and the bottom row. I thought it made a huge difference.
So, at my appointment to receive my retainers, the first thing they did was remove all the attachments from my teeth. The dental assistant removed the regular white attachments to hold the Invisalign aligners in place and the metal attachments that were holding the rubber bands in place for last two years. And oh boy, it was no fun to get rid of them. It felt like the dental assistant was breaking off my teeth while she worked on getting them off—no Bueno.
I can honestly say that this part of my Invisalign journey was the worst minutes of the last two years. It only lasted one or two minutes, but I started sweating while the dental assistant worked on my teeth.
After taking off all the attachments, she polished my teeth and removed any leftover glue.
Fitting the Retainer
Then, the orthodontist came over and fitted the retainers to my teeth. I received two sets of retainers and was told to switch the retainers every day – so that both sets wear out evenly. I had never heard of wearing retainers this way, but I am going with that recommendation. Dr. Almy also told me that these retainers should last approximately five to six years, and then it is on me to get a new set made somewhere or at her office, of course.
I also know that my orthodontist schedules one follow-up appointment eight months after getting your retainers to make sure everything is looking good. But, of course, I cannot go to that follow-up appointment since I live on another continent now.
All in all, I was pleased with my last visit to the Orthodontist, and I left with no questions unanswered.
But, I have some more information for you that I would like future Invisalign patients to know so that they can make well-rounded decisions.
I had also asked about bonding for the black triangles before, but my orthodontist did not recommend doing that.
Many Invisalign patients get bonding to even out the look of their teeth at the finish line of their Invisalign process (sometimes, it is included in their Invisalign package), but my orthodontist does not believe in it.
Bonding adds a tooth-colored composite resin to your teeth and, through that procedure, makes them look even and perfect. I debated getting it done at my regular dentist for a while but decided against it. Adding composite to your teeth is not a forever solution since bonding does only lasts about ten years. Also, the bonded parts of your teeth can stain more quickly than your regular teeth. But it is an option to make your teeth look perfect.
I think it is a personal decision, and whatever makes you happy in the end is what you should do.
My orthodontist and the regular dentist told me that I could actively help black triangles close after treatment.
They all recommend using your regular toothbrush and softly brushing on top of the gumline where you have your existing black triangle two times a day until you see the gumline growing back.
Honestly, I have not regularly done this “trick” as recommended, but my gumline has grown back into black triangles. Especially on both sides up front, I can see an improvement, not so much in the middle of my two front teeth, however. But I am glad I did not go with bonding immediately because then I would not have noticed this improvement. So perhaps, it’s a good idea to try the brushing trick up first, and then if that did not help, you could still get bonding done.
Many orthodontists also include teeth whitening at the end of the Invisalign journey; however, mine did not. I did not even know that was a thing before I started my Invisalign process, so you can always ask upfront about teeth whitening before signing your paperwork.
I scheduled a regular dental cleaning in the afternoon that day, and that was taking care of most of my stains and discoloration on my teeth.
You can also buy the whitening stuff on amazon or get it from your dental office if they do not offer it in your Invisalign package.
Looking Back on My Invisalign Journey
Looking back at the last two and half years with Invisalign and now in my retainers, I am so glad I decided to go with Invisalign or braces in general.
I finally feel comfortable smiling in a picture with an open mouth. When I look in the mirror, I see a more confident me because I now have straight teeth.
I know they are not perfect by any means, but my teeth make me feel comfortable, and I have no reason to cringe at myself when opening my mouth.
I would decide on Invisalign again. Getting used to the new routine was slightly more challenging than anticipated initially, but I was pleased with it once I was used to it. I still had my nights out and left my aligners at home once in a while, too. I still lived my life, just brushing a lot more often 😊