Back in February I began with my Invisalign journey. 6 months later and I have the teeth of my dreams! Thanks to the incredible Dr.Rhona Eskander of the Chelsea Dental clinic. Rhona is a magician, a true teeth artist. (If that's not a thing-it is now)! Here I tell you about my experience and Rhona answers some of your most asked questions.
Firstly, I have to say, my teeth weren't that bad before the procedure which is why the process was quicker than most. Lockdown also helped. Rhona gave me all of my trays on my last appointment on the 23rd March. I was actually sat in her clinic watching Boris's lock down announcement! So I was very lucky to be able to get my entire pack of aligners that day.She also decided to do the filing in-between my teeth. This makes space for them to move. It would usually be done a few weeks later, but she did it due to not knowing when she would be able to see me again. This turned out to be great as I could then just get on with my treatment at home.
Being in lockdown meant that I followed the rules. I'm pretty sure this wouldn't have happened if normal life had continued.
Why did I do it?
I decided to have Invisalign because my teeth bothered me. I'm in front of a camera a lot, and it was the one thing that annoyed me. I had also noticed them crossing over more and more over the years. The edges were uneven and they weren't as white as I would have liked. After speaking to a lot of friends who'd had Invisalign, and after being recommended Dr.Rhona, I booked an appointment.
The first appointment and what to expect.
The first visit was pretty quick and straightforward. Your teeth are scanned with a nifty device. This is to show you a digital before and after, and to measure up your aligners. This didn't hurt at all. It's not until your next visit that you get to see the potential results. Rhona also pointed out that my teeth were about a third shorter than they should be from grinding over the years. I didn't even know I grinded, but apparently this is extremely common at night.
Here's my before and after digital video. Put your sound on if you'd like to hear Rhona explaining the process.
My second appointment was a couple of weeks later. Here I picked up my first aligner trays, 2 sets, which I would wear for 4 weeks just to get used to them.
These were the rules I was given
Wear them 22 hours a day
Clean your teeth after every meal
Make sure you floss every other day
Take them out everytime you eat and drink. You're ok to keep them in when drinking water or anything clear. (My Gin collection became exceptional during this period)!
Clean the retainers each night with your toothbrush
These were the realities of the rules for me
I reckon I wore them for 20-22 hours a day. This seemed fine but remember, If you don't follow this rule it can delay your treatment.
I brushed my teeth twice a day, and after lunch if I was at home. After eating I always rinsed my mouth with water and that seemed fine. Obviously, due to lock down, I was at home a lot so brushing them was a lot easier than if I was at work.
I flossed and used a Water pik which I highly recommend as this almost helps to double cleanse your teeth.
On the first day I forgot to take them out when I drunk a green tea and they turned green! They where then stained green for the 2 weeks! So deffff take them out when drinking anything that's not clear.
This was where I got the bumps on my teeth. These are tiny tooth-coloured bumps that are bonded to the teeth using dental composites. They are placed at precise locations on the teeth, as explained by Dr.Rhona in the video. This allows the aligners to grip the teeth as they guide them to their new location. They basically speed up the process and make sure your teeth move correctly.
They are barely noticeable when the retainer is on, more so when it is off.
This pic is without the retainer
Lots of people asked me about the pain. Obviously there is some discomfort when you change the retainers as they get tighter each time. I changed mine about every 2 weeks, sometimes every 8-10 days if I felt they were loose and weren't working anymore. My tip would be to always change them at night. Occasionally I would take 2 paracetamol, (always read and follow the instructions), when changing them to ease the slight pain. By morning they would be fine. It was more annoying when the aligners were off as the bumps would rub my gums which caused soreness and the occasional ulcer. Make sure you always have Bonjela at hand. Also, remember my teeth weren't that bad so it can be more uncomfortable depending on how much your teeth have to move.
This is the best bit, the magic! Honestly I could see a difference after week 2. It was amazing and I couldn't stop staring at my teeth. The fact that you can see the process makes all the hassle worth it for sure.Take pics every time you change your aligner so you can track the difference.
6 months later
I couldn't physically go and see Rhona during my treatment, so we would Facetime every couple of months so that she could see the progress. Once I had finished my aligners and lockdown was over I went in for my next appointment.
On a side note, I had a few extra retainers-these had crosses marked on the back of the packet. Rhona explained that these were only to be used if I needed to correct my teeth slightly, Ie: they'd over straightened. So I didn't use these. You may not have these as you will be able to physically see you Dentist regularly and probs won't get all your aligners in one go like I did.
This was an exciting one as this is when the bumps were removed and I was given the whitening kit. This was done by the amazing Sarah Macdonald on Rhona's team. She is an Orthodontic therapist and is highly talented, as are the entire team at the clinic which, by the way, is made up of mainly women.
It was easy and pain free to take off the bonding. It just pulled slightly which wasn't a big deal. Sarah gave me the whitening kit which she told me I had to use for 2 weeks and then have a 2 week break before my final appointment for bonding. That then allows the whitening to settle.
She gave me the Philips zoom nite white 16% , (always speak to your Dentist before using), and explained that I should use it over night in my aligner. And that there may be sensitivity.
I could not believe the difference in colour in my teeth. You guys noticed it straight away! I was so lucky not to have any sensitivity. But I can also bite into an ice lolly with no worries so I wasn't too surprised. After 2 weeks my teeth were gleaming and straight. Albeit short. And that was more obvious now they were straight. I kinda felt a bit like Ross from friends, remember that episode?! But I loved the outcome.
Fast forward 4 weeks and it was time for my final and most exciting appointment. It was bonding day! So bonding is basically where your teeth are built up with compost bonding. This is a great alternative to veneers as your natural teeth aren't shaved down. Dr. Rhona is known for her natural bonding skills. Trust me, this is a skill that is pretty rare. So do your research before getting this done.
When I arrived I had my teeth cleaned by Anna Middleton, the clinics brilliant hygienist, to prepare for the bonding.
Next, Rhona placed this contraption into my mouth which meant that no water could get onto the bonding whilst it was setting. I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't comfortable. She also numbed my gums with local anaesthetic so that I couldn't feel anything which was weird. The bonding took about 90minutes. It obv didn't hurt because of the numbness, but it was weird. I just laid back on the chair and closed my eyes and took lots of deep breaths to keep calm.
Once the bonding was done, Rhona lasered my gums. She did this to make my teeth look slightly bigger and more even as I had quite a gummy smile. I couldn't feel anything but it didn't smell very nice as you can imagine! The gums were slightly sore and red for a couple of days, but nothing major.
When I first saw my new teeth it was amazing and strange. At first I felt they were slightly too big. Remember, my natural teeth were a third too short due to grinding. Rhona shaved them down slightly but then asked me to live with them for 2 weeks to see if I got used to them, as the size now was the size they should be. It took few days, but once I got used to them I realised how incredible and how natural they looked. Dr. Rhona is a true artist and also one of the kindest people you'll meet. I feel incredibly lucky to have had her as my dentist. She has really transformed my smile.
The final steps
After the bonding, Sarah put the permanent retainers on the back of my teeth. This prevents them from moving back. It's a thin bar of metal which you can't see. You can feel it on the back of the teeth but you forget about it after a couple of weeks.
2 weeks later I headed back to the clinic for one final check up, a polish and to get my night time retainers. These are to be worn every night forever, and to be changed yearly. A small price to pay for perfect teeth.
I just have to say a huge THANK YOU to Dr.Rhona and her wonderful team at Chelsea dental clinic. You made my experience so easy and I'll be forever grateful. I highly recommend the clinic to each and every one of you xx
To finish, I asked Rhona to answer your questions about Invisalign.
5 minutes with Dr. Rhona Eskander
What does bonding involve?
Isolating the teeth with rubber dam. Using an etch also known as a phosphoric acid on the teeth. We then use a primer and bond which is like the glue. The resin which comes in various shades of whites which is matched to the teeth is applied to the teeth. The artistic ability of the dentist determines the outcome. The straighter the teeth are the better. Crowded teeth can mean thick, chunky bonding.
What is the average cost for Invisalign and bonding?
Invisalign £3000-6000 depending on the case
Bonding £450 per tooth usually need 6/10 teeth
What are the best at home whitening treatments?
Boutique home whitening. We take scans of the teeth to make trays or allow you to whiten in the invsialign trays towards the end. Boutique has a unique hybrid formula which is very effective. Philips zoom is also excellent. With this we offer chair side sessions with your dentist involving a light or home whitening. All systems are based on peroxide which is the key ingredient to give the best whitening results.
How long does bonding last?
2-5 years. It all depends how well you look after it. For example diet is key. It can pick up stain with red wine, smoking etc.
Once finished with Invisalign does it last forever?
No. Unfortunately teeth always move and it is imperative to have a fixed retainer and night time retainers to try and keep the teeth in place. This is the best way to try and keep the teeth in place.
Does it hurt?
Some mild discomfort that you get used to. Changing the aligners can cause some discomfort as they are new. It’s more pressure than pain.
Can you just have Invisalign on either your bottom or top teeth or does it have to be both?
I always advise both. Teeth work in pairs. You want to ensure that the bite you create is working for both upper and lowe teeth.
Do the cheaper retainers we see online and on TV ad’s actually work?
I can’t comment specifically on a brand but I would never recommend not seeing a dentist. Patients are left to their own devices to take their own moulds at home. Many can’t and don’t do it accurately. If you have a problem it’s very difficult to reach someone. Furthermore there have been patients for example with gum disease and their teeth have fallen out during treatment as they weren’t properly assessed and treated before treatment.
If you have very crowded teeth, how does it work? Do you need some removing first?
Totally depends on the case. Some cases just need IPR which means doing some filing between the teeth. This removes enamel between the teeth and creates room for the teeth to move. In severe crowding cases teeth may need removing. In some cases if you are happy with an improved but compromised result without taking out teeth we can get away with IPR. Your dentist can show simulations of how the teeth will look with or without extractions.
Why do you laser gums?
The height width ratio is key to creating beautiful teeth so sometimes it means making the teeth bigger from the top. Often people don’t realise that gummy smiles can be corrected by removing gum tissue. Moreover if you have a high smile line where the muscles are hyperactive you want make sure the gums look even and symmetrical to create a beautiful smile. If you have big teeth and the proportions and symmetry are correct avoid lasering and consider Botox or surgery.
What’s the best way to clean in-between teeth when you have a fixed retainer?
Tepe brushes or single tufted brushes
Do you file teeth down for bonding?
No. But when bonding is removed or repaired the drill will most likely cut your teeth. It’s not totally reversible as people think.
Whats the average time scale for Invisalign?
Not only is Rhona smart and beautiful, she is also an innovator. Along with her colleagues Dr. Simon Chard and Dr. Adarsh Thanki, they have created Parla toothpaste tabs.
These toothpaste tabs are your eco friendly toothpaste alternative to the never ending plastic problem. Did you know that 1.5 billion toothpaste tubes enter ocean and landfills every year. It also takes 500 years for toothpaste tubes to decompose. This means that every tooth paste tube you have ever used still exists somewhere on this planet. PÄRLA is a zero waste, animal cruelty free vegan toothpaste tab. It comes in reusable glass jars with refills in compostable packaging via our subscription model which means you’ll never run out of toothpaste again. Importantly they’re designed by dentists and contain only ethically sourced ingredients but also the perfect dose of fluoride to prevent tooth decay. It is recognised by other health professionals and recommended by many dentists.
I hope this post has been helpful. Give it a heart if it has been.
I am so pleased I did this, it's so worth it.
Let me know if you're planning on getting Invisalign in the comments below.
Love & lipstick,