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.