If you had told me 3 or 4 years ago that I would be straightening my teeth, i'd have never believed you! It was something i've always wanted to do, but thought I had completely missed the boat!
Lets rewind 17 years to 10 year old Hayley. I was referred to an Orthodontist because my Dentist was sure that I was going to need braces due to my tiny jaw! I remember there was a big waiting list, and I don't think I got to see the Orthodontist for months and months- by which time my jaw had grown and I no longer needed them.
When all of my all my adult teeth came through, they were relatively straight, and I never had a problem with them! This is a picture of me at 13 or 14, and my teeth were absolutely fine.
I hadn't thought twice about my teeth until I saw this photo of myself! I remember it so clearly. I was 17 and had just got back from a 6th form trip to London, and I was looking at everyones Myspace pictures. I came to this shot of me with a full smile and I had to zoom in! When the EFF did my bottom tooth move in front of my top??? I then scrolled back through prom pictures and although it hadn't come forward I could tell when it had started to shift.
I saw a Dentist who did an Xray, and determined that it may have had something to do with my Wisdom teeth, as they were on their sides. But despite that, it didn't bother me...I didn't think it was that big a deal.
Turning Down Treatment At 19
As I got older I noticed that all my bottom teeth were wonky (not just the one that was sticking out) and it slowly started to bother me. I ended up seeing an Orthodontist again who told me that because I was still in full time education (at college) that I might be able to get a brace free on the NHS. But as soon as he told me I might need 4 teeth removing I declined, as I couldn't face all that work!
Ever since I walked out of that Dentist in 2009 I have regretted it ever since. Over the past 8 years I have altered my smile to hide my teeth and it has bothered me every time I look in the mirror. I always thought I had blown my chance and that now I would have to pay for it myself, there is no way I could ever afford it!
Making It Happen!
Last year I decided that enough was enough, so I started looking into my options. As I was taking out a loan for a car anyway, I decided to buy a cheaper car and spend the rest on finally getting my teeth straightened! I had seen a girl at work with a train track brace in, and she gave me the confidence to just go for it!
I didn't know which road to go down, whether to get traditional braces or to spend a bit more and get Invisalign. There were pros and cons of both, so I decided to book some appointments. I booked a standard Orthodontist appointment to speak about train tracks...and that appointment alone was going to cost me £110!!! So I decided to see my nearest Invisalign practitioner as your first consultation is free! Lo and behold they were having a huge promotional 'smile month' throughout February whereby they were knocking a significant amount off the price and allowing 18 months interest free payment plans which turned out to be the cheaper option! And just like that...I was sold. I cancelled my other appointment and started my treatment!
The Initial Appointments
I have had a couple of appointments from February until now whereby they have taken moulds of my teeth and sent them off to Invisalign in California to generate a 3D moving image of how my teeth will move, which was so cool to watch! I then had to wait a few more weeks for them to make up my retainers, and yesterday I finally picked them up!!
You can just about tell in this picture that i'm wearing a brace!! It's amazing! Apart from those little dots you can see scattered about, it's crystal clear. Those dots are called anchors, and they are glued onto the teeth that are going to be the hardest to move...and they work with the retainers to straighten your teeth.
I have 20 sets of retainers. I wear 1 set for 2 weeks and then I move onto the next set, so in total I will be wearing these for 9 months!
First Impressions and Minor Lifestyle Adjustments
My teeth ache! I was told they would, so it doesn't bother me too much. I know it's the price you pay for vanity so i'm getting on with it! They also rub a little bit, but Bonjela has been my best mate. I actually nipped to Tesco last night to do a bit of an Invisalign haul! I got painkillers, a travel tooth brush and paste, the Bonjela and a little wash bag to keep all my bits in!
The reason I need the tooth brush and paste is that I have to take my retainers out before every meal and drink (except water), and brush my teeth before I put the retainers back in. This means i'm no longer able to graze throughout the day or snack in between meals, because it is way too much of a faf! People online often talk about the 'Invisalign Diet' because people end up cutting way back on their food intake whilst wearing the braces!
I can only take them out for 2 hours a day! Which means I have to be vigilant and maintain proper meal time routines at the weekend which i'm terrible at! My mouth is also super dry!! I'm constantly drinking water and applying the lip balm.
So yeah! That is all I have to say about Invisalign at the moment, but i'll be blogging about my movement over the next 9 months to show you my progress. If you have any questions, please comment below!
Week 1 Progress Pictures