Part One: An Adult’s Point of View – From Crooked Teeth to Consultation

I had braces as a teenager, but I stopped wearing my retainer about 10 years ago at age 24 (don’t do this, kids!).

I’d been really proud of my smile until the last couple of years, when I noticed them moving back into their original alignment; crowding on both my upper and lower rows.

I had started to shy away from smiling in photos and felt self-conscious if I saw a picture of myself. These days our faces end up on social media – there’s really no escaping that. But we shouldn’t be hiding our smile every time someone snaps a photo. Now that outfit on the other hand…

So I started researching orthodontists in Eugene, Oregon, where I am attending graduate school. I came across Dr. Grieve and was impressed by his credentials and the fact that he was an Invisalign® specialist because that was the option I was most comfortable with.

If you’re unfamiliar with Invisalign®, it’s an orthodontic method that uses a series of clear plastic aligners specifically designed to correct alignment and bite. Some benefits to Invisalign® are the option to remove the aligners and reduced appearance (versus metal brackets).

Even then I wasn’t sure if I it was something I should consider. Was I prepared if he told me I needed braces again? Were my teeth even as crooked as I thought? Could I afford it?

But I made the call. The person I spoke with was incredibly helpful. She told me that they did free consultations, so I made an appointment. I just wanted to see what my options were.

On the first visit I was greeted and taken on a tour of the facility. I was impressed with how laid-back the atmosphere was. There was a fireplace in the waiting room – which really felt more like a lounge – and an arcade room with video games. I kept thinking how much cooler this was than my former orthodontist’s office.

We discussed my individual needs and vision of a better smile. They took digital images of my teeth so they could develop a treatment plan.

Then I met with Dr. Grieve for his evaluation, and to go over what my treatment plan would look like. He recommended Invisalign® rather than braces (yay!). We discussed how much time it would take, what the process was like, and what my teeth would look like when I was finished.

Then I met with Amber, the treatment coordinator, who helped me figure out the most ideal repayment option. (I really appreciated their flexible payments)! Even at this point they weren’t pushy, and didn’t pressure me to make any decisions immediately. I’d take my time during winter break to think over my options and then I’d decide my course of action.

Stay tuned…

Part Two: The First Days of Treatment – Invisalign

Well, I did it. I started Invisalign! And I learned a lot in the process.

When we looked at my digital treatment plan, Dr. Grieve showed me that he would need to add attachments to some of my teeth for optimum results. The attachments are tiny knobs that are matched to the color of your teeth and adhered for the entirety of your treatment. I also had to have attachments for rubber bands, which was a surprise, but is essential to correcting bite problems. I have an overbite, which can cause jaw issues down the road.

I arrived on a blustery winter day, unsure if the office would be open due to the snow. Sure enough, Dr. Grieve had made it in and they were expecting me. When I arrived, I spoke briefly with a receptionist about her experience with Invisalign®. I was a little nervous, but she had a beautiful smile, and she assured me that the experience has been worth it for her.

The application of the attachments didn’t take more than 15 or 20 minutes, and then Dr. Grieve showed me how to put the Invisalign aligners onto my top and bottom teeth. I won’t lie – the pressure was a little bit painful at first. And the attachments were more noticeable than I’d expected. But I was happy to hear that my treatment would only be for six months. By summertime, I’d have the smile I’ve been missing.

The assistant gave me a few supplies and some tips on everyday use, and sent me on my way. Not before giving me a goody bag of soft treats like pudding and applesauce, though. I definitely ate those during the first few days!

I had to get used to a new routine, but my dental hygiene has never been better. It’s recommended that you wear the aligners for 22 hours per day, which means that you really only want to remove them for eating. Then, before I put them back I brush my teeth to keep the aligners from getting dirty.

Looking forward to my next visit with Dr. Grieve to make sure things are on track. Fingers crossed!