I’ve always been told that I have a great smile, but when I started working in the orthodontic field close to five years ago, I realized that my “great smile” was far from perfect. I began to become self conscious about my crooked teeth and started to smile with my mouth closed for pictures. I envied all of my patients because I knew that their teeth would be beautiful when they finished treatment.
The previous orthodontists I worked for generously offered to do treatment for me, but the timing was never right. We were either moving to a different state due to my husband’s Army career or I was pregnant and didn’t feel that I would be a good patient. I kicked myself for not going through with orthodontic treatment when I was younger. I remember getting molds done in middle school and I was such a brat to my poor mother that I refused to follow through and get braces. Let this be a lesson to all–when your parents are willing to pay for treatment, do it!
When I joined the Simply Orthodontics family in February, I asked Dr. Shung if I could begin Invisalign treatment. “Of course,” he said, “I take care of my own.” I knew that my teeth would be in great hands. Dr. Shung is the only Irvine orthodontist who is a Premier Preferred Provider for Invisalign. His experience and personal investment in all of his patients made me comfortable enough to stop making excuses and finally pursue treatment for myself. After I had clearance from my general dentist, I scheduled myself in the books to get my Invisalign impressions done.
Jessica, our Clinical Coordinator, completed my impressions with ease. She’s notorious for being so gentle that patients fall asleep in the chair, and I could definitely see why. We watched “Gilmore Girls” together on one of our flat screen tv’s while my impressions were getting done. As a mother of a toddler, it felt like a mini-vacation! Once my impressions were mailed to the Invisalign labs, the waiting game was on.
I was able to see a computer simulation of my Invisalign treatment (ClinCheck) prior to my aligners being generated. It was comforting to see Dr. Shung’s comments about my treatment. The advantage of seeing an Irvine orthodontist versus a general dentist when it comes to orthodontic treatment is that an orthodontist has the knowledge to make the appropriate adjustments to safely and effectively move my teeth.
A few weeks later, my Invisalign aligners arrived. The following Monday, I had Jessica and Dr. Shung place my attachments and deliver my first set of aligners. The plastic aligners themselves don’t do a great job grabbing onto your teeth as they are like slippery watermelon seeds, so tooth-colored attachments are placed on very specific positions on your teeth to allow those aligners to do their work effectively. Within twenty minutes, I was sporting my new Invisalign Invisible Braces. For the benefit of all my patients, I agreed to take an unflattering time-lapse video of this process. You’re welcome, all!
I went through the rest of the work day just fine. A few hours later, Dr. Shung asked me if I was sore. I told him that the aligners felt a little tight, but no soreness. “Min, you’re going to hate me tonight,” he smirked. And he was right. That night my teeth were incredibly sore and the morning after I could only eat a banana. I was starving. We’ve had patients come in before telling us that they lost weight after beginning treatment and we joked that this should be the newest diet fad. As someone who really enjoys eating, I was kicking myself for beginning treatment. But then I remembered what I have always told my patients over the last five years: Think of the end results. The end results are worth it. Any soreness just means that your teeth are moving and it’s working.
By Thursday, I felt no soreness at all and was eating regularly. I was able to more easily remove my aligners and replace them on my teeth before and after brushing or eating. You can bet that I was eating like a pig that weekend! Thankfully, the adjustment to the first set of aligners was the worst. The sequential aligners have been a cinch in comparison and I feel very little soreness now when I change out my aligners.
In a blink of an eye, I am already on my fifth set of aligners, which is about two and a half months into treatment. Wearing my aligners is such a normal part of my daily routine now and, amazingly, I am already seeing some changes in the alignment of my teeth. While I went into treatment for aesthetic reasons, I also know that I am also reaping all the overall oral health benefits of aligning my teeth. Flossing has already gotten easier as my teeth are becoming less crowded.
During consultations, my new patients are always surprised when I tell them that I am wearing my Invisalign aligners. They move in closer and want to take a peek because they don’t believe me. And although I feel that my speech is a little different, no one has noticed at all. We will always be our own worst critic!
Overall, I am so thankful to be able to do Invisalign treatment through Dr. Shung. My estimated treatment time is about 18 months as long as I continue to be vigilant about wearing my aligners consistently, which is about 20-22 hours a day. While I did not have a simply amazing smile for my own graduation and wedding pictures, I’m excited that I will for my daughter’s.
So what are you waiting for? No more excuses! Come in for a consultation with Dr. Shung and myself and we are more than happy to walk you through the process of Invisalign or braces so that you reach your own personal goals.