Scanning My Mouth and Designing My Plan
An actual patient account about using Invisalign orthodontics
As I discussed in the first article, when the shifting of my teeth started to affect the position of my tongue and the feel of my bite, it was time to see if I could use Invisalign. After the dentist determined that Invisalign was the perfect fit for fixing my tilted molars, the next step was to make an appointment for the initial consultation. During this visit, we would document my current bite and the placement of my teeth. Then, I would find out how long it would take to treat my orthodontic problem.
To build accurate aligners, or trays, to straighten your teeth, the dentist needs an exact representation of your mouth. I assumed this meant taking a physical impression, a mold of my mouth and teeth with some kind of plaster product. If you’ve ever had a mold taken of your teeth, for a mouthguard or a crown, you know that this is not fun. The dental technician fills giant trays with gooey stuff that tastes like mud. They are then shoved into your mouth and crammed up against your teeth and gums as if life itself depended on it. A big wad of oozing mud pours out the back, making your poor throat go into severe gag mode. Make sure to breathe through your nose!
If that sounds awful, or even barbaric, then three cheers for progress because this is not what happens at a modern Invisalign consultation! It’s all high tech now, with no mud, goo, or giant trays. A small camera wand was maneuvered around all my teeth and gums and palate, scanning images into a computer that modeled an exact digital representation of my teeth and bite. It was clean, fast and thoroughly civilized!
After a few x-rays to document the slant of the roots of my teeth and their location inside my jaws, the dentist had all the information necessary to “design my smile.” During what was left of the appointment, we made some decisions about finances, and discussed opting for a treatment accelerator called Propel. Although it is normal to wear each set of aligners for two weeks, by accepting Propel treatment, my time was shortened to ten days per aligner.
Once the planning consultation was over, all I needed to do was wait for my liners to arrive at the dentist, and that would be in just a few short weeks. I had taken the important first step in the process and was now much closer to a better bite!