I have always been unhappy with my teeth, well one tooth in particular. You might think that I’m being vain or even just dramatic, but one little imperfection in the appearance of my teeth has really affected my confidence. So I made the decision to get clear braces, which are basically exactly the same as Invisalign but a different lesser-known brand called HDL Aligners. I thought I would document the process including everything from the moulds, to the time it took to straighten my teeth and the cost of clear braces.
– Getting the Moulds Taken
– The Cost of HDL Aligners
– Getting the first set of aligners and having my teeth filed…
– Pain Levels
– How long did the process take?
– Were the Clear Aligners Intrusive?
– Before and After Photos
– After Clear Aligners
Getting the Moulds Taken
So the whole process started at the end of September. I went to my dentist and got the moulds of my teeth taken. This is when a weird rubbery gel is put into your mouth, along with an impression tray (sort of like a big mouth guard) which is put onto your top and bottom teeth. Each one is done separately.
I had the bottom mould done first, and I won’t lie – this was probably the worst. It wasn’t painful in any way, it was just very uncomfortable. It kept making me want to gag! But it was only there for just under four minutes, so it wasn’t too bad. Then once it is set, it has to be pulled out. And let me tell you now, the gel really sticks to your teeth so it does take a bit of tugging. It kind of feels like your teeth are about to be pulled out! But just to reiterate, this wasn’t painful at all, more just uncomfortable. The top moulds weren’t quite as bad as I felt they fitted a little more comfortably.
Overall I was in the dentist for around 25 minutes, so the moulds didn’t take very long at all. I was just left with a lot of the green rubbery stuff around my mouth. It looked like I had been doing a face mask and not washed it all off…
I should also mention that at this point I was unsure of whether to have both top and bottom braces, or just the top, so I had both moulds taken just incase. This was so I could get a price back on how much it would cost altogether, and how long the whole process would take. Once I had that information I could then make a call on what I wanted done.
The Cost of HDL Aligners
After my moulds had been sent off to the lab, I waited two weeks to hear back. In this meeting with the dentist I found out how many sets of aligners I would need, how long it would take and the all important cost…
For my top teeth I was told I would need eight different aligners, which would be spread out over the space of 16 weeks. Even now, I am still in shock at how quick it is to move your teeth! The total price for my top teeth was £1200, which is slightly more expensive than I expected but still a lot less than Invisalign would cost.
At this time I also found out the size of each gap I would need filed between some of my teeth. This is to allow the movement to take place as your teeth slowly straighten up. Admittedly I was a bit worried about this as I saw that one gap had to be 0.4mm, which I thought would be quite noticeable but my dentist reassured me that you wouldn’t notice it as I would be wearing braces and it would close up very quickly.
For the bottom row of teeth I was told that it would only take one retainer and only two weeks! Admittedly my bottom teeth really aren’t that bad. I just have one tooth that is slightly out of place, but I thought as I was doing the top, I may as well do the bottom… that was until I saw that it would be £300. As I’m really not that fussed about my bottom teeth, I decided not to go ahead with this one – for now anyway. You might think that spending another £300 is nothing considering I’m already spending a lot of my top teeth, but to me it is a lot of money! And I knew at this point that I also wanted to whiten my teeth which again would cost around £300, so my reasoning was whitening over bottom teeth.
From this point, my order was made to the lab and I had to wait another month before receiving the first set of braces. It was only meant to be a couple of weeks but unfortunately the lab took ages…
Getting the first set of aligners and having my teeth filed…
When it finally came round to getting my first set of aligners, my dentist agreed to give me the first two sets so that I didn’t have to come back for another appointment for a month. This meant that I needed to have my teeth filed between for the first set and second all at once. This was three teeth in total, with the tiniest of gaps being made. I mean like 0.1mm, so you could barely see it. Although you could definitely feel it being done…
Having the gaps made wasn’t painful at all, it was just a really uncomfortable experience of lots of tugging. And it didn’t sound the nicest! The dentist basically has these feely thin sheets of mesh that slot between your teeth so they can file to make the gap. It sounds very unpleasant, and I guess it isn’t that great but it is definitely bearable – it didn’t take very long either.
The majority of the clear aligner sets were relatively pain-free, apart from one set in particular. It really hurt. Like for the first 4-5 it made one of my teeth in particular extremely tender. Every time something hit it when I was eating, it was quite painful to say the least! But thankfully this only happened with the one set of aligners. The others hurt a little for the first day or so, but the pain soon subsided.
There were a few times when my teeth got slightly more sensitive than normal, but it wasn’t too bad. I just used my favourite Sensodyne Pronamel toothpaste, which really helped with any discomfort.
How long did the process take?
As I said earlier in the post, each set of aligners takes two weeks so it was predicted that overall it would take around 16 weeks – but then I had the added two weeks on the end of that for the extra ‘refiner’. It ended up being a fair bit longer than what was expected anyway purely because of having to arrange dentist appointments for times when they had appointments free. So I started the process 16th October 2017, and finally finished on Friday 2nd March 2018, which is around 20-ish weeks.
Were the Clear Aligners Intrusive?
They were not intrusive in the slightest. Like when I was wearing them, they could barely be seen. They just make your teeth look a little bit more shiny. And when they were on I just got so used to them, that when I would take them out my teeth would feel totally naked!
I could speak perfectly normally with them on and to be honest, they didn’t affect anything I was doing. The only thing that was a little bit annoying was having to take them out each time I wanted to eat, and then having to brush my teeth after. But I guess this was more of a blessing in disguise as it just kept me from snacking all the time!
Before and After Photos of Clear Aligners
When it got to the last set of aligners, I felt a little unsure of the results. There was still a small gap next to the problem tooth and my two front teeth were slightly overlapped. Therefore the dentist offered to take another set of moulds so that I could have one more set of aligners that would refine my teeth. It was a further cost and another two weeks, but I am so glad I went for it. I am more than happy with the finished results!
After Clear Aligners
When I got to the end of the aligners, I was given a final set which is to be worn at night. My dentist advised that this should be worn every night for the first few months. From then I can go to every other night and then eventually a couple of times a night. At first this retainer was super, super tight, but after a few wears it fit my teeth perfectly! I think it felt a little tight as each of the teeth wasn’t cut out like the aligners. Instead the line along the top was completely straight.
Now I just have the whitening process to go through, as I wasn’t going to get my teeth straightened and not get them whitened as well! I will put all of this into a future blog post, so keep your eyes peeled…