'it's the most wonderful time of the year'...

Not for everyone it isn't.

I've been wanting to sit down and write this post for a while now (but plans have got in the way), it isn't going to be a big one. But I just wanted to write it and address that it is okay not to be okay during 'the most wonderful time of the year'.

Ever felt pressure to be okay? We all have at some point or other I'm sure. But you know what, it's okay not to be okay. That covers all year round, Christmas doesn't make illnesses and feelings disappear, wouldn't it be lovely if it did.

I feel like Christmas is the one time of year where there is added pressure to be okay but it really is okay not to be okay, honestly.

Whatever emotions you are feeling it is okay.

I want this post to act as a little reminder for you and a little reassurance too.

Take it easy, look after yourself. Take your time and breathe. One step, one day at a time.

My Invisalign Journey - so it becomes real...

Just over a week ago I got my Invisalign aligners and attachments fitted. I can honestly say it feels like the world's longest week and I just want to move on to my second aligners (that's happening today)!

I've had a realization today, on my blog I can waffle away as much as I like, nobody is being forced into reading it so I can type as much as I like or as little (it'll more than likely be a lot, not a little). I absolutely love when someone gets in touch with me to say that I've helped them in some way, it's a great feeling knowing you're helping someone. We are all put on this planet to make a difference, I choose to make a good difference (admittedly sometimes I probably don't make a good difference, I'm only human not a robot)!

So I'm hoping I can help some people understand the Invisalign process a little more (I'm no expert, neither do I work for Invisalign so some of the stuff I say might be a little wrong so don't expect me to be a fountain of Invisalign knowledge). I'm just a girl experiencing and sharing her journey.

Before heading in to the dentist

19th December 2015, 9.30am
It's time for the journey to really begin. I'm getting the attachments and first aligners fitted, mixture of emotions...excited, nervous and scared all mixed into one big ball. It all feels very real now. Now I've sat down to write this though the appointment feels like a blur, it feels so long ago.

One of the things I was dreading about braces was the part where the dentist uses some kind of mouth opening tool to keep your mouth wide open and lips off your teeth. At first it was pretty uncomfortable, I'm sure no mouth is meant to open that wide. But after a few minutes I got used to it.

Once the dreaded part was over, it was time for a disco in my mouth (so many colours and sounds going off)! I got my teeth cleaned, shaved/filed, prepped ready for my tooth coloured attachments to be fitted (even though my dentist joked that he'd used the green colour attachments, could you imagine?!) I don't even want to begin to imagine...

Attachments fitted, it was then time for the aligners. I can remember looking at myself in the mirror afterwards and just staring at these great big things on my teeth. But after a couple of days they didn't feel so big.

After leaving the dentists, wearing my first Invisalign aligners.

Luckily I got them fitted on a Saturday morning so I didn't have work for a couple of days so I had a few days to get used to them, not only the look of them but the removing and reinserting of them. My dentist made sure I could take them out whilst I was there, he shared a few tips with me (I kind of forgot them, maybe I should write stuff down more)! I remember taking them out for lunch and it taking a good 10/15 minutes, I was so worried I wouldn't be able to get them out or I'd snap them. So far so good though, I haven't snapped them and I'm very capable of taking them out. Practice makes perfect springs to mind now.

The motto of the weekend was 'no pain, no gain' because my teeth were so sore. Every time I took my aligners out and put them back in it was painful, but it's ok...the pain can easily be eased with ice cream. Not only does it taste great but it also numbs gums, on to a winner here.

Today I'm moving on to my second set of aligners, hopefully the weeks after this will fly by.

My Invisalign Journey - it's ClinCheck time!

I'm doing pretty well this time around, I had my first ClinCheck on the 10th of December and my second on the 11th (you don't usually have two, only if you're unhappy with the first one). ClinChecks amaze me, actually if I'm being honest this whole process amazes me!

The ClinCheck is basically a 3D image/video on screen of your teeth, made up from the impressions that are sent away to Invisalign and a prescription provided by your dentist. Invisalign then create a 3D on screen plan to determine how your teeth will move. I'm not going to lie, I just thought your teeth would move to create straight teeth and that perfect smile. I was proven very wrong. All our smiles are different, so are the treatment plans available.

I was super excited to see my ClinCheck but unfortunately the first one left me a little deflated and gutted but have no fear, in came my wonderful dentist to the rescue! I seriously cannot fault the service they provide. Yes, you'd like to think all dentists would provide a good service but how many places do you know that are meant to provide a good service and don't. I can tell these people are genuinely nice and I look forward to sharing this journey with them.

The first ClinCheck my dentist showed me that Invisalign created was using only 14 trays, which would fall under Invisalign Lite. Invisalign Lite is the cheapest option available (it uses fewer trays) but looking at the movement my teeth would take and where they would end up, I wasn't happy. It left my front top teeth sticking out, that wasn't quite what I wanted out of this. But the joy with Invisalign that I didn't realize is you have total control over how your smile will look at the end (still amazed!).

Fast forward less than 24 hours, a new ClinCheck had been created. Only a couple of extra trays but I'm completely happy about this plan.

I'm so glad I got a choice of comparing them both and I'm so glad my dentist is absolutely fantastic. I seriously want to shout from the rooftops how amazing he is! I've had horrible dentists before, one who actually brought me to tears. Dentists aren't meant to speak to you the way he spoke to me, he spoke to me like something on the bottom of his shoe. Safe to say I never stepped foot in that dentists again.

After looking at both ClinChecks I didn't have to make a decision there and then, I could go home and think about it. Call them back whenever I wanted but I didn't need to think about it, I knew I wanted Invisalign Complete (the second option with 17 trays, even though I've got in my head I'm having 23? I'm not sure where that has come from).

What was left to do now? Once you've decided you want to go ahead with your treatment and the plan on screen, all that's left to do is click approve. I'm sure in most cases the dentist approves this for the patient but me being the dweeb I am, I asked my dentist if I could click approve myself, which of course he said yes so I clicked that button and felt soooo happy inside. So one click (ok, two clicks...you have to press ok again to be sure you want to confirm) and the journey really begins...

My Invisalign Journey - the impressions, photos and xray

I'm not exactly on track when it comes to updating my Invisalign journey on here, far from it right now. It's now December the 13th and my appointment for my impressions, photos and xray was on November the 26th (I've had two more appointments since then).

I love discovering blogs where people share their journey and experiences on anything really so I'm hoping to help someone understand the journey. I'm going to break down each little part of this appointment to explain what happened so you know what to expect.

The impressions...
  I was a little unsure about these, I did try to do a little bit of researching online (Invisalign is now my favourite hashtag to search for on Instagram, amazing results!) to see what I could find out about it really. I didn't learn alot, I just saw a few people taking selfies whilst having their impressions taken. I've absolutely no idea why they'd want to be taking selfies, I wanted that thing out of my mouth as soon as. I didn't want to think about taking a selfie or two.

My legs kept randomly shaking in the morning before my appointment. But I was a mix of nervous and excited. I've learnt with anxiety that emotions and physical symptoms run around in circles chasing each other but once you've worked through the worse of them, it does get easier.

The impressions are basically like a mold of your teeth.
How do you get these impressions?
Think gum shield with a handle, like a mini frying pan. Filled with gunky putty that sets after about 3 minutes. The putty isn't pleasant, neither is the gum shield frying pan (I'm sure there is a technical and official name for this) in your mouth! At this stage the advice I would give is focus on your breathing. It's fairly easy to panic a little at this point, I did. Admittedly it is pretty tricky to focus on your breathing with a gum shield frying pan in your mouth, I'm starting to think this is just called a tray.

If you're having Invisalign on both your top and bottom teeth that's a total of 6 glorious minutes with the putty and gum shield frying pan/tray in your mouth...yuck! But just think of your final improved smile.

If you have a big mouth you might find the impression taking easier. I struggled because my mouth is small but apparently that doesn't affect the noise that comes out of it...well some people clearly know me quite well.

The impressions might take a couple of attempts, luckily mine didn't. But my dentist still liked to trick me and told me I needed to do them again. Thankfully he has a sense of humor and makes the whole experience better. Laughter makes everything better right?

The photos...
  I don't exactly think they take much explaining. My dentist just took photos of my teeth from different angles to send off with my impressions. At this point I never knew my mouth could stretch so much, I had these two big plastic hooks (you can see them in the photo below) to keep my mouth open and to pull my cheeks away from my teeth to get a proper view. I'm not going to include all the photos in here, I'm going to leave them til the final post so I can fully compare the difference. I love looking at peoples before and after photos. I obviously don't have any after photos yet but I'm going to have to throw in some before photos so we all know what we are dealing with here.

photo my dentist took to send to Invisalign

before my Invisalign journey begins

my current 'smile'

The xray...
  They take an xray of your teeth to determine the movement of your teeth and to check for any teeth that could be hiding under the surface. To take the xray I had to stand in a room and bite on a little piece of plastic, then the machine went around my head taking an xray that looks like this...

As my dentist said, imagine someone has taken your smile and rolled it out with a big rolling pin.

Impressions, photos and xray taken...on to the next step, the ClinCheck (that's already happened I just need to write about it)!

Have you ever had Invisalign? or are you considering it? I wanna know! :)