Orthodontic treatment can be carried out on patients of all ages. Two of our adult patients over the age of fifty explain why they had Invisalign® treatment and how it transformed their smiles.
Determination and disbelief are common features in any account of orthodontic treatment with Invisalign®. This is a near invisible system for moving teeth which is enabling growing numbers of adults to improve their smiles. Central to Invisalign is computer software which uses x-ray images of the patient’s teeth to design a series of transparent trays. Each tray is worn for several weeks and helps gradually move the teeth to the desired position.
Invisalign treatment provokes some predictable responses. Firstly, determination! This is an essential response because patients need to commit to the treatment. Without the patient making their mind up to engage and move through the process, the treatment might be delayed. So, Invisalign® patients share a gritty determination.
In its wake follows disbelief. This is on the part of family and friends. It goes something like this: “No, not really! You are having orthodontics? When did you start? But I couldn’t tell!” The surprise and interest encountered by Invisalign patients is almost as rewarding as the sight of their teeth gradually realigning.
Two orthodontic patients described how they summoned the determination they needed to finish on the agreed date.
Heather Sharland had a job which involved doing presentations in front of large audiences and she is also a magistrate. She was very clear she did not want braces. “A friend in Switzerland said she had had Invisalign®. When she described what it involved, it sounded excellent. I thought, let’s have a go.”
She was in her late 50s when she embarked on treatment. She takes up the story: “My teeth had always irritated me. The top front teeth were crossed over and my bottom teeth looked as if they had just been thrown into my mouth randomly. I had been to an orthodontist as a child and they had taken teeth out and I was told they would sort themselves out, but they didn’t.”
“My family were not supportive. They said: ‘those teeth are never going to be straight, I don’t know what you are doing.’ I suppose I did have some doubts myself and wondered where are all those teeth going to go and how they were going to fit together.”
But her orthodontist gave her confidence. “Once I had made the decision I was determined. I told myself: ‘Come hell or high water, I am going to improve my teeth.’ I think you have to be determined, you cannot be watery about it. Because I was very determined, I stuck rigidly to wearing the Invisalign® trays 20 hours a day.”
She added: “I have a perfect set of straight teeth. I am absolutely delighted, I really can’t believe it. People are really quite interested that I have had orthodontics, and say they had not noticed. My mother, who is 85, is really surprised.”
Penny Bell is aged 64 and was also unhappy about crooked bottom teeth. She is a very smiley person who works with people in an image-conscious environment. “I talked to my dentist and he sent me to see an orthodontist. He gave me choices. There was no way I would walk around with metal braces and coloured bands. He told me about Invisalign® and that seemed brilliant. I had upper and lower treatment so that my bite was aligned.”
She continued: “I had to be pretty determined. If you slip up for a day then you lose a day. You cannot cheat or you lose the whole point. The thing is that all the trays are laid out for you so it is progressive. It’s a discipline and you fall into it. There were a
couple of days when I was driving to work and remembered I had left the trays and then I spent the whole day feeling miserable.”
Mostly, however, Penny enjoyed the experience and the sense that she was embarking on change so discreetly. “I only told one close friend at work about the treatment and then one day I had disappeared into the corner of the room to slip out my trays so I thought I should explain to the colleague who happened to be in the room what I was doing. She was flabbergasted. She had had no idea.”
She added: “Another good thing is that you only need to go back to the orthodontist every 10 weeks or so. Really, you are in control and the orthodontist just checks to make sure everything is going as it should. I am very happy with what I have had done. My orthodontist is wonderful, calm and matter of fact. Invisalign® worked for me and I would recommend it to anyone.”