I have been self conscious about my teeth and spent many years - like 15! - being uncomfortable and too embarrassed to point it out to any dentist I visited. Getting my teeth straightened has always been on my mind, but growing up with parents that thought there was ‘nothing’ wrong with them, didn't really encourage me to go ahead with it.
After graduating from University, I decided to explore traditional and invisible braces; and wasn't convinced with how long either one of them took and the high cost that came along with it; until my incredible dentist told me about a new technology (at that time it was) that is quick, relatively painless and is not fixed permanently on the teeth, which meant I could take them off for important pictures and events .
Before we got into the process of fitting me to the perfect match of aligners, I had to go through a few sessions to get all my fillings done and make sure there were no issues with my teeth. After that was complete, I went in and took impressions of my top and lower teeth.
The impressions were sent to the lab in America, and took about two weeks for them to confirm whether I am a suitable candidate for Inman aligners. Thankfully, I got a positive response, and got my lower aligners sent across and fitted.
I had an appointment scheduled every two weeks, to check the progress and tighten the aligners as my teeth were moving into a straight line.
The first week was horrible, my teeth became very sensitive, it was impossible to eat the first few days - even soup was a nightmare - and every time I took them off to eat I would break into tears. The following week got easier and after that it was just uncomfortable but not painful.
In about 6 weeks, my lower teeth were perfectly straight and a permanent retainer was fixed after a new set impressions was taken.
As soon as the retainers were fixed, I started wearing the upper set. These were not painful at all, just uncomfortable and it took about 4 weeks for my dentist to confirm that my teeth are straight and we are done!
After many years of low self esteem, no confidence and struggling to face fixing my teeth, all I needed was three months of the right treatment. My top teeth in particular bothered me so much and it feels like this method is magic. If you are unsure about the traditional braces, there are many alternatives available and it is worth exploring.
Here is a mini FAQ with questions I got about the Inman Aligner.
What is it?
The Inman Aligner is a simple removable appliance used to align front teeth quickly and safely. It's ideal as a stand alone treatment or to prealign teeth prior to further cosmetic options such as bonding or minimal veneers. (info from here)
How does it work?
The Inman Aligner has Nickel Titanium coil springs that power two aligner bows that gently oppose each other, guiding the teeth into their new position. These gentle forces are active over a very large range of movement, which is why the Inman Aligner works so quickly.
The image below shows the squeeze effect of the two aligner bows on the front teeth. The inner bow pushes forwards, while the outer bow pulls back on the front teeth.((info from here)
Is it invisible?
It is not invisible, it is like a thin wire that goes across your teeth; when it is worn, it is not very obvious or harsh to look at.
How often do you have to wear them?
It is advisable to wear it for 18 - 20 hours per day.
When can I remove them?
The only time that you have to remove them is while eating. I did remove them for an event where i was giving a talk and felt uncomfortable doing it with the aligners on.
Can you talk with the aligners fixed?
You can talk perfectly, but maybe not the first few days. Its an awkward feeling of something constantly in your mouth, but it is something you get used to.
Do you have to brush them?
I brushed them every time i brushed my teeth, which was every day and night, as well as after meals.
What are impressions?
In order for the lab to create aligners (& retainers) that fit your teeth perfectly and comfortably, perfect measurement have to be taken. The procedure takes about 2-3 minutes where a C - shaped tray is filled with a clay-like substance, put in your mouth and your teeth are pushed into it for a couple minutes. This gives the dentist and lab exact measurements of your teeth.
Are impressions painful?
They are extremely uncomfortable for me because it is hard to swallow while it is fitted - others have a higher tolerance. It is not meant to be painful though.
Can you wear the top and bottom aligners at the same time?
When I got mine fitted, i had to do my lower teeth first then the upper ones. Don’t think it has changed though.
Where did I get it done?
Doctor Laila Al Kharusi who is extremely talented and easy going made the experience so much better and explained it so well as we were going through the process. Here you can find the details of the clinic - Harub Dental Surgery.
This has been long overdue, but I truly hope it is useful to you. I'm so sad I don't have before and after shot, but I was so self conscious I dont think I ever smiled - but now i can *dance*