Author Topic: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style  (Read 3230 times)

kissthesky

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Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« on: August 19, 2017, 12:02:54 PM »
So a long time ago, during my very awkward middle school days, I got braces (which didn't help with the awkwardness). They were the regular metal kind. I hated them. After a few years of pain and suffering I got them off, had perfectly straight teeth and was much happier.

Then a few years later I got in to an accident which severely messed up my teeth. It ruined my parent's investment (and cost a ton more money to save some of the teeth and get one implant where the tooth couldn't be saved after the root canal). If there were one day in my life I could change it would be that day :(

Fast forward 10 years. I hate my teeth. I have hated my teeth for the past 10 years. It is embarrassing and makes me self-conscious. But I am a Mustachian and couldn't justify paying $5k to fix them again (quote I got from ortho a few years ago). I also knew I did not want to do metal mouth again. Invisible braces seemed great but expensive. I came across SmileDirectClub, which is basically invisible braces but a fraction of the name-brand cost because they 3D print everything and don't have brick and mortar dental offices. Seemed cool.

I thought about it for awhile and decided to go for it. All in all I will only pay $900. My dental insurance is also paying $900. It will take 7 months to fix my teeth. I'm 1 month in. It's a pretty interesting process. It was $95 to order the molds (you do it yourself at home with this putty they send you), then a dentist creates a plan for you including a tailored treatment plan, how long it will take, and a 360 visualization of your teeth at every stage until your teeth are straight. Then from there you decide if you want to pay the $1800 (I think it's $1850 now) to do it. They also have a monthly payment plan (but paying up front will definitely save you some money).

Anyhoo, I think it's pretty cool there is a relatively inexpensive company doing invisible braces. Happy to answer any questions anyone has. So far I think it was definitely a good decision and I'm already happier. You can save yourself $95 by getting a free scan (if you ilve in certain places) or get half-off the impression kit with my link: http://mbsy.co/hZc26

Anyone else have any experience with SmileDirectClub?

Mrs. PoP

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2017, 04:45:31 PM »
So a long time ago, during my very awkward middle school days, I got braces (which didn't help with the awkwardness). They were the regular metal kind. I hated them. After a few years of pain and suffering I got them off, had perfectly straight teeth and was much happier.

Then a few years later I got in to an accident which severely messed up my teeth. It ruined my parent's investment (and cost a ton more money to save some of the teeth and get one implant where the tooth couldn't be saved after the root canal). If there were one day in my life I could change it would be that day :(

Fast forward 10 years. I hate my teeth. I have hated my teeth for the past 10 years. It is embarrassing and makes me self-conscious. But I am a Mustachian and couldn't justify paying $5k to fix them again (quote I got from ortho a few years ago). I also knew I did not want to do metal mouth again. Invisible braces seemed great but expensive. I came across SmileDirectClub, which is basically invisible braces but a fraction of the name-brand cost because they 3D print everything and don't have brick and mortar dental offices. Seemed cool.

I thought about it for awhile and decided to go for it. All in all I will only pay $900. My dental insurance is also paying $900. It will take 7 months to fix my teeth. I'm 1 month in. It's a pretty interesting process. It was $95 to order the molds (you do it yourself at home with this putty they send you), then a dentist creates a plan for you including a tailored treatment plan, how long it will take, and a 360 visualization of your teeth at every stage until your teeth are straight. Then from there you decide if you want to pay the $1800 (I think it's $1850 now) to do it. They also have a monthly payment plan (but paying up front will definitely save you some money).

Anyhoo, I think it's pretty cool there is a relatively inexpensive company doing invisible braces. Happy to answer any questions anyone has. So far I think it was definitely a good decision and I'm already happier. You can save yourself $95 by getting a free scan (if you ilve in certain places) or get half-off the impression kit with my link: http://mbsy.co/hZc26

Anyone else have any experience with SmileDirectClub?

This sounds awesome - posting to follow since I priced out correcting the misalignment in my bottom teeth and it was more than I wanted to pay.  Very curious how your results are!
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tawyer

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #2 on: August 19, 2017, 06:22:04 PM »
This is interesting. A while ago I was looking into getting retainers 3D printed (orthodontist wanted too much) but came up with nothing. Perhaps these folks can provide?

kissthesky

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #3 on: August 19, 2017, 06:52:28 PM »
This is interesting. A while ago I was looking into getting retainers 3D printed (orthodontist wanted too much) but came up with nothing. Perhaps these folks can provide?

I'd bet they could do that. At the end of the treatment there is an option to buy a retainer for $99. It's a no-brainer because wearing it most nights will keep my teeth straight and happy. You would probably have to get the impressions done, but if your teeth are straight and all you want it a retainer I bet they would be happy to accommodate. Their customer service is great, I've called them like a gazillion times :)  (800) 848-7566

ToothCarpenter

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2017, 07:44:35 PM »
Yikes! As a dentist, I can think of a million ways this could go south.

Inaya

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2017, 07:59:07 PM »
Posting to follow. I had braces (and an expander--ugh) as a teen, but all that was lost when my wisdom teeth grew in. I'm not happy with my teeth and have been considering the invisible braces route for some time.


ETA: I'm near one of their locations, so I wouldn't even have to do the mold myself. Even better, since I come perilously close to puking every time a mold of my teeth gets taken.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2017, 08:05:44 PM by Inaya »
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Inaya

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2017, 07:59:31 PM »
Yikes! As a dentist, I can think of a million ways this could go south.
Can you elaborate?
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ToothCarpenter

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2017, 08:20:32 PM »
Probably the biggest concern would be moving the teeth too far forward to straighten them. After we stop growing, there is only so much space within our jaws to move teeth. This can be overcome by removing teeth or sanding a small amount of enamel on the sides of teeth to get them in good alignment. Without this, simply pushing the teeth forward to correct crowding can push the teeth outside the parameters of bone. This can lead to gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss in worse cases.

Another potential complication is changing the bite in a way that the teeth no longer line up properly. I did a quick search of an online dental forum regarding this product, and one of the orthodontists posted that he treated a patient that was left with a posterior open bite after Smile Direct...basically their back teeth didn't touch anymore.

It's taking a big risk with something that can be very expensive to fix after damage is done. Why do that? Find a good orthodontist and get it done the right way the first time around.

ToothCarpenter

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2017, 08:24:31 PM »
Boring dental porn, but shows in 3D what can happen to the bone covering the front of root surfaces if moving teeth improperly.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dS2-Ls5xPLU

Inaya

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2017, 09:10:03 PM »
Probably the biggest concern would be moving the teeth too far forward to straighten them. After we stop growing, there is only so much space within our jaws to move teeth. This can be overcome by removing teeth or sanding a small amount of enamel on the sides of teeth to get them in good alignment. Without this, simply pushing the teeth forward to correct crowding can push the teeth outside the parameters of bone. This can lead to gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss in worse cases.

Another potential complication is changing the bite in a way that the teeth no longer line up properly. I did a quick search of an online dental forum regarding this product, and one of the orthodontists posted that he treated a patient that was left with a posterior open bite after Smile Direct...basically their back teeth didn't touch anymore.

It's taking a big risk with something that can be very expensive to fix after damage is done. Why do that? Find a good orthodontist and get it done the right way the first time around.


Thanks for the info ToothCarpenter (love the name!). Is this concern specific to Smile Direct, or invisible braces (Invisalign, et al.) in general?
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neonlight

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #10 on: August 24, 2017, 09:23:11 PM »
TLDRall,

If you are only paying USD900 that's cheap! even by South East Asian standard. Malaysia has one of the cheapest and value for money health care and braces here cost about 600-1000USD. Please note that the price is really cheap even for South East Asian standards as people all over the region come to Malaysia for this price.

So the fact that you got USD900 is a super bargain!

ToothCarpenter

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2017, 08:29:35 AM »
Probably the biggest concern would be moving the teeth too far forward to straighten them. After we stop growing, there is only so much space within our jaws to move teeth. This can be overcome by removing teeth or sanding a small amount of enamel on the sides of teeth to get them in good alignment. Without this, simply pushing the teeth forward to correct crowding can push the teeth outside the parameters of bone. This can lead to gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss in worse cases.

Another potential complication is changing the bite in a way that the teeth no longer line up properly. I did a quick search of an online dental forum regarding this product, and one of the orthodontists posted that he treated a patient that was left with a posterior open bite after Smile Direct...basically their back teeth didn't touch anymore.

It's taking a big risk with something that can be very expensive to fix after damage is done. Why do that? Find a good orthodontist and get it done the right way the first time around.


Thanks for the info ToothCarpenter (love the name!). Is this concern specific to Smile Direct, or invisible braces (Invisalign, et al.) in general?

Moving teeth around carries risk whether that is achieved with clear braces or traditional metal ones. Just because they have a dentist "on site" reviewing these cases doesn't make it safe. Honestly I can't believe dental boards haven't cracked down on this yet. Please don't think I'm a frustrated dentist wanting to protect their turf from a new competitor...I rarely do Invisalign in my own practice because most cases are too complex and need to go to an orthodontist.

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2017, 08:36:34 AM »
wow, very interesting
Thanks OP for the info
THANKS ToothCarpenter for the analysis!!
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Dicey

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2017, 08:41:26 AM »
Boring dental porn, but shows in 3D what can happen to the bone covering the front of root surfaces if moving teeth improperly.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dS2-Ls5xPLU
Wow, very Informative! Thank you for sharing this. It should be required viewing for anyone considering teeth straightening.
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AlienRobotAnthropologist

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2017, 10:40:57 PM »
I hope the OP reports back with the results. I'm not a dentist but the orthodontist I had seemed very sharp (which I don't say often about my experiences with docs) and he had a lot of bad things to say about Invisalign braces. A significant portion of his patients were fixing screw-ups of other orthodontists who used that type of stuff. I wonder if it's gotten better.

chrisgermany

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2017, 07:57:32 AM »
I have done the invisible braces thing some years ago at age 50 when I noticed that my lower front teeth started to move.
It worked well till I noticed that one tooth became loose.
Fortunately my regular dentist could save it by attaching it to its neighbors for 2 months.

As I was almost done with the changes I stopped using the invisible braces but got night braces to keep them as they are.

Dicey

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2017, 09:40:25 AM »
I hope the OP reports back with the results. I'm not a dentist but the orthodontist I had seemed very sharp (which I don't say often about my experiences with docs) and he had a lot of bad things to say about Invisalign braces. A significant portion of his patients were fixing screw-ups of other orthodontists who used that type of stuff. I wonder if it's gotten better.
Pro Tip #1: Once you finish with braces, don't accept Invisalign retainers. They crack easiky and just don't last.

Pro Tip #2: When you order traditional retainers, make them distinctily yours. Mine are glow-in-the-dark. DH calls them Mood Lighting.

Pro Tip #3: If you choose orthodontia, read your contract carefully. Made sure all-inclusive includes final X-rays, retainers and follow-up visits as needed.

Pro Tip #4: Negotiate. Some practitioners charge for small stuff like re-glueing brackets. Negotiate a small number of minor repairs in your contract, if they're not included. Better still, don't go to someone who nickel and dimes you.

Pro Tip #5: Pay in cash up front and negotiate a discount. Only do this with trusted providers in established practices.

Pro Tip #6: If you have a unique problem, find someone who does lots of it.

Pro Tip #7: Don't go anywhere with the word "Factory" in the name of their business. Don't go anywhere that feels like a factory, either.

Pro Tip #8: Find a provider based on referrals, not on advertising. You can call any dental office and ask who they refer to. Make enough calls and the best providers will emerge.

Final Pro Tip, if you don't want your money to have been wasted, plan on wearing your retainers forever. Ergo, see Tip #1.
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kissthesky

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2017, 10:17:14 AM »
Probably the biggest concern would be moving the teeth too far forward to straighten them. After we stop growing, there is only so much space within our jaws to move teeth. This can be overcome by removing teeth or sanding a small amount of enamel on the sides of teeth to get them in good alignment. Without this, simply pushing the teeth forward to correct crowding can push the teeth outside the parameters of bone. This can lead to gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss in worse cases.

Another potential complication is changing the bite in a way that the teeth no longer line up properly. I did a quick search of an online dental forum regarding this product, and one of the orthodontists posted that he treated a patient that was left with a posterior open bite after Smile Direct...basically their back teeth didn't touch anymore.

It's taking a big risk with something that can be very expensive to fix after damage is done. Why do that? Find a good orthodontist and get it done the right way the first time around.


Thanks for the info ToothCarpenter (love the name!). Is this concern specific to Smile Direct, or invisible braces (Invisalign, et al.) in general?

Moving teeth around carries risk whether that is achieved with clear braces or traditional metal ones. Just because they have a dentist "on site" reviewing these cases doesn't make it safe. Honestly I can't believe dental boards haven't cracked down on this yet. Please don't think I'm a frustrated dentist wanting to protect their turf from a new competitor...I rarely do Invisalign in my own practice because most cases are too complex and need to go to an orthodontist.

Great discussion here! I agree with ToothCarpenter that this isn't for everyone, but I think it's a great fit for people like me. I had braces for years (and 8 teeth removed, and an expander - can't forget about that! :/ a long time ago - so this is more of a targeted fix, not full-fledged braces for the first time or anything. Given that the average duration of SDC is 6 months I would say that 1) it's common for their clients to be fixing a tooth or two that has gone rogue since they got braces off and didn't do a good job wearing their retainer and 2) they actually turn down a lot of people who the product won't be a good fit for (and you get your $95 back) because for example severe bite issues, an implant, etc anything else that would cause an issue. So they obviously check for this type of thing. I got in contact with the orthodontist who made my treatment (he has his own practice in LA). So far I am very happy with my decision :) I'll keep the group updated on the journey!
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 11:33:59 AM by kissthesky »

Dicey

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2017, 10:47:12 AM »
Probably the biggest concern would be moving the teeth too far forward to straighten them. After we stop growing, there is only so much space within our jaws to move teeth. This can be overcome by removing teeth or sanding a small amount of enamel on the sides of teeth to get them in good alignment. Without this, simply pushing the teeth forward to correct crowding can push the teeth outside the parameters of bone. This can lead to gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss in worse cases.

Another potential complication is changing the bite in a way that the teeth no longer line up properly. I did a quick search of an online dental forum regarding this product, and one of the orthodontists posted that he treated a patient that was left with a posterior open bite after Smile Direct...basically their back teeth didn't touch anymore.

It's taking a big risk with something that can be very expensive to fix after damage is done. Why do that? Find a good orthodontist and get it done the right way the first time around.


Thanks for the info ToothCarpenter (love the name!). Is this concern specific to Smile Direct, or invisible braces (Invisalign, et al.) in general?

Moving teeth around carries risk whether that is achieved with clear braces or traditional metal ones. Just because they have a dentist "on site" reviewing these cases doesn't make it safe. Honestly I can't believe dental boards haven't cracked down on this yet. Please don't think I'm a frustrated dentist wanting to protect their turf from a new competitor...I rarely do Invisalign in my own practice because most cases are too complex and need to go to an orthodontist.

Great discussion here! I agree with ToothCarpenter that this isn't for everyone, but I think it's a great fit for people like me. I had braces for years (and 8 teeth removed, and an expander - can't forget about that! :/ a long time ago - so this is more of a targeted fix, not full-fledged braces for the first time or anything. Given that the average duration of SDC is 6 months I would say that 1) it's common for their clients to be fixing a tooth or two that has gone rogue since they got braces off and didn't do a good job wearing their retainer and 2) they actually turn down a lot of people who the product won't be a good fit for (and you get your $95 back) because for example severe bite issues, an implant, etc anything else that would cause an issue. So they obviously check for this type of thing, I don't think sounding an alarm here is necessary.* I got in contact with the orthodontist who made my treatment (he has his own practice in LA). By your standards you think it's better for me to go to him in person instead and pay a lot more money. ha, no**. So far I am very happy with my decision :) I'll keep the group updated on the journey!
*"Sounding an alarm" is also known as providing information, which is the whole damn point of forum discussions, IMO. I'm grateful that the variety of participants is so wide, varied and generous. I don't know Tooth Carpenter, but I'm especially grateful for their interesting contributions to this thread.

**Um, I had full orthodontic treatment in LA, too. Years later, after a move, two crowns and sheer laziness, my retainers didn't fit anymore and my teeth were shifting. Did I go back to LA? NO! I somehow managed to find competent orthodontists right here in my little Bay Area town. I paid the stupid tax and had some additional orthodontic work done, including new retainers. It cost far less than you're fixing to spend and now my choppers are all aligned and pretty again.

By the way, where in this thread exactly did anyone say you should travel and spend more as you've just stated? I don't see that anyone's given you that advice.

One more concern: If the current state of your teeth is a result of an accident, you could easily have underlying issues that don't make you a good candidate for this type of treatment. Choosing this route could easily prove to be penny wise and pound foolish. May I politely suggest you at least consult an orthodontist to rule out this possibility before you spend money with Smile Direct Club?
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kissthesky

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2017, 11:38:32 AM »
Quote
One more concern: If the current state of your teeth is a result of an accident, you could easily have underlying issues that don't make you a good candidate for this type of treatment. Choosing this route could easily prove to be penny wise and pound foolish. May I politely suggest you at least consult an orthodontist to rule out this possibility before you spend money with Smile Direct Club?

Edited and thanks for the feedback. But if you read my post you would know I did consult with at least one other orthodontist (who provided me with a $5k estimate, he also quoted a slightly higher number for invisalign). So all I'm saying is may I politely suggest you at least read the post before suggesting I do my due diligence, which I did. Also I'm happy that you got great orthodontic care. Perhaps you can share the timeline, cost, and orthodontist if you recommend them (as that is what the Reader Recommendation section is for :)
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 11:46:59 AM by kissthesky »

Dicey

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2017, 12:03:44 PM »
Quote
One more concern: If the current state of your teeth is a result of an accident, you could easily have underlying issues that don't make you a good candidate for this type of treatment. Choosing this route could easily prove to be penny wise and pound foolish. May I politely suggest you at least consult an orthodontist to rule out this possibility before you spend money with Smile Direct Club?

Edited and thanks for the feedback. But if you read my post you would know I did consult with at least one other orthodontist (who provided me with a $5k estimate, he also quoted a slightly higher number for invisalign). So all I'm saying is may I politely suggest you at least read the post before suggesting I do my due diligence, which I did. Also I'm happy that you got great orthodontic care. Perhaps you can share the timeline, cost, and orthodontist if you recommend them (as that is what the Reader Recommendation section is for :)*
*Yowza, this sounds so [not good words redacted].  Since tone can be difficult to "hear" in a forum, I'm just going to give you the benefit of the doubt.

I did read your post carefully. More than once. I also took time out of my day to provide careful, considered feedback, based on my own experience(s). I thought it was interesting that we'd both had orthodontia in LA, then moved to the Bay Area and needed additional work, so I leaned in a little more.

I think I'll just tiptoe away from this thread and find someone else who is less defensive to help. Good luck you.
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Dicey

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2017, 12:14:31 PM »
And one more thing kissthesky: you've been here six months and have fewer than fifty posts at this moment. Please try to refrain from telling others how, what and where to post. Demanding information and telling the demandee where to post it is beyond the pale. You have not earned that privilege, if such a thing even exists. If it does, it sure isn't here at facepunch central.

Had I posted a question such as yours, I'd have been brimming with gratitude at the quality of the replies. A real dentist gave you awesome feedback and links to more information! Other posters shared their experiences and advice with you!  This is the MMM Forum doing what it does best.

Posting on this forum and wanting nothing but affirmation of your decision, or expecting others to blindly stumble along behind you is simply not the way it works. If that's all you want, I'm sure you can do find a blog that supports the provider you seem to be blindly recommending. Hint: This may not be it.
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kissthesky

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2017, 12:18:44 PM »
Quote
Since tone can be difficult to "hear" in a forum, I'm just going to give you the benefit of the doubt.

My question was genuine. If you have a bay area orthodontist you recommend I would love to hear about them and your experience if you want to share.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 12:25:16 PM by kissthesky »

bmelissa545

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #23 on: August 28, 2017, 07:35:33 AM »
I highly recommend you go to the website RealSelf and check out their reviews of smiledirectclub. Real people have uploaded their pictures and step by step journey. From what I can tell, for 75% of people it works, but if you have some major work to do or anything slightly tricky - you would be better of getting Invisalign.

Inaya

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #24 on: August 28, 2017, 01:15:22 PM »
Probably the biggest concern would be moving the teeth too far forward to straighten them. After we stop growing, there is only so much space within our jaws to move teeth. This can be overcome by removing teeth or sanding a small amount of enamel on the sides of teeth to get them in good alignment. Without this, simply pushing the teeth forward to correct crowding can push the teeth outside the parameters of bone. This can lead to gum recession, loose teeth, and even tooth loss in worse cases.

Another potential complication is changing the bite in a way that the teeth no longer line up properly. I did a quick search of an online dental forum regarding this product, and one of the orthodontists posted that he treated a patient that was left with a posterior open bite after Smile Direct...basically their back teeth didn't touch anymore.

It's taking a big risk with something that can be very expensive to fix after damage is done. Why do that? Find a good orthodontist and get it done the right way the first time around.


Thanks for the info ToothCarpenter (love the name!). Is this concern specific to Smile Direct, or invisible braces (Invisalign, et al.) in general?

Moving teeth around carries risk whether that is achieved with clear braces or traditional metal ones. Just because they have a dentist "on site" reviewing these cases doesn't make it safe. Honestly I can't believe dental boards haven't cracked down on this yet. Please don't think I'm a frustrated dentist wanting to protect their turf from a new competitor...I rarely do Invisalign in my own practice because most cases are too complex and need to go to an orthodontist.

So, if I'm understanding correctly, your issue is less the treatment--but more the fact that you don't have a dentist/ortho supervising your treatment the whole way through?
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kissthesky

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #25 on: August 29, 2017, 04:05:47 PM »
I highly recommend you go to the website RealSelf and check out their reviews of smiledirectclub. Real people have uploaded their pictures and step by step journey. From what I can tell, for 75% of people it works, but if you have some major work to do or anything slightly tricky - you would be better of getting Invisalign.

That looks like a really helpful website. Thanks for sharing!

SelfImprovementNinja

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Re: Finally fixing my teeth - Invisible Braces MMM style
« Reply #26 on: August 30, 2017, 12:50:04 PM »
Full disclosure:  I am a shareholder in Invisalign (ALGN).

I used invisalign because I didn't want to get traditional braces as an adult.  The clear retainers worked great and it's hard to tell you're wearing them unless someone is staring directly at your teeth and looking for them. The only drawbacks were 1) price (about $5k) and you have to take them out everytime you eat or drink something and brush your teeth afterwards (a side benefit is you do less snacking as a result and may lose some weight).

I was very impressed with the product so I bought the stock, which is up almost 200% in about a year and a half, so it paid for the braces!

SmileDirect is owned by Invisalign and it uses the molds, as you mentioned.  They are way less than Invisalign and work great unless you have major issues (in which case they may tell you it's not an option and to go to an ortho).  I did it before SmileDirect was available and never really had any issues that required special attention, thankfully. The biggest difference between SmileDirect and a dentist (besides the price) is the molds/trays.  The dentist will probably have an iTero Scanner (also made by invisalign, which scans your teeth and makes a 3d model of them without any goop (it's a laser that looks like a pen and they just run it over your teeth).

At $5k, I think it was worth the price because I will have my teeth until I die and I don't believe in skimping on anything health or wellness related, but if SmileDirect was available I would probably pick that one. 

Also, $100 for the retainer is great.  Mine came included in the package, but a replacement was over $300 (ouch!).  You can also get an underwire permanent retainer that's glued to the back of your teeth to keep them from shifting.