Over the last few months, I have been getting adjusted to wearing my ClearCorrect aligners every single day. This has been a great experience!
Aligner #3: Engagers
My 3rd set of aligners required a little work to be done to my teeth. Way back in the beginning, Dr. Shaja and I received a step by step depiction of all of the aligners I would need with highlights on the teeth movement specific to each aligner as well as the placement of the engagers. I walked into Dr. Shaja’s office and got ready for the next milestone of adding engagers to my teeth. Dr. Shaja explained that engagers (often referred to as buttons or attachments) are like small handles that help teeth move. Due to shaping of some teeth, engagers are perfect for assisting the aligners in moving teeth to their destination.
(prepping for engagers)
The process was simple. My teeth were gently cleaned, prepped and dried. After waiting for my teeth to dry, Dr. Shaja added a composite to 4 of my teeth and used the curing gun to harden the composite with a temporary aligner to confirm placement. Now, I had little engagers on my teeth that were practically undetectable. The engagers were the same color as my actual teeth and barely noticeable. I often ran my tongue over the 4 engagers that were placed on my teeth and it was an odd feeling. It literally felt like bumps on my teeth. I also noticed that when my mouth was closed, I could feel them in the inside of my lip. This was definitely something I’d have to get use too. It wasn’t painful or uncomfortable at all, just odd.
Now I would try on my 3rd set of aligners and prepare to wear them for 2 weeks. Snap! That was the sound of the aligners fitting perfectly with the newly placed engagers. This feeling was definitely different than any other aligners. There was immediate pressure. The pressure wasn’t too unbearable at first but it was definitely more pressure than my last 2 aligners. I left the dentist office and was making my way home and after 15 or so minutes, I definitely noticed a significant amount of pressure. Maybe my teeth were finally settling. My gums instantly got a bit sore and I did not want to move my mouth at all. My mom called and when I answered the phone, she could tell that this time wasn’t like the last 2 times. She could hear it my voice that I was struggling to talk. This is when the slurring and lisp started! I could barely enunciate any words. My mom started to chuckle and so did I? I was starting to feel the real pressure but the slurring of my words lightened the mood. Our conversation was very short but after that, I decided to keep my mouth closed for a while lol.
When I received my aligners, I was told that I’d need to wear them 22 hours a day for the treatment to be successful. That left me with 2 hours for eating. Just 2 hours! It seemed impossible considering I like to snack but I’ve been doing great so far! I am 100% committed to getting my perfect smile. I would usually do a little snacking throughout the day at work but I have completely cut that out. One BIG reason why I stopped snacking is because after every meal or snack, I’m required to brush my teeth before putting my aligners back on. Before my aligners, I’d only brush in the morning and at night. Now I find myself brushing around 3-5 times a day just to make sure my teeth are in good shape for my aligners. I’ve never went through so much toothpaste in my life! I’d also brush my aligners with a toothbrush and cool water to make sure the aligners were clean too. Going through this process definitely keeps me on my toes when it comes to mouth hygiene.
Taking out the Aligners & Sore Gums
Popping the aligners in and out to eat was a struggle the first 2 with the attachments added. I noticed after those 2 days, the struggle dwindled down. I found it very helpful drinking cool water for a bit before removing my aligners. Removing the aligners were for sure one of the most stressful things about having the engagers. When I did take them out, my teeth and gums would be extremely sore. Sometimes they were so sore, I had to eat soft foods. I found it helpful gargling with Listerine as often as I ate. I am not 100% sure what the Listerine did but it made my gums feel better. I also would drink tea (without the aligner of course) just because I thought that would help my gums too. Another pain point of mine is using my itty bitty finger nails to get the aligners off of my teeth. Taking them out with attachments is so difficult! I have broken so many nails in doing so. I’d surely say wearing aligners with engagers are a bit tougher on your teeth than wearing the aligners without engagers.
(Removing top aligner)
(Removing bottom aligner)
At this point, I’m 100% use to the first 2 days of pressure with my aligners and engagers. I still struggle to get them out but I am getting it done. My aligners in this phase (4-7) focused on my front teeth where most of my gaps were noticeable. After every set I put on, I noticed that the gaps were getting smaller and smaller and smaller. It wasn’t until aligner 6 that I really noticed a change in my teeth and my smile. Aligner 6 was equivalent to 2 months and 9 days into my treatment. This treatment plan that I am on allowed me to change my aligners every 2 weeks. It seemed like it would take forever but it felt like a few days would go by and then it was time for the next set. Next thing I knew, I was on my 7th set of aligners out of 12 required per my treatment plan requirement.
(Aligner 4) (Aligner 5)
(Aligner 7 with top aligner in place)(Aligner 7 with bottom aligner in place)
I am seeing the changes and loving it! Stay tune to my next post, I’ll update you more on my Clear Correct Journey in the coming weeks.
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Disclosure: This is a guest post on behalf of Mrs. Alissa Francis whose treatment is sponsored by ClearCorrect. All opinions expressed in this post is that of Mrs. Francis. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC guidelines.