Hi, everyone! I'm new to these forums and have enjoyed reading everyone's stories and advice. I am 28 years old and started an Invisalign treatment about three months ago (I go in for new aligners approx. every 3 weeks).
My question is: will Invisalign be enough to expand/widen my arch and create a fuller smile? My dentist has talked about "bringing the back teeth out" while bringing my front (six including bicuspid) teeth in, but I donâ€™t know if what he intends is the same as actually widening the arch.
I saw that one user here has had successful arch-widening with just Invisalign, but Iâ€™m wondering if those results are typical or just lucky.
My situation's kinda complicated. I had braces from ages 12-17 approximately, from TWO different orthodontists (the first one was not good and the second one had to try to correct his work). I came out with relatively straight teeth but was never 100% satisfied with my smile. My six front uppers, though aligned with one another, remained very prominent and overshadowed the back teeth (also aligned with one another but slanted inwards in comparison with the front teeth). What's more, though my midline is in the right place, my six front teeth slant very slightly to the left, following a prominent upper left bicuspid.
Here's an idea of what my teeth look like:
(It's more obvious in some pictures than in others, but it's REALLY obvious to me!!!)
Before I found these forums, I thought my problem was that I needed my front six teeth pushed inward to line up with my molars, which are slanted inward. I didn't realize that what I really wanted was a wider, broader arch, so that my smile would show 10-12 teeth instead of just 6-8.
Right now I am seeing a dentist who also does ortho work. (Obviously, thatâ€™s not ideal--I'd rather see someone who does ortho exclusively--but I'm stuck in the situation due to insurance/financial considerations. Heâ€™s a friend of my parents and offered his services at a really generous discount.) Unfortunately when I first went in to consult with him, I didn't have a clear idea (as I do now from research and ArchWired) of what my problem was; I just spoke with him generally about what 'bothered' me in the alignment of my teeth.
Like I said, he told me that weâ€™d work on bringing the front six teeth in and the back molars out. He showed me two different options: one was an appliance that looked sort of like a retainer but thinking back now might have been a palatal expander. The other option was a clear aligner a la Invisalign. I expressed a preference for the Invisalign because of my age (and vanity, lol); the metal retainer-like device looked like it would be a LOT more visible, and he acknowledged that. But he told me that the metal device had more 'torque' and would get the job done faster, and so I agreed to using that. He didnâ€™t tell me what the appliance was called & I didnâ€™t even think to ask.
THEN apparently the guy who makes these metal devices for him disappeared off the face of the earth. Yes, really: my dentist has been working with him for decades, but when he sent off a bunch of impressions (including mine) to the guy's lab, he didn't get a response for weeks and the guy is not answering his phone. So he thinks something 'happened' to the metal-device maker. Anyway, I had to get re-impressioned for clear aligners instead. I was secretly happy about that (see reference to VANITY above), but this was before I knew about (a) the mixed experiences people have had with Invisalign and (b) the concept of a 'wide arch' and possibility of expanding one's palate.
The more I read up on the limits of Invisalign and palate expansion, the more skeptical I am about what my dentist intends to do with my teeth. If he uses the clear aligners just to push the front teeth in and pull the back teeth out, is that the same as widening my arch, or will that just â€˜tipâ€™ the teeth out without having any effect on the shape of my arch?
Any suggestions on how to broach this topic with my dentist? I was completely ignorant and trusting when I first came to him, so Iâ€™m afraid heâ€™ll be offended now if I come in armed with all this research. Heâ€™s a family friend so I am loath to step on his toes and/or question his skills. At the same time, I donâ€™t want to get a useless (or potentially harmful) procedure done that wonâ€™t improve the appearance of my teeth at all!