ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#16 Post by karl66 » Wed Oct 12, 2011 12:49 pm

Hi guys. Just saw this and thought I'd throw in my 2 cents. I had the ALF appliances upper and lower for about 2 years with a few months of straightening after. I am also based in Ireland. I went for 2 previous consultations with regular orthodontists and the verdict was always the same extract 4 teeth etc. The orthos I saw were very business like, get em in the door quick consultation and hand over your checkbook. o I was in a waiting room in a posh office surrounded by teenagers. My impression of these guys was not great to say the least, one of them stank of booze while examining me. Just felt like another muppet on a production line. I refused to go with theses guys and researched further on my own (thank God for the internet is all I can say,.)

This was back around 2003 when extraction was still all the rage etc. Just to clarify I am not an orthodontist or qualifed this is just my personal experience so keep that in mind I am not a professional. I always get a second opinion on things and make my own mind up. I discovered the ALF idea and it made sense to me personally. Why pull out perfectly good teeth? People in indiginous tribes often have bright straight and healthy teeth. Why do we suffer from crowding so much in the West? Does breast feeding help to develop the jaw etc? Is bottle feeding the cause of our western diet etc etc? This are the things I was reading and thinking about. I had been to a regular dentist and been told I was grinding my teeth at night wearing them down. I now had a good idea why I was waking up everyday with a sore jaw and unexplainable headaches. So I suffered from bruxism (teeth grinding), breathing issues, I was a mouth breather sinus problems, irritated itchy nose and frequent inflammation. Tooth crowding obviously and neck and back pain.

Post treatment;
I have no sinus problems. When I breath through my nose it is clear and it is no longer blocked or congested. My pallete has widened and I look much much better. My skin improved also for some reason and I have much less neck and back pain. It has not given me perfect posture and I have an amount of relapse and crowding again because i lost my retainer a while back (DON'T LOSE YOUR RETAINER! And if you do get another one IMMEDIATELY!!). But I must say it has really worked for me a life changing experience.
Just a note, many Orthodontists here do not use the ALF, it often administered by Dentists who have undergone a seperate training course or attended seminars, the was actually invented by a Dentist, Dr Darrick Nordstrom. So post ALF it might be worth going to a regular ortho who is an expert in teeth straightening. All I really wanted was the expansion and cranial aspect. Regular Orthos are trained and regulated in a certain way and it is difficult to deviate from 'standard procedure' for them I suppose so not all offer it.
The debate between extraction versus expansion has been going on for years and years, I read up alot before choosing the option I wanted. Individual cases are different so what worked for me may not for you, there are so many variables that may cause your crooked teeth and a one-size-fits-all solution may not work. For example the first Ortho told me If I didn't go the extraction route I would have to wear a retainer for the rest of my life and he was right I do, but thats a small price to pay for me.
I hope this helps and good luck with your treatment. The ALF was great for me, it is not noticeable and you will start to feel different as soon as it starts to work. Highly recommended. Enjoy the experience!

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#17 Post by braces2 » Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:03 am

Thanks for sharing your experience, karl66. I don't know what your original skeletal or dental situation was, but it makes sense that your health would improve if your airway is improved and your bite is corrected so that the muscles aren't overworked.

Wow, a lot of positive stories from Ireland. It's not practical, but after reading these posts, I'm tempted to fly there for treatment or a consult at least.

I found a list of doctors who use the ALF here in the US, but I would like to hear actual patient experiences/outcomes, especially those who are undoing extractions. I don't know if experience should be a big factor in picking an ALF practitioner. I spoke to one office that uses the ALF, but they didn't sound too sure about retreatment and it was really expensive.

Thanks again to everyone and do post updates if you have any.

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#18 Post by Musy » Thu Oct 20, 2011 7:53 am

Anyone getting it done in UK?

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#19 Post by Eurodude » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:05 am

I'm amost a year into ALF treatment now. The upper arch has widened so much that I now have a cross bite on the left side. If I try to chew on that side it's like trying to clap with one hand, the left side had collapsed inwards. Next stage will be expanding the lower arch to match and at the same time to wear blocks on the lower molars to give me the correct vertical and not redamage the TMJs

The teeth are the only part of the skeleton that protrude through the skin, the occlusion is structurally part of the spinal column. It's beyond me why anybody would want to meddle with this design and start extracting teeth for orthodontic work. It's caused me nothing but grief. Since I started this treatment I'm standing more erect, before i was kind of hunched over all the time.

What I find really disturbing is that extractions are still carried out and considered standard of care for overcrowding when there is an alternative. I was on an Irish message board and told a guy considering extraction / retraction ortho work to get a second opinion. It was like I started World War Three. All the moderators who were dentists (they used the jargon) jumped on me. It was so patronising as if lay people are unable to have informed opinions.

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#20 Post by Corenna » Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:56 am

Wow---Can I first say how happy I am to find an active place where people are talking about this? I've felt so isolated as I couldn't find any info on these things (especially since my dentist just called them "appliances").

I'm in the US, in West Virginia specifically. (For you guys in the UK, it's its own state, not a part of Virginia hehe) I've had my appliances for about three weeks now, and it's bonded so I can't remove it. My biggest issue is that my upper bicuspids are both moved extremely forward (I once had a little boy tell me I had vampire teeth), but apparently I also have arch length loss both upper and lower. My maxillae is normal in both position and length, but my mandible is Class I? I don't know what that means. I'm worried that this is going to expand my upper bone too much. I also have a cross bite.

I still have to get extractions because of my bicuspids. This is something I really didn't want to do, but if my maxillae is normal length I really don't think anything else is an option. No extractions for my bottom teeth though because of the A.L.F., so that's good. It cost me $5500 flat, which includes the A.L.F., extractions, and braces. My total treatment time will be around a year (six months A.L.F., six months braces). Not bad!

One thing I wanted to know from you guys is about speech, eating, etc. A lot of the websites for the appliance say, "No speech issues! Really comfortable with no tongue sores!" Are they kidding!? Granted, my tongue sores went away after about four or five days, but I still have difficulty eating with new places hurting after my adjustment. And my speech, dear Lord.... I stopped lisping, but I can't even say my real name (Amanda) because I can't press my tongue against my front teeth! Also, because the appliances are against the sides of my bottom teeth, I can't make "uu" sounds well. So the worst word for me is "too/two". Ugh. I hope it goes away soon.

I have to admit, one of the biggest reasons I'm posting is just the relief of seeing other people with this. I'm also glad to know that the way this works is through "light, continuous forces" as I was FREAKING out about how I barely felt any movement/pain. I like that I can experience less pain and have better results. Anyway, thank you guys so much for existing, and please keep posting! I'll keep you guys up to date.

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#21 Post by Amanda6 » Sat Oct 29, 2011 10:45 am

Musy wrote:bump
Anyone getting it done in UK?
Hi Musy,
I have been having orthodontic treatment with an ALF appliance, with a dentist in England. My orthodontic treatment has been for the purpose of treating my TMJ dysfunction.

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#22 Post by Musy » Thu Nov 03, 2011 9:01 am

hi Amanda, is it in London?

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Location: UK

Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#23 Post by Amanda6 » Thu Nov 03, 2011 4:57 pm

Musy wrote:hi Amanda, is it in London?
It's in Surrey, the dentist is Andre Hedger

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#24 Post by Tracey82 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:15 pm

Hey All, I haven't been on this in a while and wanted to just update in case it helps anyone! I got the ALF in February and have just last week gotten my brackets fitted.... wow I just realised what an easy time I had with the ALF! But it will all be worth it. My upper arch widened from 30mm to 43mm in just 9months! I noticed some people had said that they breath better, and I have also noticed this! My face shape has changed ..for the better, and I do feel a lot different, which I find amazing, I still can't believe this method is not used more widely! My brackets will only be on for 6 months approx which is great, but have to admit I feel like pulling them off right now :lol:
I got a type of rubber gum shield thing to wear at night though- which I am finding impossible, if I do manage to fall asleep with it in, I end up pulling it out in my sleep!! Hope I can get used to it as I know I need to wear it. Ha sanyone else ever had to wear anything like this?

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#25 Post by karl66 » Wed Nov 30, 2011 6:36 pm

In my case there was always a level of discomfort and dull pain
after each adjustment. Trying to eat, tough solid food like steak
was always an absolute no-go for about 2-3 days but the discomfort usually went after that.
You can also just pop the appliance out clean it and stick it back in. Some days
I would just get tired of it and take it out for a while to clean it or just eat without it.
I used to do this all the time (maybe check with your practitioner first though!).

With speech I reckon it depends on your own situation, size of mouth, tongue posture
and basically how you speak, different nations/languages use the tongue in different ways for example.
A friend of mine had the same treatment and he was a bit lispy allright at the start, more so than I,
but he has a much narrower mouth, maybe thats the reason I am not sure.
The first time I had the ALF I sounded funny for a few days, but at that it was hardly noticeable.
You will adjust to it quickly, the tongue figures out how to get around it and speak normally.
Similarly, with discomfort. parts of the wire would hurt and chafe the tongue
in the beginning but after a while it
just goes away.
Speech problem just weren't an issue for me to be honest!

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#26 Post by hermyg03 » Sat Mar 24, 2012 5:14 pm

Hey everyone,

I'm really glad that I stumbled upon this site because the information you all have provided has been very helpful! I've been suffering from bruxism for some time and I just went back to my dentist/ortho this week. It looks like I'll need the ALF with TADs then braces. I'm in U.S. and it was quoted at just over $6,000 before insurance. To say the least, I'm stressed and worried like crazy. I was just wondering how you all are doing, it's been some time since anyone has updated and I guess I was just looking for some more reassurance.

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#27 Post by annav » Wed May 16, 2012 6:45 am

I just got an ALF two days ago - it does hurt to eat, my tongue is sore and my speech is a bit funny but getting better. I wouldn't say there is no discomfort at all, because there is. Hope it gets better soon. Still, from what I have read it is a very good device. My daughter has it, she adapted very quickly, and in a month's time she will get regular braces. No need to take out any teeth, which is very good.

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#28 Post by Linn35 » Wed May 30, 2012 11:13 am

Hey !

I am living in Sweden in a small town. I visited an orto with my daughter a couple of month ago.
She is suffering of sever crowded teeth in her upper jaw. He said that he had to extract four teeth.
That is what orto do here in Sweden. And then he said that her jawline would reduce.

At home I started to look on the internet and I read about terrible things that can happend .
So I decided to look för a Alf dentist . I found out that their is no one here in Sweden. But I found one in Norway . We have just been visiting him and it will cost us a lot of money.( All dentist care is for free in Sweden for children up to 20 years.)

Anyway I don`t regret it . I am absolutely sure of that this will be the best for her. He didn´t just look on her teeth , also her jaw . Her jaw is cracking and it turns to the left when she is closing her mouth.
And he said that Alf will make this good to. He seemed to be very devoted

And I just told my ordinary dentist about this and he didn´t belive in Alf at all. But I wasn´t expecting anythingelse.

I`m just sorry about that I didn´t know about Alf several years ago.
I do wonder about one thing though, does she need a retainer the rest of her life ? And one more thing
will her face be much wider?

And I don´t understand why it isn´t common with Alf in Sweden . I have phoned a lot of dentist here and they seem to belive that I`m crazy . And said that I shall not belive everything that I read on the internet.
(Sorry for my english)

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#29 Post by braceforface » Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:07 am

So glad i found this, i recently changed dentist because we moved (live in the uk) and after having a brace consultation at my last dentist i decided to have one at my new dentist. He examined me and the first thing he said was, i bet you have ear problems!! And i do, loads since my teens my ears have played havoc. Also im a mouth breather and get really bad jaw ache. He took all the measurements and i have a narrow upper and lower and my lower is set back. I am due to have have the upper appliance fitted in the next few weeks and then lower alf about a month later. Then he will put the normal braces on to straighten the teeth once everything has been widened. I have bad overcrowding upper and lower and an 8mm overjet. He explained to me all about the tmj and i cant believe that other dentists dont think about the implication of the teeth on the jaw and the rest of the skull. I have been lucky that i found him really xx

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Re: ALF Appliance - is anyone having treatment using this ?

#30 Post by ellieb » Wed Aug 01, 2012 8:08 am

I just realized I never posted here. Anyway, yes, I have an upper ALF. I am finishing my treatment with veneers instead of braces because my actual front upper teeth are slightly malformed and have always been stained, and so I would need veneers anyway. This is helping them get in at a better angle and position so I'll have a good bite and it will just make the veneers much more successful. Like others have said, it's not that bad. There seems to be the most variety in speech issues. I also thought I was doing really well and then I got super lispy again, and I still am. I've had them 5 weeks. My orthodontist was very specific that I should leave it in for eating and also only take it out to brush my teeth and it, but I have taken it out for a few occasions around public speaking.

Eating, I had a hard time getting that worked out for the first couple of days and now I eat anything. I can't manage anything very thin and fibrous like apple skins or lettuce, but because my teeth aren't formed properly I had problems with them in the first place--if I was served a sandwich with lettuce I always had to pick it out because I couldn't bite through it. Also after my adjustment I found it really hard to chew for a few days. I did try eating without it a couple of times but it didn't help.

Discomfort, almost none. Basically it feels good most of the time. It was sore a bit after the adjustment, but other than that, when I take it out my mouth throbs and when I put it back in there's kind of a twinge that fades into nothing after about a half hour. I did get some chafing of my tongue the first couple of days, and sometimes I wake up with my mouth a bit dry and my tongue sore. But I feel so much better generally because I can breathe easily through my nose and do not get sinus headaches anymore! When you factor that in, I always feel more comfortable with this in than I ever did before I got it.

Because of what I'm having done with my teeth I will be getting something called a "labial bow" which will basically make it look like a retainer from the front, but for now I am enjoying the invisibility of it. So far it is less noticeable even than invisalign, except when I talk, and there are people who find they lisp with the aligners.

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