The Smile That Won My Heart

It’s kind of odd that I’m writing about something so near and dear to my heart after I feel like I was just talking about this last weekend and even touched on it with my post last Sunday. But what I described was more of a love story. The story of how I met my husband, how we fell in love, and got married soon after is a wonderful, sappy, magical love story.

But I never talked about what really attracted me to him in the first place.

We worked together at a small start-up company right smack in the middle of the dot com boom. I had been working there for about four months when he came on board. He was first introduced at one of our weekly company meetings. Those meetings were supposed to motivate us, reinvigorate, and make us BELIEVE that working 70 hours per week was somehow going to pay off big for us. After four months, I was already jaded.

On that day, though, they introduced a new employee named Sean. I was only half-listening because I didn’t know if he was an employee, a vendor, or some sort of business partner. He told a quick story about his previous job and everyone laughed and I went back to my jaded thinking, wondering how I would make it through the week ahead.

One of the ways was a group lunch. The advantage of working long and hard at a small company was that we had a lot of freedom when it came to lunchtime. A two hour lunch with a drink or two wasn’t unusual. On this day in particular, we were headed to the local Mexican restaurant and as we were walking in, I realized someone had invited the “new guy.”

I think back to that moment a lot. It was one of those standout moments in my life that I will always remember. We were walking across the parking lot and I was looking at the new guy. He was tall, fair skinned, curly hair, glasses – totally not my type. And to top it all off, he was wearing a BRIGHT YELLOW SWEATER. I don’t think I’ve ever met a person who looks good in bright yellow.

And if I could go back and plant a thought in my head that day, I’d love to tell myself, “Take a good look. That’s your future husband.”

I’m not sure I would have believed it. He wasn’t my type. He was too upbeat. He was excited to be there. He was so jovial. Totally not my type. And yet…

That smile.

He had a picture perfect smile. The kind that lights up a room. And ultimately, it was that smile and everything behind it that won me over.

That’s where the love story ends but it’s a wonderful story to share considering how important a smile is when it comes to first impressions.

 

As I got to know Sean, I learned that he wasn’t genetically blessed and had worn braces like practically every single person in my generation. I wore them for five years (4th grade to 8th grade) and still didn’t have straight teeth. And then wore them again for two years as an adult, suffered with crippling headaches, and STILL wasn’t satisfied with my results (I have a really bad bite).

A few weeks ago, I was invited to attend a brunch sponsored by Invisalign. To be honest, I figured I’d had enough orthodontic work to last me a lifetime but I was always down for a nice brunch with my fellow bloggers. And then it happened. What every brands hopes will come out of an event like this.

I was surprised and delighted.

No, seriously.

I listened to Dr. Larry Wang from the Baltimore Orthodontic Group talk about why he and his patients love Invisalign. Let me be clear. He wasn’t being paid. This man really loves Invisalign. By the end of the session, I was totally ready to have something done to my teeth even if I don’t need anything done.

The important things I learned:

- Invisalign is roughly on par with traditional braces, in terms of cost, and is usually covered by insurance (where orthodontic coverage exists)

- The entire course of treatment is mapped out after the initial consultation using computer modeling (always subject to change though)

- The occurrence of headaches and teeth pain after an adjustment (or new set of aligners) is significantly less with Invisalign than with traditional braces

- They’re not only clear… THEY’RE INVISIBLE*!!

* I can’t substantiate that last fact with scientific proof but Amanda (@dumbparent) sat right beside me during the event and was wearing her aligners and I didn’t even know it!

So, if you’re thinking about some orthodontic work for yourself, for your teen, for your tween, or YOUNGER (the recommended age for first orthodontic consultation is 7 years old), I would totally consider Invisalign. And I’m saying that as a 7-year-braces veteran. And if you live in the Baltimore area, I can score you a discount if you decide to get treatment for yourself or your child.

But the biggest barrier to treatment that I hear from most people is the cost of treatment. No matter which route you go, ORTHODONTIC WORK AIN’T CHEAP! If you don’t have insurance that covers orthodontic care (and if you do, take advantage of it!), check out the Invisalign New Smile Sweepstakes over on Mom It Forward.

 

While you’re at it, stay in touch with the Invisalign folks through all their channels: Invisalign.com, Twitter, and Facebook.

Have your own orthodontic nightmare or success story to share? Let me know. I’d love to compare notes!

Disclosure: Invisalign compensated me for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own and I never write about something I don’t personally believe in.

  • http://profiles.google.com/andrea.flickinger Andrea Flickinger

    I wish I could get the discount in Raleigh! Seriously considering getting Invisalign. 

    • FadraN

      If they had it, I would totally pass it on to you! $500 is a great savings. They had actual patients in to talk about the cost and said it’s not much more than regular braces.

  • http://profiles.google.com/andrea.flickinger Andrea Flickinger

    I wish I could get the discount in Raleigh! Seriously considering getting Invisalign. 

  • Trudi

    I did Invisalign several years ago. The only part I didn’t like was how they filed down the sides of each tooth so they would fit as they shifted. (There was a term for it, but I can’t recall what it was.) I think if I’d understood that part going in, I may have looked into traditional braces. Well, I guess there’s another part I don’t like — wearing that final tray as a retainer every night forever. On the up-side, my teeth are straight, and I got into the good habit of flossing every day.

    • Trudi

      And once you’ve had them, you can usually spot others who are wearing them. :)

    • Trudi

      And once you’ve had them, you can usually spot others who are wearing them. :)

    • FadraN

      Yeah – I don’t think I’d been too keen on having my teeth filed although I will say techniques have changed a lot so I’m not sure if they still do that.

      FYI – even with traditional braces, you have to wear a retainer every night forever. Except my “every night” is usually twice a month.

  • Trudi

    I did Invisalign several years ago. The only part I didn’t like was how they filed down the sides of each tooth so they would fit as they shifted. (There was a term for it, but I can’t recall what it was.) I think if I’d understood that part going in, I may have looked into traditional braces. Well, I guess there’s another part I don’t like — wearing that final tray as a retainer every night forever. On the up-side, my teeth are straight, and I got into the good habit of flossing every day.

  • Tara

    I am the poster child (adult?) for dental intervention. ;)  I think it’s because my mom has worked in dental/orthodontic offices for so much of my life that I’ve more or less become obsessed with the appearance of my teeth.

    December of my 8th grade year through Summer of my sophomore year of high school, I wore traditional braces.  I had a horrendous cross-bite, congenitally missing teeth, crowding (how I had crowding with missing teeth is beyond me), ankylosed teeth (teeth that don’t erupt and become fused to the bone) and had to have some serious oral surgery.  In addition to all this, I was a French horn player and the braces really hindered my ability to play well so my parents encouraged my orthodontist to move my teeth quickly. Moving teeth quickly results in bone loss which means that your teeth are more likely to go back to where they were before braces.  If I went a day or two without my retainer, I got headaches, as a result of my teeth moving.  So, I wore my retainer religiously.  I also figured I endured torture for my smile, I might as well maintain it.  I’ve been through several retainers.  If one breaks, I see an orthodontist & have a new one made.  I told you, I’m obsessed with my teeth.

    Fast forward into my adulthood…I noticed that one of my top front teeth is discolored and starting to crack.  Well that’s just not cool.  I do some internet research & find an aesthetic dentist in the town we were living in at the time, find out he was an Army dentist for a while (I like that, my husband is Army) and make an appointment.  As he’s taking my history, we discover that my lifelong chronic migraines are more than likely tied to misalignment of my jaw.  Further examination confirms that I have a very acute case of TMD.  I was getting up to 2-3 migraines/week.  He prescribes a treatment plan that includes wearing an orthotic on my bottom teeth that realigns my bottom jaw and helps it find a new neutral position.  After 6 months, I had 95-99% reduction in symptoms.  Unfortunately, treatment of my TMD wasn’t covered by insurance and cost around $3K.

    After finally getting my TMD under control, the same dentist did actually do something about my discolored and cracking tooth.  We wound up putting 6 crowns across my front teeth.  The process was long and painstaking but I couldn’t be anymore happy with the results.  My teeth are beautiful & white & perfectly natural looking.  The crowns were nearly $6K.

    I still wear my retainer every day, in addition to my orthotic.  I figure I’m the world’s oldest retainer wearer.  But, considering how much time, money & effort has been put into my teeth, I figure it’s worth it.

    • FadraN

      Wow, wow, wow. I probably *should* have had more work done. I had an underbite which is why I started treatment in the 4th grade. I didn’t go back for braces the second time because of crooked teeth. It was because of muscle tension caused by a bad bite. Turns out shifting everything gave me skull crushing headaches that could only be relieved by a drug that’s no longer even on the market!

      Still, my bite isn’t correct but maybe it’s as good as it will be without jaw surgery – an option I wasn’t willing to consider.

  • http://twitter.com/Anne_Hogan Anne Hogan

     I would love to get Invisalign, but my insurance doesn’t cover much in the way of orthodontics, and I just can’t afford it right now.  Especially since my teeth really aren’t bad, they’re just not *perfect*, and I can be a wee bit obsessive about things like that.  :p

  • http://about.me/efloraross Elizabeth Flora Ross

    Man, I wish you could get me a discount in FL! Totally want to go this route!

  • Myley Nirvan

    You can improve your smile by using invisalign or braces. Braces set your teeth in proper shape. But it needs proper care. Invisible Braces