BY: SUNHEE GRINNELL | VFSTYLE
Clockwise from top left: I am all smiles lately and then some!; @vfbeauty and @marshalllinstyle; with @carlapositano and @antoniosersale; with @mwmakeup.
Nine months of Invisalign treatment was worth every aligner with Dr. Joseph T. Hung, orthodontist.
More Smiles Lately
Have you noticed that I am smiling more lately? Well, it’s because I have a fantastic reason to, thanks to Dr. Joseph T. Hung, D.M.D. M.M.S., of RockCenter Orthodontics and Invisalign! I can now say I am an Invisalign graduate, and with honors, I might add (ha!).
Flashback The first time I began my Invisalign treatment, back in November of 2014, I was committed and determined to have perfect teeth, in order to achieve that perfect smile. And guess what? It happened. I must admit that having a very confident and satisfying smile is a wonderful boost to one’s self-image. No lie!
Of course, a selfie with Dr. Joseph T. Hung on my last Invisalign appointment @rockcenterorthodontics.
Invisalign guru Dr. Joseph T. Hung
Thanks to my perfectly fitted Invisalign invisible aligners created by Dr. Hung, I can safely say that he is one of the most thorough—a perfectionist, really, and extremely well-versed in Invisalign orthodontics. He helped me to achieve my final goal when it came to perfecting my teeth, now and for the rest of my life. But he couldn’t do the work for me—I, the patient, had to do my part. I admit, it wasn’t so easy at times, due to my crazy work-related social schedule, which usually involves meals, because I would simply forget to put the braces back into my mouth. And then, all of a sudden, I would hear Dr. Hung’s voice, slightly muffled through his dentistry mask: “Remember, the less you wear them, the longer your treatment period will be.“ The next thing I knew, they were back in my mouth. And the best part about the whole experience was that most people did not even notice that I had them in the first place. Hence, the meaning of the treatment—invisible alignment. Invisalign.
How It Works
A week after Dr. Hung took the initial scan—a very precise 3-D scan and mold of my teeth—he gave me all 14 treatment aligners, and every two weeks I progressed to the next numbered tray. Then, I saw him in two-to-three-month intervals for checkups during which, basically, he graded me in my wear. Believe me, he could tell whether I had been naughty or good. Thank God that I was pretty good for the long haul—wearing them 22 hours a day for the first seven months (that’s pretty hard-core, and, yes, I’m patting myself on the back here!), and I often found myself juicing, so that I didn’t have to remove the trays (can you say “weight loss?“ Yay!). Then, I moved down to wearing them 18 hours a day for the last two months. And along the way, Dr. Hung carefully monitored the teeth’s micro-movements, performing what’s called an occlusal adjustment [definition: the process of equilibrating, or evening out, the patient’s bite, so that the teeth and jaws can function with improved harmony, usually used to remove an interference which might be causing a tooth to be sore or loose], to make sure that all the bite weight is balanced. He performed a marginal reach adjustment so that there will be no relapse, meaning that your teeth won’t shift back to their original places. Using dental rubber tips, he made hairline adjustments on my teeth so that no collision could take place between the top and bottom rows, preventing any problem. Did you know that unless your teeth and bite are balanced, you may be more prone to cavities and further problems? I didn’t, until then!
The End Is in Sight, but Don’t Get Cocky!
At my five-month checkup (the 14th tray—my last!), Dr. Hung buffed off my aligner attachments (tiny little knobs that he attached to my teeth in the beginning, with the first tray) for very smooth-feeling teeth, and I got “re-acquainted with my own anatomy,” to use his words. This was the phase wherein I was feeing good, where I saw a distinct change in the appearance of my teeth, and “this is usually the phase where patients often get lazy and think they can stop,” explained Dr. Hung. The good doctor’s advice? “Don’t get lazy now, because the lazier you get the longer treatment you will have to endure, or go back a tray, in some cases.” At this point, he performed more occlusal adjustments—fine-tuning, balancing, and adjusting—during which all excess got reduced for a perfect bite. He also explained that this would be the “very sensitive period,“ but that as time went on my teeth would feel firmer and stronger with each bite. And with much reassurance I was assigned to remain on the 14th aligner until August.
Left: Case file: S. Grinnell—starting point. Right: Nine months later.
In Celebration: I Am an Invisalign Graduate!
O.K., I know that all of the above was a mouthfull (pun intended), but I had to explain why you want Invisalign if you want your teeth aligned permanently:
1) Aligned teeth are a major confidence-booster. 2) As you get older, your teeth will collapse faster if they are not balanced. 3) If your teeth are not balanced, you are prone to have more problems as you age.
So, in short, I highly recommend Invisalign treatment (forget the metal—I love these plastic trays!), and, if you live in or near New York City, I can’t recommend highly enough that Dr. Joseph T. Hung be your orthodontist! He will steer you and your teeth in the right direction with perfect precision, truly and wholeheartedly. Because of my fantastic results, I now have perfectly aligned teeth, top and bottom—double-yay! And for being a good student, I graduated on time, and now it’s all about maintenance. Yes, maintenance, because you want to keep the perfect teeth you worked so hard to achieve, right? So, my graduation present was night retainers! Night retainers not only retain (another pun intended!) my perfectly aligned teeth while I’m sleeping, they double as a night guard to prevent my teeth from grinding, causing further damage. I can confidently recommend Vivera retainers, which are also made by Invisalign. They are slightly stiffer and thicker in texture that the aligners, but they are clear and perfect—I swear, I love wearing them! My teeth feel firm and protected, and now that I wear the retainers only overnight, I couldn’t be happier with my teeth and in how they look and feel.
My Advice and Helpful Tips
If you want to straighten your teeth out once and for all and for the rest of your life:
1) Dr. Joseph T. Hung is your ortho man! As he has been rated the No. 1 orthodontist among Invisalign-treatment prescribers for four consecutive years, you will be in excellent hands. You can find him at 630 Fifth Avenue, Rockfeller Center, where the view is mighty nice as you exit the building. 2) You should have extra dental checkups with your D.D.S. during your Invisalign treatment, for extra cleaning. 3) Soak your aligners in Efferdent Plus Mint denture cleanser. 4) Know that Invisalign can also correct overbites and underbites. 5) Before you order your permanent Vivera night retainers, be sure to have a final checkup with your dentist. 6) If you somehow missed a night of wearing your retainers, be sure to add a day to the night. 7) If you are in the market for a new dentist, Dr. Adina Carrel, D.M.D., P.C. is it! She happens to be conveniently located across the hall from Dr. Hung—how great is that? She’s not only the prettiest dentist I’ve ever met, but she’s truly a no-nonsense kind of a doctor with the gentlest touch. 8) They both seem to swear by Philips Sonicare Toothbrush, as one should clean every tooth in a circular motion because brushing side to side in a horizontal motion does not do anyone any good. Sonicare does all the work for you while giving you ultimate control. And, lucky us, they have a new line. Try the DiamondClean whitening collection, which comes in four colors (see photo) and with the coolest features! Aside from its diamond-shaped head having 44 percent more bristles than the standard, for a higher removable rate of plaque and whiter teeth, the rinse glass that comes with a brush which is actually the charging station. “No way,“ you might say, but “Way!“ It’s so way cool because it also comes with a sleek portable travel case that is also a charger that plugs into your computer’s USB—hello globe-trotter! I can safely guarantee that once you start with this system there will be no going back. It looks good in your bathroom, and it travels well—so major. And, oh yeah, don’t forget to floss! My favorite is the minted Listerine Ultraclean Floss by Johnson & Johnson. Its slightly elastic material is easy to maneuver and use. Love it! 9) A couple of known facts: Did you know straightening your teeth can help you look five years younger? Plus, 24 million women nationwide would opt for teeth alignment as a beauty treatment to boost their self-assurance—nice! 10) Perfect your teeth and smile with Invisalign and preserve your hard work with Vivera. And so with all that, align your pearly whites and keep smiling with confidence.
From left: Listerine Ultraclean Floss by Johnson & Johnson; the Philips Sonicare toothbrush and charging glass; Philips Sonicare toothbrushes.