All my life I’ve wanted straight white teeth.

When my friends talk about getting Botox or nose jobs, I secretly wished for “metal mouth” because I knew all that shiny hardware would eventually lead to straight teeth. For me, the best asset is a confident smile.

So after my teenage son finished his treatment plan with conventional braces, I decided it was the right time to spend a little money on myself.

During a regular dental check-up, I asked my dentist, Dr. Shane Jensen, about Invisalign. Traditional metal braces didn’t seem like the right option for a professional working in the public relations field.

When I asked about Invisalign, Dr. Jensen spent a few extra minutes examining my teeth, took photos, looked at my X-rays and checked out my bite. Then he left for a few minutes to perform some calculations. When he returned, he let me know that I would be a candidate for Invisalign. He gave me an estimate of how long the process would take and an approximate cost.

When it was time to make our annual election on my company’s flexible health savings account, I set aside pre-tax dollars to pay for the treatment. My company’s dental insurance won’t cover orthodontics for adults, but many insurance plans do. If you are considering Invisalign, it’s worth checking into.

Wanting straight teeth wasn’t entirely for cosmetic reasons. I’m a teeth grinder. The medical term is bruxism and it can occur when teeth aren’t properly aligned. It’s exciting to think that someday soon I’ll have the smile I’ve always wanted and be free from jaw pain and headaches.

At age 45, I’m embarking on a venture that most pre-teens do. It’s a little scary, and also a little exciting!


‘Twas The Night Before

My first Invisalign appointment is tomorrow. I’m not really sure what to expect at the visit, but I have done a little research on Invisalign.

I’ve learned that Invisalign is a series of clear aligners that I will be wearing over my teeth for 22 hours a day, 7 days a week for about 10 months. Each set of aligners—one for the top and one for the bottom—will be worn for about 2 weeks each.

Through regular check ups, my dentist will verify that my teeth are moving correctly and help me progress through each set of aligners.

Day-by-day, week-by-week, my teeth will gradually move into their proper position and become straighter.

Here’s my “before” smile.


You’ll notice that both of my top lateral incisors tilt toward my middle teeth. My bottom teeth are a little harder to see, but they are even more crooked. The left central incisor completely overlaps the right one, which is so tilted that an inner corner of the tooth chipped off from the pressure on it. The lower lateral incisors also push forward and tilt sideways. Overall, my lower teeth are pretty crowded.

With the first appointment only a few hours away, my dream of a beautiful smile will be a reality very soon! Each individual has a different length of time and a different number of aligners they need to wear. For me, it will be about 10 short months, as long as I wear the aligners as prescribed.

I can’t wait!

Check back next Friday for part two of this series!

Marsha Wilkerson

Marsha was born, raised and educated in the middle of the United States. After enjoying a career as a communications consultant that took her north (to Canada), south (to Texas), east (to Delaware) and west (to California), she settled in the most beautiful place she had ever seen: the Nebraska prairie. She grew up loving ballet, reading, playing with dolls and doing all things girly. Now she's the minority in her home where she lives with her husband of 25 years and their two ever-growing sons. During the day, Marsha is honored to work in faith-based healthcare, but by night, she's a baker of cinnamon rolls and frequently called upon to help one of her boys practice the latest wrestling move.