My Invisalign Journey (1): Yes to Invisalign and Finding a Provider

I started using my first set of Invisalign liners yesterday! I figured I would document my journey with them so maybe I can help someone decide they want to give them a whirl. And also because I’m so pumped to see my teeth and bite transform and improve and become beautiful!!

So let’s start from the beginning: my choice to get Invisalign and the process of finding a provider.

I’ve been wanting braces since I was in middle school. Back then, everyone was getting them. But they were expensive and I never had dental insurance, so it was not an option. I guess I would say my teeth aren’t horribly crooked, but they aren’t straight. And my two front top teeth are noticeably larger than my other teeth because of the crooked way they are positioned.

Aside from their purpose in straightening teeth and correcting bites, the other great thing about those braces were the fun rubberbands. Do you remember how cool the rubberbands seemed as a kid? I was always jealous when one of my friends came to school with a new set of colored rubberbands! They usually coincided an upcoming holiday (green and red for Christmas) or they were the person’s favorite color. And don’t even get me started on the glow-in-the-dark ones!

And then, in high school, people started getting their metal braces taken off, revealing straight teeth and beautiful smiles. As if the rubberbands weren’t enough, the end product of years with braces made me even more jealous.

Since middle and high school are deemed “normal” times to have metal braces, after graduating from high school, the idea of metal braces was out of the question for me. I know there were those “tooth-colored” ceramic braces and they have come a long way over the years, but they still weren’t ideal.

I remember a teacher in elementary school with these “clear” braces, but they actually made her teeth look really yellow. And they still had the metal wire, so there really was no concealing the fact that she had braces. Nowadays the ceramic braces come with white wires to make them less noticeable (see comparison below) but they’re still kind of obvious.

Luckily within the past 10 years, the creation and improvement of clear aligners makes straight teeth without metal or an off-white appearance an option.

Except it’s still expensive. I have encountered a few people throughout the years who have been able to afford the multi-thousand dollar service and have said that it was totally worth every penny. But realistically I just could not afford it. Other than improving my self-confidence, they didn’t seem necessary.

But through the years, I knew that I wanted to have straight teeth for my future wedding, whenever that actually happened. So when I got engaged this summer, it was time to seriously contemplate whether I was going to take the plunge and get Invisalign. Tom and I talked about it and agreed that I should do it, so I began doing my research of local Invisalign providers.

“Coincidentally,” Groupon actually sent me a deal for a certain amount off an Invisalign treatment. As tempting as that was, I figured it would be a good idea to look further into this “deal”. I found a bunch of negative reviews and “buyer bewares” from people:

  • the provider offering the discount was not a recognized Invisalign provider (Invisalign “trained” instead of “certified”)
  • the provider offering the discount was new to the field and was pretty much trying to get more patients
  • treatment might not even use Invisalign liners
  • provider might try to push other services before actual Invisalign treatment is allowed

Check out this article I found about avoiding Groupons for Invisalign treatment. Among other things, the author explains that “it’s illegal for orthodontists and dentists to engage in fee-splitting activities…”

So I decided against the Groupon thing; these are my teeth and I don’t want to mess with them just to save money. So I went to the Invisalign website and looked at New York City providers. Providers are rated based on how many Invisalign patients they have treated (Elite, Premier, Preferred, and General Provider) as well as whether they are included in the top 1% of North America Invisalign providers.

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I chose one of the best: Dr. Jacqueline Fulop-Goodling. She is an Elite Preferred Provider as well as in the top 1% of providers, so I figured if anyone could give me a great smile, she could. Plus she had multiple offices throughout the NYC and Long Island area, so I figured that multiple locations meant that this lady knew her stuff and was doing really well in the world of orthodontia.

Further research of her proved my assumptions: everyone had nothing but great things to say about her, her team, and their successful treatments.

I contacted her office and scheduled my consultation with her midtown office. So (as long as I felt good about Dr. Jacquie and her team, the price wasn’t too extreme, and it seemed do-able) I had a provider!

My next post will be about my consultation and first official appointment, so keep your eyes posted!

Jealousy and FOMO

I’ve been pretty jealous lately. And I know I shouldn’t be. But I have been. It could just be that I’m tired or simply a female with emotions. I try my hardest to let things that cause these feelings slide off my back, but it’s not easy.

Lizzie McGuire gifPlus, with the invention of Facebook and other social media outlets, avoiding jealousy has become even more difficult. I can’t go a day without checking my newsfeed (about 100 times) and seeing new pictures of proposals, engagement rings, weddings, baby bumps, and baby pictures. Then there are all the statuses to accompany new jobs, new homeowners, and mushy couples declaring their love for each other. A whole lot of happy people enjoying happy things taking place in their happy lives.

And I get jealous.

Well, now that I sound like a complete crank, let me just say that I am in no way complaining about my life. I understand that this is most definitely a first world problem and I have no reason to be jealous when there are starving people in China, Ethiopia, and, oh yeah, America.

But let us, just for a second, put that aside and talk a little about FOMO. A couple months back, I wrote a post about the “Fear Of Missing Out” or FOMO for short. Basically, in this day and age, we have so many issues involving commitment and “doing stuff” because we always feel like there might be something better going on. We don’t want to lose out on the possible experiences we could have. If we’re already committed to going to that lunch date or that party on Saturday, what other amazing things could we be missing out on? If I take that full-time job, what if something great comes along? Will I want that other job? Will I want both?

Take it from me, I should be in FOMOA (FOMO Anonymous) because I constantly crave doing things. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a night here and there to just relax and watch 10 episodes of Pretty Little Liars or Revenge. But after that night, I’m over it. I need to be doing something. I feel useless and lazy without a task that needs to be completed. When I went home 2 weeks ago, I had almost every minute booked before I even bought my bus tickets.

When I was working multiple jobs at a time, I still felt as though I should have been doing more. I wanted more time with friends. I wanted more hours at work. Now this may be due mostly to the fact that I was living in my house alone, constantly going stir-crazy, but I digress.

And now I’m in NYC and feel as though I have not done nearly as much as I should have done in the first 5 months. Granted, I have gone to a hockey game and a concert and a lot of my time has been devoted to school. I’ve eaten at a few restaurants and have found some good places to run. However, I have only gone to one museum, and it was for a class project. I avoid finding awesome places to eat because I don’t have money to blow on wonderful food. Instead I buy a loaf of bread and make PB and Nutella sandwiches all day, everyday.

Touristy stuff is expensive and shopping costs money. On top of that, I am already taking out huge loans for my brand name education. I do not have a consistent income and I feel completely lost as to what on earth my future holds – what do I want to do with my life? Will I even make it in teaching? Do I have what it takes?

And then I get on Facebook and see all of these posts and photos of friends and family who seem to have their lives together. They are happy and life is just working out for them. They are buying cars and houses and getting married and adulting.

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I understand they too have encountered roadblocks, potholes, dead ends, and whatever other traffic situations that can be applied to life’s trials. But you don’t see that on Facebook or Instagram. And why would you? Other than those annoying people who post their every emotion, pictures are generally happy and show off the best aspects of their lives.

We want to show off the awesome time we had at a bonfire with friends. We want people to envy our newly toned bodies, or the fact that we attended that off-the-wall party this past weekend, or that we got to travel to an exotic place. So, is it all just a game to show how important and awesome we are?

Mean Girls gif

We hesitate to unfriend people because then we will lower our “coolness stats” or Klout scores, and therefore seem less awesome. So then we wonder who would want to be our friend in real life.

So how do we overcome this pressure to look awesome, like our life is completely solid and we know what we’re doing? I guess one option is to disengage from all social media sites until you feel restored of your self-confidence. And I’m serious about this one. If it is honestly hurting your self-worth that much, take a break. Stop obsessing over everyone else’s life and go make your life awesome.

And then come back and post that stuff on Facebook to make everyone super jealous!

Just kidding.

I’ve recently been told the secret is to “fake it til you make it”. Everyone has heard this old adage and I guess you could make that work for you. But don’t you think that’s pretty much lying to everyone, including yourself? I mean, listen, if you have the confidence to just B.S. your way through things, great. Good for you. If it gets you where you want, cool. But I think it could create sticky situations because you’re basically creating a false-self. Maybe it’s a better self, and maybe that’s the boost you need. But not all of us are built for that.

Elf gifI’m not a good liar. I suck at lying and deceiving people because I hate being lied to and deceived by people myself. It makes me uncomfortable. And since I blush pretty easily, being uncomfortable is super obvious with my pale skin. Instead, I do my best, I try to be as true to myself as possible, and hope it works out. I hope and pray that people might just like me for me, even for just a tiny reason.

But I think what people need (or maybe just what I need) are better ways to improve self-confidence without having to resort to shutting out the world or lying our way through. I want to be the best person I can possibly be without constantly feeling the need to compare myself to all of those [seemingly] happy people I see on my computer screen. But it bugs me that I can’t simply be happy for them, and that there has to be that dichotomy between joy and envy.

So anyways, what sorts of strategies do you use to pump yourself up? How do you control your jealousy and self-consciousness in order to be yourself? Talk to friends? Family? Listen to music? Talking yourself up in a mirror?

In the mean time, get it girl (or guy).

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Making Decisions Through Collaboration

I have recently realized how important and beneficial collaboration and discussion can be. I’ve read numerous studies and research papers that support the idea of student collaboration and working with others as valuable. I am in no way saying that I never asked for help or for opinions before; “How does this look?” and “What do you think?” were a frequent part of my vocabulary. However, these questions usually did not require much more than a yes or no answer.

Decisions

Even in school, growing up, I was very content on doing assignments alone and making decisions by myself. And forget going to professors’ office hours during college; until my senior year of undergrad, I never met with classmates or teachers outside of class unless it was for a group project or a mandatory meeting. I love hanging out with people and talking, but when it comes to life decisions, I was always one to try and fare it alone.

This decision affects no one but me, so I need to be able to figure it out alone. I won’t always have close friends or family to help me through these situations, so I need to be able to talk myself through the pros and cons of every decision.

I always felt like no one understood my situation so they couldn’t possibly give me sound advice. On top of that, everyone else has their own problems and lives to deal with; why should I burden them with my problems and my life? So I simply kept my mental battles inside and didn’t reach out to others for help. I actually have documentation of this: I have about 7 journals filled with my internal battles; some that I still have not shared with anyone. I was even hesitant to ask my mom for advice many times because I didn’t want to be the one who needs her mommy to make all her decisions for her; it’s like having her cut up my food into bite-sized pieces.

Realizing that people do actually care and want to help was eye opening.

Through my friends and classmates in undergrad and grad school, I have realized how truly beneficial talking things out can be; doing this is helpful not only for school assignments but also for life decisions. It’s so easy to get stuck in one point of view (your own) and see no way other than that…unless you talk to others. Even saying your problem out loud can open your ears and eyes to a whole new perspective that you may not have realized otherwise.

And I’ve learned that discussing movies and books is a thing that takes place outside of clubs; like, you don’t simply watch a movie and deal with it internally or talk about how hot the actors/actress were or how cool the action scenes were. Actually discussing the plots and characters in-depth as if they were real is something that I never took part in. It has really allowed me to better understand and think about books, characters, television shows, etc. How has it taken me so long to do this?

And as much as we hate admitting it, our parents and other significant adults in our lives know a thing or two about life; they’ve been around a bit longer than we have and can teach us a lot. As long as we’re willing to listen…

So to all of you whom I have confided life-altering decision-making problems – thank you. Huge thanks to my mom for putting up with my moodiness because I didn’t want to tell her stuff but wanted to all at the same time. Without your help, I probably would not be where I am today. I am still working on being more open (within reason, obviously) and less prideful about my problems and internal struggles, so bear with me.

Magic 8 Ball

How do you go about making difficult decisions? Do you write it all out pro/con style? In a diary? Magic 8 Ball? Do you have a best friend that you share anything and everything with? Let me know, I would love to hear how you cope!

Halfway There

So I have not written a post in a couple of weeks. I have a good reason, I promise. Just hear me out!

I started graduate school this past January at Teachers College, Columbia University. And just an hour ago I finished my last final for the semester. I survived a semester of graduate school in New York City!

Up until about 2 weeks ago, I had planned on getting my degree next May. However, 2 weeks ago, I realized something. I am only 1 credit shy of being halfway done with my Masters requirements. What the what?! After crunching and re-crunching the numbers, reading and rereading the requirements, I spoke with my advisor just to make sure I was not overlooking something. Sure enough he confirmed that this is more than doable.

I kid you not, the clouds opened, the angels sang, and God said, “Holliday, you shall finish in December.” So that’s what I plan to do.

How awesome will it be to save a whole semester worth of housing and credits and the God-forsaken ‘College fee’ that is mandatory but no one knows what it is used for. Oh, maybe to supply us with those goofy ‘Student Senate’ plastic Ray-Ban wannabes. And our 20 “free” printed pages per week.

Anyways, so saving money will be fantastic. Except then reality hit:

“I will be done in December. That means I have to be an adult that much sooner. I will need somewhere to live. I will need a job to support myself. Not to mention, student loans will kick in that much sooner. Gah, what did I get myself into?!”

But, in all honesty, I am excited to see what will happen. I am over the moon that I get to start my “real-world” life sooner. I have been exploring careers outside of the typical ‘math teacher’ realm; coming to TC has really opened my eyes to the possibilities outside of the classroom.

funny_math_teacher_womens_light_tshirt

I am not completely abandoning the idea of becoming a classroom teacher (especially because I totally want that shirt!), but it is exciting what new and improving technology is creating in terms of jobs and experiences.

So the point of this post was:

1.  To apologize for not posting in awhile. I’ve been a good girl, telling myself that instead of writing a blog post I should be studying and doing homework.

2.  To let out some built-up fear and excitement for the future.

3.  To share this journey and hopefully help others who may be going through or will go through similar situations and may have similar decisions to make.

So what are your thoughts? Any ideas about what future endeavors a Masters in Mathematics Education could possibly explore? What do you hope to do by the end of this year?

I have a problem…

Ok, let me know if anyone else has this problem. It’s escalating and festering even as I write this. It’s gnawing at my ankles. An itch I can’t scratch. I just can’t stop thinking about it. It’s annoying…

My problem: I’m thinking of all the other things I could be doing right now. At this very second. Reading a new book I just got today. Watching some YouTube videos. Episode (or three) of Game of Thrones, anyone? Not to mention all the homework I have to do before next week’s spring break…

I seem to have the attention span of a 3 year old. Or a dog. It’s like having three people telling me to do something different, at the same time, all equally tantalizing:

“Sit for a treat!”

“Go fetch the ball!”

“Who wants to go for a walk?”

What on earth is a dog to do? Or in this case, a human being in the 21st century, constantly bombarded with “better” options. I find it difficult to make the most basic decisions anymore! And now with social media always telling us the epic things our friends/acquaintances and family (hey, Grandma) are doing, there’s the ever present FOMO.

I learned this term about a month ago, and the pastor at the church I went to last week dedicated an entire sermon about it. UrbanDictionary.com provides multiple definitions, but in essence, FOMO = Fear Of Missing Out. Raise your hand if you, like me, suffer from this. I would raise both of mine for emphasis, but it’s difficult to type without hands.

For those of you actually reading this (probably not many) I think this FOMO epidemic is causing an inability to commit. Everyday is like entering an ice cream shop, constantly feeling overcome by the vast varieties presented to you, and being told to choose only one.ice cream choices

I want cookie dough. But I also enjoy mint chocolate chip. Oh, but, my oh my, doesn’t that cookies-n-cream look divine? Ooh! Is this flavor new?

I mean, really. It’s never-ending! This FOMO topic is a huge one, and there’s already so much online about it. It’s definitely something I would like to delve deeper into, but I’ll leave it here for now. Contemplate, give ideas on overcoming FOMO, and/or tell me what you’re favorite ice cream flavor is.