I’m on tray 13 now, which puts me 26 weeks into the process. That would be more exciting if I didn’t have a total of 42 trays on this journey. However, I’ll take it! The last 26 weeks would have passed with or without braces. I’m glad they’ve passed moving my teeth tiny little millimeters at a time.
Little tidbits of information I’ve learned along the way:
- Wine, coffee and crystal light will all make it hard to keep your trays nice and clear for the full two weeks. If you partake in any/all of these, be sure to rinse with water while drinking those things and also brush your teeth and aligners right when you are done.
- You will go through more toothpaste, floss and toothbrushes than you ever thought possible. Stock up on the flosses from dentist appointments and ask Santa to put some of that stuff in your stocking. I have a set (tooth brush, tooth paste and floss) in my purse, in my cubicle at work and at home.
- Carrots and steak are so tasty, however they will be your nemesis through the process because they super love to make a little home between your teeth and you must evict them with floss.
- I change my aligners from one set to the next at night. That way they can sit in there and do their move-thing for a good 8-9 hours before I remove them to brush or eat. I also take ibprofin before bed on those nights. That really helps with the mild discomfort my teeth feel when new aligners are put in.
- The little “chewie” that they put in your invisalign case is AWESOME. Use it every time you switch aligners and use it for the first few days. You might think you have them tight to your teeth, but chewing on that for just a couple seconds after you put the aligners back in really sets them into place.
- Get used to having to either turn down little munchie foods (because you can’t eat them in public) or learn to have little qualms about ripping those bad boys off in public to throw a free chocolate truffle in your mouth.
- I’m pretty good at removing my aligners at meal time without anyone noticing, but when people do notice they usually stare and ask questions. It really doesn’t bother me, but if it bothers someone else they could always just go to the restroom before the meal arrived and remove them then. After the meal I generally brush before I put them back anyways, so that isn’t an issue.
- Brushing in public places. Sometimes it’s gross, but personally having food stuck in my aligners is gross-er. So, I try and carry my case and supplies with me at all times. If I don’t have my case I make a little aligner nest out of paper towels, or if I’m in a real bind I will put them in a loose pocket of mine until I can brush them and pop them right back in. Also, I keep the water running the whole time I’m brushing and flossing. I understand this might be wasteful, but it keeps me from hearing what is going on around me and it takes the pressure off the pooper, er… toilet goer and they don’t curse my name the whole time they are in there.
- People generally don’t notice that I have the aligners in. Most people aren’t even aware that I have them during meetings when I’m talking. It’s pretty nifty and even with the attachments on my teeth (which totally bummed me out at first because I thought they were going to be so noticeable) people rarely know. Surprisingly, most people are very supportive and tell me about their deepest desires to get braces on their teeth. This would be much cooler if it didn’t often happen in public restrooms to the soundtrack of flushing and other misc noises I’m sure you can only imagine.
- My smile. Just knowing they are in there and slowly straightening my smile has been the most amazing confidence booster. My smile improved the day I put them in. There is something so satisfying and freeing about knowing that you are in fact doing something about a feature that has bothered me for years. If you are considering it at all, it is at the very least worth a consultation.
- Why not teenagers? I get this question all the time. Parents who think the aligners are so cool and wonder why their teenager didn’t get offered them. Seriously? Hygene. Preparation. Planning… the list of things you need to have/do goes on that a teenager simply doesn’t have. My sets of aligners are pretty expensive when you break down the cost all together and if I accidently threw them out in the lunch room garbage (we all did that with retainers at least once when we were little)… I’d be pretty upset.
- Dogs think the aligners are tasty. Don’t leave them sitting out. Ever. Anywhere. Grossest moment ever was my Husky taking a lick as I was walking by with my aligners in hand to go brush them off… So gross. Pretty sure I soaked them in mouthwash and refused to share bacon with the dog after that. Life is cruel sometimes. Don’t. Touch. My. Aligners.
- I do not pay attention to if/how my teeth are moving. The progress is slow, so I just don’t care. I’ll pay attention on week 42 when I’m skipping through the streets yelling “sweet freedom”.