I love this picture of me and my big boy. We were “resting” in bed last week and ended up chatting and giggling about all sorts of things. Four year olds are endlessly interesting and interested, and if there’s ever a moment of silence, B will ask a filler question such as “what’s three plus three plus three plus three plus three?”…
As I look at this picture I have to admit that, shallow as it may be, my eyes almost immediately go to my crooked front teeth. My teeth have long been a sore spot for me – I’ve always wanted straight teeth and have looked into everything from veneers to traditional wire braces, and finally – after years of debating the issue – I’ve started Invisalign treatment. And I’m SO excited about it!
My treatment plan includes 16 trays, each one is worn for two weeks, so I’m in for roughly 8 months of treatment. I’m currently on tray 2, and so far, pretty good. Just like when I had LASIK done on my eyes a few years ago, the procedure is made to seem much easier than it actually is. I’ve spent a ton of time reading reviews and tips from other users, and I’ve found it to be so helpful that I thought I would journal my own experience as well. Here are my four preliminary thoughts after wearing Invisalign for one month.
My dentist has been very clear and firm that in order for the Invisalign to work as intended that I must wear my trays for 22 hours a day. It’s do-able, but it’s definitely a big commitment. 22 hours is a lot, especially when you consider twenty-thirty minutes for each meal or snack. Because I enjoy drinking my morning coffee, I take out my trays for about one hour every morning, then try to keep lunch and dinner to less than a half hour each, leaving me enough time to brush/floss after my meal before putting my trays back in. If I know I have an event or a cocktail-style meal and will have the trays out for a longer time in the evening, I keep my morning break shorter.
I heard about the serendipitous effect of losing a few pounds because it’s more work than it’s worth to take out the trays, then go through the whole hygiene routine. So far? Yep, it’s true. I’m a champion snacker, and I rarely (if ever) pass up sweets, and I have to say, it’s a real eye opener to notice how much I’m NOT eating. I’m not snacking while I cook, and I’m not eating the crust off the boys sandwiches or taking a few extra bites of their mac n cheese. I can of course, but to do so I have to take out my trays, so the mind/mouth connection is much stronger.
3) Rough edges
My biggest issue so far has been rough edges on the trays. I developed huge sores on my tongue and gums the first week I wore them, then after reading some reviews, I learned how to use a soft nail file to smooth out the rough edges. For my second trays, I gently filed the rough edges and haven’t had any problems. It only takes a few minutes and a little trial and error to make them comfortable to wear. I do think it’s slightly annoying that a product that costs what Invisalign does arrives with unfinished and rough edges, and wish they had more of a finishing process or better quality control.
4) Stained trays
I remove my trays for eating and drinking everything besides water, I brush and floss my teeth after every meal, and brush my trays before putting them back in, however my first trays were still turning a yellowish color. Not attractive and not cool. After a little experimenting, I finally realized that I was staining my trays with a combination of using Listerine breath spray (since I can’t chew gum or mints) and with my coffee mouth. My solution was to ditch the breath spray altogether and to use mouthwash (in addition to brushing and flossing) to thoroughly rinse my mouth out after drinking coffee. I think there was still enough coffee left in my mouth, even after brushing, to contribute to the yellowing of the trays. Since I have started using the mouthwash (and not using breath spray), I haven’t had any unsightly staining. I’m using Crest 3D White mouthwash, one because it’s clear and won’t leave any color in my mouth (and possibly stain my trays like the breath spray did), and two because it tastes great and does not burn.
Next week I get attachments – tooth colored buttons designed to hold the trays in place – on several of my teeth. I’m a little hesitant and skeptical about what these will look and feel like, so I’ll give it a few days then post an update.
Oh, and I promise this won’t be filled with gross close up pictures of my teeth, just check-ins and helpful tips that I learn along the way. If you have gone through Invisalign and have any advice, please share with me in the comments below!