Lifestyle Well-Being

Day 1 Of My Invisalign Journey πŸ˜

It’s never too late and you’re never too old to fix your smile. Nowadays, having to wear a facemask in most public places also helped me decide. It seems like a perfect time to get my crooked teeth fixed! So I’ve started my Invisalign journey.

This smile has been part of me for my entire life. My parents weren’t fond of braces after a bad experience (and a lot of tooth decay) with my older sister. So they gave me the option to decide if I wanted them when I was 18. At the time, the impact of wearing metallic braces in the middle of my face on my self-esteem was way higher than the anti-aesthetic smile. I coped with my imperfect smile, embraced it, made it almost a signature thing. However, in the last few years I realised that my teeth were moving more and more in the wrong direction (thank you night grinding!).

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a brand of clear aligners (just like we say Band-Aids instead of plasters). They are transparent dental braces made of plastic used to adjust teeth. We’re talking about proper orthodontic devices. However, because they are clear and can be taken on and off, they are less noticeable than traditional metal braces.

Compared to metal braces, Invisalign seems to win on all fronts. The movement of your teeth is more precise with Invisalign than traditional braces. It’s easier to maintain good oral health with Invisalign (you can remove the aligners when you eat, brush your teeth, and floss). Also, they are much more comfortable than metal braces since they don’t irritate your teeth or gums.

clear aligners

My Experience

To start an Invisalign treatment, you first need to have an assessment visit with the orthodontist. Not all cases are suitable for Invisalign. Luckily mine was!

On the following appointment, they took a panoramic x-ray of my mouth and got my teeth impressions. A week later my plan was ready, the duration of treatment was assessed to be 45 weeks and I could watch a 3D video of how my teeth should change during the process.

Once I was happy with the plan and agreed to it, my 45 pairs of Invisaligns for each week of treatment were created in their US headquarters and shipped to my orthodontist in the Netherlands.

For the aligners to work, the orthodontist placed a number of “attachments” on my teeth. Attachments are small, tooth-coloured dental pieces that affix to some teeth during the Invisalign treatment. They act as grips for the aligners to hold onto and move your teeth. The attachments won’t damage your teeth and the orthodontist will remove them when treatment is completed.

My orthodontist decided to also add an elastic to my treatment to correct a cross bite more effectively. Oh well…

First Days With My Invisalign

Ok. Let’s be honest, all of sudden you get pieces of composite resin on your teeth (in my specific case, also two resin hooks for the elastic) and an upper and lower piece of plastic tightly wrapped around your teeth. It is not something you can easily ignore; at least not on the first day.

The aligners are really tight around your teeth, taking them off is not impossible but it’s something you want to do when no one’s watching. Literally I need to go full in my mouth with my hands to get them out, there’s some drooling involved and some cursing too sometimes.

Once that’s done, I had to get used to eating with the attachments around my mouth, it took my brain about 2 to 3 days to learn to distinguish food from attachments.

Yes, teeth are sore. They are moving against their will. This pain is more noticeable when the aligners are off and the teeth get to “relax”. And when I need to bite and chew my food. Altogether, it is bearable but it does not go unnoticed. The pain starts to decrease after day 4, but I suspect that it will be back again when I move on to the next pair of aligners… and so on for the coming 45 times.

As to are they really invisible? I will let you judge by yourselves. I’m very happy with them so far; people around me tell me they can barely notice them. I know they are there though.

Invisalign also offers an app to track your hours of wear and send you reminders when you need to change to the next aligners at the end of the week. Although I think the app could use some improvements, it is really a nice to have it.

Side Effect

There is a side effect of these aligners people don’t talk about a lot. For Invisalign to be effective you need to wear them at least 22 hours a day. Which means you have 2 hours for eating and brushing.

This has already had an impact on my eating habits, mindless snacking is simply not worth it. As I told you the process to take them off is a little tricky and then you have to brush and floss really thoroughly to avoid any food residue to cause cavities. Taking them off and putting them back on alone takes 15 min. Is that worth a pack of chips at 3 pm? I don’t think so.

While this isn’t intended to be a diet of any sort, it has the side effect of making you think before you eat and plan your meals more carefully. Same with coffee and alcohol. Only water is allowed while wearing the aligners; the acidity of alcohol, the staining nature of coffee or the sugar in juice/soda don’t go well with Invisalign. Which means I get one coffee after lunch and some wine with dinner in my 2 hours of grace. The rest of the time I’m drinking water. I’ll tell you how much weight I’ll lose by the end of this.

Are you also thinking about starting an Invisalign treatment? Ask me any questions you have in the comments! I’ll keep you posted with more updates soon.

If you made it this far, you might want to check Week 6 update available here!

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