You might have read in my previous post that I’ve started my Invisalign journey a few weeks ago. Getting used to these aligners has been a learning process. Although everybody agrees that they are “invisible” and can’t even tell whether they’re on or off, I can definitely feel them.
Yes, My Teeth Hurt
I don’t know what I was expecting, but I never thought aligners would be painful. Now that I think about it, my teeth are actually being forced to move into a new position after over 30 years in that same crooked place. I change into a new pair of Invisaligns every week, usually on Wednesday evenings; and I must admit that Thursdays have become my least favourite day. I’ve never been punched in the face but I imagine the pain could be somehow similar to that. It is bearable, it feels like a bruising type of pain and the worst it’s over after 2 to 3 days.
Some teeth in particular hurt more than others and for me it’s mostly my front teeth. Which means I cannot bite my food; but I can chew it easily with my molars. That leaves me eating even a soft sandwich with knife and fork.
Life Happens With Your Invisaligns
Last week, one of the attachments fell off as I took the aligners off after a few drinks (tipsy clumsy me!). And the elastic hook broke while I was eating harder foods (in this case, nuts). So I had to go for a repair visit to the dentist on a blizzard snowy day. But that’s a story for another time.
I’m more comfortable now with taking my Invisaligns on and off at home and outside. I cheat sometimes and drink iced coffee or white wine with them on. After all I still want to have a social life; so if I’m out and someone suggests to have an impromptus drink, I’ll say yes and brush later.
For the rest, I can’t yet see much improvement. I do feel there’s more space between my teeth when I floss; but (as per plan) I don’t expect visible changes unless until week 20.
You can check the progress so far in these picures. Week 1 on the left and Week 6 on the right. As I said, not a lot of visible progress but I assure you something is moving!
How’s The “Invisalign Diet” Going?
For Invisalign to be effective, you should have them on at least 22 hours per day. Leaving me with 2 hours for eating and cleaning. I thought the “Invisalign Diet” was going to be much harder. In fairness, after an initial adjustment period, it is OK. I haven’t lost any visible weight but my meals are more structured now. Mid-afternoon snacking has disappeared as well as impulsive eating out of boredom; because, let’s be honest, it is not worth it. Both in terms of the hussle to take the aligners off, brush, floss, etc. but also because I’d rather use my 2 hours for proper meals I really enjoy.
What About Recycling?
This is something I realised too late. I will be using 45 pairs of plastic aligners during my treatment; each pair comes packed in sterilised plastic bags. So what happens to my aligners once I wore them for the week? Well, unfortunately after you wear something in your mouth for a week, it becomes medical waste. Medical waste cannot be recycled and needs to join the rest in the trash bin.
Although I’m not happy with this, everything we do leaves a carbon footprint of some sort. In the case of metal braces, there’s mining, processing, shipping, etc. If you don’t get braces of any type, then having teeth closer together or misaligned can put you at greater risk for decay. This is really a dilemma to me, and I hope new materials will emerge that provide similar results with a lessened carbon footprint. Let me know what you think about this in the comments section.
Altogether, the pain caught me by surprise (I don’t know why I thought I wouldn’t feel anything), but it has been bearable so far. Cutting my food in small pieces does the trick. Aesthetically speaking, Invisalign are your best choice. People often don’t notice I have them on unless I mention it. The most visible thing is the elastic; which I hope could become a night only thing on the second half of the treatment. I’m very happy with the freedom to brush, floss and clean my teeth fully, which isn’t possible with fixed braces.