My Invisalign Experience – tips and tricks for adult clear braces.
I’ve always had crowded bottom teeth, they didn’t bother me too much as a youngster, but with age and the inevitable diminishing of my facial contours, the crowding was becoming more pronounced and making me more self-conscious.
By the way- did you know that jaw bone density decreases and changes shape with age? This can start in women from mid 40’s, of course men are affected much later more like 65 – of course, (eye roll).
I have a good smile, its big and wide and my teeth are healthy, the crowding in the lower jaw bugged me, but who wants to wear braces in adulthood, right?
So I looked into Invisalign, the clear alternative to metal braces. I did my research, and while I wasn’t looking for Hollywood perfect, just a little bit less on the wonky side please – Invisalign looked like a great option for me. In just a few months my teeth would be uncrowded enough to restore my confidence, and if I wanted them super straight, that was an option too!
With my dentist we worked on a plan, the Invisalign process includes a graphic pictorial video of what will happen to my teeth as they shift into their new position. You can actually see what will be happening to your teeth over time. This looks exciting!
The process involves wearing a series of aligners, each one for around week (or two) until my teeth have shifted into place.
I wear my aligner for as long as I can each day, taking it out to eat and to clean my teeth. I’m managing to get between 20 and 22 hours wear a day (it’s not that hard actually..).
Portable tooth care kit
Here’s a tip – I invested in a portable toothbrush carrier and mini toothpastes (and floss) for my handbag/briefcase – I don’t want to put my aligner back in after eating without first brushing my teeth – yuck! The food that’s stuck on and between my teeth can cause decay, especially with the aligner holding the food in place – let’s not even mention what that will do for my breath.
At first each new set of aligners can squeeze a little, they’re doing their job, right? But I soon get used to them and it’s easy to forget that they are in. In fact, very few people even notice I’m wearing them! (bonus!)
Another bonus is that it’s almost impossible to snack, so regular mealtimes and no cheating for the next few months…
Also – if you grind your teeth when you sleep – you won’t with your aligners in!
I took my tooth kit and my retainer box everywhere with me, it’s easy for the fair sex, most of us have a handbag, men, it’s your briefcase of satchel I guess, and remove them BEFORE the long lunch, you don’t want to be taking them out at the table and have nowhere to put them while you eat. I’m fairly confident that your fellow lunchers will not be attracted to your Invisalign retainers sitting on the table with your phone.
I keep a water bottle handy too – the aligners can make my mouth a little dry. Water will keep your mouth moist and hydrated – and washaway any loose debris too. Another bonus J
Tea, coffee, red wine, drinks with colour can stain aligners. Luckily I have a penchant for white wine and water.
Looking after your Aligners
At the end of each retainer’s life (a week of wearing them 20-22 hours a day) they do get a bit grotty. I discovered that if I put them in diluted mouthwash for a time (while I’m having dinner or breakfast) and then cleaned them with soft toothbrush (not with tooth paste though, it’s abrasive and might damage them), they stayed in good enough nick for the week. Soaking aligners in diluted mouthwash or water with a denture tab while you have breakfast means your breath will be minty for the morning!
It’s time for my next set!
Moving along! I found it easiest to break in a new set of aligners at night. While they are tight when I first put them in (they can make my eyes water!) they aren’t so uncomfortable that I won’t sleep, and there is always Ibuprofen if I need it..
Now that I’ve invested my hard earned time and money in my new smile, I want to keep it. My dentist has given me a retainer to wear while I’m sleeping to stop my teeth from moving back. Bonus again, I don’t need to wear my splint to stop me grinding my poor teeth while I sleep!