I can see that this is going to be a HUGE test of my commitment, self-discipline and patience! However, I AM impressed with how relatively inconspicuous these Invisalign braces are.
Here’s a cropped photo of my new aligners:
I received a call four days ago from my orthodontist’s office letting me know my trays (aligners) had arrived. I went in yesterday to pick them up. I was so nervous – at this point, I didn’t know exactly how long the treatment would last or where my attachments (those little buttons to help move teeth) would be placed. I was placed in an exam chair in a large room next to two other patients. The guy next to me was apparently getting a new set of Invisalign trays (another term for aligners). I still hadn’t seen a real live person wearing Invisalign, so I asked him how he felt about them. You couldn’t even tell he was wearing them, which was very encouraging, and he said it had been a great experience so far. An assistant came out with my first three sets of trays and immediately had me place them into my mouth. They clicked into place very easily. I was surprised at how smooth and inconspicuous they felt in my mouth – but when I first spoke, I had a terrible lisp! Within minutes, my lisp had dissipated a great deal, but was still present.
I was told I’d have 32 trays for my top teeth and 35 trays for the bottom, so my treatment should altogether end on June 25, 2014 – 16 months from now! My orthodontist briefly showed me my ClinCheck animation so I’d have an idea of how the treatment would progress. Basically, in order to make room for my crowded front teeth to fall into place, my molars in the back need to move backward one by one. So for the first 20 trays, I probably won’t see anything happening up front. 20 trays = 40 weeks = sometime around Thanksgiving! Ugh.
Anyway, 24 hours have passed. Here are some of my observations:
- These aligners are very difficult to detect unless someone is standing very close and concentrating on my teeth. However, I’m still really self-conscious about them and am avoiding going out for now.
- I still talk a little funny, but it’s getting better. I’m swallowing frequently, so I have to pause a lot when speaking.
- So far, taking them out has been VERY difficult. There’s been lots of cursing and drooling. I’ve taken them out 4 times in the last 24 hours, but this last time was easiest. I can see that it will get better.
- Even though the aligners are just a fraction of a millimeter thick, I think my lips look funny when closed – they protrude a little more. No one else says they notice this, but I do. I also can’t completely close my mouth in the back – if I try, it feels really weird to have the upper and lower molars touching.
- It’s a big ordeal to take them out and put them back in, with all the flossing and brushing. I’ve got two young kids (ages 2 and 5), and adding this much extra work to my regular schedule is kind of a big deal!
- Pain is minimal – it’s more an overall, even feeling of pressure. The edges of the aligners are a little sharp, but I seem to be getting used to it.
- I never realized how often I snack. It’s just too inconvenient to do now. I expect I’ll be losing some weight!
- My hands are getting very dry from washing so often. I won’t touch my mouth or aligners without washing first. My finger tips are also a little raw from pulling the aligners out of my mouth.
I occasionally panic a bit while wearing them – I feel a little claustrophobic, and the constant pressure is a bit annoying. I keep reminding myself that it’s just 16 months of discomfort, but I’ll have a much better smile for the rest of my life. My biggest issues are 1.) self-consciousness – even though these aligners are practically invisible, I feel like they give my already-large teeth a greater prominence and 2.) inconvenience – for instance, I’m not sure I’ll be able to enjoy a spontaneous ice cream or snack when going out with the family.