Now that I’ve had my aligners for over a month, I have a few thoughts and tips to pass on. I also figured you might want to hear my complaints, so I included those too; if not, oh well.
- I have been snacking less (see Complaint #1) which is good because I am a snacker.
- My teeth have whitened dramatically! Seeing as I have to brush my teeth after every meal, there is no room for coffee or other food stains, or plaque/tartar build-up.
- I feel as though people are looking at my mouth a lot more while I talk, which makes me self-conscious. Can they tell I’m wearing aligners? Do I look dumb? Do I sound like I have plastic in my mouth? I’ve mentioned this to a few people and they said that I’m probably just more aware of where people are gazing. Or that I’m just paranoid.
- This may also be a paranoia thing, but I feel like my face looks puffier with my aligners in.
- It’s cool when the aligners start popping on and off more easily. The tight fit of a new aligner is uncomfortable and lasts for the first few days. By day 5 or so I can tell that my teeth have shifted because the aligner is not as tight and difficult to get on and off.
- Listen when they tell you to brush your aligners. This may sound silly, but when they tell you to brush your aligners, really brush your aligners. The first few times I went to brush my teeth and aligners after eating, I kind of just ran my toothpasted toothbrush along the aligners and popped them back in. However, the third or fourth time, I held them up to the light and realized that gunk had built up in the crevices and along the edges. Your mouth has so much bacteria, no matter how good you brush your teeth or how many times per day, so make sure you really scrub the aligners inside and out, paying attention to the little divots in the teeth imprints.
- If you’re going out for an evening or event that you know you’ll be consuming food and drinks on and off the majority of the time, just leave your aligners at home. I went to Boston to visit a friend the first weekend after getting my aligners and it was such a pain. We went out Saturday evening for some drinks, so I just left my aligners at her place since I wouldn’t be able to keep them in if I was going to eat or drink anything.
- Stock up on travel-sized toothpaste and toothbrushes. Trust me, you’ll be happy you did.
- Having to brush your teeth every time you consume anything but water is annoying for a few reasons:
- Knowing you have to brush your teeth and aligners after eating means you need that extra 5 minutes after a meal/snack.
- A bathroom is a necessary amenity after eating to brush your teeth and aligners, so this can limit when and where you can eat. When I was in Boston, we were at Quincy Market during lunch time on Saturday. If you’ve ever been to Quincy Market, you know there are literally hundreds of food choices there. However, they only have one public bathroom…and the line was literally 50 women long. So we had to pick a restaurant with a bathroom that I could use to brush my aligners. And go pee.
- Small treats and impromptu snacks are less of a pleasure knowing you can’t just pop them in your mouth when you want and be on your merry way.
- Having to bring your aligner case, a toothbrush, and toothpaste everywhere. I put them all in a small ziplock bag which I’ll call my “bag of goodies” or BOG.
- See Tip #2. If it’s just a couple of hours, just leave them at home.
- I can be forgetful sometimes, so making sure I have my BOG with me when I know I’ll need it can be trouble.
- Exhibit A: Tom and I went to have dinner at our friends’ place two weeks ago and I forgot my BOG, but I didn’t think it was a big deal. Before eating I took my aligners out, rinsed them in the bathroom, wrapped them in a tissue, and stuck them in my purse. After dinner, our friend said, “Holliday, you have Invisalign, right?” I thought it was a random question until I noticed he was holding one of my aligners. Turns out that their dog likes to rip up tissues, so as soon as he saw the tissue peeking out of my purse, he went for it. Thank goodness he doesn’t like ripping up plastic teeth aligners. We found both of them unscathed, I rinsed and wrapped them again, and then zipped them in my purse so no puppies could get them.
- My mouth has been very dry because of the frequent brushing, so I’ve been drinking more water.
- Pro: That’s healthy.
- Con: I’ve been going pee a lot. But if you know me, that’s pretty normal.
- The first couple days of a new aligner are usually filled with headaches and toothaches; the tight fit and pressure just make for an achy head and mouth.
I have my next appointment today, so I will let you know how the whole ‘attaching-the-attachment-for-rubberbands’ process works out. And hopefully I’ll have some sweet glow-in-the-dark rubberbands to show off. Do you think they come chocolate-flavored?
I’ll also ask to see if I can get my hands on those pictures she took of my teeth and bite since I haven’t taken any!