I have a much overdue Invisalign update for you this Sunday. As you may already know, I am currently undergoing this treatment for a longstanding jaw problem. I am calling the series 'The Invisalign Diaries' and the initial post can be seen here, and the second post after this is here.
Unfortunately because the past few weeks have been so incredibly hectic I should have posted this ages ago as I'm now a good 4 weeks into the treatment. But going back in time a bit, my last post discussed in detail the process of how the moulds were fitted. About two weeks after this, I was called back in to collect my aligners, or trays (I'm not 100% the technical name so I'll call them trays for the sake of continuity!)
Before I was given my first tray to wear, I had to have a bit of filing down to my teeth to make sure the tray fitted correctly. This to me has been the most unpleasant element so far! I have very sore and sensitive gums so I think this may be why but it just felt very uncomfortable at the time but to some people this may not bother them at all! It wasn't painful really, just irritating. It really was a nail file as well and to be honest I'm not keen on filing my nails so I think this is merely a bug bear of mine!
After the filing I was handed my first tray. It felt so strange at first! I have had a little plate before but because this is for all your teeth, top and bottom, it felt ever so weird! Good weird. Exciting weird even! Tight, like a bra for your teeth!!
CARING FOR INVISALIGN:
You are then told the ins and outs of what and what not to do. I was told to keep them in for 22 to 23 hours if possible and that really and truly only water could be had with the aligners still in but anything other than this they would need to be removed. Speaking of removing them, they can easily be taken in and out but once removed they need to rinsed under cold water and stored in the case (only cold water because hot water damages them).
When you place the trays back in your mouth after eating or drinking (anything other than water, really) you need to clean your teeth and clean the aligners. Cleaning the trays I have found has become quite difficult because you can't use a mouthwash or a normal toothpaste. I stupidly ruined my first trays a little by cleaning them with a toothpaste that is a bit too abrasive I think. I didn't wreck the trays completely, but they went a little 'soft'. I was looking online and some people suggested an extremely mild toothpaste, soap (?!) or a retainer/plate cleaner so I have opted for the latter and that has worked really well. It is however fairly costly (£5 a pack for a month supply. I am investigating a cheaper solution so will keep you updated. Any ideas?)
The only downside so far is the time wearing them, not because they are uncomfortable (I'll talk about overcoming the pain I had in the first few days below), but because it's a little anti-social! Eating out is a bit of a nightmare because you feel self-conscious about taking them out in public and brushing your teeth in public involves a lot of stares but I think it's something I'll definitely get used to! Also, 22 to 23 hours of wear mean you have to be pretty speedy at eating which is okay, but you're more conscious of having too many leisurely breakfasts, dinners and what not.
DOES INVISALIGN HURT?
I have been getting this question a lot on Twitter so I thought it was important to include it on here. If you Google for Invisalign experiences, or search on Twitter, there's an alarmingly array of people who suffer from extreme pain and discomfort from Invisalign. I didn't really think of this because the Invisalign marketing I have seen in the past is of course smiling, gorgeous ladies with the barely there braces! And naively I assumed because it wasn't metal braces it wouldn't hurt. So, have I found it painful? I felt it important to stress the I bit because everyone experiences pain differently. As I mentioned above, I felt the filing nasty, but the mould part of getting Invisalign done, where I was bombarded with a million terrifying posts online, I found no problem with!
On the drive home from my appointment, where I was given my first two trays, I couldn't stop biting around my mouth just because they were such a novelty and whilst it felt tight, it didn't then feel uncomfortable. Later that day a teething sort of pain kicked in. I felt it in my jaw, spreading to my head, and it wasn't pleasant at all! I stupidly didn't think much of it and assumed with soft foods that day and an early night it would be fine. I then woke up at 4am with the same teething, uncomfortable pain which is unheard of for me! It was making me feel a bit deflated and I can remember thinking 'I can't do this!!' because I suffer with other medical problems so it felt too much. But, honestly, silly Georgie because the pain is nothing a painkiller could not sort. My dentist recommended I would probably need one for the first three days but I wanted to be as au-natural as possible stupidly! So each night for the first 3 days I took a painkiller to sleep well and eventually after 4 days or so my body, or mouth, seemed completely adjusted to them.
I wore this first tray for 2 weeks and then you can bin this if you wish when you change to your next tray. You will be so glad when you change aligners because I can only relate this to a new pair of leggings. You know that fresh, legging wear where they feel tight and well fitted? Then, after time they get wrinkly and baggy? This has been my tray experience so far! I worried I would have the same pain with the next tray, as many others had but nothing at all! Apart the first few days with my first tray I've had no pain at all and 4 weeks in it already feels so weird to not wear them!
ARE THE TRAYS REALLY INVISIBLE?
Another FAQ is are they really invisible? Well I think they are yes! Of course, you yourself are so aware of anything visually different but when I got home from my appointment I didn't tell anyone I had my braces yet and not one person noticed! When I told them I had my first tray they had to come in close to see! That was great, so I definitely think they are invisible. I have however just had my attachments fitted and that makes it slightly more visible but I'll discuss that in my next post. The only thing that may give the game away is your speech. I was ever so slurred for the first few days but (did you know?! ;)) I was actually tongue tied as a child, so I have always had a very slight lisp. Again, this goes in a few days.
And that's it for today. If there's anything else you want to know about Invisalign then click here to visit their website with lots more information and please don't hesitate to Tweet me any questions you have. I'll be back with another update soon.