In case you missed the several hundred announcements from me via various social media platforms, I got Invisalign! I had been considering it for a while and when I found out that the amazing dentist who removed my terrifying mutated wisdom tooth (trust me, the less you know about that, the better) specialised in Invisalign, I knew I was in safe hands. Since it's now such a big part of my life, I thought I would do a few posts on what it's like to have Invisalign and try and answer any questions that you have.
|Some Invisalign essentials|
Invisalign is a method of straightening your teeth, without having highly visible metal inside your mouth. I decided to get Invisalign to correct my lateral and central incisors, which are quite badly rotated, and just generally straighten up my teeth. Molds get made of your teeth which are then sent to the Invisalign factory where they churn out a number of sets of clear aligners that fit over your teeth to gradually move them. Every fortnight, you take out your old set of aligners and switch to a new set that move your teeth fractionally closer to perfection. The length of time you have to wear Invisalign for depends on how far your teeth need to move, my treatment plan is going to be about 14 months but I'm already two months in (yay!).
|These are the plastic aligners, which you change every 2 weeks|
|The Invisalign retainer and aligners|
Is Invisalign painful?
The short answer is yes but not all the time. Every time you change to a new set of aligners (so every fortnight), you might be lucky enough to experience a day or so of a dull, throbbing ache in your teeth as they get used to their new positions. After about a day, the pain pretty much goes away, although I do feel the odd throb from one tooth or another. The solution to the new aligner pain is to try and change aligners before you go to bed so you sleep through the worst of the pain. Also, a Nurofen or two to helps take the edge off any residual pain. I would say the pain is uncomfortable and irritating more than actual painful pain.
How noticeable is Invisalign?
Damn near invisible...depending on whether you need attachments. Attachments are little tooth-coloured bumps that you may need to get fitted to your teeth to help the aligners grip and move. It's difficult for them to grip onto the smooth surface of your teeth without the attachments. Although they can be matched almost perfectly to the colour of your teeth, they do stick out a bit and I can definitely see and feel them, although others have told me they wouldn't know unless I had pointed them out. You may also be lucky enough to get elastics (to correct bite issues) which aren't all that noticeable but do affect speech a little. On that note....
|I'm wearing Invisialign in all 3 photos and apart from the attachments, I don't think they're extremely noticeable|
Will Invisalign affect my speech?
Again, the short answer is yes but you get used to it pretty easily. I find that I'm a lot more reluctant to open my mouth wide enough to enunciate properly because I don't want people to see my attachments (I have 21) so everything comes out a bit mumbly. I have developed a slight lisp and some of my words are a bit slurred (I'm not drunk officer, I swear!) but overall, I'm still perfectly understandable and most people I work with haven't even noticed (or at least haven't commented on it!).
Can I eat/drink as normal with Invisalign?
|A few of the things you will need to carry around with you: toothpaste, toothbrush and floss|
Unlike traditional braces, which prevent you from being able to eat everything from popcorn to apples, you can eat whatever you like with Invisalign because you take them out to eat. While this is a bit of a pain, especially if you like to snack like I used to, it's pretty easy to work with and means you can still eat all of your favourite foods. You can also drink water and light coloured teas (as long as they aren't too hot) without removing your aligners. The downside is that every time you take your aligners out to eat, you have to brush your teeth and clean your aligners before putting them back in. This means that you often end up brushing your teeth in public toilets with questionable levels of sanitation. I often find a quick rinse is more hygienic and leave proper brushing until I get home, but it's definitely not the recommended method.
|This is the retainer case that comes with your Invisalign and this is where you store your current aligners when they aren't in your mouth|
Hopefully that answers a few questions for anyone who's curious, let me know if you'd like to hear more about how I get along with my Invisalign journey. I'll finish with my most embarrassing Invisalign moment so far, aside from the everyday embarrassment of dribbling as I remove my aligners in front of my work colleagues/friends/family/complete strangers. The moment went like this: I got home from IMATS and looked in the mirror to find that my gorgeous bright red lipstick had somehow rubbed off onto my aligners, making me look like a derpy vampire, a very unsexy, derpy vampire. I had been walking around like that for God knows how long, I was mortified! Aside from that, I'd say it's going well.
Stay tuned for more embarrassing Invisalign faux pas soon.