Invisalign – I hate you

Dear Invisalign,

I hate you!  But I hate my crooked teeth more (I think).  Regards, me

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I am 48 hours in to my Invisalign treatment and I’m many things – uncomfortable, hungry, cranky and wondering why the hell I decided to do this – for the next 2 YEARS!

Let’s start at the beginning.

My teeth were always a bit crowded and not that straight but they were passable.  Until I got hit in the mouth by a baseball in high school and it knocked one of my front teeth behind one of the other teeth.  From that point on, I hated my smile but I didn’t want to get braces since I was heading off to college soon and no one my age still had braces.  Fast forward about 20 years and here we are.  For the past several years I’ve wanted to do something about my teeth but never really considered it seriously.  A few months ago I decided it was time, now or never.  I received a recommendation from my dentist and went to free consultation.  Boy was I surprised when they recommended that to really enhance my smile and profile, I should have my jaw broken and wired shut for 2 weeks.  They approached this in a very casual, effortless way.  Like it was a very minor inconvenience.  Wait – break my jaw, have it wired shut for 2 weeks and then go through 2 years of braces?  Sounds like a hoot!  Never mind getting 2 weeks off of work for that.  No thank you!  Next please!

It took awhile after that for me to be ready to go see someone else.  I just wanted straight teeth.  Period.  On my second try I found someone I was comfortable with, much closer to home and when I said “no jaw breaking” he never broached the subject again.

I plunked down the credit card (got a small discount and airline miles!) and tried to mentally prepare myself for what was to come.

The preliminary stuff wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t fun.  The molds they use have to stay in your mouth for a LONG time – this basically sucked but I made it through and luckily the hygienist did it correctly so we didn’t have to do any a second time.

Once all the molds and photos were taken it took several weeks for the Invisalign trays to come in.

Fast forward to Monday, just over 48 hours ago.  I opted to make a later afternoon appointment since I didn’t know how this was going to feel or would affect my speech.  The appointment lasted about 40 minutes.  The first step was to attach the buttons – these are little tabs they put on your teeth which help hold the trays in place and help turn your teeth.  I ended up with 4 on the top and 4 on the bottom.  Everyone is different.  I read somewhere last night that someone had 18 (YIKES!).  Attaching them didn’t really hurt but I had a lot of hardware in my mouth to keep my tongue and lips out of the way.  Then they fit the trays on and that was it.  Wow – that’s easy I thought!

The hygienist showed me how they worked and gave me some final instructions and sent me on my merry way.

When it came time to take them off at home to eat dinner I was in for a nasty surprise.  Suddenly it was harder to take them off.  It felt like I was going to either break the tray or pull half of my damn teeth out.  Then after I got the trays out, the buttons rubbed against the inside of my cheeks and mouth and seemed way sharper than they had earlier.  Plus me teeth were already sore and I could barely gum my dinner.  Somehow I made it through dinner, cleaned the trays and got them back in my mouth.  It was actually a relief to get them in because the buttons were no longer poking me.

The rest of the night wasn’t bad but we go to bed fairly early.  I woke up the next morning and wasn’t terribly uncomfortable.  I spent the first few hours of the morning working without talking to anyone.  Around 11am I talked about 1 hour straight, and the more I talked, the more the trays rubbed against the inside of my cheeks.  By the time I was done I had several red/sore spots and it was extremely painful.  I could feel certain parts of the trays had rough/protruding edges and these were causing the problems.  I was told I could use a nail file to smooth out the edges if need be.  I tried this…to no avail.  Maybe I’m being too tentative but I don’t want to damage my very expensive trays.  The day continued on and I managed to talk minimally but the damage was done.  I got more and more cranky and the pain was not getting better.

I had my husband stop at the store on the way home as a friend said to look for wax to put between the trays and my cheeks.  He also found some Kank-a which the pharmacist recommended.  I first applied the Kank-a which stung but also numbed the spots that were rubbed raw.  Then I jammed lots of wax on the parts of the trays that were rough.  This did help but now I was really regretting my decision.  How the hell I am supposed to do this for the next 2 years??

I had a quick exchange with my younger brother who did Invisalign a few years ago.  Stick with it he said, I’ve had no regrets and you get used to it.  It was good advice and I had to take a step back and realize I had only had this for 24 hours although it seemed like 3 days.

Today was day 3 – and the 48 hour mark.  Today was a bit better but by the end of the day they were really rubbing again, which lead me to be extremely unhappy and quite miserable to be around (poor husband and 4 year old daughter).  Tomorrow I am going in to the dentist to have them smooth the rough edges as the nail file trick is simply not working.  And tomorrow will already be day 4 of 730 – sigh.

Some takeaways from my limited experience to date:

Kank-a and the wax are a life saver at the moment and both are inexpensive.

When putting the trays in – start with one end and work your way around to the other end.  At some point yesterday I pushed in both ends and then pushed the middle part (front of teeth) down.  DON’T DO THIS, trust me.  Holy shit did that hurt.  The most painful parts of putting on and taking off are getting the trays over the buttons.  So do it slowly, not all at once.

When taking the trays out – same thing, pull off one end and work your way around.

Also make sure your lips are out of the way because getting them pinched in the trays also hurts like a bitchl

Make sure you have soft foods – I can barely chew bread.  Teeth are that sore at the moment.

I’ve heard it gets better and you get used to it.  We’ll see.  I paid for this upfront and it wasn’t cheap so I’m sticking it out.  That’s the plan at least.