As y’all know, I’m a smiley blogger. I cannot keep a straight face for long when taking photos (doesn’t help that Sam is always telling jokes and cracking me up while he takes pics). And recently on my “Grey heart” post, I received a lovely compliment about my smile from style blogger Dawn Lucy @ Fashion Should Be Fun.
I’m now ready to share with you, dear readers, that I’ve recently started Invisalign.
For those unfamiliar with Invisalign, it’s a brand of clear braces, an alternative to the more familiar wire and metal braces. I had always wanted braces as a teen — I’ve always had wonky teeth and a big overbite — but braces were just too expensive for my family back then. A bad experience with wisdom teeth pushed my teeth forward and even more out of line (my childhood dentist waited too long to pull them out, unaware that they were growing in sideways instead of vertically).
I was super self-conscious about my teeth in my late teens and early twenties. But then I started to make peace with my “crooked smile.” By my late twenties and early thirties, I had finally accepted my smile, and that felt like such a weight lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t need a perfect smile to feel good about myself. I think that self-acceptance actually helped clear my path to Invisalign.
My reasons NOW for braces are very different from what they were when I was a self-conscious teenager. When my dentist started mentioning Invisalign a couple of years ago and how she thought I would be a great candidate for it, she was also going through Invisalign braces herself. We had a few conversations about it and her own personal experiences with Invisalign. What finally started me thinking about Invisalign for myself was when I realized how it would help me take care of my teeth now and for the future. That it is hard to floss and brush with my teeth overlapping each other, and now is the time to correct that — so it will be easier later. That kind of logic would have never made any headway with me 15 or 20 years ago. But because I have gotten over the self-consciousness and cosmetic benefits of braces that I was focusing on back then as a teen, I can appreciate the practical benefits of braces now as an adult.
So what that means for y’all, dear readers, is that you’ll see me in Invisalign braces for about the next year
and a half. You might have already spotted them, actually, as I’m almost 6 weeks into the treatment. But I’ve got a looooooong way to go.
And if you’re interested, here are the ins and outs and ups and downs that I’ve experienced thus far:
- You have to get detailed molds and x-rays of your teeth before getting the trays — and they figure out mathematically exactly how long and how many teeth trays it will take to get to your teeth’s optimal position. I was amazed when my dentist showed me the video of how my teeth would shift over the next year
and a half. Only a few millimeters each time, and yet it all adds up. And they’ve figured it all out mathematically, and all the trays have been cut and molded. Technology is AMAZING!
- You wear each tray for 2 weeks, then switch to the next tray. I also take Ibuprofin, as my gums and teeth do feel a bit sore adjusting to each new set. The old pair of trays go in the red container (“red is dead”), and the current pair of braces go in the blue container.
- If you ever get Invisalign, make sure your dentist smooths downs the edges before you start wearing them! I cannot recommend this enough! The trays are molded plastic, and there are some seriously rough edges. I had cuts all in my mouth the first week, and then I asked my dentist to smooth down those rough edges. It has made a HUGE difference in my personal comfort level.
- The optimal timing is to wear the trays 22 out of every 24 hours. I only take them out to eat and to brush my teeth. My dentist said she started eating with them in, but I can’t do that. However, I do drink coffee and tea with my braces in (even though you’re not supposed to). But whatevs, I gotta have my coffee.
- My teeth, strangely enough, have never felt cleaner. I brush and floss three times a day now. I know that’s what you’re supposed to do already. Before this, however, I only brushed twice a day, and flossing was… sporadic. (Flossing hurt due to my wonky, overlapping teeth. See reasons articulated above for getting Invisalign.) It’s like my teeth are being forced to finally grow up! 😉
- When I posted the news on my personal Facebook feed, a friend mentioned that she had lost weight when she did Invisalign. I can see why! It has immediately and effectively curbed my snacking habit, as well, because it’s just too much effort and time to take the trays in and out.
- I carry a dental kit with me at all times now, and yes, I brush my teeth after lunch without fail, even at work. Here’s what’s inside my dental kit:
- The braces “hook” onto your teeth by fitting over these teeth-colored bits that are fused onto your teeth in different, strategic places. (All part of that mathematical equation.) The trays have the same indentations, so they match up with where the bits on your teeth. My dentist called them “buttons,” but I call them “barnacles.” If you look closely at my pics these past few weeks, you’ll be able to spot these barnacles on my teeth, if you haven’t already. (They’re super obvious to me, of course. Can you tell when I started wearing Invisalign?)
- The first week and a half felt gross, because I kept drooling. This is totally normal, as your mouth produces a lot more saliva than usual before adjusting to the trays. It’s just a phase you gotta get through. But it still felt gross.
- The first week and a half was also frustrating because I had a lisp. This is also totally normal as your mouth adjusts to the trays. But it was super frustrating because I teach, and I was self-conscious about the lisp.
- It took me 4 whole weeks to start wearing lipstick again. I simply felt self-conscious about bringing any extra attention to my mouth while I was adjusting to the Invisalign braces.
But now, I’m back to wearing lipstick and feeling more confident as I adjust to life wearing clear braces. It has become part of my normal routine now. It felt important for me to adjust to them personally before sharing the news on the blog.
But even through my self-conscious phase getting used to wearing these clear braces, I kept smiling! And I will continue to smile, even as that smile subtly shifts for the foreseeable future. 😀
Have you had braces, either a teen or as an adult? Would you ever consider getting them as an adult? Please leave a comment and let me know!
To be totally transparent, this post is NOT sponsored by Invisalign. I’m just sharing my personal experiences wearing Invisalign braces.