You’ve decided to do it.
After years of debating the pros and cons and wondering if paying the $’s is worth it.
You’ve spent hours doing the research and you cannot bear to watch another YouTube video, listening to a patient vent about what went wrong with their treatment, or what number refinement tray they’re at, and you’ve read the blogs that state their 8 month treatment turned into 24 months.
Regardless of all that, you’re in. 100%.
Clear aligners made their way onto the market in the late 90’s in North America, and since then, the number of providers has increased. I know I can’t scroll through social media anymore without being bombarded with advertisements.
At the time of writing this post, I was on my 2nd tray. 26 more to go, and these are the things that NO ONE mentioned.
Getting comfortable with your saliva.
Excess saliva, lack of saliva (also see point #2), bloody saliva, saliva that gets in the way when you remove and insert the trays, saliva that you unintentionally spit when you speak, saliva that you end up sucking out of your trays (whilst wearing them, resulting in sucking noises) in order to speak properly; saliva.
It’s just everywhere. So get used to it.
Oh, and at night. You will drool. Your saliva may also have blood in it because of the trays rubbing against your gums and the inside of your cheek, so be prepared to wake up to find pink circles of drool on your pillow in the morning. (little tip I found on removing the blood is to hand wash your pillowcase with shampoo and soak for a couple of hours before washing).
You will find your own ways of dealing with your drool.
You have no choice.
Keep that refillable water bottle handy.
With all this drooling, your mouth will become dry and if you’re lucky enough to have elastics like I am, keeping yourself hydrated will ensure that the elastics don’t become dry and rub against the inside of your cheeks causing irritation and bleeding.
I also recommend drinking plain water as you can drink this with your trays in and there is no need to brush your teeth afterwards.
If you drink tea, coffee, soda, juice, anything that isn’t plain old water, you need to brush your teeth in order to prevent decay.
Constantly removing your trays and brushing your teeth is time consuming and can be a hassle to do, especially at work.
The less you remove your trays, the easier your life will be.
#3 Lip Balm
Stock up and keep a stick in every jacket pocket, every bag, every drawer and have a couple spare. Your lips will dry out (with all the drooling), and I find the trays have a tendency to suck moisture away from your lips. Or they attract too much moisture, hence the drool.
My suggestion is to stay away from tinted lip balm and lipsticks as these can end up on your trays, possibly staining the tray and no one likes lipstick on their ‘teeth’.
#4 Soft Foods
Do NOT eat hard or crunchy foods.
I was out having lunch with a friend and I ordered a brussel sprout salad. Normally this would be ok, but the sprouts were kinda crunchy and my teeth were still getting used to the trays. Also, when you remove the trays, your teeth are way more sensitive due to the shifting taking place, and it can take a few minutes for them to adjust to not having the trays for stability.
Potato chips are also out. As are chickpeas.
But by all means try them.
I suggest sticking to mushy foods or soft foods that require less chewing, at least for the first couple of weeks. Think of toddlers who are teething and what foods they eat.
#5 Waving Your Hand in Front of your Mouth to Hide the Trays Attracts More Attention
Every time I would talk to someone, I would bring a hand up to my mouth to hide the trays, as I was so self-conscious of them and the spit that would sometimes escape.
But this does the exact opposite, of my intention.
It brings way more attention to your mouth and if you don’t want people to know that you have Invisalign, don’t do this. (And isn’t that why you chose Invisalign? So no one notices them?!).
Most people can’t see the trays unless they are up close and personal.
So, try not to wave your hand in front of your mouth.
NB: Yes, I do realize that writing posts about your experience with Invisalign also attracts attention to the fact that you have Invisalign.
Oh, and a couple of Bonus Tips…
Bonus Tip #1
You will develop a Lisp.
You have your teeth covered in plastic, your speech is bound to be slightly different. Now this was mentioned in numerous blogs and in ALL (well, the ones I read) said that the lisp will go away after a bit of practice.
When I originally wrote this post, I was on week 2 and I am now on week 10 and I still have a lisp. I cannot for the life of me say S’s and my brain is on double duty by finding words that don’t contain the letter S.
It has gotten better over time, and it is noticeable to my ears, but I’ve realized that not many people pick up on this.
Bonus Tip #2
Ask your dentist if you will require elastics.
This was NEVER mentioned on any videos or blog posts.
To say it was a bit of a shock when I went in for my treatment plan reveal, and was told this, is an understatement.
I thought elastics were only for metal braces, but I was wrong.
But thank goodness the elastics are ‘clear’.
As clear as a the Caribbean sea during a hurricane.
I don’t wear my elastics when I have a lot of talking to do in meetings. But at all other times, yeah, I wear them.
What’s a little more plastic in my mouth?
The best part of the treatment plan reveal is watching your simulation treatment view.
This is a computer generated view in 3D which shows what your teeth look like now and how they will change throughout the weeks ahead.
You can view from all angles and it’s incredible!
My advice to others thinking about going down this route, is to talk to your dentist and listen to their recommendations. And ask a lot of questions.
One blog post recommended having quotes and advice from different dentists as the price can vary, and knowledge is power right?
I am pleased I did. I received quotes with up to 2K differences in price, and gained information and clarity on the process.
Oh, and when you visit your dentist to pick up new trays, ALWAYS say yes to additional supplies.
You can never have too many tubes of toothpaste, boxes of floss, spare brushes (you’ll need to keep one on your person at all times, along with your lip balm), so make sure you come away with a little goody bag each time you pick up new trays.