Check out part 1 of my Invisalign experience here, where I talk about all the appointments building up to getting my aligners.
In this post I am going to talk about the most exciting day of this whole experience: the day I got my aligners.
Like I mentioned in my previous Invisalign post, I had read a lot of blogs discussing this day in detail, so I felt very prepared. My course of treatment included 14 trays for top and bottom. That was a little different from my ClinCheck appointment. I think it was originally 12 uppers and 10 lowers. (I found out at my last appointment that the lower teeth will be done at tray 12. I still get new lowers 13 and 14, but they are passive trays. That way I don’t have to wear old ones on the bottom for 6 weeks).
Putting on Attachments
Attaching the attachments took up the vast majority of this appointment. It started out with them giving me a little flimsy version of an aligner to put on my teeth. This acted as a template so they knew where to put the attachments. They used those little hook things to pull my lips back and just went to town cementing those things to my teeth. They had to dry my teeth with this little mini dryer thing. Kind of funny.
One of my attachments would not stay on. The girl working on me tried 3 times, and it kept getting stuck in the template. I mentioned in the previous post that I was supposed to have 12 attachments, 3 on each side of my upper and lower teeth, starting with my incisors. She had the orthodontist come over and take a look so they could decided what to do. He said it would be ok to just not have that one. He said he didn’t think I really needed that many attachments anyway, so it would be fine. That’s why I only have 11 attachments.
Interproximal Reduction (IPR)
I hate IPR.
I read about it. I was prepared for it. Most of the blogs said it wasn’t a big deal.
It was a big deal for me.
It started out with the orthodontist taking a thin strip of metal and threading it between my teeth. The metal is basically sandpaper. Back and forth. Back and forth. He flossed my teeth with sandpaper.
Then it got big time. There was a drill involved. It had a big circular thin piece of “metal sandpaper” that was placed between my teeth. My teeth were sanded down high speed this time.
Does that sound pleasant? It’s not. I will say that it is not actually painful, just extremely uncomfortable. The best way I explained it to someones is like this. It is the most physically uncomfortable I have ever been without experiencing pain. I’d rather have experienced a little bit of pain than deal with the extreme amount of uncomfortableness. Nails on a chalk board. It’s painful for your brain. I would rather get a shot than IPR.
Anyway. I dealt with it. The purpose of IPR is to make room between your teeth so they have room to move. I wondered if it made you more susceptible to cavities since it’s taking enamel off of your teeth, but when I googled it, the answer was no. The amount of enamel/tooth shaved down is apparently the same amount that would come off with the movement of teeth rubbing together with traditional braces. At least that’s what the internet said.
After IPR, there was visible space between my teeth that I was kind of embarrassed about, but you could not see it when I put the actual aligners in. Also I’ve had to have IPR at almost every appointment I’ve gone to (on different teeth) and the spaces are always gone after a day or so.
First Time with Aligners
After all that mess, they had me practice putting my aligners in and taking them out. I didn’t have much trouble, but I could imagine it would be difficult if your teeth were more crooked than mine. I know they sell little plastic hooks to help people with this, but I have had no need for anything like that. They did tell me I didn’t have to be as gentle as I was being when I was taking them out. Loosening the back teeth first made it easier. The orthodontist gave me the first 5 sets of aligners. They come in little baggies and are marked with the number they are. I am supposed to wear each set for 2 weeks and then switch.
After that we were done. But then craziness happened. They sat me up in the chair and a piece of metal from the tiny lightbulb in the overhead lamp fell and hit my arm. And it was HOT. Oh my goodness. It only touched me for like a split second though, so I thought it was fine. They brought me an icepack and I held it on my arm for a bit. At first there was no mark, but when I got to my car it started getting red, and by the time I got back to work it was a full on blister. Luckily I work at a nursing home and one of the nurses put some silvadene on it for me. It got worse before it got better. This happened in May. It’s August and I still have a small scar on my arm. So that happened…But back to my teeth 🙂
After I left (and paid) I got in my car and stared at my teeth in the mirror for a bit. I was satisfied with the invisibility of the aligners. The attachments were there, but I didn’t mind them. Some people notice them and some people don’t. On my way to work I called Aaron to tell him about it all and to practice talking with my aligners in because, guess what you guys…
I HAD A LISP.
I am a SPEECH-LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST.
I had to go to work after all of this with a LISP.
It cleared up in a few hours, but for about the first 2 weeks, I had a noticeable lisp whenever I first put my aligners back in after eating or whatever. Not cool. Haha. I just went with the full disclosure method. If I lisped while talking to a patient or patient’s family member, I would just point to my teeth and say ” I just got Invisalign, and it’s affecting my speech.” Everyone was cool about it. Haha.
I really only had pain the first couple of days, but those first few days were pretty bad. I think wearing my aligners made me more tired at work because of the pain, and I would crash on the sofa immediately when I got home from work. I could distinctly tell which teeth were moving from where the pain was.
My aligners made me feel claustrophobic. I would want to take them off so bad, but when I did the attachments cut up the inside of my mouth so much that I was happy to put them back in. I was able to eat ok. When I first took the aligners out, my teeth would be very sensitive, but after chewing for about 1-2 minutes it was like normal.
Note: this was only for the first 2 or 3 days. After that everything got much better. I couldn’t eat apples or nuts for a while. I actually went to Disney World the first week after I got my aligners. Yep. I was the weirdo brushing my teeth in the bathroom at Disney World. 🙂 The inside of my mouth toughened up, so the attachments didn’t hurt anymore. I don’t feel claustrophobic wearing them either. If I’m honest I actually really like them. They’re cozy. Haha.