When Dr. Fang, as I affectionally call him, suggested Invisaligns after noticing that my teeth were shifting as I aged, I rejected the idea. Especially after he told me I would have to wear a retainer at night forever after.
“I’m 62,” I said. “I don’t need to worry about that. I am not going wear a retainer for the rest of my life.”
And then, a few years later, looking at a photo of myself, I thought, “Who is THAT? And what happened to my teeth?”
I hightailed it back to Dr. Fang to start the Invisalign process.
I was both lucky and unlucky. My course of treatment would be only seven months because only a limited amount of change was possible in my small mouth. But when I saw the animation of what would result, the shift would be significant. So I was in.
You wear them almost all the time.
Invisalign trays must be worn 20 to 22 hours a day during the treatment period. You’re warned not eat or drink with them in. You CAN drink water, but the trays do stain with anything else. Then you’d look like you had super-stained teeth. Forget lipstick. It’ll get all over them, and it, too, stains. Clear lip balm is my go-to, and plenty of it.
You will probably not lose weight
It’s amazing how much food you can eat in two to four hours.
Be prepared if not at home.
If you’re reaching into your mouth to remove your trays for a cup of coffee, a cocktail, a meal, your hands must be clean and you must have a container with you to protect the tray while it’s not in your mouth. I’m a little obsessive about keeping them clean so I always had latex gloves with me and a ziplock bag or little hard plastic case.
Every minute counts
I found myself reluctant to linger over morning coffee because every minute a tray was out of my mouth counted. If you have a couple meals a day your time limit is quickly up. Plan meals and outings strategically.
Your teeth will be cleaner than they have ever been.
Before you put them back in your mouth after eating, you must brush and floss. If I was out, I fudged this and put them back in before brushing. After all, every minute counts and I was never thrilled about brushing and flossing in a public rest room.
But immediately upon arriving home I brushed, flossed and sanitized my tray.
They must be sanitized when they are out of your mouth.
I soaked my tray during meals in a dilute solution of hydrogen peroxide and water. Ask your dentist what he or she suggests. And be sure to keep each in its little plastic envelope after you move to the next size. After sanitizing of course.
Do not lose or discard your trays! The reason for this will soon become clear.
They absolutely work.
You might be surprised at the change in your bite. My teeth were straighter and much nicer to look at. But you absolutely must wear the retainer at night thereafter, every night. For the rest of your life.
If you sin…
I followed directions for almost three years. Somewhere toward the tail end of the first year of the pandemic I lost my mojo. I’d skip the retainer every other night and then, I didn’t wear it at all for a week. Or two. Or…maybe a bit longer.
When I inserted it again, I noticed it was tight. After a while, I felt that it was too tight, so I moved back to the tray just before the retainer to work back up. I thought that single tray would be enough. But that, too, felt tight, so I made an appointment with Dr. Fang.
I brought the retainer and the prior tray to my appointment and confessed to Dr. Fang. To my dismay, he felt that even the earlier tray didn’t fit right. So he asked me to return with ALL my Invisalign trays.
It turned out that he wanted me to go back two trays, even earlier than I thought, and even then wasn’t sure my mouth would return to the way it was after initial treatment.
So I had to wear my second last tray for two weeks, then move on to my last tray for two weeks, and finally, the retainer for two weeks–20-22 hours a day! He will review the situation after that and advise further. You can imagine how thrilled I was
to hear that I had to go back and wear these things all day and all night (practically) for at least six weeks. And maybe more.
Now that I have had six long weeks of constantly wearing trays, I am repenting, big time. Oh, if I only could do over those lazy nights when I chose to NOT put the retainer in.
It’s absolutely true that wearing the retainer for the rest of your life IS a big pain. But it certainly beats having to go backwards and even then, not being sure it will work.
I’m revisiting Dr. Fang this month and hope to be back to where I was before. Oh and if you want to ask any questions about the Invisaligns product, just hollah!
And here’s to a prettier smile!