02 May 2015

Smile, the Worst is Yet to Come

Note: Title taken from the song "Smile" by Mikky Ekko

Young Woman at the Ball by Berthe Morisot, 1875

I'm self-conscious of my teeth, more so than of almost any aspect of my personal appearance. My front teeth have always been crowded and crooked on the bottom, and over the past few years their disarray has put enough pressure on my two top front teeth to make one stick forward and the other angle in and towards the back. This progression was intolerable enough that I finally began to look into adult teeth straightening in earnest, and decided to pursue Invisalign treatment.

It took a while to find a provider and sort everything out with my insurance, but yesterday morning I  got my first set of aligners at last. A little over twenty-four hours into the treatment, I've discovered a few things I didn't expect about getting Invisalign:
1. There will be blood. I knew that my teeth would have to be filed a bit on the sides to have room to move, and it didn't really hurt, but it did make my gums bleed a little. This was slightly distressing to me since I developed a blood phobia as a teenager after a bad reaction to a vaccination (more on that another time, perhaps).

2. Edges may by sharp. Internet searching about rough aligner edges after experiencing them proves that it's a common issue, but it didn't crop up in any of my research before deciding to get Invisalign. I've tried the widespread suggestion of smoothing the edges with a nail file without much success so far, and I also ordered some organic beeswax to use as a natural alternative to the petroleum-based orthodontic waxes recommended as a buffer. In the meantime, the cuts on my tongue have been more painful than the actual pressure of my teeth moving.

3. Thirst may increase. It's a good thing you can drink water while wearing the aligners, because for some reason I've been extra thirsty since getting them. I think there's something about the trays that make my mouth a little drier, and it's effecting my lips too--I used to only use lip balm at night, but I've started applying it throughout the day now.

4. Eating may be more challenging. Being able to eat what you like is one of the perks of getting Invisalign over regular braces, but at least for now I've been sticking to softer foods since my mouth is somewhat sore. I've also found it a bit more difficult to chew since starting Invisalign since my teeth already don't fit together the way they used to, probably due to the little bumps called "attachments" added to some of my teeth to encourage correct movement.
Truth be told, having Invisalign has been an uncomfortable experience so far, and I sincerely hope that my post title proves incorrect and the worst is not yet to come. Even so, being able to change an aspect of my appearance that has always bothered me is a great privilege and I'm still glad that I chose Invisalign over traditional braces, which seem to come with most of the above issues and then some. And since it seems like I'll only need ten sets of aligners to complete my treatment, I hopefully won't have to put up with this discomfort for too long--and I'll have more than one reason to smile when it's over.

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