I had reached a point with my Invisalign braces somewhere around set 10 where I felt so comfortable with the whole process that I was almost coasting through to the end of my first run of 17 aligners for my upper arch. I felt that I knew what was to be expected with each set, I had mastered the whole insertion/removal/cleaning palaver, and I wasn’t anticipating any surprises.
Then came set 12. Like some of my earlier aligners these were extremely difficult to insert the first time, particularly on the bottom arch. However, usually with each new set I have half an hour or so of minor discomfort, then a gentle pressure for the next 12-24 hours, and then they feel like an old comfortable pair of trainers. But not these babies. 5 days after first inserting them they were still tight despite 21+ hours of wear per day. It felt like being back in the early days of set 1. Not only were they tight, but I was able to feel exactly which teeth they were moving. My upper arches are definitely being expanded outwards and the my right front tooth is being pushed backwards into the correct alignment, as is the ugly old crown next to it. In fact, my crown has become slightly wobbly over the last couple of weeks.
This isn’t as alarming as it sounds as I don’t think the crown itself will fall off and leave me gappy and toothless(but watch this space!); rather, the root feels like it is moving around inside the gum due to the pressure. Looking at my clincheck I can see that this tooth has undergone some fairly significant shifting in the last 6 months so I’m not altogether surprised that it has some movement; it does feel slightly odd nonetheless. It reminds me of being six years old and the temptation to worry it with my tongue and try and increase the wobbliness is almost overwhelming!
Set 13 have also been difficult. In fact they are so hard to remove that they have developed a fairly major split where my bottom stray tooth is. When previous sets have done this (although to a much lesser extent) my orthodontist has been fairly relaxed and just advised that I keep wearing them as long as they are able to be worn, so that is my policy with this set. I can still feel them putting pressure on my teeth so hopefully they are doing what they are meant to. I’m sure I’ll find out when I try and insert the next set!
I’d be the first to admit to my hypochondria- in fact I almost certainly have several life threatening conditions as we speak- but I am coming to the conclusion that Invisalign may be giving me migraines. It’s not that I have headaches on a daily basis, but with the tighter sets I seem to get fairly serious headaches for the first couple of days. I have read elsewhere that other people take a couple of painkillers on the first day of each set of new aligners as a matter of course. Due to my crohn’s disease (and my hypochondria) I’m not fond of painkillers so I’ve never done that- perhaps that would have solved the problem. I’d be interested to know whether other people have found this though, or whether it is just the product of my overactive imagination.
One of the dire warnings that my orthodontist gave me at the beginning of this process was to always put my aligners straight into their case as soon as I take them out of my mouth so that they don’t get lost or accidently thrown away. Of course, if I could consistently remember to take my cases with me wherever I went this would be exactly what I would do. The problem is that I constantly forget them, so my aligners end up deposited in the most sanitary place I can find. Usually this will be inside a paper napkin, and there have been several times where I have had to chase waiters across a restaurant or cafe to root through the remnants of a meal looking for the discarded napkin that contains my braces. Classy. Last week though I surpassed myself. I had taken my daughter to soccer practice at 8am and in all the confusion of lost shoes and unbrushed hair had made it out of the door without any breakfast. Luckily soccer practice is near a bakery so I bought myself a cheese croissant, merrily tucked my aligners into the brown paper bag it came in and ate my food. You can guess the rest. I offloaded my rubbish to my husband who immediately screwed the brown paper bag into a tight ball and shoved it into his back pocket. It wasn’t until about 20 minutes later that it suddenly dawned on me that my braces were now not only wrapped, but scrunched up. I’m not saying that that necessarily has anything to do with the huge crack in set 13….
One thing that is starting to worry me is that my teeth look SO much better with my aligners in. Not only do they look straighter, they look whiter too. My whole arch looks bigger and seems to fill my mouth more with my aligners in, so I wonder whether I’ll ever manage to be happy with my natural teeth at the end of this. Much as I haven’t minded my aligners through this process I was hoping to be rid of them at some point in the future…during the days at least. Hopefully as I have only 4 sets left on my uppers they will transform in the next 8 weeks and I’ll feel differently. I think taking the attachments off will help.
I’ll post more pictures in the next couple of days. My teeth are looking much better from straight on, but my bottom teeth are still a long way back so my overbite is still pretty huge. Only 21 more trays for that arch…..