What a relief!
I had been dreading my latest appointment with my orthodontist. After the terminal crack in my 31st Invisalign aligner his assistant had told me on the phone that he had some “new ideas” for my teeth that he would talk to me about at my next appointment. I’m not sure exactly what I had thought those new ideas might involve, but I was certainly fearful that it might be metal braces, elastics, possibly even headgear and all manner of torturous orthodontics- my imagination is a wonderful thing!
I know, I know, metal braces aren’t torture devices. The trouble is though that I am horribly, horribly vain, (hence the braces in the first place) and I find Invisalign so easy and so invisible that I can’t even bear considering the possibility of a mouth full of metal. I know that I agreed at the start of treatment that I would wear metal braces on three of the teeth on my lower arch for a short period, just to pull one tooth into line but I really don’t want to go beyond that.
Fortunately, my orthodontist didn’t even mention metal braces. Instead, he took new moulds for a second set of Invisalign refinements which should completely finish my upper arch and get us a lot closer to finishing the lower one.
Before I had my first moulds taken 18 months ago I had read on an Invisalign forum about the horrors of the impressions process: the gagging, the vomiting, the residual taste left in your mouth afterwards- all manner of terrors. I know that getting moulds taken is a part of the process that a lot of patients work themselves into a frenzy about- I know I did the first time- but in my experience it really is nothing to be fearful about. My post about taking moulds for Invisalign has a full length description of the process for anyone that has yet to go through it, but if you have neither the time nor the inclination to read it I am happy to report that it is a remarkably painless experience.
For the sake of a balanced viewpoint I did question my orthodontist this time about whether there really are patients that vomit when they get their moulds taken or whether the people writing on Invisalign forums are just getting a kick out of terrifying the uninitiated. He assured me that he doesn’t get actual vomiters as a rule, but that he does get the odd patient who feels like they might gag. In his opinion it is largely psychological- in other words some people are very fearful about the impressions process and it then becomes self fulfilling- their panic makes them feel like they can’t breathe, which combined with the moulding material in their mouth makes them feel that they might vomit. He was happy to reassure me though that the vast majority of his patients cope with impressions quite happily. He did offer the tip that it was best to avoid getting moulds taken when you have a cold though as this can make it harder to breathe and increase your gag reflex.
The moulds made, I now just have to wait until the next sets of aligners are ready which should be in about 4 weeks. In the meantime I have to wear my Invisalign for only 12 hours a day. My orthodontist told me this and then added “if you can manage that”
I was a little surprised by this last comment; I have after all been wearing them 22 (ahem) hours a day quite successfully for the last 16 months; twelve hours a day would be a synch. However it then dawned on me that what he was saying was I could wear them 12 hours a day if I could bear to wear them that little.
Apparently, (and of all the things that he has told me about orthodontics this is the hardest to believe) some people get so used to the feeling of their aligners that they can’t bear to be without them!
What is wrong with these people!! I love my Invisalign as much as the next person, but I love them because they are doing a fine job of coaxing my bedraggled teeth into a cosmetically enhanced order. I don’t literally love wearing them. Apparently though, some people do. Their mouths have become so accustomed to the feeling of wearing the aligners that they can’t bear to wear them only 12 hours a day. Like thumb suckers they have become almost dependent on them. I’m happy to report that although I talked about my need to cultivate a few more vices earlier in this blog, aligner addiction wasn’t what I had in mind. Something tells me that I’ll cope admirably with the need to wear them only 12 hours a day.