There’s a little rigmarole I have gone through with every dentist I have ever visited. After they have completed my numerous fillings (there always seems to be something that needs fixing up in my mouth…) they ask me the dreaded question about “how often I floss.”
In most of my life I pride myself on being a truthful and honest person. I would rather eat my own arm than steal, I never ever lie to my husband (except maybe a teeny, tiny one about the price of my shoes, but that doesn’t count, right?!) and I am generally truthful and honest in everything I do. But somehow, before Invisalign, I was terrified to admit the truth to my dentist, that I rarely, if ever, flossed.
So I would cast my eyes down, feigning a quick mental calculation, and come up with a hesitant “once a week, maybe?” whilst he would consider my face with a dubious expression and tell me how I needed to floss every day without fail. I would look concerned and nod my agreement and then go home to continue on my merry path of rarely flossing.
That is, until Invisalign. The moment I started wearing Invisalign, my ticket to a new, improved me, I diligently followed my orthodontist’s instructions to floss, if not every time I ate, then at least two or three times a day. So much so, that my ten year old daughter, in all her tween wit, has dubbed me a “flossing freakazoid”
All of this flossing has had it’s benefits. Since getting Invisalign I have had the least fillings of any two year period of my life. Namely none. My teeth look whiter and healthier and when my (very happy) dentist puts his camera in my mouth and shows me my teeth up on the screen I can literally see the difference. In fact, last time I saw him he asked me to thank my orthodontist for getting me to do what he had never been able to.
So my failure to floss has been cured, and everyone is happy.
That is until the other night.
There I was, virtuously flossing, smug and safe in the knowledge of my superior oral hygiene, when I felt a small crack and a tug, and felt something on my tongue. Fishing the ‘something’ from my mouth with the tip of my finger I could see not only that it wasn’t a piece of food, but that it was actually, gulp, a piece of my tooth. Not a large piece, more of a small sliver of one of my back molars. Fatter than a fish bone and worryingly black on one side.
One of the best things about Invisalign is that it is uniquely molded to the shape of your teeth. However, at times, like when you are foolish enough to break a tooth with over vigorous flossing, that can be a disadvantage too. I was filled with terror that fixing my tooth would mean that my upper aligner would no longer fit. I didn’t know how long it would take to mold and fit a new one and had visions that before it could be done my teeth would happily rearrange themselves
It was Friday night when this happened, and with my husband out of town and my children safe in bed I thought that there was nothing I could do until Monday. Except that by the next morning it hurt.
So it was with a little fear that I walked gingerly into an emergency dental clinic first thing Saturday morning, two children in tow, each of them a little more thrilled than the other at the idea of watching the dentist giving me a “huge” injection in my mouth. I was also, truth be told, more than a little afraid of the cost; crowns aren’t cheap, and I was dreading being given bad news.
So imagine my joy when the dentist told me that although the ‘something’ (which I handed him, carefully wrapped in tissue paper, and secreted inside an Invisalign case) was a piece of my tooth as I feared, he thought he could fix it with a filling and that he hoped he could do it in such a way that my Invisalign would still fit.
Twenty minutes later, face numb and with my mouth vaguely dribbling, it was time to try and refit my upper Invisalign. The dentist offered to do it for me and after 30 seconds of his rubber gloved fingers vainly scurrying around my mouth, pushing and pulling at my aligner he handed it to me in defeat. Vaguely panicked and without a mirror or any sensation in my numbed cheek I immediately and joyfully popped it into my mouth, slotting it into place at the first attempt. Bingo.
So, all is not lost if you need a filling during Invisalign, and to the joy of my dentist, the flossing can continue. Just a little more gently this time….