Invisalign- taking a break!

OK, first things first. I have an apology to make. You see, I have spent the last month, gallivanting, for want of a better word and have sadly neglected my blog. My only defence is that I have had very limited opportunities to access the internet as I have flitted from Australia to the UK, over to the US, back to the UK for a week and then back to Australia. It’s a hard knock life…

With over 80 hours spent in the air and 28 nights away from my home this has presented me with a fair few challenges when it comes to Invisalign compliance. Challenges that I am sad to say that I have not risen to, exactly.

Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t given up on my Invisalign by any stretch of the imagination, but the difficulties associated with cleaning my aligners whilst travelling, coupled with being in retention for my top arches whilst still in treatment for my bottom has meant that I have been very, very, very lax.

Safe to say that it’s probably easier to tell you what I have done, rather than what I haven’t. I have worn my top aligners every night faithfully. The only exceptions to this have been the two 24 hour flights between Australia and the UK when I simply couldn’t figure out what was night and what was day and so I just wore them for odd random periods whilst I attempted to snatch a little bit of that junk sleep that you get on planes. I don’t think that I have always managed exactly 12 hours on every one of my 28 nights away, sometimes it may have been nearer to 10 and a half, but I have made up for it by forgetting that I am supposed to take my top aligners out on some days and so have worn them for the full 22 hours of my pre refinement days. .

(If my orthodontist is reading this, please, please, for both our sakes, stop here!)

OK, now for the bottom aligners. Regular readers will remember me telling you that I find it much more difficult to remember to wear the bottom aligners only. This is because I really don’t notice them at all; which must be a good thing, right? The downside is that several times I have taken them out at breakfast, merrily popping them into their case and then remembered at lunchtime that I had never put them back in. Oops.

Travelling in itself provides a fair few inconveniences when it comes to Invisalign. Firstly, no sooner had I got onto a plane than I would be offered a drink. This was lovely and with 8 or 10 boring hours ahead I wasn’t ready to decline it but it did require me to take my braces out even before take off. Having finished my drink there was no opportunity to get up and brush my teeth before we lifted off so I opted to leave them out, knowing that another drink would turn up just after take off. No sooner than I had finished that second drink I would see my lunch clattering it’s way down the aisle. Halfway through lunch my 6 year old would decide she was DESPERATE for the toilet and we would try and extricate ourselves from under our tray tables, clambering across seats sending cutlery and drinks flying to get there. Having worked through the balletic complexities of two people in one tiny plane toilet, one of them a 6 year old terrified of the roar that plane toilets make when they flush, then manoeuvred ourselves back through the aisles to the whole clambering, spilling routine again, I had had enough. By the time I had finally sat back down and finished my lunch I could barely be bothered to get up and line up for the toilet again just to brush my teeth.

On one particular flight I simply gave up and left them out altogether for 8 hours. They felt tight afterwards, but I got them in and hopefully no harm done. My appointment with my ortho next week will confirm that one way or another. I may be back here, tail between my legs having been ordered back several stages, but I am cautiously optimistic.

We spent one of our weeks at Disney World in Florida and I found this too a challenge. I figured we walked approximately 70 miles that week, criss crossing backwards and forwards across the parks, chasing rollercoasters and small over exuberant mice, so I reckoned this gave me licence to gorge myself on all the enormous buffets and junk food on offer- which I duly did. My reckoning was right because my waistline didn’t suffer; squeezing myself into my clothes was no more difficult than before. Squeezing my teeth into my trays however was a lot more difficult. I could tell that I had been less compliant than I normally am by the force required to get them properly seated on my teeth..

Of course, being on holiday and more relaxed that normal means that it is remarkably easy to convince yourself that you are actually doing what you are supposed to do. Sitting by the pool on a lounger flicking idly through a trashy mag I would tell myself that my orthodontist had expressly told me that I was not allowed to wear my aligners whilst swimming, so I was actually doing the right thing by not wearing them. I find it alarmingly easy to delude myself!

The good thing about this holiday is that I have come back full of energy and ready to attack things with a renewed vigour. This includes my invisalign wearing which I am now going to be so, so, so much more disciplined about. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Invisalign Braces- A day in the life

I thought it might be interesting to keep a diary for a single day of my braces; how often I remove them, number of times I floss, brush etc. Of course, having written it I can see that it really isn’t that interesting at all- yes, my life really is this boring! However, it might be useful for people considering braces to see how often you have to remove them and it has also been useful to me, in showing me that I am really not achieving the twenty two hours a day. I would love to tell you that ordinarily I am much more compliant but the sad truth is I think this is probably fairly indicative of the amount of hours that I manage to wear these things. Must do better…..

  • 6am Alarm, get up and shower. Braces stay in.
  • 6.30 Go downstairs. Remove Invisalign and toss them on the kitchen bench on paper towel-yick! Have breakfast then spend 40 minutes chivvying children and brushing hair.
  • 7.30 Children leave for school and husband and I grab a quick coffee on our back deck.
  • 7.50 Brush teeth, floss and give braces quick clean before putting them back in. Yikes. 1 hr 20 minutes out. I think I would have convinced myself it was about 30 minutes if I hadn’t checked.
  • 8.10 Check emails and do some work on my computer.
  • 9.15 Get peckish and remember box of Cadbury’s Favourites in the pantry. Braces out and on the kitchen bench (new paper towel!)
  • 10.15 Box of chocolates almost finished and braces still out. Realise and panic. Dash upstairs to brush/floss and put braces back in. Another hour. Whoops. Total time out so far 2hrs 20 minutes
  • 10.40 Glass of water- Aligners can stay in.Yay!
  • 12.20 Lunchtime. Sandwich, crackers and a banana. Eat it on my deck in front of my laptop. Brush, but don’t floss.
  • 12.37 Aligners back in. Total time out so far 2 hrs 37 minutes
  • 4.00 Arrive home from kids after school activities. Remove aligners and throw them on the kitchen bench. Grab a snack.
  • 4.24 Realise aligners still out, swear loudly, do rudimentary brush and throw them back in. Total time out of mouth 3 hrs 1 minute. Gulp
  • 5.54 Husband arrives home and serve dinner. Take aligners out- you guessed it, paper towel on the kitchen bench. Eat dinner fast as have to go out.
  • 6.27 Brush and put aligners back in. Total time out. 3 hrs 35 minutes
  • 9.00 Out watching Midsummer Nights Dream. Grab a glass of champagne in the interval. Hide in a corner of the room and remove my aligners. Put them in case in my handbag.
  • 9.15 Queue for the toilets too long so can’t brush or would miss second act. Put aligners back in. Total time out of mouth 3 hrs 50 minutes.
  • 10.45 At home. Take aligners out and put them in Steradent solution whilst I brush and floss.
  • 10.52 Aligners back in. Go to Bed. Total time out of mouth during whole day. 3 hours 57 minutes.

As a quick summary what I can see is that I brushed 6 times during the day but only flossed 3 times. Whoops. That my aligners were in my mouth for 20 hours and 10 minutes. Just. Also that I really, really need to wear my aligners more. But you knew that already.