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.