Travelling with Invisalign

Travelling With Invisalign Braces…Tip #1

Well, sorry folks, it’s been a while. Yet again I have been off globetrotting with scant, if any, regard for my blog; so my apologies that my updates have been rather thin on the ground lately. The good news is that I have been merrily collecting tips for travelling with Invisalign whilst on holiday – or rather, what not to do as the case turned out.

It all started so well. I had remembered to carefully pack an extra wash bag filled with all of the Invisalign supplies that I might need on holiday- the sterilising tablets, the floss, the emergency Colgate Wisps,(#aff link) the spare toothbrushes- you get the picture. I had also packed a tiny version in my carry on bag containing everything I might need to get me through the trials of a 24 hour flight from Australia to the Uk. Brushing your teeth in plane toilets is one of the joys that everyone should try to avoid as much as possible, so my plan was to abandon all pretence of wearing my Invisalign for 22 hours on the flight, try to manage about 16 hours, and hope for the best.

With all of the scurrying about, last minute emptying of the fridge, frantic unpacking and repacking of children’s cases to search for missing toys in response to tear stained pleas that a month long trip entails, I didn’t have time to have breakfast before leaving for our 8am flight. So, as is my usual style I whipped out my Invisalign, grabbed a snack bar and a nutritious bottle of diet coke (I know, I know) and headed out to the taxi clutching passports, drink bottles, favourite teddy bears and a thousand other bits and bobs in my clammy, overspilling hands.

Travelling with Invisalign - pack your aligners! Image of suitcases
Travelling with Invisalign – pack your aligners!

Thirty minutes later we were at the airport, bags checked in, feeling surprisingly calm and organised when I suddenly remembered that my Invisalign weren’t in my mouth. After two minutes of frantic rifling I realised, with a leaden stomach, that they were neither in my handbag or my carry on bag. That left two options; they were either in a checked in packed suitcase, or sitting nonchalently at home on the top of my coffee machine. Of course, whilst I had packed the lower aligners that I needed to change to in a fortnight, I had forgotten to pack my previous set as a back up and as the top aligners were my last ones in the series. This meant If I didn’t find them I would have no upper braces for a month.

Two minutes later I was back in a cab, hyperventilating and begging the poor bewildered driver to speed through suburban Brisbane to get back to my house as fast as possible. At this point I knew that it was a round trip of about an hour from airport to my house and that it was about an hour and twenty minutes until my 24 hour, non refundable flight took off, with or without me.

Fortunately, my taxi driver rose to the occasion admirably, his foot never leaving the floor, and seat belt burns not withstanding, we made it to my house in around 22 minutes, a record. Of course, after a frantic two minute search which included a quick scan of all the most likely places that I dump my braces I simply could not find them. Anywhere. I ran from room to room becoming increasingly hysterical and much to taxi drivers amusement even ran back out into the garden and began foraging through the dustbin in an attempt to find them. Finally, after about six frantic minutes I came to the conclusion that they must be in my checked in bags, grabbed the previous sets from a drawer to wear on the journey and flew back into the taxi to start another hair raising grand prix back to the airport.

We made the flight. Just. By the skin of our teeth.

Travelling with Invisalign - image of plane toilet
Travelling with Invisalign – brushing in the plane toilet is not an experience to be savoured!

Of course, it was the usual joy on board of the rigmarole of 24 hours of putting in aligners, being offered a drink, removing aligners, drinking, squeezing past other passengers,queuingg for toilets, attempting to brush teeth in the fist sized, stained sink, returning to seat, five minutes later being offered food, removing aligners….you get the picture. Invisalign on planes are hard even if you aren’t squeezing your teeth into the previous set that you had stopped wearing a week ago. I don’t think I managed to wear them more than about 12 hours out of the 24, and even that was fraught with inconvenience.

It took me 24 hours after we arrived to get over my jet lag sufficiently to launch the search through our 90 kilos of luggage for my set six aligners. Despite checking the fifteen thousand small suitcase pockets, every washbag, the ten thousand pencil cases that my children deem necessary for a months holiday, they simply weren’t there.

Stuck in the Uk, on the other side of the world from my orthodontist, we had extensive email discussions back and forth about what exactly I could do to get my teeth from set 5 top and bottom that I was currently wearing, into the set 8 lower that I had in my bag. In all of the palaver, I had also forgotten set 7. Yes, I really am that stupid. I was astonished to be told that replacements would cost me $600. Gulp. Not only a stupid mistake but a costly one too.

So, to avoid the $600, with a little encouragement, some panadol, and a surprising amount of brute force, I actually managed to move my teeth from set 5 lower, to set 8 lower, skipping two whole sets.This incidentally is really not advisable except in dire emergencies. Hell, they were tight. There were moments, trying to force them onto my teeth where I wasn’t sure whether my teeth or the aligners would break first, but nonetheless, they went in in the end.

My instructions from my orthodontist were then to wear set 8 for three weeks before moving onto set 9 as normal. In the meantime, to also wear set 5 upper as retainers.

Home safe and sound I am still waiting for my orthodontists appointment to find out the damage I have done to my treatment. To this day, having looked through my whole house, I have no idea where set six went- only that they are gone, and it appears gone for good.

So, tip #1 for travelling with Invisalign. Remember to take them with you….

10 thoughts on “Travelling With Invisalign Braces…Tip #1”

  1. Hi Miami Invisalign,

    Thanks for sharing my blog! I know, I know about the compliance. The only thing I would say is that when I am at home I really do get pretty close to 20-22 hours a day most of the time. If I go wrong for any reason I always add extra days to catch up.

    Not much chance of me fooling my orthodontist given that I write about all my misdemeanours here! The truth is I am pretty good, I have paid a lot of money and I really want this to work properly, so I don’t normally miss too much aligner time.

    Anyway, thanks for reading.


  2. Hi there SRJ,

    Thank you so much for the tip of the latex gloves- I tell everyone that now!

    I love your idea about the wet wipes too, what a great idea. Next time I head overseas I will definitely try that on the flight. Far better than just giving up on them altogether, which is what I always seem to end up doing.
    I hope you had as much fun in the UK as I did, although the weather was a little “English” in September. Perhaps we did pass one another in Heathrow- I was the frazzled looking woman!

    Thanks so much for reading, I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed my blog,


    Thank you

  3. Fantastic blog! Found your site on a Google search…

    We’re going to share this with some of our patients. However, you really need to be diligent about your treatment.

    And your orthodontist always knows! Trust me, we do!

  4. (I wrote once long ago with the tip to use latex gloves to remove trays, especially the first days of new trays.)

    I have been reading your blog and thank you for it. What a great smile in your previous post photo. Really. Even when mine are finished, my smile will still not be that great. I am 58 yr old woman and on Thurs will pick up trays 24-26/26!!! Except that the lower arch will still need refinements. Still, so close.

    I live outside Washington DC and flew to the UK in Sept also. I solved the dilemma regarding cleaning on planes by using wet wipes. Those square packaged things you get with BBQ meals or fast food. I rinsed and dried several times first and then soaked and put several into small plastic bag, then into my purse. They worked great. I unfolded one and covered my mouth while removing the trays and then wiped them down. My husband didn’t even notice me doing it. I chewed Orbitz after meals and then reinserted. Of course, my flight was only 7-8 hrs and I immediately flossed, brushed and really cleaned them in the airport rest room upon landing.
    So sorry for your misadventure. Hope it does not set you back in the long run.
    Funny if we were there at same time and passed each other.)

  5. Oh my goodness, I was actually panicking for you just reading that: you must’ve been absolutely frantic!

    I think plane rides have proven to be the biggest challenge for me, too, so far in terms of Invisalign. On the flight back from the US to the UK this summer, the line for the bathroom just never seemed to get any shorter, and because I’m terrified of flying and do my best to remain in my seat as much as possible, I must admit that I gave up on the idea of the non-stop removing and brushing and flossing and just left them out for a a few hours, before swilling my mouth out thoroughly with water, putting them back in and promising myself an extra-thprough cleaning as soon as I got off the plane. Not something I’d recommend (or admit to my orthodontist!), but sometimes you just have to go with the lesser of two evils…

  6. Hi there Cate!

    Thanks for reading and so glad that my blog has been helpful to you. Yes, please do tell Brett as I think he won’t be too happy with me after all the trouble with me losing my aligners! I need to butter him up!

    Thanks for the comments about my teeth too, I am very happy with how they are going. I feel so much more comfortable smiling these days- but like you I am doing it only for health reasons 😉

    Anyway, thanks again for reading, good luck with your teeth..

  7. Hi there,

    Just wanted to say thank you for such an informative and entertaining blog. I’ve just finished my first week in Invisalign and your blog has been really helpful in making my decision and making the last few days bearable! By the way I’ve just realised that we share the same orthodontist in Brisbane… I’ll have to tell him that it was your blog that made me decide to do this thing – maybe he’ll be extra kind to you next time you see him!

    Your teeth look fantastic, by the way…I hope mine will one day look as good. I’m really excited about the prospect (although that’s not what I tell people – I’m doing it purely for reasons of dental hygiene, of course!!)

  8. Holy crap! Skipping two whole trays?! I sometimes think that even going from one tray to the next that they just ain’t gonna fit 😉

    1. I know, I know. It was BAD. I am still amazed that they went in. My ortho told me that they would, and thankfully they did, but honestly, I don’t recommend it. My jaw ACHED!

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