Invisalign, straight teeth and opposable thumbs

After two years in Invisalign I can safely say that I thought I was pretty much the world expert in swiftly removing my braces. Not only could I whip them out one handed, I could do it with my eyes shut, upside down and with my left hand tied behind my back… or so I thought.

Not for me one of the Outie Tools (#aff link) rubber gloves, paper towels or any of the other methods that help newcomers struggling with their Invisalign.

The last few days though, I have discovered that there is one tool that I have been using; one that I took entirely for granted and without which, removing your Invisalign is a fraught, tear stained, frustrating, frantic, claustrophobia inducing ordeal.

Ladies and gentlemen… I give you… the opposable thumb….

That sorry mess you see in the picture? That my dear readers is the thumb of my right hand. Sore, infected, inflamed, impossible to bend and therefore entirely useless as an Invisalign removing tool. Thanks to a course of very strong antibiotics it is starting to improve…but it still hurts. A lot.

I’d like to tell you that it was a snake bite, wrestling a crocodile, or some other such adventure that many outside Australia assume form the fabric of our daily lives. Sadly, the truth is somewhat less exotic. My sore thumb is, in reality, a consequence of  ‘a terrible cheese grater incident ‘ Need I say more? Devilishly dangerous things, cheese graters….

I know, I know, I have another thumb. But here’s the thing. It turns out that although I am a fiend at removing my aligners with my right hand, with my left, I am entirely useless. Whatever the little action is that I have so painstakingly perfected with my right hand, I simply can’t do it with the left.

The good news is, however, for those of you that have just started wearing Invisalign, that I can share that the key to quick and easy removal is all in the thumb. I believe, judging by the amount of pain when I try and do it at the moment, that my technique has been based entirely on hooking my right thumbnail under the edge of the aligner and flicking it up before grasping it with my hand and pulling it off.

On a much happier note, my teeth are looking good. I still haven’t had the top crown replaced. Primarily for the want of the (deep breaths) $3500 that the first dentist I found wanted to charge me. For one crown. However, I have now found another dentist whose quote is “only” $1600 and who my orthodontist recommends so I am currently steeling myself to put myself through that. You’ll be the first to know.

As you can probably tell from the pictures below my teeth are still improving, little by little. The gap into which my funky lower tooth will hopefully slide is getting closer and closer to being ready- not long to go now until we can start trying to move it in. After two years I’m so used to my Invisalign that I really don’t notice them any more; the difficulty that I face now is that because my teeth already look good from the front and all the action is at the back, it’s harder to find the motivation to wear them as many hours as I should. The photo of my teeth pre Invisalign, and the fear of going back there helps though. It really helps.

Mar ’11
2008 – Before Invisalign


On a final note, I’m sorry that it has been so long since my last post. What with Christmas, and then the huge floods we had in Brisbane in January (my house wasn’t flooded thankfully, although my neighbours weren’t so lucky) as well as the fact that I am currently studying full time as well as doing the usual parenting stuff means that I have been a little overstretched. I have lots to share with you though, so I promise to be far more prolific over the next few months! It’s nice to be back….

5 thoughts on “Invisalign, straight teeth and opposable thumbs”

  1. Try the dental school in the city. It’s right behind town hall/ roma street area. not the clinic but the school. my mum went there to get her crown done and it cost her a fraction of the cost. it was done by a 4th yr dental student who was about to graduate and had a supervisor with them. they are really good there cost less and still do a great job.
    it seems a bit off putting because they are students but its not like they hand the tools over to a complete novice. they are all students in their final years who have all the skills and qualifications as such they just have to wait on the paper. my mum has been there multiple times and swears by it.

  2. Thank you senior smile- I’m looking forward to finding time to write more next week!

    Kami, good luck, I hope everything goes well with your treatment. Please get back on here or on some of the Invisalign forums if you have any problems- there are always people willing to give great advice.

  3. i am about to pick up my first set of trays on Monday and i am so excited!! im 28 years old and SO ready to have straight teeth. i was a little discouraged at first, because it seemed that the dentist i had gone with was taking advantage of my being naiive to this whole dentistry thing. I went to him because of the price and because his office seemed nice and he was in my network with my insurance. I dont have orthadontic insurance which is the reason i have always put it off- i dont have $10,000 lying around ya know!! he had a pretty nice record online- UNTIL i saw and realized i wasnt the first person this dentist has tried to swindle. well, the damage had been done and impressions were taken, so im pretty sure im stuck with him- i hope he does a good job!! Anyway, reading your blog as taught me to be smart about this process, dont think all dentists have my best interest at heart, and that in the end it will all be worth it! thank you and i cant wait to read more!

  4. It’s great to hear from you again. Hope the procedure for your crown goes smoothly. I’m getting a chipped front tooth repaired when I am finished invisalign and it may take more than just bonding, so anxious to hear how yours goes. Thanks for much for your blog!

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