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, 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.
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.
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….