Now that I have covered the first steps such as the consultation and treatment plan in my Invisalign journey, this brings me on to the first weeks of Invisalign. As with laser eye surgery, I clearly have a habit of not researching what to expect beforehand. I literally just seem to go with the flow and hope for the best. I have found this isn’t always the best approach and I am glad to see you are not like me and are here reading this blog on what to expect. In this blog I will cover several areas such as the pain involved, brushing, eating habits and more!
Let’s just get right into it and kick things off with the level of pain you can expect in the first weeks of Invisalign. Remember, it might be different for everyone but the first weeks of Invisalign for me were quite painful. The pain definitely does reduce massively over time but you can mostly expect a fair bit in the first week at least. I remember my cousin getting Invisalign earlier in the year and calling me up concerned about the amount of pain he was experiencing. My response was that it is completely normal and he will barely notice them after a few weeks.
If you are wondering what the pain is like, your teeth essentially just begin to feel very sensitive. I am fortunate not to have sensitive teeth but booooy did Invisalign give me an insight. Biting into burgers from Nandos was a no go given at one point I experienced a sharp shooting pain in my front too. It genuinely felt as though my tooth have snapped in half from the front but it thankfully had not! My mouth and cheeks also felt slightly swollen. Luckily I did not experience much irritation where the aligners could cut the back of your mouth/inside of cheeks.
2) VERY Tight Aligners
The 3D teeth scans are extremely accurate because it is scary how tightly fitted the aligners were when I first put them in. They clipped straight into place and felt very snug and secure. The issue only arose when it came to taking them out for the first time. I am quite dramatic but I do not feel like I’m exaggerating when I say that it felt as though my teeth were going to be pulled out with the aligners.
Again this feeling will pass after the first weeks of Invisalign. Although I change my aligners weekly, I will write more about this in the next blog, this feeling was never as bad as with the first set of aligners.
How to get Aligners on and off
I thought I would take this opportunity to throw in tips how to take your aligners out. When you first get them you may use the tool imaged below that you are given. These should clip/hang on to the back of the aligner which you can pull down and out. However, I no longer use these unless I want to look somewhat classy in a restaurant. Using your index finger/nail to pull on the back top left and bottom right corners will do the trick.
3) Uncomfortable Mouth
I think I might have worded that heading slightly weirdly. What I mean by that is that it was just more difficult to close my mouth, especially with the attachments in. It also was a strange feeling because your bite now involves having plastic between the top and bottom teeth. Therefore, when you take your aligners out it did feel as though I had messed up my bite and I couldn’t completely bite together anymore. Again, this feeling should pass after the first weeks of Invisalign.
4) Lisp during the first weeks of Invisalign
Thankfully this wore off but in the first few weeks it was definitely an adjustment period. I did feel as though I developed a slight lisp. This would get worse if I was drinking alcohol but I have definitely got used to the aligners now. I cannot say I have experienced much of a lisp since and the lisp phase passed fairly quickly. This seems to be the case for others I know with Invisalign too.
3) 22 Hours
I am not sure how much of a surprise this will be to you but in order to get the best results, you should wear your aligners for 22 hours a day. This means you of course need to sleep with them in but realistically you should only take them out when eating. I am a very slow eater and admittedly end up with my aligners out a fair bit longer than only two hours a day.
The big appeal of Invisalign is that they are clear braces and can’t be seen too much. As I touched on in my previous blog, the attachments make them less invisible but they are still much more subtle than my old “train tracks”.
This point here is very serious because your brushing regime will definitely change. Morning and night is a thing of the past. This already seemed like enough but oh no, not with Invisalign! You are recommended to brush your teeth after every meal. Flossing is more important now too. A question is whether people actually stick to this or simply use mouthwash instead or other alternatives. I will of course share my experience with you.
In this first year at least, I was religiously brushing my teeth. I would take my travel toothbrush (that was provided in my package) with me everywhere including to work on client site as an auditor. I went as far as brushing my teeth in a car and even on New Years 2020 night!
Hopefully you get the point that I took it seriously. I then started to notice my teeth were getting quite yellow and became paranoid it was to do with brushing too frequently. Due to COVID-19 I also had to wear the same set of aligners for eight weeks (grim I know). This was unpleasant but it all led me to no longer brush after every meal, just morning and night. Between meals I would rinse before putting my aligners back in and I am definitely not the only one. I know others who have given up and started slacking with brushing too.
7) Eating Habits
Given the above increased brushing requirement, I had to really adjust my eating habits to adapt to Invisalign. I have relaxed with this now but if you know me, I take gym and bulking quite seriously. My diet would consist of many meals and snacking throughout the day.
Due to Invisalign I would brush my teeth after eating breakfast whereas previously I would brush beforehand. In addition to this, I had to increase the size of my meals otherwise the amount of brushing would be out of hand. This was so it would work out where I was having the same intake but only brushing three/four times a day. That being said, others will tend to take the approach of eating less so you may actually lose weight with Invisalign!
There have been occasions where I have eaten with them in. That New Years night shortly after brushing my teeth I ate spring rolls. I would not recommend this as they get very dirty and you cannot bite as well!
8) No Tea/Coffee
When you have your aligners in, the advice given is not to drink any tea or coffee or any hot drinks. Reason being, the aligners are said to stain/change colour and can change shape. For me, this was not an issue as I tend to only drink water anyway. However, I know many will struggle with this. If you do change your aligners each week this perhaps is not as big of an issue. You are also not meant to drink sugary drinks with the aligners in either. I can confirm you teeth will not feel very clean if you do.
Side note: I do eat many Indian curries and I cannot say my attachments have gotten noticeably more yellow.
That’s about it for the initial shockers during the first weeks of Invisalign. Join my journey to find out about the whole process, including why it has been over 1.5 years and I still have Invisalign!