My Invisalign Journey – 1. Shock and Regret

Previous articles in the series: My Invisalign Journey – Prologue

So I’ve decided to go ahead with this, spend the money, deal with the orthodontist appointments, the pain that will flash me back to high school, the weirdness of wearing a clear plastic retainer all the time. I made the appointment for “computerized molds”.

New technology! No plastic molds with nasty rubber choking me, they use a digital camera to scan all of my teeth. That sounds easier than it is, but it’s still better than those molds.

The digital photos of my teeth are sent off to the nerds at Invisalign who come up with the step by step process of making my smile gorgeous, and then make the trays that will push and pull the teeth into alignment.  I make the follow up appointment to get my trays in two weeks’ time.

The day is here! I get my trays! Woohoo!!!

First the tech has to put “buttons” on my teeth in some places. These are little grippers that will allow the tray to grab onto a tooth and move it more easily. OK, they’re enamel colored, so when my trays are out they won’t be that noticeable.

Then the tech puts the first tray in, showing me how to make sure it’s all seated properly and stuff. Then she has me try to remove it. Um, that wasn’t all that easy. Then she has me put it back in. Oh, that was harder than it looked. Take it off again? OK. Yeah, this is kind of a pain in the ass. And these bumps on my teeth? They hurt the inside of my lips, just like braces do. They feel weird.

I’m not going to feel my normal teeth AT ALL for the duration of this process. I was not expecting that. Oh, and the “first batch” of aligners is 32, so 32 weeks and then reimaging to see how much more. This process is AT LEAST a year long. One tray per week.

The tech assures me I’ll get better at putting these things in. She assures me I’ll be able to tell at the one week point that the tray is “dead” and I’m ready for a new one. I doubt her, but play along, just to be agreeable.

Then she lowers the boom.

Nothing but water while the trays are in. And they’re in for 22 hours a day.

What? I knew I had to take them out to eat, but water only? RUFKM? I never DRINK water. I drink coffee and tea (cold and hot) and Diet Dr Pepper and Diet Coke all day long. I have a Sodastream that I’m trying to find acceptable syrups for since they changed the formulas. I drink beverages all day long. I have a HUGE collection of teas. My beverages are very important to me.

Also I’m a snacker. I really don’t eat an actual multi-course meal more than once a day, if that. I tend to eat one thing at a time, through the course of the day getting multiple types of food. Sure, it’s not all that healthy, but it works. OK, maybe forcing me to not snack and actually plan meals will be helpful.

But really…nothing but water while the trays are in. And they’re in for 22 hours a day.

I drive home with tray #1 in my mouth, feeling weird. Knowing I’ve just made a HUGE mistake.