Happy Thursday everyone!
This season of writing seems to have me posting updates lately so I thought I’d continue the trend and share my thoughts on a recent major life development: my aligners! I’ve been wearing them for almost five months now and, believe me, I NEVER thought it would be as easy as it’s been or work as well in so short of a time.
Initially, I was really nervous – it seemed like such a huge commitment and drastic lifestyle change. And, truth be told, I was curious about how noticeable they would be too. Would I hate them? Would I feel self-conscious? Would they hurt?! But once I made the decision for myself, I was all in. If you’ve got an awesome ortho team (who validate your concerns but reassure you at the same time), your fears quickly disappear and are replaced with an indescribable excitement! I’m about roughly one sixth into my smile journey and I’m happy to report that my teeth are exactly where they be should at this stage. It’s funny how you don’t really notice it day to day…until you look at progress pictures and it’s like WOAH! That’s the best feeling!
Since I haven’t written a lot about my experience yet, I thought I’d share a few thoughts! Currently this is where I’m at, navigating the pros and cons (annoyances) of life with aligners:
Improved oral hygiene! I floss and brush after every meal! I rarely ever used to floss (!) so this has definitely been one of the biggest changes to my routine. And I’m happy to do it so often now that I don’t even think about it anymore. Definitely one of the best lifestyle changes to come out of this experience. No more feeling guilty at the dentist’s office! HA!
More conscientious eating. When you have braces or aligners, you’re definitely more conscious of what you eat and drink…especially when it means an extra 10 minutes at the sink to floss, brush your teeth and clean your equipment. Unless I’m out for dinner or drinks (I’m a little wigged out about brushing my teeth in a public restroom!), I always make sure to do the post-meal cleaning routine right away. So is it worth the rigmarole for a sugary snack bar at 10 am? Maybe, maybe not! My meal-planning is definitely more strategic now!
It’s not as big of a change as I thought. Before, when I used to think of people wearing braces/aligners, I always thought, “what a pain those must be to wear.” I’m here to tell you, I was wrong! At first, I was nervous about taking them out (what if I was too rough and accidentally snapped a piece off?) but I quickly realized how durable they are. And my second concern was that they would drive me crazy! But honestly, I barely even notice that I wear them. Yes, the first few days were interesting. My teeth felt a little tender and I felt unsure when it came time to pop the trays out. But after a couple of days, it’s amazing how confident and comfortable I became with them – they quickly became apart of my everyday. I wear mine for 22 hours a day, so it’s not surprising that I became used to them so quickly!
Increased confidence in my smile!
Sometimes, I just don’t feel like flossing and brushing after every meal. Especially after a big meal! HA! Sometimes, you just wanna lie down on the couch with your pants undone, ya know?!
Social events/day travel is a little tricky when eating and drinking is involved. I have to remember to pack all the essentials: aligner case, floss, toothbrush and both regular and kids’ toothpaste (kids’ toothpaste is a great alternative to brush your aligners with if you don’t have a retainer tablet on hand – I alternate depending on where I am!) Then, I need to make sure I have access to a bathroom or, at the very least, clean water and sanitizer for my hands!
My mouth gets drier, faster (maybe it’s just me?). But then that means more water consumption so I guess this is a win!
I have a “chewie” (kinda like a dog, I guess!) that I need to chew on for 10 minutes every day. It’s basically a firm sponge cylinder that helps stimulate blood flow (this helps the healing) and firmly pushes my aligners closer to my teeth, which helps them shift into shape. And sometimes, your teeth are tender from all the magnificent shifting they’ve been doing throughout the day. So using the chewie is basically the last thing you want to do. But I give myself the grace when I need to. If my teeth are feeling too sensitive, I let myself skip this step. I don’t do it very often, but sometimes it’s necessary! I think it’s important to note that I do have those days where I’m pretty uncomfortable! This almost always happens when I swap out my old aligners for the following week’s. Although the measurement from week to week may only be the most minute adjustment, it can have a huge impact on how your mouth feels! Be kind to yourself and don’t panic.
My adjustments! In order to help the aligners do their thing, I had plastic bits called “adjustments” adhered to some of my teeth. Sometimes, these catch on the inside of my mouth. Ouch! Your ortho team can put a wax over the “sharp” points to avoid this!
That’s all for now folks. Thanks for reading! I hope this has helped anyone wondering whether or not to take the aligner plunge! I’m so happy I did and every day, I’m more and more excited to be just that much closer to my goal!
Did you go the aligners or braces route? What was your experience like? I’d love to know! Any questions about my experience so far? Pop them below! 🙂