Why I Don’t Want Invisalign

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I have to have Invisalign and to say that I’m not massively keen would be an understatement. I’m viewing it as a necessary evil and in this post I wanted to outline a few things about the whole process that I’m not keen on. But first, some backstory:

A few years ago I was told by my dentist (dentist number one) that I needed to have some of my front teeth strengthened before they suddenly snapped off in some utterly horrific way, when I was least expecting it. Whilst biting into an apple, for example.

Losing my front teeth in a horrible way is one of my most frequent nightmares (not sure what this is supposed to represent, psychologically) and so I went off to dentist number two to get a second opinion.

Dentist number two also said that composites needed to be put on the backs of the teeth to prevent them from getting any weaker but also casually mentioned that there was no actual room to put them and that braces would be needed to make the space before any tooth-reparation could be done.

Bloody hell! A brace? Post-forty? I honestly hadn’t realised that this was a thing. I assumed that braces were for teenagers and that once you reached proper adulthood, you only put yourself through the rigmarole of orthodontics for aesthetic reasons.

Cue dentist number three (it was a bit like Blind Date but with three really high-earning contestants wearing face masks, an episode I’d have been fully behind) who said that the above was true and that while we weren’t quite at panic stage, eg, only eating jelly and ice cream in case my teeth suddenly crumbled out of my mouth, we really should get on with it.

That was three years ago.

It took me three whole years to get it together and properly start my Invisalign journey. What is the matter with me? Where is my sense of urgency? It makes me wonder what I’d do if someone told me I had to go and have a leg brace fitted, otherwise my leg might fall off. If this strange (pretty sure imaginary) condition existed, would I do the right thing and take myself in for the numerous outpatient appointments and scans and x-rays and so on? Or would I say, ‘nah, that sounds like a faff and nothing’s actually hurting, yet,’ and put it to the back of my mind?

Who knows. All I’ll say is this: I am vehemently opposed to anything that adds extra faff to my life. It’s why I keep my nails relatively short, don’t have hair extensions, only style my hair once a week, don’t have any facial tweakments or injectables, refused to wear contact lenses. (Eye laser surgery posts are coming, by the way. Just waiting on some fact-checking.) I won’t voluntarily do anything that further complicates my day, unless it’s medically required.

I Don’t Like Faff

The idea of Invisalign, then, which requires you to wear plastic retainers over your teeth for twenty two hours a day, cut out snacks, brush your teeth thoroughly (and the retainers) after every meal and put the retainers into a blue fizzy solution every day, was borderline abhorrent. Add to all of that the idea that my teeth might hurt and that I might not enjoy food so much (“people sometimes lose a whole stone, just because they can’t be bothered to eat!”) and I was so unenthusiastic about having braces that I simply put the whole episode to the back of my mind and decided to revisit later on in life. Perhaps at age seventy.

It wasn’t until one of my front teeth started turning a slightly different colour that I got worried. What in God’s name is going on here? I thought. Is this the precursor to the dreaded snapping? Am I safe to eat Wham bars anymore? Should I knock bagels on the head? (I lost a tooth to a bagel in 2002, still mildly traumatised.) I went back to dentist three, who was by far my favourite – stern manner and capable, no-nonsense hands – and he merely repeated what he’d told me years before. I needed to make space for him to fix things up – braces first, then he’d get started.

No Aesthetic Change

There was no way around it. Annoyingly, because not one single part of me wanted to div around with braces for a year. My options were to have metal glued-on train-tracks or removable Invisalign aligners. Both had their pros and cons. My problem with the whole thing was that – apart preventing my teeth from snapping off – I could really see no upside. I was having to have braces purely for technical reasons and there’d be very little aesthetic change. It wasn’t as though I’d come out of the other side with a set of gnashers like, I don’t know, Tom Cruise.

Sidenote: I don’t actually yearn for Hollywood teeth. I’ve always been really happy with my own set, gap and all and I’m not a fan of over-perfected smiles. But you know what I mean; having braces was going to be the dental equivalent of having to have a whole new heating system fitted during a house renovation. Necessary, but devastatingly expensive for something that you’d never actually see.

Don’t Like Discomfort

I realise I was looking at all of this the wrong way, I do, I’m just being honest: spending nine months to a year being deeply uncomfortable and inconvenienced and having nothing tangible to show at the end of it felt vaguely pointless and annoying. Whatever, I’m over it now. I didn’t want Invisalign but now I have them. I just put the aligners in for the first time and as I type this, I’m waiting for the infamous “starter aches” to kick in.

WTF Is This About Attachments?

Something I didn’t realise about Invisalign: they glue what feels like gravel-sized attachments to some of your teeth, which I assume help the alignment trays to fit snugly. What the hell? They feel massive! When you eat, you think you have food all over your teeth but it’s the attachments but then also it’s not just the attachments because food has actually become stuck around them, so each mouthful requires prolonged tonguing and poking about with a fingernail. Rocket salads and anything with chopped herbs is going to be out. My Mum will be pleased; finally her “stews and soups and slow cooking” recipe book will get some use…

Anyway, I’ll report back and keep you updated. I’ve already ordered chewy things, removal tools and brightening cleaning tablets from Amazon so it’s all still vaguely exciting, like I’ve just bought home a new pet. The world’s most boring pet. That has to live in my mouth.

Here’s a video I made having a right old moan about braces:

 

 

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