I am now 7 weeks in to my Invisalign treatment and here are a few tips I have picked up so far. If you missed my first post about initial appointments and getting Invisalign click here!
1. The first 5 Days of Tray 1 are crap! Your teeth feel like they are going to break in two, your gums are sore from all the extra brushing/flossing/cleaning, your tongue is cut from the sharp edges of the retainers. Not to mention all your favourite crunchy foods are a no-go-zone. However, IT GETS EASIER and this is normal! Stock up your fridge with soup, yoghurts and soft food I also found pasta and mashed potato a god send too- minimal chewing involved!
2. Sometimes the edges of the retainers are very sharp- which makes it really uncomfortable as they cut your tongue and lips. Cheap nail files will become your new best friend. Carefully file down the sharp edges and you are good to go. (You would think paying 4K they would round off the edges, wouldn't you...!?)
3. Make a 'travel tooth bag' and bring it everywhere! When I leave the house now, my checklist goes; phone, keys, money, makeup bag, teethbag! In it I have a toothbrush, mini toothpaste, my retainer container, dental floss, mini mouth wash, bonjela, and sugar free mints. I also have another identical bag that I leave in the car at all times. Having a spare toothbrush in random places is also really handy aka your parents house/boyfriends car etc.
4. The first 24 hours after switching to a new retainer are the worst. I find that changing mine just before I go to bed really helps as you are getting a good 8-9 hours in without taking it out. The longer you can leave it in the better. I have heard of some people taking a pain killer before going to sleep too but so far I haven't needed it.
5. Make your meals bigger. I used to graze on fruit and nuts during the day but now snacking is a thing of the past. Yes- you can remove your retainers but in all honesty, sometimes it's not worth the effort! This means you are missing out on calories that your body is used to and you will be starving! Most of my meals are now x2 courses as I have incorporated my snacks in to them.
Breakfast; Yoghurt + Grapefruit followed by Eggs/Oats.
Lunch; Salad/Soup, followed by Ryvita + Nut butter
Dinner; Stirfry etc followed by Tea + Dark Chocolate
6. I drink alcohol with my retainers in and similar to eating out I just make sure to clean them really well when I get home. HOWEVER, I drink Bacardi Soda water + lime or White Wine and it is ALWAYS through a straw- trying to avoid it touching my teeth. I would definitely be careful drinking red wine or dark coloured spirits as they can stain so easily.
7. Which brings me to my next point- Retainer cleaner! I let my retainers soak in warm water with 1/2 Retainer Brite tablet while I have breakfast and do my makeup in the morning (about 20 minutes). After a night of drinking I will soak them in a full tablet. This keeps them fresh and bacteria free.
**Edit: I now use Sterdent retainer tablets that you can pick up in boots for about €3 and are just as good as Retainer brite!
8. Eating out at the start is tricky- mostly because you are so self-conscious about whipping your teeth out. However, you quickly learn that 1. No one is watching you and 2. No one cares! I take my aligners out as soon as my starters arrive and leave them out until I am finished dessert! I then swish water around my mouth and put them back in. I haven't used public/restaurant toilets to do the full teeth cleaning regime yet, as apparently it takes 8 hours for plague to form on your teeth, which gives you a bit of lee-way. I just make sure to clean them as soon as I get home. I also make sure to have a quick lunch/breakfast so my retainers are only out for about a half hour in total- allowing me extra time to have them out at dinner.
9. Get the apps; I have one that stores all your progress pics and another that reminds you to change to your next set of aligners. If you are like me and love ticking things off you will love the apps!
10. Be patient. In the beginning it is a slow process- it took 40 days for me to see ANY changes! Below is Tray 5; Day 43 vs Tray; 1 Day 1!
That's it for today! I will post with an update again soon. Leave any questions in the comments!