What Happens the Day You Start Invisalign
A real story about a patient using Invisalign, this is Part 4.
When I made the decision to get Invisalign, my dentist referred to the day I start treatment as “delivery day.” It sounded very fun and exciting, as if a stork was descending on the dental office with a little bundle of teeth-straightening joy, all wrapped up in a cute package.
The first order of business before Invisalign trays are worn is gluing on the attachments. This is where the uninitiated say: “Wait a minute! Glue? Attachments? What about that promo photo of the woman easing her aligners onto perfectly white teeth — I see no attachments!” Sorry, prepare to get over it, because you will have little white bumps glued to certain teeth. They hold the aligners in place so they can do the work of moving your teeth. They need to be there! To do Invisalign, you must learn to accept the attachments.
On the plus side — and this is coming from someone who had braces as a teenager — they are way better than metal brackets and wire stuck to every tooth and poking every gum! You definitely feel attachments, they are a bit pesky, but they cause no pain whatsoever.
What do Invisalign attachments look like? First of all, they are tooth colored, and they feel hard to the touch — like tiny pieces of Tic Tacs bonded to your teeth. Each person’s attachments are unique, and they vary from tooth to tooth. I don’t have any on my front four teeth, and the others are mostly small and unobtrusive, except the ones on my eye teeth. They are big and in the shape of teardrops. They make it look like my canines are pregnant. So much for taking the aligners off for social occasions and appearing normal!
I must admit, though, the color match between my tooth enamel and the attachments is quite good. And from a distance, most people do not notice the attachments or the aligners. It’s strictly close up that it all comes into view, but subtly so. It’s just a much different experience when you look at yourself in the mirror with full knowledge of what’s going on.
Attaching the Attachments
How does the dentist know where to glue on the attachments? From what I surmised, a template that fit my bite precisely was placed over my teeth, with holes at the exact point where the attachments need to be glued onto the enamel (some teeth even received two attachments). And then I smelled the scent of a bonding agent, and one by one the attachments were attached. Once the glue dried, they showed me the results. Yes, my eye teeth definitely looked weird, but I was excited to receive the real reason I came that day — the delivery of my Invisalign trays!
Because I opted for the Propel treatment to speed up my straightening regimen, by the time I got my liners eased on by the dentist, my mouth was completely numb. I couldn’t feel anything and I had no sense of them being painful or uncomfortable. I couldn’t tell how they were going to affect my speech, because I was already slurring due to the painkillers.
What’s in Your Invisalign Kit?
While in this state, I received all the goodies that come with the delivery of an Invisalign Kit. There’s a very nice case for when you’re out and about and you need to put your trays in a safe place. There is a little red contraption called a chewy that I was told to chew on every day at least four or five times, since the exercise helps the teeth to align correctly. My first four aligner sets came packaged separately, with the dates I was to change to the next set clearly marked. There was a small white device that looked like a pick. It is very helpful for removing the aligner trays when they’re tight.
If that last sentence made you pause, you read it correctly: the dentist gives you a tool to help you take out the aligners. Yes, the promo videos from Align Technology show people with hidden attachments removing aligners with their fingers, and they all come off very easily. I quickly learned that clear aligners have to be on tight!
Therefore, before I could leave the dental office, I had to show the dental assistant that I could remove my liners. Enter the small, white plastic prying tool. Using what felt like the same amount of torque required to remove tires from a car, I eventually proved that I could get these aligners off. Success! Then I showed her I could put them back in, tightly. Then I had to do it again. They expected me to be really good at taking them on and off, off and on. Did the dental staff know something I didn’t know? Tune in to my next blog, because I soon became an expert on how to be a model Invisalign wearer.