Invisalign in the Time of Coronavirus

Part 7 from a series written by an Invisalign user

When I became an Invisalign wearer in October of 2019, I was told it was a four-month process, give or take a few weeks. I dutifully wore my aligners, averaging about 21 hours of wear each day. With every check-in at the dentist, I was happy to be called a “model patient,” on track to finish my treatment as planned. My first aligner was dated October 10,2019, and 16 aligners later I was supposed to finish on February 13, 2020.

Stick to the Invisalign Schedule

I was surprised to learn from my dentist that some Invisalign wearers sabotage their own treatment plan by not sticking to the schedule. Some don’t wear them for the majority of the day, and thus are unable to keep the schedule developed by their dentist to complete their orthodontic treatment course on time. For me personally, I could see after the first few aligner trays that my teeth were moving in the right direction! Even though using a new tray meant a few days of discomfort, I was determined to finish, and get this done! I simultaneously kept my teeth healthy by frequently brushing my teeth and the trays, and always doing my daily flossing.

In February I switched to my last aligner. I only had seven more days until I was done with my treatment plan! I was so excited, my smile was looking great, and I was really looking forward to being done and having my aligner attachments removed. But then three things happened that delayed my progress, all out of my control.

Three Unexpected Events

My last aligner tray moved two areas of my teeth a bit too far, causing a slight space, or diastema, between my two upper front teeth and a bigger space between two front lower teeth. When you get Invisalign, this possibility is discussed, but it’s not expected. I was a bit bummed, because I knew that I would need a “course adjustment.” (That means more aligners – included free in the cost, but requiring more treatment time.)

Then I became ill in the beginning of February (no, it wasn’t COVID-19). I was much too sick to make my last appointment in February, the one for removing my attachments and taking digital scans for my new retainer. I cancelled the visit and rescheduled for a few weeks later.

The rescheduled appointment was set for March 19, the day before California went into complete coronavirus shutdown. Dental offices were closed to all but emergency appointments already, which meant I couldn’t go to my rescheduled appointment.

With this third setback, I didn’t complain. My husband and I were firmly in the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” camp. We settled into the new normal: cooking what we had, ordering groceries to be delivered to our porch, staying home and staying home and staying home some more. Our work was cancelled and we were fine with taking a short break from regular life.

But we all know that it wasn’t a short break at all. Not that I was in any hurry to get out and about, but I did wonder: When would dental offices ever open again? What procedures would they put in place to keep both dental workers and patients safe? How was I going to get that course correction? Would I have to wear my last Invisalign aligner forever? Read my next report to hear the teeth-clenching details.


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