The Beginning of Invisalign


By Sara Vivas, Staff Writer

My teeth are pretty crooked. After eight years of putting a clarinet in my mouth, my front teeth stick out. I’ve gotten used to it, but now that I’m about to go to college, my parents and I decided that it was probably time to get braces.

I was very sure that I would never EVER get metal braces. I didn’t think I could handle the tightening every few months, the pain of teeth moving, or the metal cutting the inside of my cheek. So we checked around and found Invisalign. The plastic retainer-like trays looked less painful as well as less obvious.

We found the least expensive dentist (who actually wasn’t our regular one; that’s going to be a little awkward) to find out if I was a candidate. She did a quick check and declared me the perfect candidate. So, we scheduled my next appointment and left.

I was pretty excited to finally straighten my teeth after years of being self conscious about my smile. However, I was a little concerned about not being able to eat whenever I wanted. I would have to take the trays out every time I wanted to eat, but I love to snack throughout the day. I figured I’d just have to see what happened when I got them.

Fast forward a week or two, and we get a call from the dentist saying that the trays were finished and ready to be put in. They need to add temporary anchors to my teeth before I could put in the trays and be on my way. (This was pretty hard because at that point, I had bronchitis, so I was trying really hard not to cough. But that’s a different story.)

After they cemented the anchors to my teeth, my dentist had to give me a long lecture about what not to do with the Invisalign: don’t put it down on the restaurant table, don’t let other people try them on, don’t drop them in the toilet, etc. After her speech, she made sure that I knew how to put them in and take them out. I left the office, ready to fix my smile.

When my mom and I got in the car, I tried to describe what it was like, having a covering on my teeth. As I was talking, my mom couldn’t stop laughing. Apparently, I had a pretty bad lisp and was struggling to say certain words (feel, sandwich, etc.). After she said that, I noticed that I was forming words in a different way than I had before. When I realized how ridiculous I sounded, I was not excited about coming to school and doing an English presentation. Luckily, I didn’t have to until I had gotten used to them.

After having them in for a day, I discovered the two hardest things about having Invisalign: playing my instruments and not eating. When I tried to play my trumpet and clarinet, I could feel the rough edges cutting into my mouth, and I didn’t sound very good. As far as eating goes, I had to train myself to eat only at meal times. This meant that I had to eat a big breakfast, wash the trays, and brush my teeth all before I left in the morning. Usually I would brush my teeth, leave, and eat breakfast in the car.

When lunch came around, I had to go to the restroom to take the trays out (it’s pretty gross to just take them out at the lunch table), eat a large lunch, rinse my mouth, go brush my teeth, and then put them back in. This was all sounding like a lot of work, and I really don’t like anything that limits my eating habits. When I did eat, it felt like all my teeth were loose, so for the first few days, I could only eat applesauce and bread, the only things that didn’t cause me pain.

After a week of having Invisalign, I got used to playing my instruments and talking without people noticing that I had them in. I still haven’t gotten acclimated to my new meal routine; I still struggle to eat enough at a meal to last me the five hours to the next meal, and I have to exercise serious restraint when it comes to snacking. I just have to keep reminding myself that after these next eight months of torture, I will have teeth that are straight and a smile that glows.