Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Invisalign Adventures

Last year (or was it early this year?) my wife talked me into taking advantage of a teeth whitening special from our dentist. The procedure involved squirting a whitening liquid or gel into some "trays"--one for my top teeth and another for the bottom teeth--and putting them in my mouth for a period of time.

Those trays were in the shape of my teeth. As I looked at the bottom tray I noticed that my bottom front teeth were somewhat crooked. I had never really noticed nor been bothered by them before, but looking at the bottom tray got me to thinking. I asked my dentist, who referred me to an orthodontist.

I visited the orthodontist in May of this year, who gave me a choice of "traditional" braces (the kind my children had) or a more recent method that used Invisaligns (provided by a company in San Jose, California).

Beginning in June 2014, I received three sets of Invisalign trays. I was to wear each set for two weeks, then return in six weeks and get the next three trays, continuing until the procedure was complete (probably in about May 2015?)

Everything went very smoothly ... until about three weeks ago, when I got a bad sore throat. It got so bad that I had to quit wearing the trays for more than a few hours a day for much of two weeks.

I couldn't figure out why my sore throat wouldn't go away. I didn't have a fever, so that eliminated the possibility of strep throat. I visited my family doctor and my otolaryngologist, who found nothing wrong.

Finally--the day after Thanksgiving--I googled "Invisalign sore throat" and found some really helpful information, which seems to have solved my problem.

(Included in the Google search results were a small number of "hits" of people who seemed bent on suing Invisalign for malpractice. I'm not really interested in that sort of thing. I really just wanted my painful sore throat to go away and to resume straightening my teeth.)

After some thought I realized that my Invisaligns were likely reinfecting me with some sort of bacteria that I hadn't encountered before.

I'm happy to say that my sort throat is gone, and I've returned to wearing the Invisaligns full time.

Here is what I do whenever it is time to reinsert my Invisaligns (after eating or before bed, for example).

  1. Brush teeth thoroughly
  2. Use a Water Pik to water floss my teeth. I use a solution of warm water with a capful of a Tea Tree mouthwash, flossing very thoroughly. (I sometimes supplement the Water Pik with the traditional "string" type of dental floss.) I got the Tea Tree mouthwash at a local health food store, at my wife's recommendation.
  3. Rinse mouth with a traditional type of mouthwash--either Colgate or Listerine. (I've never been a mouthwash user before. I picked these up at the neighborhood Rite Aid. They seem to do the job.)
  4. Squirt a line of soft soap (liquid soap) in each Invisalign tray, then use my tooth brush and warm water to throughly wash the Invisalign, making sure to rinse them completely.
  5. Insert Invisaligns
Within 24 hours of starting the above, my sort throat was gone, and I am back to wearing the Invisaligns with no problems. 

I've lost (probably) a week-and-a-half of time, but I'm "back in the saddle again" ... and I see that the bottom tooth that was the most misaligned is nearly even with the rest of its neighboring teeth!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

New Daughter-in-Law

Parents of the newlyweds: her parents on the left, us on the right. At the Alamo in San Antonio.
Last week our son married a wonderful woman. The parents all met in San Antonio to spend time together and get to know each other. Congratulations!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Walmart and Watch Batteries

Lately whenever I mention that I shop at Walmart I feel like I need to offer an apology. More and more of my friends say that they "don't believe in" shopping at Walmart.

Walmart and I have had our ups and downs. ... But is has nothing to do with my belief system. Whether or not I shop there has to do mainly with price and value.

Case in point: About fifteen years ago my employer gave me a free Timex DataLink Ironman Triathlon watch. It's one of the best watches I've ever owned.

Every few years I need to purchase a new watch band. Until recently I've taken the watch to Walmart whenever it needs a new battery.

Two or three months ago I was shopping in a nearby mall when I noticed that the watch had gone blank. I was near a Batteries Plus store, so I decided to have them replace the battery. I ended up waiting nearly 30 minutes, paid twice what Walmart charges, and also had to listen to the clerk complain about how hard it is to replace batteries and how old my watch was. It wasn't a pleasant experience.

Then yesterday I noticed that watch face was blank again. This time I went back to Walmart. The cheerful clerk tested the battery to find that it was dead, then installed a new one (taking about three minutes maximum), charging $6.39 (including sales tax).

Needless to say, I was a happy camper.

Besides low prices and cheerful clerks, Walmart rarely sells "old" batteries: their inventory recycles so fast that batteries don't have time to run down before being sold. (The same goes for red licorice, by the way--it is generally very soft. ... But I digress.)

That's all I wanted to say. I'm happy to have a Walmart not to far from my home.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Getting His Teeth Brushed before Bed

Two-and-a half weeks ago we got to babysit our grandchild for an evening. When it was time for the bedtime story, he balked. It didn't take long to remember that he always gets his teeth brushed before the story.

The photo above shows the teeth brushing event. With clean teeth he headed to his bedroom to resume his bedtime routine.

We had a good time! Cute kid!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Korean Drama and the Ides of March

It was exactly one year ago today--March 15, 2013--that we watched episode 1 our first Korean Drama, "Secret Garden."

During the past year we have rarely (if ever) missed a day when we didn't watch at least one episode of some KDrama. We have watched 38 from start to finish, and are currently over half-way finished with our 39th. (Click this blog's Korean Drama tab to see what we've watched-ranked from most to least favorite.)

Our television viewing habits have changed markedly during past year. I can count on one hand the number of times we've watched anything except a special broadcast on TV.

Our movie viewing habits have also changed. The only movie I recall watching is the second Hobbit movie. American movies just aren't as well done as Korean television dramas.

As a result of watching Korean Dramas, we have purchased the first and second Pimsleur Korean language study CD sets. I should finish the second set this year (then review from Korean I lesson 1 through Korean II lesson 30). We've reached the point where we can understand some of what is said without the subtitles.

I've also read two Korean language learning books from cover to cover, and started a third one two days ago.

I've yet to see a Korean movie that I like. (What we've been watching this past year are the TV dramas that are broadcast in Korea during the week. A typical KDrama has 16 episodes lasting about 65 minutes each.

If you want to give it a try, see the Korean Drama tab on this site.

(My two favorite places to watch KDramas are at Viki.com and DramaFever.com.)