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!

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