Friday, August 21, 2009

Invisible Dentine Alignment

Back when I was a kid, I had braces in order to straighten my teeth. They didn't do a perfect job. One of my lower front teeth stuck out slightly forward of the rest. It stayed that way for several years, then 'popped' and got pushed forward rather quickly (in teeth time that is). Within a couple years, it was fully forward and the neighboring teeth had moved in behind it.

This caused the out of place tooth to hit the back of the respective top tooth. Over the ensuing years, it wore down the top of one and put a nice dent in the other. On top of this, my jaw finally gave up on trying to compensate for the out of place tooth - it now hurts too much to pull my lower jaw in enough that my teeth can close properly. I couldn't even chew with the right teeth. It's time for Invisalign to get these ducks back in a row.

So, four weeks ago I paid a big chunk of money and had the impressions and photos taken. Yesterday I got my first pair of Invisalign trays. Oooo! What fun!

While we are on the subject of large chunks of change, I'll take this time to note the obvious: insurance sucks. They wouldn't pay a dime towards a procedure that would relieve pain, and allow my jaw to close properly so I can eat without grinding away front teeth. Teeth that they would be obliged to pay out bigger bucks to replace some time in the future.

I suppose I shouldn't complain much about the pain. I think, so far, it's much better than braces. But still, it's relentlessly uncomfortable.

I got the trays yesterday about an hour before dinner. Taking them out to eat was a nice bit of relief. Putting them back in afterward wasn't too bad. It was a slight discomfort, and I knew that discomfort meant that my teeth were on the way to getting back in order. Later on, when it came to bed time, they were, of course, still reporting to the brain that they were in a displeasing situation. The brain, knowing that it has trouble getting to sleep with the slightest of distractions, decided to stay up a little later to make getting to sleep easier. So, after watching reruns of Mythbusters while surfing the web till 1:00 am, I was tired enough to try to sleep.

Although I didn't immediately fall into a dreamy slumber at the moment my head fell upon pillow, I did fall asleep in relatively short order. But, the discomfort kept waking me up and withheld any deep, restful sleep.

When the morning alarm awoke me from my fitful respite, I was reminded immediately of the torture device in my mouth. I looked forward to the minutes I would spend without it while I brushed my teeth. Oh, how wrong I was. Upon taking these insane pieces of pure evil out of my mouth, with the 'holding pressure' removed, my gums immediately started pushing my teeth back to where they most recently called home. Yikes! That feels
worse than with the trays in! So with a quick teeth brushing, which was like prodding teeth that have already been shot and stabbed, I replaced the trays and sighed with relief in the relative comfort that they now provided.

Now, if you struggle, and look closely for the bright side of this, I think two gems can actually be found.

1) You are supposed to keep the trays in for 23 hours a day for them to work (I think they will work with less, but they tell you that to get you to wear it more often). When I was a kid, I had 2 removable apparatus. I was supposed to wear them all the time - even while eating. They could be removed for teeth brushing. I was very bad and wore them sometimes for less than 8 hours a day. They never really worked and my orthodontist was particularly unhappy with me. With these trays, I don't *want* to take them out, because I know it will hurt more. So they are virtually guaranteed to work.

2) With not being able to eat with the trays in, and not wanting to do stuff with my teeth while they are out, I'm not inclined to spend a lot of time eating. New weight loss plan. Akin to having your jaw wired shut.

-- As always, comments are welcome on every post. --

OBTW, aren't you glad I didn't post pictures with this entry??

1 comment:

  1. After 2 to 3 days of wearing the trays, the teeth are relatively comfortable with where they have been moved to. So, for the most part, until I get the next pair of trays, the thumb screw torture isn't present. Just the annoyance of having a couple of pieces of plastic in your mouth.

    Now, On Sunday, I went out for lunch, and took the trays out. My plan was to brush my teeth at home after lunch before I put the trays back in. I got a little side tracked and didn't get home for about 2 hours. Putting the trays back in was almost like putting them in for the first time. Looks like my teeth were already migrating back. Four to five hours later, they were pretty much back to normal. Lesson learned: don't leave the trays out for more than an hour - try for 30 to 40 minutes at most.