Five weeks in, I am here to report on what is happening with regards to my goal of dying with a head full of perfectly straight teeth (and no more overbite). OK, so that’s not exactly my goal…my real goal is to enjoy the perfectly straight teeth for many years to come yet…but ya never know, right?
Soon after coming back from Barbados in February I went to the orthodontist’s lovely office to pick up my first couple of sets of Invisalign liners. There I sat amongst all the other much smaller, much younger patients, admiring the kid-friendly decor and waiting for my turn to sit at one of the 8 or so chairs in the big open concept treatment area. I realized I will likely always be the oldest patient (nay, person) in this room. And that’s OK. Really.
It’s gonna have to be because I am on a mission! The straight-uncrowded-teeth-with-no-more-overbite mission. But I digress…
The routine is pretty simple. Wear the liners 22 hours a day. Take them out only to eat or drink anything more than water. Brush and floss teeth and brush liners before putting them back in your mouth. Chew on the little tubular piece of plastic (appropriately named “the chewie”) for 10-20 minutes twice a day to seat the liners properly and help the teeth move.
The impact of this routine on one’s eating habits is not to be taken lightly. There will be no more mindless munching, naughty nibbling, social snacking or even tasting food while cooking! For. The. Next. Two. Years.
I eat LIKE I MEAN IT (because I really do mean it) at mealtimes ONLY.
I lost 4 pounds in the first month of wearing these liners without meaning to. Nice side effect!
But wait, there are more changes in store! After a month (and two sets of liners), I went back to the orthodontist’s office – now sporting a tropical/pirate theme with paper jellyfish, crustaceans, palm trees and pirate skeletons tacked up everywhere. I received more liners as well as a series of attachments glued to my teeth to grip the liners and help them move my teeth around. Apparently most people get only a couple of mounts and usually only on the back teeth. Lucky me, I got ’em almost everywhere! Behold:
What I didn’t realize (but should have anticipated) is that now things are really starting to happen in my mouth. The month prior was just “baby steps” in my journey. And now I have the tooth discomfort to prove it. I also have the scars to prove it as the mount on my lower front tooth was like having extra-coarse sandpaper scrape the inside of my lip while I ate. Thankfully it was the only one that did this and the nice techs at the orthodontist office were able to file the sharp bits down for me the next day when I called in desperation. Ahhhh, relief!!!
But back to the tooth discomfort: later that day as I removed the liners to eat lunch I just about screamed aloud as I touched a newly sensitive tooth with my fingernail in order to grip the liner and pull it out. Then, as I was eating my meal a couple more newly sensitive teeth made their presence…er…forcefully known. As the tech later explained to me, this sensitivity is due to the liners “asking” the teeth to move position. And each set of liners will focus on different teeth as I go through the process. Luckily this discomfort simmers down somewhat after the first couple of days with a new set.
What does all this mean for my lifestyle and eating habits?
I look at food and the process of eating in a whole new way now. Remember the TV show Seinfeld – the episode in which Elaine has to decide if her date is worthy of her favourite method of birth control (sponge-worthy)? Yup, that’s how I look at food now.
Is that food really Invisalign-worthy, I find I am asking myself.
Is eating this going to be worth the time, the trouble, the potential for pain??!?!?!
The answer is turning out to be a resounding NO usually. So I stick to eating only when hunger demands it, and only enough to satisfy that hunger.* Because let’s face it, the first couple of days of chewing after a new set of liners can be quite painful and slow. Woohoo – Let’s hear it for the negative reinforcement! Someone call the diet industry!
Eating food is going to be for refuelling purposes mainly, and for pleasure or enjoyment only maybe for the next couple of years.
Also, there will be smoothies. Lots of protein-packed, no-chewing-involved, green smoothies.
Welcome to the Invisalign Diet.
*Which, I do realize, is how I should be eating all the time anyways. Duh-oh!by