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50+ and Trying Invisalign to Improve my Smile - Starting April Fool's Day 2014 - Waterloo, ON

It's April Fool's day of all days. A perfect day...

It's April Fool's day of all days. A perfect day to start wearing braces. I arrive at my dentist's and am taken into the treatment room. I am recovering from a bad cold but coughing is down to a minimum.
The last time I was in to see the dentist he made molds from my teeth with goopy plastic stuff. This stuff makes you want to gag, especially when it gets on the back of your tongue. While the dentist does tell me what will happen next, I notice that it is really on a ‘need to know’ basis. Perhaps this is in order that I don’t get scared off before I even begin.
I am reclined in the chair while my dentist proceeds to shove an appliance into my mouth to give me fish lips and make it easier for them to begin my prep work. Step one involves shaving my two front teeth down the middle to make for room for tooth movement. This is not exactly fun. It also sounds like they are drilling, but I experience no pain per se.
After that the dentist proceeds to add several attachments to my teeth – little tooth-coloured bumps which will help hold the ‘trays’ of aligners in place. The assistant opens the window for fresh air as they smell of glue and solvents are not particularly refreshing. She ends up putting a blanket over me to keep me warm as they work. All told I was in the office for an hour and a half. I was scheduled for one hour. I did not anticipate so much work. I thought that they would just hand me my trays and I pop them over my teeth like nothing. Not quite.
Last step was actually popping the trays onto my teeth. The dentist does this for me. The aligners feel strange but do not hurt. It feels like pressure against my teeth. Before I leave, the dentist asks me to try to take them off. I try but in the end he has to remove them for me. Then I am sent off (having already been in the dentist’s chair longer than anticipated). This concerns me because what if I can’t get them out on my own? I worry about this as I leave.
I pay the Dentist office $250 for this set of aligners and I take a ‘free’ tube of lip gloss. ( I already paid $2,000 when I agreed to start using invisalign.) I feel like I deserve a treat for sure. I walk out the office and see my reflection in the mirror. I cannot see the aligners. I am pleased that I do not see big railroad tracks marching across my teeth. Now what?
It's lunch time and I have to take aligners out. For the first time. I am at my daughter’s house. I help get my lunch ready and then, at the last possible minute I attempt the removal of the aligners. They are very snug and clip on well because of the attachments. I pry and pry but cannot get them off. I feel a little claustrophobic. Finally I pop them out. It hurts. Good grief! My daughter tells me of course braces hurt. Of course it's hard to eat. Don't I remember what my daughters went through? Suck it up, Princess.
Before I know it the timer dings and I see my 30 minutes for lunch is over. I run back to the washroom to rinse out the aligners. At this point I have obviously not done enough research on what I was getting into. I didn’t know I was to brush the aligners and my own teeth, as well as floss, every time. But common sense says I should rinse them at least before re-inserting them. After much ado I get them snapped back into place. I feel like I have really accomplished something.
My daughter and I run some errands and get a coffee to take home. My dentist told me I could drink coffee, no sugar, with my aligners in. I take cream. Does that count? I drink the coffee and start researching online. I find this site. No, you should not drink coffee. Are you kidding me? I see I also have to assemble a little zip-up bag to put aligner container, toothbrush, paste, and floss in a one-stop baggy. My dentist did not mention this.
I had plans to dine out with my husband and second daughter and her fiancé this evening to celebrate their buying a house. I decide the best thing for me to do is take aligners out before leaving for the restaurant because I know I will be sipping red wine (and boy did I deserve it) prior to the meal. No, you can’t drink alcohol with aligners in. And no, I did not think I could take the aligners out in a public washroom yet. All in all I was out for 2 hours. As soon as I come home I brush, floss and replace aligners in my mouth. They feel strange. Just some pressure on my teeth. I can deal with this I think.
I go back to the computer and read more reviews. I finally go to bed with aligners and wonder what tomorrow will bring.

April 2, 2014
First full day with aligners. The aligners make my tummy not feel well. I look online and discover others found the same. I thought it was nerves, but maybe it’s the plastic. Later I read that I should wash aligners well before using them to help avoid this side-effect.
I prepare my breakfast and have everything ready to go before I remove my aligners. I am having an apple (cut up) with cereal and almonds and walnuts. I sprinkle this with flax seeds and cinnamon. I brew a cup of coffee and set the timer. I attempt to take out aligners. They hurt like crazy. I can't get them off. Finally, finally I pry them out of my mouth. I start to eat. Are you kidding me? It hurts to eat an apple and walnuts. What was I thinking? As I read my paper and softly chew, I soon discover it is already time to begin cleaning regime. But I am not finished eating yet! I scarf down the rest of my cereal, chug my coffee and fly upstairs to brush, floss and re-insert. 38 minutes. I'm 8 minutes over.
One thing is for sure. I have no intention of snacking. I am not taking the aligners out any more often than I have to. I am already worrying about lunch. My husband is going out of the country for a few weeks and we are going out for a nice lunch before he leaves. He picks a restaurant that has private washrooms. I don't even want to go because of the aligners. However, I agree to try.
We sit down at a table and order our meals. First comes a glass of Pinot Grigio and some homemade bread. I just sit and stare at the wine and fresh bread. After waiting about five minutes I go downstairs to the washroom to remove aligners. I take a little cup so I can rinse my mouth and the aligners. I return to the table in 5 minutes. I sip my wine and munch my bread. My order arrives four minutes later. (Yes, I am timing it.) I eat my salmon nicoise, drink the rest of my wine and finish my bread. I also order a cappuccino. I know I want a coffee and decide it is better to add on a few minutes now and not take them out again later. As soon as I drink it I go back to washroom, rinse my teeth and pop aligners back in. Total of 40 minutes. I went over eight minutes at breakfast and now will have to take ten more minutes off supper to keep to the 22 hours a day. What a hassle. I intend to tell my dentist that it is near impossible to remove the aligners for only 2 hours a day.

April 8th
End of first week. I have a scheduled appointment with my dentist this morning to see how I am doing with Invisalign. He decides I still need an adjustment on my top left tooth. I think I have way more buttons or adjustments than the average person. I count them. I have 20. I even have 2 on a single tooth. And on the front teeth. That is because my aligners have a big job – to move my eye-teeth back where they belong. I am feeling self-conscious about the attachments. They are not small. My braces may be invisible but the attachments feel very noticeable to me. I tell the dentist it is practically impossible to keep aligners in mouth for 22 hours a day. I tell him I use a timer and everything, but it is always a mad scramble to eat, and then brush my teeth, floss and then brush the aligners before getting them back in again.
He laughs at my anecdotes, but I wasn’t kidding how hard it is to comply. And I do try!
He gives me the next two sets of aligners and then I am due back at the dentist mid-May 13th. (That’s when I tell him I am going to Europe and NOT looking forward to it at all.)
By the end of my appointment, he says he wouldn’t be disappointed if I wear the aligners 21, if not 22 hours. Knowing this will let me relax some. From the reviews I read, those people who do not wear them diligently end up extending the time they need to wear them. I do not intend to extend my time.
Today’s adventure involves a trip to the mall. My daughter wants to grab a bite at the Food Court for lunch. Are you kidding me? I don’t want to (duh - because of public restrooms and pulling out my teeth in public) but she said I had to try it sometime. So we find a table and my daughter goes off to order and get the food. Then she returns to the table and I scurry to the public washroom. I look at the main public area and then I notice the mother’s area. A woman is in there breastfeeding but I decide it is the best place. I can face the wall, away from anyone, and wash my hands over the sink. Then I can stick my hands in my mouth and pop out the aligners. They are not as difficult to get in and out as they were the first few days. I put them in my case and then hurry back to my lunch. My daughter has already started hers. I tuck into mine. When we are done, we go back to the little mother’s room. I now carry a cosmetic bag with my dental care equipment. I brush my teeth and my aligners and put them back in my mouth. Whew. All in a day’s lunch. My daughter is good for me. I don’t think, (no, I know!) I would not have attempted this without her.

April 15
Tonight I start my second tray of aligners. 2 out of 32. Sigh.
In the afternoon I pick up a Timmy’s coffee. I use a straw and drink it with my aligners in. Tonight I change them so I figure it won't matter if they get dingy.
That night I also sip white wine with my aligners in. But I notice my teeth were beginning to feel sensitive. Then I realized that I have been brushing my teeth with Crest, not Sensodyne when I was away from home. I need to buy a small Sensodyne and a small regular toothpaste to take for when I am out.
After supper I decide to put my new aligners in right then. It is 8 pm and I am told (by people online, not my Dentist) to put them in at night when I go to bed and take an Advil. Tray two is definitely more tight. It is not easy getting them on. The big concern is getting them off again tomorrow morning. It is tough on my nails, and more of my nails are ripping and breaking. I tried a crochet hook but it didn't actually catch on to the edge of the aligner to pull it off. I have some rough bumps on the inside of my upper lip. I noticed these after week one and told the dentist at that time. He did not seem concerned. Some people file the edges down on their aligners. Not sure how to do this so I will just keep an eye on my lip lacerations and make sure they don't get really bad. And so ends my first fortnight and first tray of aligners. They really do change your life. And at this point I can say, and not in a good way. However, I am not a quitter. And so forward march.
I hate to laugh at people's pain, but you wrote it so well :D.  First, I will give you a few things that helped me.  Then, I'll give you some names of other community members you can commiserate with ;).

So, about the filing.  If you don't want to do it, and it's too late for the doctor to do it, try orthodontic wax.  It saved me a few times.  After a while, your mouth toughens up and you won't need it.

Also, about the timing thing.  You may save a few moments if you just…you know, don't worry about other people.  You can wash your hands in the bathroom, but when you get fast at taking out your trays, just do it at the table.  Who cares what other people think?  It takes one second--why are they watching you anyway?  They must have boring lunch companions. ;) 

I was a little confused, since you should have 40 minutes/day per meal to eat if you take two hours but you said 30?  Unless you take four meals.  I know during my treatment, I cut it down to two so I could take a leisurely hour per meal, LOL!  Priorities!  We have a couple of people on here who wear their aligners 23 hours/day.  I can't chew my food that fast (actually, during my treatment, I could barely chew at all).

Okay, but now, here are some others.

First, some RealFriends, since they are fonts of info and great to know:  PreOrthomlb502, and viktoryajv.

Now, some others who are in varying stages of treatment but all starting past their forties:
MsKityCity is almost done, and started when she was 64.
shawnward is 52 and brand new.
fab45mom is also quite new, but active here on RealSelf.
Kristen1166 is a few months into treatment.
Mic123 is well into treatment.

Our community is super-friendly and open.  I hope you find the support you need, and I definitely look forward to reading your next installment.  I hope it shows you've now become a pro at all this ;).
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As to Communion, I allow myself that luxury of something made of flower and water. No sugar. First I skipped the Cup too, but an Invisalign friend told me she just took the tiniest sip. I too allow myself drinks that might stain, if it is the last day I wear that particular set of trays.
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Thanks Zveda - The bread we use are actually wafers, so they pretty much dissolve on the roof of my mouth. Then, using tiny individual cups, I basically "shoot" the wine down. This way I don't have to remove the aligners. ;)
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Week Three, Tray 2: Easter

I decided to announce on Easter Sunday to my parents and my older brother and his wife, that I got Invisaligns. At church I had skipped going up for communion because I never thought about communion and taking bread and wine. I didn’t bring my kit with me, so I had no place to put aligners in even if I took them out. I decided I had to ‘confess’ to my folks when they came over for dinner, because everyone wondered why I didn’t go to communion at church. It was like wearing a target on my back. After assuring my dad I wasn’t pregnant, I told him I got ‘braces’. My brother smiles and says, oh I did that a few years ago - but I didn’t tell anyone. (He was living in a different province at the time and so I rarely saw him.) Are you kidding me? I stare at his teeth. They look great. I told him I wish he had shared his experience so I could have talked to him first. But it did make me think that maybe this wasn’t such a bad idea. I wanted to know two things. Did he soak his aligners? Yes – 50/50 vinegar and water. Also how did he take communion? He said he took them out for that. No big deal. He also said he didn’t tell anyone and no one noticed. He still wears a retainer at night and he loves his teeth now. And there you go.
So wonderful, to get that little unexpected support when you needed it.  I am wondering when he took out the aligners for communion--like did he go through the entire service without the aligners, or did he just sneakily take them out before going up?
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Good question. My brother said he would take them out just before communion, and put them right back in afterwards. he would brush teeth after church. I guess I will figure out what is most comfortable for me.
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Thanks for your reply. I was told that you should not file the aligners your self because they were made a certain height for a reason. They 'torque' your teeth so that they will shift properly. So I just plan to make sure my mouth doesn't get sore. To be honest, that hasn't been a big issue. Regarding timing: I decided 30 min. each for breakfast and lunch (including chugging down a coffee) and an hour for supper in order to enjoy it more. (And a glass of wine) I also had been learning to eat slower, (better for you to feel full) and now it seems I am back to eating faster. At home its fine. I hope eating out will get easier for me. I'm sure it will.
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Starting Week 5 and tray 3: Getting into the groove

Day 31 – May/1/14
It’s been a month since I began the invisaligners. I have always been pretty good with self-discipline, and so I knew I could do this. First you have to practice the behavior until it becomes established as a good habit. It’s still not a habit I love, but I think it will become so when I start seeing changes in my teeth. After reading several other people’s stories about their invisaligners, it has become clear to me that my teeth were worse than I thought. I look at some people’s pictures and I can’t see why they are even bothering with invisible braces. But teeth are such a personal thing! I did not take a picture of my own teeth at the very beginning. I took one after two weeks of wear. I just took another at 4 weeks. I see just how far my two incisors stick out. I see how crowded and crooked my lower teeth are. I can’t believe I didn’t see this before. It helps me realize why I am going through all this. My teeth are darn crooked! I realize that this is the new motivation I need to see me through this process. As long as I didn’t feel braces were necessary, I had also felt the hardships from the aligners weren’t worth it.
Perhaps we invisalign users now know what it feels like to be an aspiring Olympian athlete. Discipline, discipline, discipline. You cannot do what you really want to do. ( But you know what you really want to do is not good for you anyway – like drinking a lot of coffee or red wine or sweets.) And there is a big reward waiting for you at the other side. No immediate gratification here. It’s all about delayed gratification. And hopefully straight teeth!
Cleaning: Now that I have a couple of sets of trays to compare to each other, I see that drinking coffee with aligners does indeed stain them. I now soak my aligners in the 50/50 vinegar solution once a day. I decided that I would not use hydrogen peroxide in my mouth. Vinegar is a natural substance and so I can handle that. I soak mine at breakfast because lunches I am often out, and supper is often shared with others or going out too. So breakfast is a good time to soak them, and then brush them and then begin my day.
Changes in my life:
1. I have a time limit to eat. I also eat with a timer. This way I can be sure to stick to my 30 min./30 min. /60 min. routine. I save more time for supper so I can also enjoy a glass of wine. If done earlier than my allotted time I pat myself on the back and put aligners back in.
2. I drink my coffee with my meals (breakfast and lunch only), and not afterwards as a leisurely indulgence.
3. I clean my teeth 3 times a day – after each meal. And sometimes I just brush my teeth with aligners in before bed to freshen my mouth.
4. I drink nothing but water all day long. When I’m starving – I drink more water.
5. I do not snack between meals. (Too much fuss to remove aligners, and also NO time)
6. As the cook I no longer sample my cooking. I don’t take aligners out until after I dish up everyone else’s meal first. That way I maximize my eating time.
7. I find going out to eat feels more like a 'necessary evil' than a fun thing to do. (Do they have private washrooms? Do people think I have a bladder problem because I leave the table before and after meals to attend to my aligners? Did I extend my time limit?)

So far I haven’t experienced pain, only pressure. As someone else said, the pressure is good – it makes you feel like the aligners are working. I would like to see a visual change, but as yet, I’m not sure I really do. I have ‘miles to go before I sleep’.
Wise words!  I found number 6 on your list above to be the biggest change for me.  But I can cook entirely by smell now ;).  Glad to hear you're not experiencing pain!  You've probably just got a high pain threshold.  :D
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On Cleaning Aligners

I tried an experiment this morning. My first tray of invisaligners are quite dingy. This is because I was still learning how to take care of them. I was also drinking coffee with them on. I'm on tray 3, and the first tray looks horrible compared to the shiny new tray. (Even tray two is better because I stopped drinking coffee when I wore the aligners). So I bought a box of Polident and decided to try a tablet on one aligner. To get a BEFORE and AFTER view. (I had bought the box before I read the warnings from people on this site that using denture cleaners makes aligners cloudy). I soaked the aligner according to box instructions for 15 minutes. Then I rinsed them well. I have to admit they look great. Not cloudy, not dingy. This was one tablet after 2 weeks of use. So there you go. It might be a solution for those on-the-go who don't have the luxury of soaking in a container at home. Or for those who need to sip coffee at work! Personally, I am using the 50/50 vinegar solution daily and it works just as well. I simply brush them after with a non-whitening toothpaste and the mint takes away any vinegar residue. Good luck!

Tray 2 day one with aligners

Crowded teeth :(
Yay picture!!!  The more crowded they are now, the more impressive it'll look in comparison later ;).  I've forgotten, did the doctor talk to you about IPR at all?
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Is IPR is when the file between your teeth to slenderize them? Yes, I guess I neglected to add that to my first post. I had the whole thing done at once. Maybe that was why I was so overwhelmed at first. In hindsight, I'm glad all the pre-dental work was done before I could even think about it. I had filing done between my front teeth. I also got all the18 attachments at the first visit too. And just for the record, I have all my four wisdom teeth still in my mouth. None impacted. Which would account for the crowding. I am shy about sharing the picture, but I felt it was also a necessary part of my treatment. Thanks for all your support and encouragement.
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That is exactly what IPR is. :)  It's very common to have it done a couple or few times during treatment, when certain movement needs to happen.
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Tray 4, week 6

Tray 4, week 6. I guess I can say I am used to the aligners now. I still don't like the restrictions, (like no snacking, and rushing my meals to keep within the '2 hours out only' window, and brushing my teeth in public places) but yes, I am accustomed to them. I feel pressure but no pain. Just as 'you all' said. My dentist was impressed how easily I get my aligners on and off, considering I have so many attachments. My fingernails are a mess, but I always manage to pry them out! (I think I am food motivated like my Yorkies.) I am truly thankful for this forum in which to share my experience. My kids are already tired of me talking about my teeth. :) As my daughter says, the only ones who are interested are those going through the same procedure. And there is still a long road ahead for me. My favourite stories are of those who are finished! Only 28 more to go. Go Team!
I drink A LOT of coffee with mine too! I use denture cleaner as well and it works great! Many say (including the invisalign pamphlet) not to use cleaners other than the expensive invisalign stuff because it will make the trays cloudy, but I have not had a problem. In fact, my Doc complimented me on how clean they were every week compared to others hes seen. I've just finished my last tray (24) and am excited to be on the end of this road! Look forward to seeing more of your results
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Can you say which brand of denture cleaners you use?  I've seen enough comments in both directions that I think it may actually have to do with the brand, and that some are better than others.  It'd be fantastic to know that one brand, at least, is safe :D.
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Thanks Charlene - I use the vinegar/water every morning. Then I use one "Polident" tablet at the halfway point, for each set of trays. I figure that is not too much, and they do take away the plaque get the aligners looking like they did at the beginning of the week. How often do you use the denture cleaner? Every day or once a week like me? Also congratulations on being finished!! I hope you love your smile!
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Tray 5 Week 8

I am leaving on a Mediterranean cruise on Friday. However, I am not too excited because of my aligners. No sipping cappuccinos in a bistro, or red wine in a café. No long lunches or dinners. Always hopping up and down to run to the washroom to remove aligners before and after meals. I am also thinking of the flight and trying to get aligners in and out in tiny bathroom on plane. Have any of you words of encouragement for me? I realize I am very fortunate to be going on such a trip, and I would like to look at going more optimistically. I thought maybe I could take straws with me? Polident tablets for cleaning will also be easier than bringing a jug of vinegar along. If I leave the aligners out 'longer' will I impede my treatment? Thank you in advance for any words of advice.
I cruise every year and will be going on the next while in Invisalign. I'm imagining it will be tricky... It seems like we eat all day long on cruises, always snacking on something! I plan to commit to enjoying myself and not stressing too much about hours in aligners. Even if it means I have to wear that tray for more days after the cruise. You want to get the most out of your experience and not look back later and say you didn't enjoy yourself as much because of that preoccupation! Have a great time on your cruise!
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Thanks, fab45mom. I haven't cheated yet with my invisaligners. But if I don't cheat, I am worried that I will not have any fun. While everyone else sips and snacks I just sit there being good ... and miserable. And yes, I want to enjoy my experience. I will try to relax and bring straws to drink coffee and wine between meals. Better than nothing! Thanks so much!
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I've traveled on a plane with my aligners and had no difficulty at all.  Make sure you have the case with you at all times so the aligners don't get tossed accidentally with all the trays and trash.  I find plane bathrooms get more and more unsanitary the longer the flight, so I brought sanitizer with me and took the aligners in and out at my seat.  But we also travel as six people, so there is no one but us around, and I know you are more sensitive to taking out your aligners in public.  YMMV.

I've never been on a cruise before so I can't give you my experience.  When my mom went on a private cruise, there was water skiing and swimming and diving and shopping and sunbathing and stuff.  I've heard some have shows?  If there is something to do other than eat and drink on a cruise, you may wish to focus on those things instead.  If it's just banquets all the time, though, then maybe you'll be the only one who doesn't gain weight ;).

In the worst case, you can just wear your aligners as much as possible to maintain, then wear them an extra one or two weeks full-time when you get back.  Talk to your doctor about the timing of that, but there is that kind of flexibility--that if, say, you end up wearing your aligners only 15 hours/day, that you can wear them for 21 days or 28 days instead.  That sort of thing.

Have fun, and good luck!
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Cruising with Invisaligners: Tray 6 Week 11 June 18th

So I went on a Mediterranean cruise with Invisaligners. The trip was scheduled before I decided to try the invisaligners. These are my reflections: It certainly curbed my enjoyment of the trip.
1. Removing aligners on plane is ok. Brushing and flossing on plane is not. Plus you are not supposed to drink the water from the taps from which you are brushing your teeth. So that is awkward. Also, on long plane ride they offer food at least three times. So I only eat once as it is more work to take them out and brush three times. People also think something is wrong with you if you are forever getting up to go to the bathroom. So while my spouse sipped wine, ate a multitude of snacks, enjoyed his meals, and drank coffee throughout his plane ride … I did not.
2. The same holds for eating meals in unfamiliar restaurants in cities such as Barcelona, our first stop. Once it was decided that we were having a meal, out came the hand sanitizer. I always faced away from the room, and hiding behind my long hair, I would pry the aligners out of my mouth. At home I had always soaked the aligners and rinsed them out. Here I could only put them in the retainer case and wait till after the meal. I would order my coffee with my meal as well so I wouldn’t have to extend my time. And eat quickly. ‘Toilettes’ in Europe usually have a private toilet, but a communal sink. Often the sink was out in the hall. This also made it difficult to brush. If a tour group or line-up to use the washroom occurred, and there was only one tiny sink available, this also made it incredibly difficult to hog the sink and brush teeth while others wanted to wash their hands and go. Brushing was obviously not as thorough as it was at home.
3. The Cruise:
On the cruise ship you could use the public restrooms or go back to your cabin to use your private washroom. This was certainly better than public ‘toilettes’ in the cities. The washrooms outside the dining halls always have women lined up. If I was lucky I would try to get the handicapped washroom because it also had a private sink.
Taking out aligners in the busy buffet dining room was not fun or private. In the end I would remove the aligners before arriving at buffet so when I collected my plate of food I could simply just eat it. Afterwards, I would walk back to cabin (up 2 -4 flights of stairs) and brush there. This also lengthened the time my aligners were out.
Removing aligners at fancy dining rooms at the table was also not practical. Often you shared the table with other people whom you would later see throughout the ship. Also the food did not come immediately after you ordered it. I would not eat bread or sip wine until my appetizer came. Then, when I guessed my food would be coming soon, I would excuse myself, walk out of the restaurant (and often it was quite a long walk back out because these are very large dining halls) and remove the aligners in the closest washroom. On a cruise ship, at least 3-5 Servers stand at the entrance of the restaurant to welcome you in. When you got up, they thanked you for coming. Over and over again. Even when you told them you were coming right back. They would watch me leave with puzzled expressions on their face, because they knew I hadn’t started eating yet. Then I would return to the table hoping not to keep anyone waiting on their appetizers because I had left the table. Trying to eat dinner in one hour was also impossible if sitting with other people. The servers wait till everyone is finished their course before bringing the next. And since no one (else) is in a hurry, it was often two and a half hours before I could finally excuse myself and get back to cabin to brush. Even if I skipped dessert, everyone else was still at the table. I did not want to be rude.
On tours in the beautiful cities of Marsaille, Antibes, Taormina, Corfu … I would watch while my husband sipped on cappuccinos or gelatos, or did wine tasting. I had to wait for my three meals a day. No snacking. Just like at home.
Back on ship – at high tea, listening to the quartet play, I would watch my husband nibble on beautiful sandwiches and scones and delicacies. I finally got to the point of ordering a cappuccino with a straw. I would rinse my mouth with water as best as could afterwards.
Before dinner I would watch my husband sip G & T’s while I waited for dinner when I knew I could have my glass of wine.
Needless to say I did not gain any pounds on the ship.
The moral of the story is: I would never take another cruise again during my treatment. It is too depressing.
I hope the long periods of having aligners out and wearing them only 20-21 hours instead of 22 hours, does not harm my treatment.
I hope having less opportunities for cleaning teeth and aligners do not cause me cavities. I could not soak them in vinegar water. On tours, I could often not even rinse, (no potable water) or brush at the unhygienic public sinks.
I switched from tray 4 to tray five halfway through my trip. I see the dentist next week for tray 7. Only 26 more trays to go........ :(
I think you did a fantastic job!  Invisalign's information says 20-22 hours per day of wear and it sounds like you managed that--miraculously.  My mind boggles.  If your next aligner is really, really tight, do contact your doctor, though.  In my experience, following Invisalign's guidelines worked for me.  

I still can't believe you managed over 20 hours a day.

Those were extremely good points about the tourist lines when waiting for the sink.  I never thought of that.  I'd be shocked if you got a cavity from a couple of weeks of less than perfect hygiene.  

And also, I think your hubs was a meanie that he didn't curb his nibbling in solidarity with you, LOL!  But at least you didn't gain weight!
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Thanks for your reply. I was worried about changing my trays halfway through my trip, but they weren't too tight to handle. I can actually see a change in the movement of my teeth now (after ten weeks). I didn't want my husband to have to 'suffer' with me, so I would just try to ignore what he could eat and I couldn't. It's just that there are so many amazing things to drink and eat on a cruise ship. My husband had braces back when he was 11, so he feels he has paid his dues. I never had conventional braces. If the trip taught me one thing, it is to relax on allowing myself an extra 5 minutes of brushing after a meal now!
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Relaxing is good :D.
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Tray 9 July

4 and a half months in. 9 trays. Now that I have so many early trays to compare to my new trays, I have to admit I can hardly see the difference. The trays look the same. They feel differently, however. Flossing is easier. I read that that is the case for many people. But I still have my vampire teeth. Sigh. (I knew they wouldn't disappear overnight).
Now that it is summer and holiday season, I am back to being a grumbler. I went on a wine tasting tour in Niagara-on-the-Lake for vacation. Wow! Watching everyone else drink and sample wine sure is FUN! But you can bet I sniffed every single glass of wine before someone else actually drank it! When mealtime comes along I feel I deserve twice as much food and wine as everyone since I abstained during the long afternoons. And then, "ding," my timer goes off, and I am once again cut off from food and drink. Seriously People - get your braces when you are 12 and you don't eat hor'doeuvres, drink cocktails, sip red wine, or enjoy cappuccinos! Whine, whine, whine.
My bite is off but I still eat well during those precious 120 minutes a day. Even if it hurts, or I have to cut up raw vegies with a knife, since I can't bite into them with sore teeth, I still eat! After a few days and I have 'broken' the new tray in, its not so bad for discomfort.
Not sure if this update is helpful at all. I may whine all the way through my treatment, but I'm no quitter! Lol!
I have vampire teeth too and I am over 60 and started my invisilines. I am still on tray 1 after 5 weeks b/c I went on vacation and then my dentist did. I am afraid of getting the bubbles on my teeth and am going to ask if he could not do it. I have seen a change in my teeth and that makes me hopeful. I am very nervous of the outcome though. I am not sure I would have done this process if I had known what it was like. I still spit on people when I talk and I hate that. Hoping it goes well but you have given me hope!! Thank you for your journal!
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HA! I can't believe I misspelled invisalign!!
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Had no idea about the bubbles with Invisalign.....I'm hoping I could do without. Only my bottom are a bit out of line....no overlapping teeth. Always had straight teeth......went down hill after menopause..... Encouraging to see I'm not alone. :-)
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Starting month 5 - with a confession :(

I went to the dentist today to have my semi-annual cleaning. The hygienist said I had staining around all my attachments but she was able to get most of it off. Again, I have way more attachments than the average person they keep telling me. She said my bones and gums were good. I told her the story about the woman whose molar came right out with her aligners. I have to admit that scared me a bit. The staff is very very nice there. No complaints other than wishing I could speed things up. I told my hygienist about my "support group" and told them I couldn't go through this without having a forum to discuss things with.
Now I have a confession to make: I have told everyone over and over how diligent I am with my aligners. And now I have screwed up and I am so upset with myself. I noticed that something was wrong with my last round of aligners. That is - they didn't feel any different. I didn't feel more tightness. Instead of investigating, I rejoiced. Two weeks later I went to change into my next aligners, but first decided to check my agenda where I had written down what tray I should be on and on what day. (I had a nagging feeling I had done something wrong). My heart dropped when I discovered I had kept the same tray in for 4 weeks instead of two! Are You Kidding Me?? This may not seem like a catastrophe to you, but for me, with 32 sets of aligners to plow through, this was awful! I quickly started my number 8 aligners and they were indeed tight and painful for 3 days. What I want to do is this: I was given ten weeks worth of aligners. That means, if I want to 'catch up' to where I was before, I need to wear my aligners for 11 days instead of 14 days. I really want to do this. I don't want to tell my dentist in case he says NO. (How childish!) But I still thought I should ask real people with real aligners if they would ever do such a thing. I can't stand thinking of prolonging this treatment. I have heard of others who switch their trays at ten days. I am also good about keeping them in most of the time which I hoped would count for something. Am I being unrealistic? Should I just continue with the 14 day plan? Should I risk the 11 day plan that I want to adopt? It would just be for 6 weeks. Then I would be caught up and go back to the 14 day plan. No one would be wiser. Any opinions out there?? Thanks in advance!
I am no doctor but my dentist told me today that I need to leave each tray in for 3 weeks. For what it's worth.
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You probably know what I'm going to say, but I'm gonna say it anyway.  Please talk to your doctor about this.  There are dangers in taking this approach, in that your exposed teeth may move fine while your roots do not quite make it.  This could lead to difficulties with retention of results down the road.  But your doctor may feel fine with at least letting you try one set at 11 days and seeing how your teeth feel at the 11-day mark.  

Also, it's very unlikely anyone here is going to be willing to give you medical advice ;).  Only your doctor can do that.  And who knows, maybe he'll be okay with it.  

You may also want to look into purchasing a used AcceleDent device, like on eBay or by looking around at others you know have used it.  (Make sure you take any buyer/seller stuff off of RealSelf).  AcceleDent could shorten your wear-time to 7 days per tray, which would be a significant improvement with such a long treatment.
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Thanks. Sigh. :(
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Sticking to the Two Week Plan

I called my dentist about my inadvertently leaving aligners in 2 weeks longer than planned. The Dentist said I had to stick with the two week schedule regardless. Better for my gums and bones. It's only 2 weeks he says. To me its a lifetime. I can't tell you how disappointed I am. C'est la vie. I'll get over it. :(
Hi, thanks for sharing your experience! I am 49 and got my first set 3 days ago! I will be getting my attachments next time (14 in all, yikes!) so I think it will things a little tougher. We are correcting crowding and a cross bite in the back teeth. The goal is to expand my upper arch a bit so a pretty big job. I wanted to post some pics on here but not sure how. For now things are okay and not too too bad. I hate not being able to sip coffee but I can see doing it anyway in the last few days before switching my aligners (I know, already trying to cheat!). I will also get IPR next time and feeling a little scared about it. I have 25 trays so about a year of treatment. Keep us updated with your progress!
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Omg you are hysterical describing your adventure. I take mine out at night and drink red wine for two hours to stop the pain.
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Sorry :(
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Cottaging with Invisaligners

I thought perhaps people would like to know how much fun it is to cottage with invisaligners. First, make sure you go to a cottage that uses lake water and does not have clean drinking water. This makes the adventure much more special. It’s always good to arrive at the cottage at happy hour. Then you can watch, without envy, because that would be petty, how everyone else nibbles on the lovely smoked trout and assortment of cheeses picked up at the local market. While all your family and friends enjoy their holiday martinis and manhattans, you can sit back and enjoy a lovely bottle of water. (No drooling allowed.) Finally, when supper comes along, you can now partake of the meal. As soon as everyone is assembled at the table, you slip away, wash your hands, and pry your aligners out of your mouth, get a bottle of water and your ‘denture cup’, soak the aligners and then race back to the table. Since everyone is stuffed from appetizers, and an extra three people dropped by the cottage unexpectedly, you only receive a small serving of the main attraction. Are you kidding me? Well at least you can drink. You down your glass of red wine like a house on fire. When you reach for the bottle to refill your glass you are frowned upon and told that the wine is for sharing. Four ounces is all you get. You wish you could sneak back into your room, uncork a new bottle, swig it down, without sharing, and return to the table like nothing happened. Instead you try to be polite and simply lick your plate. Because there are so many people at the meal, time flies and you suddenly find your timer going off. You run to the bathroom to begin your brushing routine. Oh yeah, no clean water. You go grab a bottle of water and use it to brush your teeth. Then floss. Then scrub your aligners. You find another bottle of water, pour it over your aligners to rinse off the excess toothpaste, and finally pop the aligners back in. You help clear the table and before you know it, out come the playing cards. And the potato chips. And pretzels. And popcorn. And someone has brought candy too, because, after all, this is the cottage and you are on vacation. Once again, you get to watch. Then out come all the after-dinner drinks. Another martini? Perhaps some nice sherry or a wee dram of single malt scotch? Ooh, what about a Bailey’s? Not for you, however, - you get another bottle of lovely water. Eventually the evening ends and everyone falls into bed -- happy, satiated, a little tipsy, but delightfully full. Except you. Are you kidding me? (And that is just the first night. Just wait till tomorrow when everyone is roasting hotdogs and munching on marshmallows between meals. But don’t worry. You can still eat whatever you want, right? As long as it falls between your 40 minute meals (including brushing!) Ya, right. Enjoy your summer!! :)
ha ha, only us "invisaligners" could understand this! I have to admit that I have kept my aligners out for 4 or 5 hours in a row when attending special dinners or social events. Only on weekends though. And after that I try really hard to keep them on for the recommended 22 hours a day for as many days as I can. I am on 6 of 25 and I already see big changes (especially the top) and a friend even commented on the difference (after only 3 months!!!!) so I guess it's still working fine. The moment of truth will come in a couple of months when my dentist does the half-way check. Crossing my fingers!!
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You have a fabulous sense of humor and that is going to carry you through!! Hang in there. Think of all the calories you are not eating! You'll be ravishing with your new straight teeth and your beach body!!
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I'm not laughing, because that'd be insensitive (though in actuality, I'm totally laughing.)  You could become a vegan nutritarian like me, and then you could live like that all the time--no drinking, no snacking, no salt or oil, no regular foods.  Except, of course, that I can take as long for my meals as I want.

This too shall pass, right?  Plus, you'll have great stories to tell--like about the time you went cottaging with Invisalign!  Thanks for the dose of humor!  
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Tray 10

5 months in. No rip-roaring changes yet.
I feel like I'm seeing real improvement in the upper right quadrant…but my eyesight is bad and the picture is small, and I want to see improvement.  Do you see it?  I'm pretty sure….
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My Daughter's Wedding

One of the reasons that I went ahead with straightening my teeth was because my daughter got engaged to be married. Her original plan was for a New Year's Wedding, but she changed it to a Labour day Wedding. So instead of completing 9 months worth of aligners, I only had 5 months. On the one hand, I am very accustomed to my aligners now. They only hurt for the first two or three days of each new tray. On the other hand, I did all my smiling on the big day with my mouth shut. I had originally planned to leave my aligners out all that day (that was back before I actually wore them). In reality I took them out for my regular half hour breakfast and lunch. But then I splurged and left them out from 6-9 pm so I could actually sip my wine without a straw, and have some appetizers for a change, and then have dinner. Later I brushed my teeth in the washroom in front of everyone who walked in. (Yes, you do get bolder over time.) And that was it. No big deal at all - as long as you can cheat that is! Only 9 and a half more months of aligners to go. I am now on Tray 11 and no pain after 24 hours.
I pretty much did the same at my son's wedding, with my dentist's blessing! (He even offered to remove the attachments and the re- do them, but by then I was used to them - all 18- and I didn't feel like going through all that again for one night anyway!) I am really enjoying your reviews; yes, even the whiny ones....
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Oh my, I can't even spell anymore, got my tray 5 days ago.
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Just goy my first tray 5 days ago, lots of those bumps on my front teeth. Pressure is crazy on the top. Reading this really helped me understand there's hope! My mouth is like swiss cheese, I didn't think they would have sharp edges.
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Tray 12

I feel like a veteran now. I read many of your new updates and feel all your pain. Everything you all said about aligners is true. They hurt. You want out. The attachments are NOT attractive. They are annoying and restrictive. You feel like you are lisping or have dry mouth. But one day we finally realize that we are indeed getting our teeth straightened! Perhaps you actually see a tiny, slight, minute change in your teeth. You can't possibly feel that from your first week or even first month. But 5-6 months into treatment you begin to see that perhaps there is something to all this work. This discomfort. This inconvenience. And then you begin to join the OTHER side. The side that says, hey, my teeth are changing, my smile is improving. But although, you aren't quite there yet, you are well on your way. You can say, yes, my teeth hurt today, but that's because its day two of a new tray. But day 4 to day 14 you realize you are not really in pain. You can take it! You are strong! Fearless! A force to be reckoned with! (True, those around you may not see you in this light; they are just glad you've stopped whining about your teeth all the time.) All this to say, if you can hang in there, you will be glad you did. One day at a time.
ohh you made me laugh Are You Kidding Me! I guess I can laugh because I have the same challenges with my invisalign. Bless you for being so strict with your invisalign! I drink red and white wine with my trays in and I haven't had any problems. It is usually at night time with dinner, so I know I am going to be brushing my teeth and trays shortly anyway. I only read a few of your posts and can't wait to come back and read some more! thanks for blogging, Jess.
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Thanks Jess! You are too kind! All the best with your treatment! And enjoy your wine. I know I do. :)
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Are You Kidding Me, if you are not a professional blogger or writer, I believe you've missed your calling in life! I think this is the most interesting thing I've read in a long, long time (and I'm reading about braces)! I'm sure it couldn't be because I've been up 24hours when I searched braces and just HAD to finish all your posts before bed! I've been wanting for years to get my teeth straightened, as they've shifted in my 40's and I'm hating my reflection. I hate some photos more. However, after reading, I'm not sure I could as I would fall into the same traps as you and with my health issues, I must eat 6 small meals/day. Sounds about impossible, not to mention I only drink coffee ALL day long! (Oh, and dinners with friends and RED wine!) Looks like I've got more research to do! My husband has lung cancer and after a hard year, we're finally looking forward to taking more trips. I'd like to enjoy that time with him! Thank you for my enjoyment this evening and the best of luck to you and your smile! Something tells me, after all the smiles you help make, it's about time you take care of yours!!
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Tray 13B - Thanksgiving

As I look at my pictures I am hard pressed to see much change. If anything, I am more aware of how messed up my teeth were to begin with. This is a long, singular road to travel. I say singular because no one else really experiences it but you. I'm not feeling as optimistic today. I have completed 6 months of treatment. 9 months to go. Maybe I should get pregnant and see what feels faster – growing a baby or straightening my teeth.
We just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving. This year that meant three days straight of food and drink. The Saturday was spent with my husband’s side of the family. So once again, I watched while others ate the many appetizers and drank cocktails. I did sip on a glass of white wine with a straw in it. This time my family wanted to know what was up with the straw. No one said they could see the aligners though. I had been wearing them for 6 months and they didn’t know, and would not have known, if I had not told them I was wearing braces. I set some aside some appetizers to eat later with my meal. Dates stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon. They didn’t taste that great cold. I admit it seems like a lot of food when you eat appetizers along with your main meal. I usually skip dessert because I run out of time. I do find it much easier to take the aligners out just before you eat at a private home. And brushing in a home bathroom is fine, too.
Sunday was day two of Thanksgiving at my daughter’s house with her husband’s family. Her first time preparing the turkey! In the end I made the stuffing, I prepped the bird, I even brought the roasting pan and turkey baster, and I put the turkey in her oven to cook. (She managed to get all the credit for the bird though. I’m such a good mom). Again, I eat no apps to save time, but I drink a glass of wine with my straw. Nobody asks me what’s up because there are too many people there to care! Everyone is too full from eating that they decide to eat dessert later. For me that just means no dessert. I go brush and put my aligners back in while they relax.
Monday was day three of the festivities. This time we were in the party room at my parents’ condo. This way the work and the food is all prepared and shared by my side of the family. (My brother cooked the turkey and I cooked a ham. The others made veggies, salads, potatoes, and more appetizers). The condo has public restrooms down the hall, so again it was easy to wait till we were ready to eat in order to pop out aligners, eat, and then brush again after the dinner. By this time I didn’t want or need appetizers beforehand anyway.
I kept pretty much to my allotted time for my aligners to be out. (Maybe an extra half hour at the most.) So I have now made it though Easter, a Mediterranean cruise, summer vacation, my daughter’s wedding, my birthday, and Thanksgiving, while wearing aligners. It hasn’t all been fun and games, but I did it. I am not even at the halfway mark yet. I will certainly be celebrating that milestone! (And I don’t think I’ll have another baby).
Enter Halloween, Christmas and New Years.....sigh
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I had 2 Thanksgiving dinners (Sunday and Monday) and enjoyed keeping the aligners out for pre-dinner munchies and post dinner. Unfortunately, dessert was served about an hour after the end of dinner so I had to make a call--go without or do the whole routine all over again, after having had my aligners out for at least 4 hours that day already... Well, I chose dessert! I ate it, had a couple of sips of coffee and popped the aligners back in. The next 3 or 4 days (my second week) felt like the first 2-3 days with new aligners so I knew I had gone a little too far but by week's end it all fell normal again. I kept this set for an extra couple of days. It was all worth it!!!
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you are such an inspiration for being so disciplined! if it was me, I would go on holiday mood and give myself more time to feast. but I guess once i make that excuse for myself, I would likely use it again and again the next time a social gathering comes about.
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