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year in Invisalign

Invisalign Part II: 34 More Trays

Your groundhog said you’re getting 6 more weeks of winter.
Mine said I get 34 more weeks of Invisalign trays.

A few weeks ago, I saw my orthodontist after completing 53 weeks of Invisalign. He said my teeth are straight, and my bite is improved, but my upper and lower jaws are still out of alignment. The tech took another set of impressions and sent them off to have another set of trays created. They didn’t tell me how many more trays I’d have to wear to correct this problem. (I wore my Week 53 trays for a few weeks while my next set of trays were being made.)

I couldn’t manage to take a good photo that shows my rubber band, so I stopped trying.

Last week, I was back in the orthodontist chair (I always feel like I’m in junior high when I’m in there) and I asked, “How many more weeks do I have the pleasure, I mean privilege, of wearing Invisalign trays.” The tech laughed, but I was serious. I suspect many people who can’t afford it wish they had the means to afford Invisalign or braces. Even though I may complain that my teeth hurt or that wearing trays is a hassle, I never forget that it’s a privilege to do this.

The tech said, “34,” and I get to wear a rubber band on one side of my mouth. The tech had to move some of the anchors for my trays (aka “dinosaur teeth”) and she glued a metal “button” to one of my lower teeth. The rubber band attaches to an edge carved into my upper tray and the button. Every time I take my trays out, I’m supposed to replace the rubber band.

Looking at the calendar, I’ll be wearing this set of trays, changing the trays each week, until mid-October. Basically, I added another year to this adventure.

At first, I had the compulsion to try to chew on the rubber band, which isn’t actually possible, but now it’s a non-issue. Putting it on is easy, though in my first week, I managed to shoot a rubber band across the room and snap myself in the lip while trying to put it on. These are first world problems.

The rules with these of trays is the same: try to wear them at least 22 hours a day. Some day I’ll get to sip my coffee again. The only difference now is I must remember to bring my bag of rubber bands in addition to my tray case when I leave the house, and for now, I need a mirror to put on a rubber band. Note to self: Put a compact with a mirror in your backpack for when you’re traveling.

The only problem I’ve encountered with wearing a rubber band is I can’t sing properly. I can’t open my mouth wide enough to sing the notes. I don’t wear my trays when I have a voice lesson or perform, but I do when I’m singing in the car and around the house. Knowing me, I’ll test how well these rubber bands stretch. I hope it doesn’t hurt much if one snaps in my mouth.