I’ve been back to Paul today for the inaugural fitting of my first trays. Ooo, the excitement! My first concern is whether I’ll actually make it. Last time I had an unfortunate encounter with the RAC (it all ended well enough though). I digress…..
I arrived in good time and Paul and his team were on time too just like the pros that they are. I see Paul’s colleague Nicola first who takes a look at my crown in anticipation of a replacement later in the course of my treatment. (I won’t bore you for now.)
Paul next. This is it!! Drum roll? Ok, maybe not. I’m taken through some basics such as putting in and removing the trays, a few pitfalls to watch out for such as breakages/loss, early tray pain or discomfort, cleaning and so forth. It all seems fairly explanatory and to be honest I had been reading quite a few blogs over the past few weeks so I sort of knew what to expect really. Still, it was nice to have things explained one-to-one.
I’m also given a starter kit which you can see in the photo. Basically, it contains everything I will need on my journey. I get all 17 aligners in one go (well, I have paid), some cleaning tabs, the whitening kit and various other bits and bobs. Nothing has been forgotten it seems.
Paul then performed some filling treatment on both of my third canines to improve the recession and decay that had occurred. I’m fairly pleased with the result although to be honest I think the one side needs a little more work at the end of treatment. We’ll see but for now, it’s fine.
So, what about the aligners you ask? On first fitting in the dentist’s chair my reaction was wow… tight! while also thinking “these are actually OK!” (is that a contradiction?) Anyway, they seemed better then I had anticipated. For some reason I thought they would be horrendous to start with but that was not the case….well not yet! Granted it was early days but I felt a sense of relief that I would be able to cope. I paid in full (!) taking advantage of the early payment discount and left with the aligners in! Why wait? However, I had overlooked the fact that I was starving as I hadn’t eaten prior to the dentist (well, you just don’t do you ? – there’s nothing worse than seeing your dentist pick out bits of food before he can even start!) So now, with the aligners in, I couldn’t eat for the next three hours while I drove home – aargh! nightmare… I was sooo hungry!
So, it was just me, the motorway and my new mouth. The early euphoria began to pass. Pain in my wallet with, soon to follow, pain in my mouth! Three things became immediately apparent. 1) My mouth was either very dry or full of saliva: either I would be sucking up the excess or trying to create some more to relieve the dryness. I found myself turning to my bottle of squash at frequent intervals to alleviate my angst. However, this only seems to help in the immediate term. Give it just one more minute and you’re dry again. The drink is more of a psychological comfort I think? 2) The irritation (!) or is that annoyance? Whatever – but its definitely there! My tongue seemed drawn to the plastic like a magnet to metal. With annoying regularity I found myself tonguing away at the plastic almost testing myself to see if I could make it sore, which I did within about an hour. Irrational? – yep! but I still did it! I’m really hoping the habit will pass; 3) Clenching my teeth. Now this is the big one! The most irritating by far is the habit of constantly biting down on the aligners, clenching my teeth in some form of checking ritual. But checking what? The truth is that I don’t really know(!) – somehow my brain is telling my teeth to keep checking whether these horrid aliens are still present. It almost hurts as I press too hard sealing the trays down on my teeth even more firmly than before. “Stop it I say to myself.” Only I can’t. The only answer is to train my brain to recognise that what’s in my mouth is normal. Time is the only solution I suspect.
Into the evening, I arrived home hungry as a horse, which means I could take the trays out. Yeah! The relief! I pop the trays into a glass with a cleaning tablet I was given by Paul and scoff a few nuts and a banana. The relief on my teeth is immense. Even after about four hours there is a notable tooth ache from the pressure delivering up, I suspect, very minor movement – it seems they do actually work then!
I headed to the gym for my first meeting with other people. I am a naturally shy and self-conscious person anyhow so felt a tad anxious. I only meet two people I know and neither comment. I tell one of them who was amazed at the invisibility. To be honest, so am I. I can only suspect that Paul took excellent impressions and the modeling has been uber precise. The fit is truly superb, especially on the top set. Only the appearance of the raised forms for the buttons (small attachments that are sometimes later added to the teeth in case movement is slower than planned) gives any noticeable sign of their presence, and even then you have to look hard.
Back home I eat dinner, removing for about 40 mins. The relief is again good. In fact the removal for eating is really important (other than the obvious) as there is a definite build up of sufferance as the hours roll by. After 4-5 hours you actually need to remove them, which has the effect of re-setting things, so-to-speak (a bit like rebooting your PC – things seem to start again from fresh). Once re-set and having eaten facing the next 3,4,5 hours is much easier. Make sense?
One thing I am noticing is there is actual pain now affecting one tooth in particular. So much so, I take a couple of Ibuprofen and head to bed. Overall, I am delighted that treatment is underway and reasonably content with the niggles so far. Bring it on I say. My mind is right for this and when the mind is right the body will follow. So whatever the peaks and troughs I know I will get there. Let’s see what tomorrow brings. I think I will update tomorrow, then leave things alone for a few days to see how things settle down. T-ra’a- a-bit!