nw3 to nyc

Observations on moving my family across the Atlantic

The tyranny of Invisalign

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I had British teeth, all a bit crooked and crowded. When you live in New York City, you are surrounded by straight, white, beautiful teeth because practically every kid here wore braces and ended up with great teeth. I have been obsessively looking at everyone’s teeth since we’ve been here. Just over a year ago, I caved into the pressure (perceived by me) and spent a fortune on this crazy treatment called Invisalign.

Invisalign is a teeth straightening treatment. You wear plastic aligners over your teeth, made from 3D images of your teeth, and every two weeks you change to a new aligner to make a new movement in your teeth and for me that meant getting through 30 sets in just over a year.

I have worn them 22 hours a day, every day; taking them out only to eat or drink. I have made cups of tea before my meal in order for them to be cool enough to drink a the end of my meal to reduce the time the aligner is not in my mouth. I have been in great pain when I had a new aligner, because the pressure is so great on my teeth.

I had vile lumps of cement put on to 17 of my teeth which were coyly called buttons by the orthodontist to fool me into getting them put on. Apparently these were to help the aligner, but I never quite understood that.They were the worst part of it as they were so ugly and so rough in my mouth, they made eating much harder all round.

I even had to wear elastic bands that went from my top aligner to my bottom teeth, secured by a metal bolt on my molar, to adjust my bite. That was very unattractive, so much so I refused to wear them out and about and hid at home with them in.

I have brushed my teeth on average four times a day, got through miles of dental floss and should have bought shares in the toothpaste manufacturer, because I brushed so much this last year.

And the result? Well, yesterday I went to the orthodontist who removed all the cement, filed my wonky teeth and made me look amazing. Despite all the moaning above, I love my new teeth. They aren’t quite American teeth yet because I haven’t had them whitened and they need a few refinements to sort out the minor bits that need doing. But they are close to it.

Today has been odd. I still wear the last set of aligners at night until my new ones come through in January – for the refinements. So this morning I took them out, brushed them and left them in the cupboard because I don’t need to wear them during the day now. All morning I felt naked, like I was missing them. I seemed to be experiencing a form of dental Stockholm Syndrome, I wanted to go home and put them back in. I have resisted, but I did brush my teeth after lunch because I just can’t help it.

I won’t share a picture, I haven’t come that far from my British roots, but maybe I should change my name from nyc-newbie  to ‘previously British teeth’ instead.

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