Starting Aligner Treatment

Today’s the day! I get my braces! Ahem… sorry, I get my aligners!

For the elder millennial crowd who grew up without the luxury of clear aligners, all dental appliances are braces… but I digress.

Today I am excited… and anxious.

I brushed and flossed my teeth… twice, and am ready for my journey to begin!

Even though Dr. Crutchfield and the team have been super helpful and communicative – I’m a worrier. I keep worrying that I forgot to ask something important.



The Appointment


I walked in the door and was immediately greeted. It feels like Cheers walking in. I’m seated in the first chair (do they know I’m a flight risk?).

Nadeema is super kind and warm. She explains everything that’s going to happen. She calmly and purposefully prepares my teeth. She tells me that she needs to apply these small “buttons” onto the surface of my teeth.

*insert panic now*

She cleans and prepares the surface of the teeth, and uses a little wand with a blue light to cure on the buttons.

She tells me that you can barely notice them. I smile but I’m thinking “omg…what have I done? I can’t have buttons on my teeth!”

But I’m an adult, so I play it cool – “Sure, I’d love to see them with a mirror.”

She’s right – they’re practically invisible. *phew*

Next, it’s time for IPR, they tell me. What? Interproximal Reduction…

*more panic*

Dr. Crutchfield tells me that he needs to create some space between my teeth with a small piece of dental floss that’s like sandpaper that will help my teeth move more easily.


He slips it between my teeth, just like floss, and gets to work. The sound is awful, but honestly, there’s no pain. Just a total ick factor. And before I know it, it’s over.

Next, Nadeema hands me my 3D printed OBC Clear aligner. She tells me it’s going to pop when it goes in and that the buttons she put on the teeth are going to keep it in place.
I don’t know about you, but popping and my teeth are not 2 things I’m abundantly comfortable with being in the same sentence.

Suddenly, I’m a bit claustrophobic and scared… What if they pop on but won’t come off? What about the crown I got 2 years ago? Will that come off too? And what about my veneers!?

That’s the thing – as an adult – you’ve got a lot more dental baggage than when you were a kid.

But I trust Dr. Crutchfield – that’s why I’m here – and this is going to be ok.

Nadeema gives me a small blue tool to use if it’s challenging to get them off. I’m grateful for this.


Night Time


I’ve been a good sport, but I’m starting to have the crushing reality that I am going to have to start drinking a lot more water.

I’m supposed to wear these 22 hours a day. No soda, no coffee, no tea with them in… sigh…

Now, it’s time for dinner. The pain of the movement isn’t bad, but my inner lips are a bit sore from the attachments and my tongue is doing that annoying thing (like when you’ve got a piece of food stuck between two teeth and you’re trying to work it out) and is raw.

I can tell, it’s going to be an early to bed kind of night.

Stay tuned for my next blog, where I talk about my first scan with Dental Monitoring.