Way back when I was a teenager, I had braces for about two years to fix the Bugs Bunny teeth I had back then. Having braces is very uncomfortable and a huge pain in the ass, but it fixed my teeth, making my smile perfect.
When the braces finally came off, my orthodontist at the time gave me a thing to wear at night called a positioner. “As long as you wear that every night when you go to sleep,” he said, “your teeth will stay in place and will look perfect forever.”
Being the dumbass teenager I was, I wore the thing probably three times and then threw it away. Like all teenagers, I Knew Everything™, so I figured that it would be fine.
Obviously, I was stupid. Over the many years since then, my teeth slowly started shifting position. Within two decades, my teeth had formed a slight Arnold Schwarzenegger/David Letterman gap between my two front teeth. It wasn’t huge, but it was noticeable. Whenever watching video of myself, for some reason my eyes went right to my teeth, right to that gap. No one else ever said they noticed, and whenever I brought it up, people said they didn’t notice or women commented that it was “cute.” It became a facial flaw that people just accepted about me.
Whatever. I didn’t like it. I was also concerned that my teeth weren’t done moving and that it would get worse over time.
On top of that, regular dentist visits warned me that I was resting my teeth in a funny position as I slept, causing me to wear down the tooth enamel on the front row of both my top and bottom teeth. I wasn’t “grinding my teeth.” That’s what stressed out people do, and I’m happy. Instead, I was actually resting my teeth in a weird way. I would start having to wear a positioner in my sleep, like I should have all along.
To fix two birds with one stone, about a month ago I went in to the dentist to get something called Invisalign. It would align my teeth perfectly (again), get rid of the gap, and fix my problem of grinding the enamel. Then I would get a new positioner, and this time I would wear the damn thing so my teeth will stay perfect forever.
Instead of metal braces, Invisalign is two transparent trays that you wear on the top and bottom rows of your teeth. It looks like this:
People can’t tell you’re wearing anything unless they get really super close and stare right at your teeth. You wear the trays 24/7, only taking them out to brush, floss, or eat. Then you have to quickly put them back in, because if you leave them out for 30 or 60 minutes, your teeth will actually shift back a little, forcing you to wear them longer.
Every two weeks you get a new set of trays. You toss the old ones. You continue this for a certain amount of months, based on how bad your teeth are misaligned. Then you’re done. A video describing the process is right here if you’re interested.
It’s not cheap. I’m going to be wearing the trays for about five months, and the entire thing cost me around $4000, though that includes around $700 for the new special positioner I get when I’m done. Now that I’m much less chubby than I was a few years ago, this was a valid expense for me in terms of optimizing my personal appearance. As I don’t borrow money, this cash came out of my physical self-improvement account, one of my many savings accounts, used to improve my health or appearance. I sock a little money in there every month, and there was just enough in there to cover the cost of my Invisalign.
This will also fix my teeth literally for the rest of my life, so $4000 is very cheap considering I’m going to reap the benefits for the next 50 years.
When I first put the trays in, it was extremely uncomfortable, bordering on pain, for about three days. It actually affected my mood and put me in a bad place, which I’m not accustomed to. It also made me sound really weird when I talked, and made my tongue feel very strange whenever I spoke or drank. After about five or six days, everything was fine, including my speech. Your tongue gets accustomed to having these weird things in your mouth, and the pain goes away.
Every two weeks when you slap a new pair of trays in, you can feel them pressing on your teeth much harder for about 24 hours, but it’s no big deal and doesn’t hurt at all.
The process of eating is weird, because you have to pull these things out and put them somewhere sanitary while you eat. It makes for some fun conversations when you’re eating out with friends or women. I’m used to it now so it’s not a big deal, but for about a week I had to figure out what to do with the damn things.
It’s also pretty good for dieting, since you can no longer just pop food into your mouth like you could before. Eating with Invisalign is a process, so it makes things more deliberate. Sort of a plus in my book.
The weirdest part is kissing women. I kiss women very hard, so I really feel the trays mashing into my mouth whenever I do it. It also provides less room for your tongue, making things a little more complicated. Women can’t tell any difference, but I can. I’ve been wearing the trays for about a month now and I’m still not 100% accustomed to the kissing thing, but it’s much better than it was a few weeks ago so I’ll get there soon.
I’m done with the trays in July, since my teeth weren’t very bad to begin with. Many people have to wear these things for a year or two. I’ve taken some pictures of my teeth right before I put them in and I will post before and after pictures in early July, when I’m finally done with this.
In the last several years, I’ve fixed my hair, fixed (most of) my weight, and now I’ve fixed my teeth. In terms of cosmetic procedures, I think I’m good to go for at least another 10-15 years, but you never know. Alpha 2.0 requires you to maintain a high level of personal appearance throughout the rest of your life, so I consider this stuff a small price to pay for my lifestyle.
More on this in July.