Invisalign and the SLP





Hello!

I hope you are all having a good start to your school year. Mine has been c-r-a-z-y. New principal, two new special ed programs, but still the same supportive staff and smiling faces!

Also new this year: my braces. Over the summer, I decided to get Invisalign. My teeth have done some shifting since I had braces in high school and it has always been something I wanted fixed. So, no time like the present, right? I scheduled an appointment with an orthodontist and, after waiting a month for my trays to come in, I now am wearing them pretty much full time on both my top and bottom teeth and will be doing so for 6-9 months. I am allowed to take them out to eat and drink beverages that are not water. I have had them on for a few weeks now so I am becoming more used to them, but it took some adjusting at first! Being an SLP, I was nervous about getting them since all I do is use my mouth all day and have people look and listen to my mouth all the time! But here is how it has gone so far:

  • They are not really painful or restricting like traditional braces. I can still talk with students, parents, and teachers all day long with no issues or pain.
  • My speech sounded "slushy" at first, particularly for /s/ and /sh/. The top trays do come up onto the front of the hard palate a bit, so I had to readjust how I was making these sounds. It was a little tricky to self-monitor at first, but it really made me appreciate what our students go through! It was a bit exhausting to constantly be trying to monitor my speech the first week or so. I definitely have some new insight on how hard this must be for our students.
  • My middle schoolers are completely fascinated. They all have braces too (the traditional kind), and they love to talk about mine and ask me all sorts of questions. Whatever gets them talking!
  • I am becoming a champion at eating and drinking quickly. The recommended time for wearing your trays is 22 hours a day. That sounded easy enough at first, but you also have to calculate flossing, brushing your teeth,  and brushing your trays after every meal! This has been interesting at school. I am lucky to have a staff bathroom close by to go brush my teeth that hardly anybody uses in my building.
  • They have forced me to have better snacking and caffeine habits. In addition to my morning cup of coffee, I would usually bring some coffee to work or make some in the afternoon and sip on it throughout the day. I also love to snack! But now, I have to weigh the benefits of my coffee/snack vs going through my extensive oral-hygiene routine that must follow said coffee/snack. Most of the time I just keep to my 3 meals now. I never realized how many snacks and goodies people brought into work until now when I can't really have them!

I am glad I finally bit the bullet and am on my way to straighter teeth! Are you an SLP who has/had braces? What has your experience been like? Comment below to share! I would love to hear from you.

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7 comments

  1. I did have braces as an adult, but it was before I was an SLP. I have to agree that initially it makes it difficult to say the 's' sound. It was hard to fully close my moth at the beginning and I had a lisp for a few weeks. When I was done with my treatment, I had a top retainer (similar to invisalign) that was touching my palate just a little and the lisp was back. I had my dentist adjust (trim) the retainer and the lisp was fixed! Wish it was that easy with our students! But it did give me some perspective into what it feels like to try to say a sound over and over, and have it come out wrong every time. Very frustrating and embarrassing, but you can't give up!

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    1. Good to know that the retainer can be trimmed!

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  2. I was lucky to never have to have brace, but my wife was not as lucky. We were just talking about looking into Invisalign for her because her teeth have started to shift a little as well into adulthood. I'm glad I found your post when I did! I'm going to save it to show her. Thanks for sharing!

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  3. The biggest reason that I opted for the clean plastic braces is that they really are difficult to detect. I am not as self conscious as I used to be wearing metal braces. Now I feel confident and I know that my teeth are getting straighter each time I go in to see the dentist and have a new order of trays waiting.

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  5. Good story. I do not have braces now, but I did have them as a child. You are very inspirational for going back and getting braces as an adult. I can’t imagine that was an easy decision; especially with the job you have. It’s good the kids at school have a chance to see you with the braces – you’re already making a big impact on their lives and this is probably just one more thing that makes them proud of you.

    Marco @ Natural Dentistry

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