By: Alexandra Martell | COSMOPOLITAN
You’re definitely not the only person who didn’t wear her retainer in high school.
1. You might have a bit of a lisp the first few days. It’s totally normal — you’ve now got weird things on your teeth that weren’t there before! It doesn’t last, but it can be somewhat embarrassing. Just try to speak a little more slowly than usual until you get used to them and you should be OK.
2. If they’re not metal, no one can see them — seriously. If you choose a clear braces option like Invisalign, your orthodontist will stick little clear attachments on your teeth for the aligners to hold on to. You will be 100 percent convinced people can see them. Yes, they’re not invisible, but no one will know they’re there unless you expressly point them out. You’ll be self conscious, but there’s no need to be!
3. You’re not alone. I had three friends doing Invisalign the same time I did, and a bunch more who had already done it before I even started. Dr. Frank Andolino, who did my treatment in New York City, says that 75 percent of his patients are adults. You’re definitely not the only person who didn’t wear her retainer in high school.
4. Get to breakfast meetings early. It’s one thing to pop out your aligners at the table when you’re eating brunch with your friends, but you probably don’t want to do that with your boss or business partners. Waking up early is the worst, but it’s worth it to get there early so you can go to the bathroom and take them out before anyone arrives.
5. Similarly, get to dates early or learn to have no shame. I am allergic to being on time, so I chose the second option. For the record, not one guy I went out with when I had Invisalign ever cared.
6. Be prepared to answer a lot of questions. Anyone who’s remotely unhappy with their teeth is going to ask you all about what it’s like: Is it painful? (Just tight the first day or two of a new set.) Do you forget you have them? (No.) Do you have to go back to the orthodontist constantly like when we were teenagers? (Only every six weeks!) You will feel like a (very honest) commercial for adult braces.
7. You’re going to have to be that person in the work bathroom brushing her teeth. Now you have twotoothbrushes to remember to change out every few months. Congratulations!
8. Say good-bye to gum. Mints are your new best friend.
9. It’ll probably take longer than you think. Treatments like Invisalign are planned based on how your orthodontist thinks your teeth will move, but they may not straighten out at the rate originally estimated, at which point you’ll get a whole new batch of aligners. Assume it will take the long end of the range your orthodontist gives you (and then be pleasantly surprised if it takes less time).
10. You’ll still have to wear a retainer. Thankfully, they’re just thicker clear aligners now, not metal and glittery. You can also talk to your doctor about getting a permanent retainer attached to the back of your teeth, which Dr. Andolino did for me because he knows adults don’t listen to retainer-wearing instructions. I’m glad he did it, even though I totally wear my other retainer every night! …Er, most nights.