The Ups and Downs of my First Month of using Smile Direct Club
It has officially been a full month since my journey with Smile Direct Club began. This month has certainly passed quickly and my experience with SDC has been full of things I was expecting, but a lot of things I was not. Here is how I have found the first month so far...
Oh, the Pain
The first few days were slightly painful, which was something I was certainly expecting. I remember when I had a retainer in elementary school and how uncomfortable that was at times. I can count myself lucky though, I recall stories from friends who had the traditional wire braces and how much pain they would be in the day after getting their braces tightened. My experience so far certainly has not been that way.
The most uncomfortable part for me were some of the edges. They were slightly sharp and I could feel a lot of canker sores popping up, especially on my tongue. After talking to the SDC team (who are always very friendly), they recommend I use an emery board aka a nail file. After a lot of trial-and-error with the emery board, I finally got my aligners to a comfortable place.
Thankfully, my next two sets of aligners (I am currently on set 3 of 16) haven't had the sharpness issue which has been wonderful. They have felt a bit smaller in a way which I guess makes sense; my teeth have gotten used to having the aligners there, so they can be better fitted. Currently, my plan seems to have me wearing each set of aligners for two weeks at a time which I really don't mind. I put reminders in my phone when it is time to change and SDC also sends me an email to tell me when to change my aligners. It has been a pretty solid system so far.
Dry Lips and Mouth
There is a reason they provide you with lip balm in your kit. I've found that when I have the aligners in, my lips are often dry. I make sure to have my SDC kit (which includes my toothbrush/paste, floss, aligner case, and lip balm) handy with me wherever I go, and my lip balm is usually the item I pull out of there. The interior of my mouth is also often dry, especially after a speak for a few minutes. I have certainly needed to drink more water, but more on that in the next section...
Eating and Drinking
The first time I had to remove my aligners to eat was an interesting experience. I certainly needed the handy removal tool SDC provides. After having worn the aligners overnight, the first few bites of something slightly hard (e.g. toast or a bagel) were awkward and slightly painful. I found myself chewing on the sides for the most part.
I can safely say one pro and con of the aligners is that my mouth is always dry. This is leading me to drinking a lot more water than I usually do. It has also stopped me really from drinking much hot chocolate or tea in the morning like I used to. I also don't eat between breakfast and lunch much anymore; I used to have a small snack between to help get me through the morning at work, but it isn't really an accessible option at the moment.
A downside is that I find that when I do get the chance to have a snack, which is usually after work or during my day at culinary school, I end up having the aligners out for a few hours as those snacks tend to blend into the next meal, lunch or dinner respectively.
Cleaning the Aligners
After a few days, I notice that the aligners get dirty, especially in the ridges. That seems odd to me considering I only put them back in after brushing and flossing my teeth, but perhaps it is just buildup of the saliva in my mouth. I try my best to clean them when I rinse them out before putting them back in my mouth, but there are two methods of cleaning that are recommended by SDC: liquid soap in water or baking soda in water. I have tested both and find that they do a good job at helping to disinfect and clean the aligners without doing terrible damage to them.
Honestly? I don't really see a difference yet. The picture on the left is my very first day of SDC and the picture on the right was taken today, four weeks and two aligners in (I just started the third yesterday). I'm sure the more drastic pictures will take time and perhaps by the third or fourth month, I'll start to see a difference, but for now, my teeth don't seem all that different to me.
Here's where I stand now on my SDC journey:
Aligners: just started aligner 3 of 16
Days left: 194
Next aligner switch: February 28th
I will be sure to post my next SDC update in another month and see if there is any change then.