Thursday, May 22, 2014

Straight Talk: Eating with Braces

When I was in fourth grade, my dentist told me I needed braces. At such a young age, I couldn't have cared less about what I might look like with braces. Heck, I was one of those kids (or the only kid?) who color-coded their braces to match the current season and/or holiday. True story.

Even having to wear those pesky and painful elastics in my mouth didn’t phase me much. I guess you could say I was a rare pre-teen who didn’t really care what people thought of the way I looked. Or, perhaps I felt that my braces were an easy enough “blemish” to hide, considering all I had to do was awkwardly close my mouth in an effort to conceal them.

(Don't ask me why I decided to put these photos on the internet. But here are two examples of me with braces. The photo on the left, with the pumpkins, also shows that weird putty stuff my orthodontist put in my mouth one time. What was that stuff for??).

For me, the absolute worst thing about having to wear braces was how I would have to eat – and what I couldn’t eat – for two whole years. For me, the focus was on the food – and the outlook wasn’t looking appetizing.

I basically had to eat like a child. Pieces of pizza had to be cut into bite-size pieces; corn on the cob had to be shredded versus bit into; and bagels with cream cheese had to be ripped off into bite-size chunks. (For years after getting my braces off, I still ate bagels this way). Gum and chewy candy? Those became a memory to me.

Even after being able to eat a meal somewhat normally, I can’t even imagine how attractive I must have looked…with my holiday-themed braces, all covered in food. (Sorry for the visual).

To this day, I wish Invisalign Teen existed when I was younger.

Straight Talk with Invisalign | The Economical Eater

I learned all about Invisalign Teen at a recent blogger workshop I attended called Straight Talk. In addition to learning some tips and tricks for our blogs and social media, we also learned a lot about this modern alternative to braces.

Although originally only FDA-approved for adults, Invisalign is now available for teens and pre-teens. Invisalign Teen’s clear aligners straighten teeth without traditional wires and brackets – and can be removed when eating (no food restrictions or having to eat everything bite-sized!).

Straight Talk with Invisalign | The Economical Eater

Invisalign for teens also requires fewer visits to the orthodontist, since several aligner sets are provided in advance (so as your teeth shift, you can adjust which aligner you’re using as necessary). Here’s a little more information on how Invisalign works.

One common misconception about Invisalign Teen (that I also believed) is that it can only treat minor or cosmetic issues. This is not the case: Invisalign actually treats a wide variety of orthodontic issues, including severe bite issues, underbite, crossbite, deepbite, overbite, overly crowded, and widely spaced teeth, to name a few. (If you're a parent, here's a great infographic on the process you should take to get your teen or pre-teen Invisalign treatment).

I was also surprised to discover that Invisalign costs the same as braces. In all honesty, I threw away my retainer after my braces came off (don’t tell my parents!), and my teeth are slowly starting to shift again. I would definitely consider getting Invisalign in the future, as it seems like a really convenient way to straighten your teeth – no weird eating habits required.

Looking to straighten out your teeth as well? Enter the Straight Talk Sweepstakes below for a chance to win FREE Invisalign treatment!

Did you ever have braces? Have you or someone you know ever used Invisalign?

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Invisalign. All opinions are 100% my own.

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  1. Hahaha totally color coded ny braces for the seasons too!

    1. Too funny! So glad I wasn't the only one. ;)

  2. I didn't get into the color coded braces but I had them for 4 years!! I would totally use invisalign since I had a similar issue where I lost my retainer....

    1. Haha. I was so mad when my orthodontist told me I had to wear a retainer for life. But now I wish I had kept it...