Saturday, June 29, 2013

My Invisalign Experience

I've wanted to blog about my Invisalign experience for a while but have continuously put it off. Better late than never though right?

I started Invisalign about mid-June last year. Kind of funny how it happened... my Moo-ma had been hassling me for a while to get braces and even given me some funds for it but I just kept putting it off because honestly, I didn't think my teeth looked too bad. Sure they were a little crooked, but they were the kind of teeth that my Dad would describe as "lending charm to a smile".

I did however, want to get my teeth whitened. I have yellow teeth from antibiotics (wayyyy back from my adolescent acne days) and they've bugged me for ages... but friends and family advised that if I was going to get my teeth whitened, and then get braces, my teeth would only turn yellow again so I may as well have my braces done first.

One day, I casually mentioned this to my dentist and she almost burst with excitement. Coincidentally enough, she was just about to begin her Invisalign training, and needed a guinea pig. Would I do it at a discount of half price?

Hell yeah.

So that's how I decided to start Invisalign. At half price.

It was going to cost me about $8000 for the entire package, but at my special discount, it was only $4000, and I claimed quite a bit back on private health.

The first consultation was one where they took imprints of your teeth, photos and discussed how you wanted them to look. This was also the day I found out that I had a gummy smile (is there something that isn't wrong with my smile?). Would I also like to fix that? I gave it some thought, and decided not to... I didn't think my smile was gummy, and I think I'm the only person whose opinion counts in this matter, so there! Imprints and photos took a while (an hour and a half) but it was my dentist's training session, so it's much faster for others.

And then, Invisalign lost my imprints. And I later found out that they also lost the photos that I painstakingly modeled for... which is why I haven't got any before photos, but I do have the moulds so hopefully that suffices to show how much progress my teeth have made.

You can see that while my bottom jaw is fairly straight, my top jaw has teeth that are quite misaligned

My first pair of aligners were easy to get used to. They were however, cumbersome when it came to eating time, and I had the misfortune of having to start my treatment right when I had to leave on a snowboarding holiday in New Zealand. So there I was... unable to have my braces out for more than 2 hours a day... having it hinder my foodie explorations and aspirations while abroad. Other than that, it was peachy, and I thought I could handle this easily.

Then I found out that those were the training wheel aligners. Next came the attachments. Can I just say that having attachments put on was one of the most tormenting experiences of my life... ok so my life is pretty cruisy so that doesn't say much... but it was! It took over an hour to get my attachments on... my lips were so dry and cracked and swollen from all the prodding and pulling that I got it stuck in my aligners when I put it on the first time, and boy did that hurt! I think I felt pretty miserable that day...

...only to find that the next few days weren't much better. Trying to get the aligners off with the attachments on was a nightmare! I cracked the aligners because they were so tightly on that it was so difficult to get them off... and I told my dentist that the next time I saw her. She sympathetically handed me an Outie, a little hook thing that helps you get your aligners on and off. And they worked! I was sooo relieved because my nails were sore from having to remove the aligners all the time.

Outies. Also known as Life-Savers

After I got used to taking off and putting on the aligners, the other aligners were a breeze. Meal-times were still a bit of a bitch, but gradually I got so used to them that I didn't even think about it or feel awkward to remove it at the dinner table. My friends were very understanding though.

Only a few weeks ago, I came off my final aligner, number 24, and am now on retainers. Hooray!!

Here are my final aligners and my new smile.

My final aligners. The teeth in my lower jaw are angling outwards now, and my upper jaw's progress is incredible!

I think my smile is pretty straight now, albeit still yellow :P The amazing thing is I haven't even bothered to do any whitening treatment

Things you need to know before you start Invisalign 

  • If you need to take frequent meals in a day, this is not for you. If however, you want to lose a bit of weight, this might actually help to control your diet. 
  • Invisalign aligners are quite hard to keep clean. You'll have to brush your teeth before putting your aligners on which means every meal time. I found that this caused my gums to become a little sore and inflamed, so I let it slide and only brushed twice a day. Luckily my "orthodontist" is also my dentist, and she'd scale my teeth and cleaned it often. 
  • You will need to keep all your Invisalign aligners after treatment in case you need to go back to them in the future. 
  • Invisalign are not really invisible. You can see them,, especially when you have attachments on. In fact, they may be more obvious than regular white ceramic braces, because not all of your teeth may have attachments. 
  • You can see the final result of your Invisalign treatment, so you know what your teeth will look like by the end of your treatment. 
  • Part of the Invisalign treatment is to file down the sides of your teeth to create more space for movement. I had no trouble with this, but I can see that this would make some people uncomfortable. 
  • Invisalign, while not as painful as traditional braces, still hurts. Don't listen to what the orthodontist might tell you... it hurts. 
  • If your aligners crack (and not because you accidentally stepped on them), it's because you didn't wear the previous aligners long enough. It happened to me a few times and I was so alarmed... I didn't know why it was happening and couldn't find any reasons on the internet at the time. 
  • If you suffer from night bruxism, invisalign could be for you. I actually found that these worked well in place of a night guard, although you do get bruised gums from teeth clenching etc. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Friday Faves

It's been a crazy week, and a bad one for me fitness-wise because I'm missing my good pair of runners! It's also been a little hard for me to get back into a routine post-sickness but my motivation levels are getting there. I should be back in my game next week, ready to start Week 7 of the Couch to 5K program - 4km running! I'm psyched! I've also got a little top-secret blog experiment in the works to be carried out next week, so stay posted.

Here are my top 5 favourite things for the week! 

1. That yogi who was taking snapshots of other yogis during meditation
She probably checked herself into Facebook too. This photo sparked outrage among the yogi community and it's not hard to see why. I just think it's absolutely hilarious. Full story on YogaDork 

2. Bird Machine by DJ Snake 

I'm so into this, I think it's perfect for working out, cleaning the house to, or just for plain good ol' listening. One of the best tunes released this year, in my humble musician's opinion. Check it out on Youtube

3. Lumosity 
It's supposedly meant to make you smarter. But I think of it as the perfect time-waster... addictive, yet apparently good for your brain, Lumosity is a brain-training website full of IQ-improving games such as memory matrixes, math questions and word-building games. 

4. Neutrogena Hand Cream Norwegian Formula 

This. This is some miracle elixir. I was skeptical when I saw the claim 'Just a dab heals dry skin' but it really does! Some pretty potent Norwegian formula this is! 

5. Poetry 

This completely brightened up my day and I hope it brightens up yours too! 

Happy weekend! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Easy Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegetables

I needed a change from my regular diet of winter vegetable soups and stews today, so I decided to make something colourful that featured my favourite superfood, quinoa! Not only is this salad a beautiful assortment of colours, it is also nutritious and warm, so it's still perfect for winter.

Warm Quinoa Salad with Roasted Vegies 

3 cups cubed vegetables (I used eggplant and zucchini, but you can use capsicums, carrots, pumpkin, parsnips...) 
1 red onion sliced into wedges 
1 punnet of cherry tomatoes 
1 cup quinoa 
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed 
cumin to taste
2 cloves garlic 
2 cups stock/water 
Feta to crumble  
Balsamic vinegar and olive oil 

Preheat oven to a moderately high temperature (180-200C).
Mix vegies, onion and tomatoes with 2 tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Pour into baking dish, and roast till cooked, about 10-15 mins.
Fry up the garlic and cumin in some oil, and add the quinoa. Add stock/water and cook till quinoa is puffed and fluffy.
Toss together the quinoa, roasted vegies and chickpeas, crumble feta on top. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve onto plates and drizzle with oil and balsamic vinegar.

Voila, ready to be consumed!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

5 Ways to Reduce Stress

Anyone who has reached adulthood has to deal with stress at some point in their lives. I know I do on a daily basis... in fact, a little bit of stress is good for you to keep your mind sharp and your muscles ready to go thanks to the good ol' fight or flight response. Gotta love our sympathetic nervous system!

Sometimes though, we become too overrun by stress to properly function. So, how do we keep life in the balance? 

1. Just breathe 
Sounds too easy? It really is! Yet, it's the most effective relaxation tool out there. Taking in deep breaths from the belly calms your nervous system, reducing the production of adrenalin and keeps you sane. We often forget to breathe deeply, so set little reminders in your day. Try taking three deep breaths every time you stop at a red light the next time you're in a car! 

2. Make yourself a hot drink 
It could be chamomile if you wish, but I've found that any non-caffeineted hot drink does the trick. Even hot water with a squeeze of lemon. 

3. Go for a walk 
Step outside, breathe some fresh air. Walking is a good way to clear your head, and a nice way to spend time with family and friends! 

4. Don't pack out your day 
I'm guilty of biting off more than I can chew. Allowing yourself plenty of time to get things done takes out the urgency of daily life. Perhaps a little hard to do at work if you have little choice over your workload, but definitely something to keep in mind for home life. Always rushing to get to places? Try leaving a little earlier so you have more time to get there. It may mean that you might have to take a prior activity out so you have more time to get ready and leave, but it's worth it. 

5. Smile even if you are having a bad day 
Think this sounds ridiculous? It might be, but it definitely works. Try faking a smile and I'll be damned if you don't start genuinely smiling at the how silly you feel. Want to take it a step further? Try some laughter yoga sessions! 

How do you deal with stress? 

Monday, June 24, 2013

Craving that perfect crunch?

What's the best thing that could happen on a Monday?

Free rice crackers in the mail, of course! 

I was lucky enough to receive some samples of Fantastic's Crisp'ns Rice Crackers, and boy are they delicious! Just the perfect thing when you have the munchies too, and a Godsend if you a fan of chips or other savoury crackers, and do not want to pile on the kgs. 

I received two serves of Crisp'ns in two different flavours - Original and Barbeque. One single serve is about 60kJ give or take, and has very low fat content! 

The Barbecue flavour was definitely my favourite. The flavour was so intense, it took away from the subtlety of the Original flavour that I tried second. Both have a really crunchy, light and airy texture. I much prefer these over previous brands of rice crackers that I have tried. It reminded me of my childhood  favourite - Wang Wang crackers! 

Tastes just like these!

The Barbecue flavour does add on a "whopping" extra 3kJ per serve though... so extra time on the treadmill may be required :P A recommended serving size is also a measly two crackers! Good luck keeping to that, these babies are so delicious! 

Like all processed foods, this will not be as healthy as munching on carrots, but if you want an occasional indulgence, why not give this a go? I rate this a 4/5...only because I'm sad I can't have more. 

Will you be giving this a go? What's your favourite snack? 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

It's Tea-Time! Nerada Organics Rooibos & Vanilla Tea

I am obsessed with Rooibos since I discovered it via Sadie Nardini's 14 Day Yoga Detox Course. And why shouldn't I be considering all it's awesome benefits?

It's caffeine-free, aids digestion and allergies, and has cancer-fighting properties... in fact I wrote all about it in August 2012!

My local Coles has started stocking more variety of Rooibos so it's not just limited to Just Rooibos now (although Just Rooibos is mighty tasty, and still one of my favourites). I recently picked up this box of Nerada Organic's Rooibos and Vanilla tea because it was on sale, and was the Johnny Come Lately of the tea shelf!

It's fairtrade, and organic! Both double ticks in my books, and added vanilla? It sounded too delicious!

But I'm afraid that's where my love affair ends with this tea. When I first opened the box, the vanilla scent was overpowering. However, when the tea was brewed, I couldn't really taste much vanilla in it. Mild rooibos taste... probably the mildest out of all the rooibos teas I have tried.

The other thing that really annoyed me were the labels. They were stuck onto the bags with a fairly strong glue, so the first few bags I tried, I'd rip accidentally because they were stuck on so fast! My frustration levels were through the roof the first few nights I had my cup of rooibos... nothing worse than having a torn teabag!

Value for money? This is one of the cheapest rooibos boxes around, especially for something organic and fairtrade. Sadly though, I won't be repurchasing.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sorry for the lack of posts but...

I have just been really sick for the last two weeks, and the "neck rule" has indicated that I am in no exercising condition. The "neck rule" basically means that if you have an infection/illness that affects areas below the neck, you need time off. I've also just been completely physically exhausted from being sick, so there's that too :P

I've also been gearing up for my return to uni in July, and have been procrastinating by tweaking my template instead of writing posts for you.

I must be the least consistent blogger out there... I'd like to say that it will change, but I'm not sure how things will go once uni starts.

So, my current update to keep this blog alive! I'm sure there will be more updates soon.