Did I Kill My Invisalign Aligner?

I feel like a complete moron. I’m hoping I didn’t completely ruin my Invisalign aligners. I was eating breakfast and slipped the aligners in my robe while I had some pancakes. Then, I accidentally spilled the orange juice all over myself, including my robe. I gathered up all the soiled clothing and tossed them in the washer and then dryer. I was halfway through the dryer cycle when I realized my aligners weren’t in. That’s when I remembered they’re still in the pocket of my robe. I dashed to the laundry room and got them out. They fit okay, just a little more snug than usual. I’m hoping that means they’re just a bit shrunk and not that I ruined them. It would be humiliating to have to tell my dentist what I did.

Karen S. – Florida

Dear Karen,

First, you should never be embarrassed to tell your dentist anything. Believe me, he or she has seen it ALL. Forgetting where you placed your Invisalign aligners isn’t that bad at all. You wouldn’t believe some of the crazy stories we hear all the time. One lady got mad at her boyfriend because he didn’t want to take out his aligners to taste something she cooked for him and she ran his Invisalign through the garbage disposal.

Unfortunately, for your aligners, due to the heat of the dryer, they’re likely warped. The tightness you feel when you put them back on gives that away too. Being warped, they could completely throw off your treatment.

If you were close to the end of your two weeks with your aligners, then you can probably just move on to the next set. You don’t want to do that early too often. It will cause your teeth to come loose. But, just doing it once is no big deal.

If you weren’t close to the end of that set of aligner’s treatment, then you’ll need to call your dentist and have him or her make you a new set. In the meantime, if you have the previous set, wear those to keep your teeth from shifting.

Don’t feel too bad. This kind of thing could happen to anyone.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.

Can Sleep Apnea Kill My Son?

I went in to check on my son the other night. Even though he’s 17 I still like to do that. I get teary every time I think about the fact that he’ll be going to college this summer. Which makes the next thing I have to say even more terrifying. He’s always been a snorer, but I noticed he stopped breathing more than once. I’d start to panic and then he’d just start back again. I’ve been doing some research and I think he has something called sleep apnea. Can he die from that? I kept thinking what happens if his body doesn’t start him back breathing. Is there anything I can do to help him?

Maureen L. – Nashville, TN

Maureen,

I understand your fears. All of them. A child leaving home is a very frightening time of life…for the parent anyway. Most of the time, the children themselves are thrilled to pieces. Though even they, very deep down, are a tad nervous.

Your description of your son’s snoring and pattern of halted breathing does sound like sleep apnea. As to whether it can kill him, to scary answer is yes. The dangers of sleep apnea are heart rhythm problems (which sometimes leads to sudden death), elevated blood pressure, and stroke. However, there is good news. Sleep apnea isn’t difficult to treat.

It used to be the only way to treat this condition was the bulky, noisy CPAP machine. It’s quite hard to get teens, especially self-conscious teens starting off at college to wear the device. They don’t want to appear weird in front of their dorm roommates. However, now you can often wear a simple orthotic. It fits like a small sport’s mouthguard and is discreet and noiseless.

The orthotic repositions his jaw to open up the area of the throat where his muscles are collapsing in on themselves. That causes both the snoring and the halted breathing.

Your son likely doesn’t realize how much this is draining him. He’s probably even unaware it’s even happening. But, when he gets the right amount of oxygen he’ll feel much more awake and alert during the day. He’ll even find it easier to concentrate on his studies.

Get him in to┬ásee his dentist as soon as you reasonably can to have him fitted for the device. They’re custom designed for his specific bite, which is one of the things that makes them so comfortable.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Steve Bader.