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Invisalign Depression: How to Manage It

Can the demands of Invisalign worsen your depression? Or eventually lead you into a depressive state?

Considering the millions of adults who commit to a clear aligner program each year  it’s a gamble. 

For starters, there’s the constant pressure to stay on track with your treatment plan… which only creates a pendulum swing of emotional fears. 

SUCH FEARS INCLUDE: 

  • Figuring out what to eat when you’re confined to 2 hours a day for meals
  • Actually completing your treatment plan on time
  • Staying motivated when your mouth, among attachments and clear aligner elastics, starts to feel uncomfortable 

It also doesn’t help that nearly 1 in 10 Americans aged 18 and over suffer from a depressive illness. Meaning that clear aligner patients are already prone to a buildup of stressful life events, mood imbalances, and depressive episodes. 

However, these concerns are rarely addressed. 

The below post will cover: 

1) Why pre-existing mental difficulties can lead into Invisalign depression

2) The impacts of depression on one’s daily routine with Invisalign or any clear aligner alternative

3) Tips for managing mood and behavioral disorders when completing a clear aligner program 

Let’s dive in.

Causes of Invisalign Depression

Having depression and/or anxiety can feel debilitating. When you’re in a rut, nothing else seems to matter. 

Even the excitement towards gaining a healthy, beautiful smile may be offset by the constant demands you’re facing. Like having much less time to eat, carrying out what you signed up for, and more importantly, being 100% happy with the results. 

Clear aligners require you to show up all day, every day. There are no pauses, breaks or hiatuses. 

Knowing how not wearing your aligners will jeopardize your progress serves as useless advice. Especially when mustering up the strength to simply brush and floss is the equivalent of scaling a mountain. 

The endurance it takes to complete a clear aligner program while experiencing depression can be claustrophobic. Largely due to the lingering sense of panic.

PANIC SURROUNDING:

  • The shifting of your teeth
  • Talking in public with a lisp 
  • Needing to turn down some food opportunities
  • An obsessive outlook that people are staring at you

It’s no wonder that depression can fester or come to the surface, when clear aligners are all you can think about.  

Accept That You'll Need to Tweak Your Schedule to Account for Your Clear Aligners

For some, adjusting to a clear aligner program may require minimal effort. Yet for the vast majority of candidates, the first week is a complete lifestyle overhaul. 

Assuming that you can just make decisions on the fly isn’t an all-star approach. You’ll need to plan out your eating schedule, plus pack your aligner case and cleaning supplies/accessories anytime you’re away from home. 

Keeping an active roster of your social calendar and events outside of work are easy ways to prevent anxious thoughts or doubts. Virtual and small group settings are perfectly fine if you aren’t into mingling. 

Clear Aligners Demand Attention, But Your Attitude Makes A World of Difference 

It's normal to encounter an obstacle or two and they might not be the ones you’d expect to see. Develop a strategy that will act in YOUR favor if you do find yourself in emotional or mental despair. 

Maybe it’s going for a walk or allowing yourself to take a mental health day when your nerves aren’t under control. 

Tips for Managing Mood and Behavioral Disorders During a Clear Aligner Program 

  • Let your ortho or dentist know about your condition and ask if you can schedule bimonthly in-person visits. 
  • Seek professional support, when guidance from your friends and family  isn’t enough. (Here’s a list of 10 free mental health apps to try in 2022.)
  • Track your good days and not-so-good days in a planner to assess where small changes to your happiness levels can be made. 
  • Be honest with yourself if you’re unwilling to make any sacrifices. Your mental state takes precedence over a straighter smile and there are other alternatives to clear aligners. 

Recap

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that nearly 1 in 10 (9.7%) of Americans ages 18 and older suffer from a depressive illness. While those with mood and behavioral disorders may face long-term psychological barriers, the success rate with Invisalign stands at an encouraging 96%. Well+Aligned by NutrishMe is the only all-inclusive approach to managing food and your mental health when you have clear aligners. You can learn more about Well+Aligned right here

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