I had no idea Invisalign would trigger PTSD

I’ve had a very unpleasant week to put it lightly. I went to the dentist last week due to pain in my jaw to find out it was due to muscle spasms with my muscle disease. Also there was atrophy in my face causing my cheeks to get torn up. So, we proceeded with invisalign. This would straighten my teeth, make sure they don’t get damaged with seizures, and make room for the atrophy. All sounding perfect.

Then the orthodontist put these anchor type things on each tooth ( if you have MCS DON”T DO IT!). After that we put the trays in top and bottom. After leaving the office I realized a LOT too late. Normally, I got home take a shower, wash all smells off. Wash off the triggers of the day. Well guess what you can’t take off, invisalign trays!!!! Or the anchors on your teeth! They are there for the long haul. So my logical mind tell me that this is something I must do to protect my teeth and cheeks from the atrophy and the seizures. PTSD has no room for logic.

I came home and showered and had one of my biggest triggering days ever. There was unexpected things with the orthodontist and the invisalign I was not prepared for. The chemical smells from putting the anchors on and more. I have been on overload.

On Tuesday I had an all out panic attack because I could not get the trays out of my mouth and my jaw was locked shut. I worked as hard as I could to get them out but I don’t have the strength in my fingers and when you first get these they are very tight until your teeth shift.

My sweet daughter finally wakes up and I toss her a pair of gloves to put on and say GET THIS OUT OF MY MOUTH. God love this child who put the gloves on and took these bastards out of my mouth after I massaged my jaw enough to even open it. I completely flipped. She calmly told me that even if I did not have PTSD that I would feel trapped by these trays being in my mouth and that many people feel this way. All of this was very calming and kind. But I knew I had to put them back in.

They hurt like a bitch. Mean truly. My lips and cheeks are full of sores and my teeth feel like they are being yanked and smashed.

NOT GOOD FOR PTSD. Just not good!!

Today I had to go back to be reassured by the orthodontist that everything is as it should be and she assured me that it was. She gave me some options for dragging this out in a doable way like wearing them only at night for a few weeks. I cannot prolong this though.

The orthodontist asked me if I’d had braces before. And the words just flowed right out. “I had them at a time I was sexually assaulted and I’ve blocked out a lot of those years out so I don’t remember having them.” I can’t stand up for myself, freeze, can’t speak when triggered, but if I go in prepared then I can just speak my truth right in the moment and I love that I can do that.

I have no recollection of braces but I am told I did have them.

This week has been difficult. I’ve barely eaten or had anything to drink. My husband bought me a lot of mush food, because he is thoughtful and loving, but just taking these trays out has been too much, knowing I had to put them back in. So I have boycotted eating. Which you’d think with a past history of anorexia, I’d be thinking ok great, lets fall back into old ways. But I don’t WANT to fall back into old ways and I’m increasingly distressed over the muscle atrophy and weight loss. I’ve been feeling frail and HUNGRY. So great. I’m hungry, wanting to eat, and yet cannot.

I’m sharing my week with invisalign and PTSD because this is all a learning process for me. I want to share my learning with others. I’m not sure if someone else with trauma would feel the same as I did with the feeling trapped and confined and in pain with these trays being triggering. But I want someone with PTSD to be able to make an informed decision on putting something on their body that will be stuck on them.

I’m just praying I can overcome. It’s day 5 now and I still want to cry and scream. I feel violated by TRAYS!! I mean seriously. Who would have thought! But I do.

Hence my red flag days this week.

I went to an appointment with my daughter that was a four hour appointment and the entire time I kept thinking, “ I can go home and shower and get in bed and rest my muscle pain but I still have to have these stupid trays in my mouth.” I kept trying to turn it around to positive self talk but the triggers are too strong and the pain is overcoming my ability. Had we not paid the 5500 dollars (which I kept reminding myself of) day two I would have taken a hammer to them. Knowing that I need to fix my bite to protect my teeth from seizure and atrophy damaging is my only positive keeping me from bashing these things.

In the mean time I tore off all of my cuticles down my fingers. My husband asked me if it was like cutting and before even thinking of the answer I said yes. So I guess yes is the answer. Yes. Yes is the answer. I tore off all of my nails and my cuticles and my hands are a stabbed bloody mess. So as not to continue this I have decided to write on my blog. It’s prime self harm time at midnight. I’m not going there though. Meds are not helping, distraction not helping, so I am tossing this out to my blogging tribe in hopes of some love and understanding.

53 thoughts on “I had no idea Invisalign would trigger PTSD

  1. SO SO SO very very very sorry, Dear Bethany. It’s just one bloody rotten thing after another. Have you ever read the Book of Job in the Old Testament? Or Archibald MacLeish’s play, JB? I think you can read the play free here:
    https://archive.org/details/jbplayinverse00macl_0
    Perhaps your husband and/or daughter could read with you. It is very hard to read alone; I have found it good to weep together. I would weep with you. TS

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I was recently fitted for a mouth guard since I clench my teeth so hard at night it causes me troubles. It is very triggering, and I’ve never had braces. At first I couldn’t fall asleep with it, but I am to the point that I put it in at bedtime and when I wake up it is on the bedside table in its case. I take it out in my sleep, but at least I am getting some benefit, I guess. The dentist says it’s okay, just keep trying.
    Your situation is so much more stressful, but I get it. It really does feel like being violated!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Omg thank you so much for your input!!! I so appreciate it.
      I was going to get a mouth guard but then we decided to do this instead in hopes I would not grind my teeth if they were aligned. My daughter has a night guard and she loves it. So it is so good to get your insight and know you feel similar to what I do.
      Pretty funny you put it in the container at night in your sleep. I can just imagine you gently in your sleep saying, yeah screw this thanks anyway, and putting it on the table.
      I guess we will both just keep trying

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can’t know how this actually feels but it sounds like total hell. I’m so sorry you’re having such a triggered experience with those things. I know it can be really hard to hold onto the positive and the hopeful when you’re being constantly triggered. If you ever need a distraction from your own mind, I keep a weird sleep schedule, you can always email me. I think I still have a contact form on my website.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Oh Bethany. I am so sorry for you have to go through this. With similar issues about teeth and my mouth, just being in the office sets my body on high alert. It is very frightening. I admire your stamina at seeing this through. My only suggestions are doing as many soothing activities as possible, ones that calm and you love. Anything that distracts or in my case a repetitive, “I’m OK, I’m OK,” is helpful. So wish I could more.

    Liked by 2 people

    • This is helpful. I keep telling myself the same thing and will keep on. Thank you for that insight. I am planning on going on a photo adventure although it is raining now but hopefully I will be able to go out soon to distract myself as being out brings me joy

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh gosh, I’m so glad you finally wrote this. That sounds weird, using the word glad. Not the most accurate word, but what I mean is, when were were going back and forth in the comments about this and you were telling me about how you were feeling I couldn’t really tell how triggering it was. And I’m sorry that I didn’t have that much of an idea of that. B’cause I was just going back and forth with you like a regular matter of fact convo from what I can remember.

    I’m sooo so sorry that this has caused so much triggering for you. I can totally see how it would. Anything painful and/or confining is sure to do that.

    Gotta love that daughter of yours with those comforting words. Your ortho was nice too, trying to come up with something where you could wear the trays less. But I understand wanting to go full force, get through it so you can be done as soon as possible. Ugh! I just hope it gets better and less painful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we were and then I thought well I should write a full post on it for anyone else that may be getting invisalign becasue I want others to know all possiblities. It’s been freaking horrible. Still is horrible. I could rip these out right now and stomp them out I hate them that much.
      But we went out and I took some photos earlier and that took my mind off the misery some.
      I understood what you mean glad. I mean i was half assing the full story and bitching to you basically without saying how and why what was really going on. I hadn’t sorted it through though. Talking to you always helps me to sort through thoughts then I can write them out so thank you for that.
      At first I was just pissed that I was rushed with my initial visit and felt unsettled and unsure of the process at all. But she came in on her day off just to make sure everything was ok and felt badly about how upset i was. So it ended well. But i have these damn things in my mouth and it is really really hard.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’m happy that I can be there for you in that capacity. Sometimes talking/writing it out helps me too, to become more aware of what is actually going on in my mind, in my body. Why I’m having a hard time with what’s going on or what happened.
        I’m grateful I can be a friend to you like that.

        And I love that you write your experiences to help others. This is definitely something that would not occur to some people. I mean, yeah. Let’s go get my teeth straightened. Yippee. Just thinking about the reasons why and the end result. Not giving it much thought otherwise would be pretty natural.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Strangely enough I know exactly what you mean. I grind my teeth in my sleep (apparently lol) and they decided to give me a mouth guard thing; after id finished flipping at the dentists, came home, went to bed and put that thing in; I chewed the ‘unchewable / unbreakable’ mouth guard thing, in half; which i found in the morning at the foot of the bed.
    Take 2 … I dosed up on sleep meds to take away the anxiety … still chewed that bastard in half!
    It’s strange what happens when we’re not sure whats going to happen if you know what i mean lol. I feel trapped by things like this … its the same with jumpsuits; tie up shoes, stockings / leggings; dresses, jewellery … anything that I can’t get off or out of in like 2 seconds flat.
    Not cool.
    You have my sympathies and love xox

    Liked by 1 person

    • Holy crap. I had no idea. This makes me feel so much less alone in this situation!
      I feel the same with jewelry too! And i will never wear stockings. My shoes are so loose they are floppy.
      Thanks for sharing this. Very very helpful to me!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh I’m pleased … funny, half the stuff I don’t share cos it seems weird or I’ve dealt with for so long its my normal 🙂 …. and ditto with the shoes … I love chuck taylor high tops, but cant do the laces up Lol!

        Like

      • I love tons of shit that everyone else wears but I can’t wear them! Cute little buckled sandals and sundresses that have 30 buttons.
        Once, long ago, god you bring out the truths in me!!! Once long ago i was trying to unbutton a dress I had borrowed from someone for a wedding and I couldnt get it off fast enough so i ripped it open and all the buttons flew.
        I can look at clothes on others and think oh how cute but no way in hell. Those scarves they wrap up and loop around. I think i ‘d take a pair of scissors to those fuckers if they were around my neck in five seconds. I once tore a necklace off and broke it just to get it off.
        I’m so glad you shared. Nothing you share is weird. All in realm of normal for me

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re welcome lol.
        I think i’ve done the same … and I just change shit around now. I learnt how to sew years ago and have always altered stuff … but now I completely change shit.
        I got given a beautiful little denim dress thing, but it was too claustrophobic – so I cut that bitch in half and made a skirt 😉 Same goes for tops that don’t work … i’ve hacked off sleeves and rip out buttons and replaced them with zip or just one clip 😉 My wardrobe is definitely … unique lol

        Like

      • My daughter just shakes her head at my blanket i fasten with a chip clip so i can yank it off.
        Love that you can sew
        I get a big fat zero on that and even took a sewing class

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so sorry that you are having to go through this. I can feel the panic and distress in your words. I can relate in that my PTSD gets triggered every time a dentist goes near my mouth. The act of having to force my mouth to remain open triggers me. I also have a very sensitive gag reflex; I flashback to the times when my older brother repeatedly forced oral sex on me. It’s all I can do not to fly out of the chair screaming. Sending lots of love and healing energy to you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • How absolutely horrific you had to endure that and terrifying to go to the dentist knowing it would be triggering.
      I wrote a blog post about the dentist and I worked out an entire plan to go and she worked with me on signs and signals for her to stop so I didn’t feel out of control or vulnerable. It wass very helpful to have something to have in my hands to focus on. But still…the triggers are there and they are strong. Like now the whole orthodontist visit is behind me and yet i continue being triggered.t he moment i wake up i want to throw up with this thing in my mouth. It’s going to be difficult

      Liked by 1 person

      • I read that post of yours. I found it helpful. I work with my new dentist with hand signals – he’s very empathetic. But even though I go in prepared and give the signals it doesn’t stop the triggers. Thanks for sharing. I hope you find a way to comfort yourself while you’re going through this ordeal.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I know. I tried to come up with ideas and some of them did help me but in the end I usually end up leaving feeling pretty fried from it all anyway.
        Thanks for reading my dentist post. I had high hopes but then when I went in to the orthodontist I just was not prepared. Hindsight even if I were it would have only helped mildly. I still try though

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Bethany, sending lots of love. And you can use the contact box to email me, I am in India, 4.5 hours ahead of UK, not sure compared to you but maybe I’d be up when your countrypeople are asleep? Just googled it, it said: ‘India is 9 hours and 30 minutes ahead of Washington, DC, USA,’ so I could be useful in your middle of the night? I haven’t forgotten that you took the time to give me support when I was working through issues, (we chatted on WordPress about dealing with flasbacks) so, if I can be there for you by virtue of time difference… http://www.sadiewolfblog.wordpress.com
    Amazing pink bird photos too, truly amazing!!!! You have such exotic wildlife!
    And if you think of it, on Friday my blog is called ‘Celebrating Others’ and I have put a link to your blog (it is done and scheduled as I will be travelling on Friday.) Thought it might be nice for you to see. It has a cute cat and kittens video on! xxxxx

    Like

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