Zoe Foster wants to talk about your teeth. Seriously

Me with my Invisalign. Invisabley, no?

I am getting an assessment for Invisalign soon and would love to know your thoughts (and reader’s comments!) as I saw on Twitter you had them fitted? Thanks, Catherine.

Catherine, I would love nothing more than to discuss the plastic trays that have resided in my mouth in recent weeks. As they are kind of all I think and talk about at the moment, it seems appropriate to also write about them.

Now, if you’re like A Lot of People, you will be kind and flattering and say something like:

But Zoe, despite your revolting habit of wiping fingers with excess lip gloss on them onto your legs, we will forgive you, because you have straight teeth! In lieu of said straight teeth, would you go and have Invisalign? What, are you some kind of LOONY? Some kind of SUCKER FOR DENTAL VISITS? A disturbed PLASTIC FETISHIST?”

While I very much appreciate the compliment regarding my straight teeth, I must aggressively assure these people that there is more to Invisalign than straightening.


For those who have never heard of Invisalign: They are a very modern and invisible way to sort your teeth out, consisting of what is essentially clear, plastic mouthguards that sit tightly over your teeth and gently persuade them to shift into a new position with money, diamonds, bicycles and other tantalising bribes.

If it’s appropriate for one’s teethy issues, (and sadly, it isn’t always), it is a terrific and far more cosmetically pleasing alternative to traditional braces. Just ask D. Goodrem, J. Bieber and any other famous friends you might have.

So, here’s why I have these trays in, and why I will continue to have them in for 22 hours a day for six months. (I got off lightly; some rascals have them in for two whole years.)…

Ready for some sexy dentistry chat?!

The trays. (These ones are fresh and therefore free of lodged food.) (Gross.)

I have crowding in my front teeth, which is common as we age. This causes the teeth to migrate forward, which wouldn’t be too much of an issue if I didn’t GRIND LIKE A DRUNKEN PATRON IN AN RnB CLUB ALL DAY AND NIGHT.

Once the teeth slip past their contacts with each other, they’re unstable and move further and further, and things get real crooked. So, we are getting in early before that happens, and it all becomes a major (and very $$$$) mess, and the possibility of traditional braces – not to mention a jaw reconstruction (cute!) – become very real indeed.


Also, and this explains why I’ve never been able to mimic the dazzling smile of one B. Spears, I have a deep overbite. This means my front teeth are all worn and if I can halt and change that now, it means we don’t have to rebuild them (probably with Play-Doh, I suspect) later.

As a fun side effect of all this serious stuff, I get a bit of neatening up on some wonky fangs, and my excellent and honest dentist (Dr Angelo Lazaris, in York St, Sydney) tells me I might score a slight leaning forward of my upper front teeth, which translates to a little more support and fullness to upper lip, and which also translates to: “less need for lip plumping glosses”. WIN!

So, there you go. What fun that was! As for what you can expect from the process, Catherine, I’m quite sure it varies for everyone but here are my thoughts and comments and points:

– Six weeks before they’re on your chops, you have moulds taken of your teeth.

– Getting them fitted is fine and takes half an hour. It’s literally like popping mouthguards in before going to sleep, something I’m familiar with due to aforementioned grinding.

– The first two days of having “the mouthguards” in are a bit ouchy. This is because they are pushing all naughty teeth into another direction. You mostly notice the pain when you pop them back in after having them out for eating, but within a few days it’s fine.


– You MUST follow the rules! No rebellion allowed! When they say wear them for 22 hours a day, they mean it. Take out only for meals then straight back in, thank you. No point being a badass, because it will just mean you wear them longer later, and it will cost more. (Cash and effort.)

– You are given new trays every fortnight, which is great, because they start to get a leeeetle bit manky I’ve noticed.

– I brush my trays every morning and night (and sometimes through the day) when I brush my teeth. They can get stinky, and it’s one of the rankest smells this pea has ever smelled, to be honest. (Like… trapped garlic in plastic. Which is precisely what it is.)

– I sometimes forget they’re in and pop food into my mouth. This is stupid. Don’t do it. You can’t eat with them in and there is no point trying to cheat the system as I discovered with A) blueberries, b) chewing gum (yes, really) and C) a smoothie. Mints seem to work, though.

– People do not notice them. Well, actually some do if they’ve had them or are sitting across from me for a longish time, but mostly, no. Which, because I am juvenile, means I usually end up pointing them out and then taking them out in front of them so they can see. This is absolutely revolting and not to be encouraged. There are strings of spit upon removal, and no one needs to see that.

– I get an adorable ‘s’ lisp for a little bit when I put them back in after taking them out to eat. Judging by their smiles and laughter, people seem really enchanted by this, so I plan to do it even after the Invisalign is over.


– I always carry my dorky Invisalign case around, because I’ve nearly lost them a few times by popping them into napkins while at cafes, and you do naaaay want to lose these little fellas.

– Kissing is a bit weird. It’s like you’re… practising or something.

I’m quite fresh to it all, having only had them in for two weeks, but they’ve completely integrated into my life already. I feel weird when they’re NOT in my gob, to be honest, and reach for them like a person reaching for their reading glasses in the dark as soon as I’m done eating. (I always rinse my mouth out before putting them back in.)

I feel a bit smug getting all pre-emptive on my teeth issues. I really do. I’ve had a sister and an aunt who’ve both had jaw reconstructions and long periods of braces and plates because of their grinding and that isn’t, strangely, as appealing as you’d imagine.

Teeth are important, you know? They are huge part of self-confidence and appearance, yes, but they can also be the cause of headaches, jaw pain and even face shape. How perfectly grim.

Look, it’s a bit of inconvenience, Catherine, and our teeth look shinier than usual, I know, but it ain’t braces, and we will get through this! We will get through this.

Zoe Foster is an author, columnist and porridge fan. She was beauty director of Cosmopolitan, Harper’s BAZAAR and PRIMPED and then collated all the best tips and tricks from her time in these roles for the beauty bible, Amazing Face. She is currently the dating columnist for Cosmopolitan magazine, although her best advice in this arena can probably be found in the dating and relationship guide, Textbook Romance , which she co-wrote with Hamish Blake. Zoe has published three novels, Air Kisses, Playing The Field and The Younger Man, and she rates them among the best novels ever written in the history of the written word. Find more info on her here, or supervise on her daily procrastination here and here.

Please understand that Zoë cannot respond to ALL your questions – but never fear, there are readers that are bound to know the answers, so don’t be afraid to ask.