Karen's Ortho Blog

Karen Hodkin | Mon 13 Feb 2017
Karen's Ortho Blog

Is a little knowledge a dangerous thing? With this blog I hope to find out.

I am a dental nurse with nearly 30 years in the dental business, including Orthodontics, and I have embarked on having the mis-alignment of my Upper Right Canine (UR3) corrected. The system I chose is ClearSmile Aligners and I am having the work carried out by my friend and colleague Anju Mishra. Following my initial consultation with Anju and reviewing the digital set-up. I need 15 aligners, so I’m looking at about 32 weeks from start to finish, because I need to have both my upper and lower teeth treated at the same time. As this isn’t a clinical based blog, but a patient’s view – I won’t bore you with the reasons why.

Week 1


Started with a long appointment for Anju to place the composite buttons and carry out the initial enamel stripping. This appointment took longer than either of us expected but Anju was very patient. As a patient, you experience lots of different sensations during this appointment – smell, taste and a little bit ofsensitivity, nothing unmanageable but not something you experience every day.

The aligners fit over your teeth and the composite buttons engage with the aligners to move the teeth. Initially the aligners feel very strange and a mouth full when first fitted. I found them very tight to get in and out but within 2 days had worked out the best way to remove them. My speech has been affected slightly, another dentist I work with said "you sound like plumy Karen" which made me smile. As I went into different practices over the week that’s how I explained the change in my speech to my colleagues.

I salivate more and have noticed I suck through the retainers – this is something I’m trying to stop as it is making my cheeks a bit sore. This is made worse if I get hungry – then I think my brain thinks the retainers are food and I produce more saliva. Because I’m trying not to eat between meals I’m making sure I have three good meals a day and try to eat each meal a little earlier than normal so I don’t get hungry. I think this is a positive thing but I’ll keep you posted.

Now I am a real tea lover, so for the first few days I did suffer with headaches. Thankfully that didn’t last and by the weekend I started to get into a routine. I have a cup with every meal and one mid-morning, mid-afternoon and before I go to sleep, because I don’t have sugar in my tea and I’m just having a drink – I rinse my mouth with water and put my aligners straight back in. After every mealtime, I clean my teeth thoroughly and then put my retainers back in. Safe to say this week has been a learning curve for me and my professional knowledge has been a help not a hindrance.

I am, also, a keen runner and I am currently training for a half marathon, so week 2 I shall review whether or not my aligners are impacting on my training or not…..

Karen Hodkin

I am a dental nurse with nearly 30 years in the dental business, including Orthodontics