Tuesday, May 30, 2017

How to take care of Invisalign Retainers / Trays

How to Wash and Clean your Invisalign Dental Retainers / Trays 



by Kathleen Lisson, CMT, CLT

I have had a long, tortured history with my teeth. I got braces when I was a child but didn't use my retainer enough to keep them straight. My teeth became crooked again and I ended up smiling with a closed mouth through my teens and 20's. When I turned 30, I decided to try to fix my teeth again and asked my dentist if there was anything I could do. He suggested Invisalign and took molds of my teeth to send off to the company. We crossed our fingers, and it ended up that my teeth could be fixed! I had some of my teeth removed, others shaved and changed those trays every two weeks for about a thousand weeks, and ended up with straight, beautiful teeth. The same opportunity laid before me at 30-something that I had in my teenaged years - wear the retainer trays every night for the rest of my life to keep straight teeth. I was older and wiser, so I have done just that for the past few years.

This post is NOT sponsored by Invisalign, I am just sharing some tips I found useful to keep those trays clean.

1. Dish soap.
I wondered how to clean the aligners and keep them from staining when I was switching them every two weeks. I tried denture cleaners, but they never got them clean or white enough. I think it was my dentist that shared that cleaning them with dish soap and a toothbrush might help. It does! This is less of a problem now that I only wear them at night. When I was wearing them all day, I would have to brush after every meal and snack, and the retainers seemed to get scummy (I was drinking things I shouldn't have with the retainers in back in those days).

2. Closys
My dentist recommended Closys and I have been buying it ever since.

  • It is a great mouthwash and overall germ killer. 
  • I was surprised when I saw that it is also recommended for cancer patients suffering from oral mucositis / mouth sores at a meeting of the Oncology Nursing Society. 
  • Closys is my secret weapon when I am camping and don't have access to a bathroom. I wake up and swish a capful first thing in the morning and it gets rid of my bad breath. 
  • I sanitize my Invisalign retainers with a capful of Closys to make sure there are no germs on them when I wear them at night.




3. Store the trays in a mouthguard case. I didn't one morning and found my dog munching on them like a chew toy. That was an expensive mistake!
One thing I have not found is an attractive mouthguard case. There are plenty of adults with Invisalign! Why do I have to keep my aligners in a case for a 1. tween or 2. lacrosse player?
If you have seen a classy aligner case, please leave the link in the comments.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Skin Cancer Awareness for Gingers

Skin Cancer Awareness for Gingers



May is skin cancer awareness month! Each year, over two million people are diagnosed with skin cancer. I was diagnosed with basal call carcinoma in 2016 and had to undergo a procedure called Moh’s surgery on my right cheek. Gingers - ladies and gentlemen with red hair, pale skin and freckles - have to especially protective of their skin. I am a ginger and so is my brother. My father was a redhead when he was young and has German, Irish and British genes.

After Mohs Surgery in 2016

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation website, Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most frequently occurring form of skin cancer and are “abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin’s basal cells … (and) often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps, or scars and are usually caused by a combination of cumulative and intense, occasional sun exposure.” Because I was in my early forties and wore sunscreen and a hat every day, I wasn’t expecting to get skin cancer. I am grateful to my fellow volunteers at Moores Cancer Center who urged me to get my ‘pimple that never healed’ checked out by my doctor.

The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends examining your skin from head-to-toe monthly, and seeing a dermatologist once a year for a professional skin exam. If you spot anything new or changing, see your physician or ask for a referral to a dermatologist. We can all take simple steps to protect our skin every day.

  • Did you know that denim and polyester offer better sun protection than loosely-woven fabrics and natural materials? 


  • Another great tip is to wear a broad-brimmed hat when you’re outside in the sun. The hat should be large enough to  protect your face, head and neck. 


  • UV-blocking sunglasses can protect the skin around your eyes. 


  • Keep sunscreen in the car and in your purse!


  • My best tip is to apply SPF sunscreen first thing in the morning, so you won’t forget it later if you have to step outside to run a few errands.


I want to mention again that those of us who are especially fair and burn easily can get skin cancer even when we wear hats and use spf daily. Don’t be afraid to urge a friend to see her doctor if she has a mark that may be skin cancer!  

For more information visit http://www.skincancer.org

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Best Tips and a Shopping List for Recovering after Surgery in San Diego

Best Tips and a Shopping List for Recovering after Surgery in San Diego

by Kathleen Lisson



I gave a short presentation at the San Diego Library’s How-To Festival 2017. 

 I introduced myself and shared that I am a surgery veteran, with ‘emergency’ surgery at 18, dental surgery in my early thirties, complicated reconstructive surgery at 37 and Moh’s cancer surgery at 42 with only local anesthetic under my belt. 

The Visualization Part

I shared a little about what Peggy Huddleston’s Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster with Relaxation and Quick Start CD: A Guide of Mind-Body Techniques is about, including the questions: 

  • How do you want to feel in your hospital room? 
  • How do you want to feel when you are recovering well? 
  • How do you want to feel when you are fully recovered? 


We can separate pre-surgery worries into two types - is it a concern your doctor can answer or is it a fear? If it is a fear, Huddleston advises to turn your attention to your fully recovered end result for 30 seconds to a minute. 

Huddleston’s book focuses on how to use relationships to improve healing, relationships with loved ones, friends, and your doctor and anesthesiologist. 

Your Shopping List

I also shared some tips on what to have in the house or hotel to help you recover from surgery. My list for post-surgery bag (if you’re staying in a hotel) includes what you would normally pack, plus: 

Your favorite Lavender essential oil, rose essential oil, orange/lemon essential oil, geranium essential oil or frankincense essential oil and a diffuser like the URPOWER 500ml Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser Humidifier with 4 Timer Settings, 7 LED Color Changing Lamps and Waterless Auto Shut-off

Laxative like Senna Plus Natural Vegetable Laxative with Stool Softener - 100 Tablets

Maxi pads 

Pee pads like the AmazonBasics Pet Training and Puppy Pads, Regular - 50-Count

Baby wipes 

Slip on shoes (I brought my slippers to show)

Foot stool like the Folding Step Stool - 11" Wide - The Lightweight Step Stool is Sturdy Enough to Support Adults and Safe Enough for Kids. Opens Easy with One Flip. Great for Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom, Kids or Adults.

First aid kit and bandages like the ones your surgeon will use.

Large hand mirror like the Goody Hand Mirror 27847 (Pack of 1), 11 Inch

Plastic mattress cover like Vinyl Mattress Cover Protector (Queen)

A great tip - you can use your ironing board as an extra table when you can’t bend down!

I also reminded everyone to make sure their refrigerator is stocked with easy to prepare, easy to eat foods. 

I shared that a recent tummy tuck client introduced me to Amazon Fresh grocery delivery service. 

I shared my horror story after my facial reconstructive surgery and showed everyone a great resource, Dr. Buford’s Plastic Surgery nutrition book Eat, Drink, Heal: The Art and Science of Surgical Nutrition

Saturday, May 13, 2017

My Doc Says I Need Surgery - Now What?

My Doc Says I Need Surgery - Now What?



Peggy Huddleston's Prepare For Surgery, Heal Faster Workshop in San Diego

I am teaching my popular workshop for reducing anxiety before surgery in San Diego at OASIS. Here are the details! 

Are you feeling anxious before an upcoming operation? Learn how to use your own personalized healing imagery and support from friends and your surgical team to improve your recovery. This well-researched method has resulted in patients reducing their anxiety levels before surgery and using less pain medication afterward. Based on Peggy Huddleston's 'Prepare for Surgery, Heal Faster' method. 

Kathleen Lisson is a Meditation Teacher, Board Certified Massage Therapist and owner of Solace Massage and Mindfulness in San Diego, CA. She specializes in helping people prepare for and recover from plastic, orthopedic and reconstructive surgery. Kathleen has successfully recovered from reconstructive and cancer operations and has a passion for helping others get back to living their life after surgery. 

The class is on Wednesday, 08/02/17 from 10:00 - 11:30 at the Lifelong Learning Center at Grossmont CR. 

Sign up here: https://www.oasisnet.org/San-Diego-CA/Classes


Buy the book and tape here:

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