The first few days on Invisalign

Sponsored

Getting Invisalign is life-changing in two ways.

First, there’s the permanent effect of having a more beautiful smile, although that comes after the treatment is done.

What’s more immediately life-changing is the fact that you’ll have to make a few adjustments to your lifestyle while undergoing treatment.

Before I begin to share my experience, here are two things I need to introduce:

Attachments. These are tiny tooth-coloured blocks bonded onto the teeth at the start of the treatment. They provide the grip for aligners to move the teeth.

 

Attachments

 

Aligners are the invisible braces in the Invisalign treatment.

 

Invisalign

 

These two things are going to live with me for the next one year (maybe nine months if I’m very diligent) and I have to adapt my life around them.

 

Now, my initial experience.

 

Day 1

I spent more than an hour at the clinic having the attachments glued to my teeth and then going through a practical session learning how to wear and remove the aligners.

When it was all done, my mouth felt distressed with all the extra guests in the house. It felt strange and uncomfortable. And I worried about taking the aligners off on my own when I had to eat next.

The first thing I did was look in the mirror and smile. I was really surprised at how inconspicuous it was. No one would be able to tell I was wearing anything in my mouth unless they were like 10 inches from my face and studying my teeth whenever I smiled too widely.

 

Invisalign
The amazing invisibility of Invisalign

 

I couldn’t stop salivating. Dr Poon said that was going to last a few days. She also gave me three strong painkillers, each supposed to work an entire day. She said the tightness would hurt four hours later.

So I went home and braced myself. When it was dinner time, I sat in front of the mirror and started picking at my aligners. You can’t possibly imagine how tough it is to remove them until you’ve tried it yourself. I certainly wasn’t prepared for it to be that tough even though Dr Poon had repeatedly warned me about it.

“Don’t get a manicure,” she said, “You will definitely break your nails.”

She also said it would take about 10 minutes to remove it in the beginning.

She was almost right. I took eight minutes and broke one nail and almost got into a panic when one side came out and the other side refused to, so it was just dangling halfway in and out.

They are definitely not like dentures, which you can pull in and out as you please. They have a life of their own and will cling on for dear life.

I trimmed my nails shorter after that and told myself I was just going to have one meal a day for the rest of the year.

 

Short nails

 

Eating was a task. The attachments made me feel like I constantly had food stuck in front of my teeth. The inside of my left cheek had gotten swollen and I kept biting it when eating, causing it to bleed a bit.

The clinic had anticipated that. They had given me ulcer cream.

Later in the night, it still didn’t hurt or feel the slightest bit tight. I just felt uncomfortable and my jaws felt tired from not being able to close my teeth together fully.

 

Day 2

I woke up the next day and still didn’t feel any pain like I was expecting to. Worried that it wasn’t working as it should be and I might be wearing the aligners for nothing, I rang up the clinic to ask. They said it’s normal.

I had my first meal of the day in the early afternoon. This time, it only took me three minutes to remove the aligners. What an achievement. A few teeth hurt in the process because the aligners pushed against them quite forcefully as they were being yanked out.

At this point of time, I think the teeth are beginning to become sensitive from having started their journey to their newly assigned place in life.

I ate quickly and put the aligners back on. Teeth and gums hurt when snapping the aligners on. Really hurt. So I took a painkiller (which had a mildly drowsy effect) and then went to sleep for eight hours, waking up at midnight.

Sleeping was a luxury because then I didn’t need to feel the discomfort. I didn’t like the feeling of my teeth being trapped in a case. My gums itched all over. My jaws were still tired. I was swallowing saliva every five seconds. My ulcers were annoying me.

The only thing I expected to have which I didn’t actually have was pain. I guess the painkiller took care of that.

 

Getting Invisalign

 

Day 3

My jaws stopped feeling tired, having acclimatised to their new position. The aligners felt slightly thinner (this is purely psychological, as the body adapts). There was only very slight pain whenever I removed the aligners, and a stronger pain when I snapped them back on, but at a level at which I didn’t even consider taking a painkiller. The pain would go away very quickly on its own.

The only thing that bugged me were itchy gums and saliva. My gums drove me crazy and I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I just sat there and swallowed saliva most of the day, tried to dissociate myself from my gums.

I ate two meals.

The first meal, I still kept biting that swollen bit in my cheek, so I chose to eat ice cream for my second meal.

Ice cream is great. It numbs the itchy gums, doesn’t require any painful chewing, fills you up and is delicious!

 

Sheylara
Wearing Invisalign.

 

Day 4

That’s today. I’m beginning to believe that I can eventually get used to this. The aligners feel even thinner today, my gums itch less and saliva production is almost at a normal level. The pain of removing and putting on the aligners is insignificant and I only bit the swollen cheek once today.

It takes only a minute for me to remove the aligners now, although I still hate doing it and try to put off eating as long as I possibly can. I also still don’t like the feeling of the attachments in front of my teeth while eating.

But, looking forward, what’s going to be challenging is caring for my teeth and aligners when eating out. I’d have to remove them and put them on in a public restroom. I’d have to brush my teeth in public. And I’d have to take care not to have too long meals so that I won’t have to have the aligners out for two long.

The recommend duration of wearing them is 20-22 hours a day, so that means you can spend two to four hours a day eating and cleaning your teeth. You have to brush your teeth each time before putting the aligners back on.

The best thing about all this is that I’m going to be healthier. Sure, I’ll become skinnier than I can technically afford to be, what with trying to eat as little as possible, but it does mean I’ll be healthier because I eat junk food most of the time, anyway, and my body can certainly do with less junk.

When doing Invisalign, you stop snacking because it’s just not worth going through the hassle of removing the aligners and brushing your teeth just for a little snack. Plus you want to wear them as long as possible every day so that your treatment can be over faster.

And that’s all good, right?

I’ve read online that many girls actually get Invisalign as a weight loss tool. Haha. I think it’s a really good deal. You get a slim figure and a beautiful smile at the end of your treatment.

For this, I have Neuglow Dental and Dr Poon to thank!

Neuglow Dental sponsors my Invisalign treatment and Dr Poon is my awesome orthodontist, very patient and kind, taking the time to explain everything properly.

 

Neuglow Dental

 

Dr Poon

 

Will do an Invisalign FAQ next time so ask now if you have any questions!

I hate my hair. I’m going to buy a wig

My hair is the bane of my life!

I’m getting mighty fed up with it. It’s so annoyingly straight and down-hanging, even when permed.

I did kind of enjoy it for a while after perming and colouring it about two years ago because it is easier to style your hair when it’s drier and coarser. At least, when you do a ponytail, it doesn’t start falling apart the moment you get up and walk, which was what happened with my old hair.

This is how I look immediately after a session at the salon (cut + perm + dye):

 

Stupid hair

 

See how the front hangs downwards, covering half my face?

No one in the world can do anything about it, not the best stylist in the world. Because that’s just how my stupid hair grows. Nobody can understand how very infuriating angry I am about it!

Even when I get bangs so that I can have my eyes uncovered, the stupid strands hang down straight like toothpicks instead of curling around the forehead attractively.

 

Good bangs (Korean actress Koo Hye Sun):

Good hair

 

Bad, evil bangs (me):

Stupid hair

 

In order to keep hair off my face so that people don’t mistake me for a broom or a wookiee, I’m forced to either have bangs or wear a hairclip to hold my fringe up. For the rest of my life.

It makes me pretty damned disheartened whenever I think about it.

 

Poor clipped hair, unable to fly freely:

Stupid hair

 

People claim to envy my long hair, but what’s the use of long hair when you can’t style it any way you want?

Recently, though, I realised that I have a third option.

I could wear a wig!

Then I could have any hairstyle I wanted, something I’ve always wanted but have never been able to achieve because of the stubborn nature of my hair.

So brilliant, right?

 

Wig!

 

I’ve mentioned to Piers a few times about buying a wig or three and he always thinks I’m joking. Or he thinks I’m just saying it and not really going to do it.

Like, I gtalked him the other day saying, “I found a nice wig shop!!” and he went, “Hahahaha. Oh. Uh, you’re not really going to buy a wig, are you??”

He thinks I’m crazy, saying I have no reason to wear a wig because he loves my hair.

That’s fine and good, but he doesn’t have to spend two hours washing it, blow-drying and styling it every time he wants to go out. It was worse before I permed it and had to use a curling tong, which would take ages.

What’s wrong with straight hair, you ask?

My natural straight hair looks more like a wig than an actual wig does!

 

Wig!

 

Anyway, everyone fashionable wears a wig these days. I try telling Piers that but he won’t believe me.

I think I’ll buy one, anyway.

It will take some time because shopping for a good wig is like shopping for a good handbag. You have to take the time to choose something that you won’t regret buying.

And I’m going to England this Friday, not enough time to shop anymore. Don’t think I’ll be able to find fashionable wig shops there like we have in Singapore.

Oh, Friday!

Can’t come soon enough!

=)

My wig can wait, I suppose.

Getting my ugly teeth fixed!

Sponsored

I never realised my teeth were crooked until a couple of years back when I went to see a dentist about getting veneers.

He said it wasn’t advisable until I got braces to fix my teeth! (No, he wasn’t trying to rip me off; he doesn’t do braces.)

I have always thought my only problems were that my teeth weren’t white enough and jagged at the bite. I seldom show my teeth in photos because I think I look awful smiling with teeth, but never really knew why!

It was after seeing the dentist that I finally understood. Supposedly, my front teeth are too big and they jut out a bit.

 

Sheylara with crooked teeth

 

How strange I never noticed it all my life.

Anyway, so now I know, and everyone knows, I have ugly teeth. Eee!

But that won’t matter anymore cos they won’t be ugly for too much longer!!

I didn’t get braces back then because I didn’t want to have ugly metal bits on my teeth for two years.

 

Sheylara with crooked teeth

 

But I am now in the process of getting my teeth fixed thanks to Neuglow Dental for sponsoring my Invisalign treatment!

Invisible braces! No ugly metal bits!

I’ve been assigned to Dr Poon, who is one of the kindest, friendliest, sweetest orthodontist you’ll ever meet.

(I’ve always believed that it’s very very important to choose a dentist who’s kind and gentle and empathetic, so as to lessen your fear of being in the dentist chair. =P)

An orthodontist is a dentist who specialises in correcting irregular teeth and that’s what Dr Poon does. She said she chose orthodontics because she can’t bear hurting people, and since braces are life-changing and painless, it suits her well.

So cute, right?

 

Sheylara with Dr Poon

 

That’s me in Dr Poon’s clinic. She has two stuffed doggies which she gives to patients to hold so they’ll feel better about having their teeth poked at.

And while she’s doing her work on you, she constantly chatters with you and tells you anecdotes so you get distracted.

Not that distraction is needed since getting braces isn’t painful. But it can be mildly uncomfortable at some points, so every bit of distraction is good.

Oh the dog has a name. I think it’s Winston Churchill or something like that. LOL. I can’t remember.

Anyway, I’m so excited! Getting a new smile!

Won’t have to hide them all the time anymore. =D

 

Sheylara

 

I’ll get my aligners in late June, cos the lab needs time to make them, and then it’ll take about a year for my teeth to be straightened out.

Whee!

Will tell you more about Invisalign and the process in another post.

In the meantime, if you need some corrective work done on your teeth, you won’t regret going to Dr Poon. Here are the details!

Dr Poon
Neuglow Dental
TripleOne Somerset
111 Somerset Road
#02-02
Tel: 6732 2237

Tips on winning $2,000 cash

Sponsored

Want to win S$2,000 cash, a one-year modelling contract with GLOW magazine and a S$300 product hamper? The Watsons You Awards is here again for the third year running!

This isn’t a beauty contest. It’s a celebration of the YOUnique in YOU, so, if you possess a unique or special look, you stand a high chance of winning. There will be eight winners for eight categories, which is even better!

Watsons You Awards

With effort and dedication, I think everyone can enhance their best features and look great. You don’t have to invest in very expensive beauty products. Most of my beauty and skincare products are from Watsons. They’re affordable and effective and you can always find the latest, best-selling products on the shelves.

So, let’s look at the awards categories for this year and how to win them!

Healthy Hair Award

Wanted
Healthy, beautiful tresses that make people ooh and aah.

Sheylara

My Tips
I’ve been using Asience shampoo and conditioner for years and years. I’ve not found any other brands that make my hair feel smoother and silkier. I seldom use the treatment cos I’m happy enough without it, but I guess I could get even better results if I’m just a bit more diligent.

Asience

Other than finding the right product for your hair, remember also to sleep and eat well. Fruits and vegetables help much. And don’t wash your hair with too-hot water. Rinse with cold water for extra shine!

To get your hair looking best in photos, I recommend taking your photos in natural sunlight. That’s if you don’t have access to expensive studio lighting and cameras.

Take your photos on a nice, sunny day. The sun will bring out the shine and highlights in your hair naturally! Don’t take photos in dim places and use flash or your hair will look coarse.

Oh, and you don’t need to have long flowy hair to win this category. You can still win if you have a bob cut but your hair looks gorgeous and healthy on you!

Ageless Beauty Award

Wanted
A look that becomes more appealing as the years go by, gaining more serenity, self-assuredness and wisdom.

Sheylara

My Tips
Well, okay, I don’t know about the serenity and wisdom part. I’m too much of a playful rascal to be serene and wise. But what I know is that to age well, it helps to keep your skin in tiptop condition, cos the skin is probably the first thing people see that defines your age.

I started taking Meiji Amino Collagen one year ago, succumbing to the hype. And I must say I’m glad I did. The effect wasn’t immediate for me as it is for some people, apparently. It’s more a slow, gradual process. But I think my skin looks a lot better now than it did a year ago.

Meiji Amino Collagen

The area around my nose used to be quite rough and had to be covered with a lot of makeup. Now I don’t need so much makeup anymore!

With better skin now, I shall have more time to focus on the serenity and wisdom part. LOL.

Flawless Face Award

Wanted
A spotless complexion, clear and bright eyes, plump lips.

Sheylara

My Tips
Get a flawless look with clever use of makeup! I think makeup is very personal. You need to experiment a lot to find something that works for you. Makeup needs to enhance what’s nice on you and hide what isn’t, so a standard technique will not work for everyone.

I believe everyone, not just models and beauty queens, can look good with the right makeup techniques.

I mix and match many makeup brands that you can find in Watsons. Like ZA (foundation), Gransenbon Gran Brush (blusher), Silky Girl (eyeshadow), Fasio (mascara), Maybelline (lipstick), just to name a few. Basically, shopping at Watsons is always fun for me because I can always find the latest cool products!

Makeup

Anyway, for the perfect look, experimenting is the key. Try makeup tips from magazines and YouTube videos. They will not all work for you. Keep trying till you find something that works best, and then continue experimenting because learning is a lifelong process!

If you’re going for a photo shoot, make sure you’re wearing liquid foundation. It will result in a more glowing complexion. Don’t use compact powders for shoots because these will make your face look pasty and white. If you need to powder your nose to reduce shine, dust loose powder over it very lightly with a large brush.

To bring out your flawless complexion, you want sparkly eyes. I was taking Meiji Cassis-i A50 Eye Assist pills for a while. It’s supposed to relieve tired eyes and reduce dark eye circles. I felt that it made my eyes look brighter and whiter. My eyes used to get reddish from lack of sleep. But I kinda got lazy about popping pills daily so I stopped. I think I should get back to it!

Meiji Cassis-i A50

Take your photos under natural light. Face the sun. Your eyes will shine! The above photo was taken facing the sun, which reflects a lot of light onto the iris. No fashion contact lenses used to enhance the eyes! It’s all natural!

As for lips, best lip moisturiser I ever used: Nivea Hydro Care Lip Balm. It keeps the lips moist without greasiness. And you know how some lip balms make your lips feel even dryer after a while? This one doesn’t. I love it!

Polished Perfection Award

Wanted
A look that says confident, smart and positive.

Sheylara

My Tips
Makeup can help to achieve a polished look but wouldn’t it be better to have a natural polished look via good skin?

To get good skin, it’s very important to find the right skincare product. For me, I like to switch brands every year or so because new brands seem to refresh my skin.

I used Avène for quite a while when I was plagued with pimples and sensitive skin that often broke in rashes. Avène, being suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin, helped keep my problems under control.

Last year, all those problems suddenly went away (maybe it was Meiji collagen that helped?) and I found that I needed a new brand to correct other problems (like uneven skin tone).

So I tried an expensive brand from one of those shopping mall cosmetic counters and little bumps started growing on my skin, which was very worrying.

Then, one day, I was shopping at Watsons and chanced upon the L’Oréal White Perfect range. There was a promotion and the display attracted me so I decided to give it a try. And, holy macaroni, it worked so well I couldn’t believe it.

L'Oréal White Perfect

Within a week, all the bumps cleared out and my skin suddenly became smoother and more radiant. My cheeks started glowing. And the dull patches that made me look like a zombie evened out. The eye gel in the same range also managed to reduce my dark eye circles even better than the $200 eye cream I was using before. It was quite amazing.

Sporty Physique Award

Wanted
A taut and toned body. Muscles, maybe?

Sheylara

My tips
The only thing I can say about this category is EXERCISE. It’s a no-brainer, really? Go running or swimming. Go to the gym. Pick up a sport. There are many ways to get a sporty physique so you can choose something you’ll enjoy doing.

If starting a routine is the problem, find a friend and set a date. It’ll be harder to beg laziness and pull out at the last minute when you have a friend expecting you to show up. Unless you have no conscience, in which case you’re a worm.

When submitting a photo for this category, maybe try striking a sporty pose rather than stand there like a wooden pole, know what I mean?

Sheylara

Of course, this is all subjective. The best advice I can give is take lots of photos and get a bunch of friends to help you choose the one that best brings out the sportiness in you!

V-Face Award

Wanted
A face with a pleasing, symmetrical V aspect.

Sheylara

My tips
There’s this product range called the Bio-essence V Face Skincare Series which is supposed to help women achieve a firmer jawline and perkier chin. I haven’t tried it myself so I don’t know how it works.

What I know about V faces is that when you smile, your chin becomes sharper. LOL. And if you tilt your face a certain angle, the V becomes more pronounced. So, if you want to submit for this category, try taking photos with all kinds of angles and smiles, and see which one gives you the best V!

Sunny Smiles Award

Wanted
A contagious smile

Sheylara

My tips
People with straight and white teeth have the best smiles! Well, braces help, but it’s a pretty dramatic, long-term treatment. I don’t have very straight teeth but I can’t be bothered to wear braces. Yet. Maybe one day I will.

In the meantime, easier to care for teeth daily with the right toothpaste and toothbrush!

I like using Colgate and changing “flavours” all the time so there’s variety in my brushing routine. And I use an electric toothbrush, which I feel cleans teeth more effectively without harming the enamel (cos people tend to brush too hard with regular toothbrushes). Watsons has affordable Oral B electric toothbrushes that are good to use!

Oh, and floss daily, too. Besides keeping teeth healthy, it also helps with bad breath. Really! I love Oral B Satin Floss. It glides between teeth very smoothly!

Friendly Face (Male) Award

Wanted
A face that warms the room, a smile that breaks the ice with a twinkle in the eye.

Brad Pitt

My tips
When I think of male friendly faces, I always think of Brad Pitt first because he’s got the friendliest smile, ever. But you don’t have to be Brad Pitt to win this category.

I think what the organisers are looking for is a well-groomed face that shows care in appearance. Then, after that, a nice, warm smile that reaches the eyes. This can be achieved by practising the look in front of a mirror until you find the perfect friendly look!

Try thinking of things or people that make you happy. Your face will light up in a smile naturally and that’s when the photo should be snapped!

Remember to groom. Shave or trim your facial hair and slap on some styling products to neaten the, um, hair on your head. If you’re not a model/actor and don’t use makeup, at least blot your face so you don’t look like an oil rig disaster.

I actually use Gatsby Oil Clear Sheet myself. It’s supposedly made for men but I like it cos it’s very absorbant and doesn’t feel oily in the hand after using.

Gatsby Oil Clear Sheet

Well, I think this contest is pretty cool. Anyone has a chance to win if they know how to accentuate specific features that stand out in them. It’s all about individuality and expression, really.

You can submit your photos at the Watsons You Awards website now. No purchase necessary!

If you don’t feel ready yet, there’s still a month to go for you to prepare yourself. The closing date is June 20, 2010. So, get to working! $2,000 and a modelling contract and product hamper are at stake!

Let’s all see how YOUnique you can be, eh?

Let’s all suffer for beauty

I’ve always resented the inventions that supposedly make women “prettier”. How much pain, time and money have they cost women throughout the ages?

I’ve always wished people could be happy to leave well enough alone, and that makeup, cosmetic surgery and beauty treatments never existed. I resent having to put in so much effort to look good.

Makeup

And yet, because all these inventions and implements are in place and have become the norm, I must conform to standards or be overlooked.

To give you a visual image of what I mean, let’s talk about bound feet in ancient China. It was considered beautiful for women to have ridiculously small feet. Females had to endure the pain of having their feet broken and mangled through their lives.

Bound feet

Imagine yourself living in that era. As a girl, you would want to have tiny, mangled feet so you can look as “beautiful” as other girls, to be an object of envy and admiration rather than to be discriminated against or overlooked.

But wouldn’t you wish that the practice never existed in the first place so your feet can grow normally without you feeling the pressure to conform?

But, the way it was, you could have happy feet and be ugly or tortured feet and be admired. Either way, it sucks.

Unfortunately, we still have what I consider barbaric practices today to mould people into societal standards of beauty. Plastic surgery, tattooing, waxing. They are all barbaric because they cause pain.

Tattoos

Sure, everyone has a choice whether to do it or not. But when everyone is doing it and you don’t, you lose out. You’ll find it harder to get jobs and find partners or just fit in. Your self-esteem will plunge and life will be more miserable.

And when your naked photos accidentally get leaked a la Cecilia Cheung, you get criticised by the whole world for not having put yourself under the torture of waxing your privates.

Cecilia Cheung

There are all these people who self-righteously claim that inner beauty triumphs over everything and that painful beauty procedures are dumb. I’m sure even they cringed at those photos.

These people go around criticising celebrities who go for plastic surgery and yet expect women to magically have hairless privates and flawless physical beauty.

There’s no such thing as natural beauty.

Cosmetic surgery existed long before anaesthesia was invented. (I suppose we can count ourselves lucky that those days are past.)

Besides the ancient Chinese binding their feet, the Maori carved up their faces with sharpened bones and applied dye on the wounds to create elaborate patterns. Burmese tribal women collapsed their collar bones to create long necks.

Long neck

I think the long neck thing is still happening today. The tattooing too, with less painful methods.

In the past, painful beauty practices reflected the status of those who were able to do them. Being able to mutilate yourself was an enviable luxury. It’s still the same way today, seeing as how plastic surgery costs the skies.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE WORLD? Who the devil invented these practices in the first place? I wish people would just leave things alone and stop coming up with bizarre ideas for making humans look “better”.

Aren’t we good enough as we are?

Putting on makeup

Unfortunately, we all have to conform to all these crazy standards in order to ease into society better.

Everyone conforms to some standard or other to varying degrees. Some are easier to follow (like makeup and hair cuts) while others are tougher (like big boobs).

But everyone must conform to at least something, which is the whole problem. It’s not easy being the person who gets stared at and pointed at just because you refuse to get a Brazillian wax.

You must suffer, either now or later.

I will state for the record that I opt for beauty. I just wish the option didn’t exist. That’s all.