Answers to your Invisalign questions

Sponsored

I never thought I’d say this but I’m loving Invisalign after three weeks on it.

I don’t really know why, especially since I had such a hard time with it initially.

Maybe it’s because it gives me some purpose in life, something to look forward to, even though I’ve never really thought about having my teeth corrected. (I’m doing it now because I’m sponsored. Why not, right?)

Maybe it’s because I thrive on the challenge of keeping to the rigid ritual of tooth-brushing and aligner-cleaning that I have to go through several times a day. I’m the sort of person who really hates rituals and sameness, so this is quite a challenge for me.

I’m not loving it to the extent that I want to have it on forever. I still can’t wait for it to be done because it is inconvenient and sometimes painful, but I’m actually beginning to enjoy the process.

 

Sheylara

 

When I was still in Singapore, I started worrying about cramping Piers’ lifestyle because he would always have to wait for me to clean my teeth and aligners after every meal, a process that takes about six minutes at home and longer outside because I have to fix my makeup and hair afterwards.

We can’t now just sit back and relax after we’re done eating, continuing to enjoy, without interruption, our music or TV show or conversation.

But Piers has been very patient and supportive and taking it in his stride. He even does the washing up while I’m cleaning my teeth so the kitchen and our dining table are spic-and-span by the time I’m done, and we can get on with our evening enjoyment.

It makes me feel very bad, especially since he does the cooking, too, most of the time, but he refuses to let me do the dishes and always chases me off to the bathroom to do my teeth.

It helps a lot to have such an understanding partner.

=D

 

Pasta dinner

 

Okay, Q&A now! Here are the questions I’ve been asked:

 

Q: How much does Invisalign cost?

A: It varies from case to case. Mine costs about S$8,000.

 

Q: What’s the process of getting Invisalign?

A: First, you have to go for a consultation to assess whether you’re suitable for it. You’ll have everything explained and all your questions answered. Your next appointment will be to take x-rays and photos of your teeth, and have a mould done. About two weeks later, you get to see computerised pictures of how your teeth will move throughout every stage of your treatment. Six to eight weeks later, you’ll receive your first Invisalign aligners as well as get attachments bonded to your teeth.

 

X-Ray room in Neuglow Dental

 

Q: How long does the treatment last?

A: About one year, typically. Some people finish in six months while some take two years or more.

 

Q: Can I just do one row of teeth if my bottom (or top) teeth are okay?

A: It’s possible to do only one row, but it’s not advisable because both your rows of teeth will be a bit out of alignment when you only wear one row, so you won’t be able to bite down properly. Also, the cost is about the same whether you do one or both rows. Some orthodontists might not do it.

 

Q: Do I have to extract any teeth to do Invisalign?

A: In severe cases, teeth extractions have been done. But this is a question that only your orthodontist can answer after examining your teeth.

 

Q: Can Invisalign close gaps between teeth?

A: Yes it can. In fact, if you have “triangles” between your teeth due to receding gums (those tiny triangle-shaped holes), Invisalign can help to reduce the appearance of that.

 

Sheylara in dentist chair

 

Q: What are the pros and cons of Invisalign and traditional braces?

A: Let’s break this down into different aspects:

Looks – This is the most obvious difference, of course. People really can’t tell you have Invisalign on unless they look really closely, like almost kissing distance. And if you’re still self-conscious about it, you can remove them any time, for an important meeting or photoshoot or whatever.

Cost – Invisalign is significantly more expensive. In some cases, it could be double the amount of traditional braces.

Discomfort – Invisalign causes pain and discomfort just like traditional braces do but I think to a lesser extent. Some people report very minimal pain and discomfort with Invisalign, so I think it varies for different people. You do need to have various numbers of attachments bonded to your teeth, which could also cause some discomfort when they rub against your mouth, but I think they’re a lot better than braces.

Eating – Invisalign is more inconvenient in this area because you always have to remove your aligners before eating or drinking anything other than plain water. And you have to brush your teeth after every meal before putting your aligners back on. That makes it very inconvenient for when you want to eat out. On the other hand, wearing traditional braces means you have a long list of restricted foods, plus metal braces are harder to brush.

 

Sheylara in dentist chair

 

Q: Do you sound or talk differently with Invisalign?

A: For the first week, I spoke with a lisp but my tongue slowly adjusted so now I’m talking almost normally. I think now there is a very slight difference that only I can tell. Piers says I sound the same as I used to. =P

 

Q: Your teeth look perfect. Why do you need Invisalign?

A: My teeth do look okay in some angles, especially from the front, but they are quite crooked in actuality. Here are the computer visuals of my teeth. The top picture shows what my teeth are now. Below that shows what my teeth will look like after the treatment.

 

Before:

Before Invisalign

 

After:

After Invisalign

 

That’s all the Q&As I have. If you have other questions, ask them here and I’ll try my best to answer.

If you’re planning to get Invisalign, do make sure you get it done by an experienced orthodontist who has been trained in Invisalign procedures, so that your treatment will be smooth and without complications.

I am lucky to be treated by Dr Poon, courtesy of Neuglow Dental @ TripleOne Somerset. She’s very experienced and also very sweet, gentle and patient. But I don’t have a proper photo of her because she’s also very camera shy, lol.

 

Dr Poon, Neuglow Dental

 

You can see in the background her two doggies which she gives to patients to hold on to for comfort when undergoing uncomfortable or boring treatment. They’re mostly for her children patients, I think, but she always gives me Winston the bulldog whenever she has to do stuff to my teeth.

Anyway, it’s quite important to get a nice orthodontist because you’ll be meeting him or her a lot during the process of your treatment.

I’m planning to be done with my treatment within seven or eight months. Hope my teeth cooperate! Can’t wait to see how I look, even though I’ve already seen the “after” picture in the computer program. Will be so weird to not have to bother with aligners again!

Will leave you with two more photos. They show how unnoticeable Invisalign is!

 

Wearing Invisalign:

Sheylara

 

Not wearing Invisalign:

Sheylara

 

OCD me

Four more days until I leave for England again, so much to do before I go, and I’m addicted to K-drama, courtesy of the Goonfather, who passed me five series to watch.

I told myself I would just watch one episode to see if the series is good enough to put in my iPad for my long plane journey. (My iPad only has space for about eight episodes so have to be very choosy.)

But have you watched Korean dramas, especially top rated ones? You can’t stop, even if they’re annoying at times when old people start yelling at each other.

I just started watching 49 Days, about a sweet young thing who gets into an accident just days before her wedding and lapses into a coma. To prove that she is worthy of coming back to life, she has to collect three genuine tear drops from people who love her, within 49 days, the catch being that they can’t be family members.

 

49 Days

 

I don’t watch a lot of TV (I spend more time on games) but when I do watch a series, I have an inclination to get obsessive-compulsive about it.

Which explains why I was able to watch the entire first season of 24 in 27 hours. It was actually my second viewing. I was watching it with Piers, who had never watched the series before.

I think Piers is as OC as me. We have the same kind of disorder whereby, when we play a game, say, Angry Birds, we’ll play levels repeatedly until we vomit just so we can get three stars every level.

I don’t play Angry Birds but Piers does. My latest project is Slice It. Must get five stars and perfect for every stage. Have done Episode 1, working on Episode 2, but K-dramas are distracting me.

 

Slice It

 

One of the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is having a compulsion to make lists and schedules.

That’s me. I always something going on, a list or log or something.

When I told Piers that I’m keeping a log of the minutes I spend each day not wearing my Invisalign aligners, he laughed and said I was crazy.

I don’t see why! I think it helps me better gauge when I can change a new set of aligners.

But maybe I’m one of the few people in the world who would actually do a thing like that. Wonder what Dr Poon will say to that when I see her on Thursday. Haven’t seen her since I got my first set of aligners about two weeks ago.

After every meal, I jot down in my iPad the number of minutes I’ve had my aligners off.

 

Invisalign log

 

It encourages me to spend less time eating every day so I can have loads of impressive low numbers in my spreadsheet cells.

So far, on average, I have worn my aligners for 22.5 hours each day, more than the recommended 20-22 hours!

So proud of myself.

Not sure I can keep it up, though, cos when I’m in England (FOUR DAYS’ TIME!!!) I should be spending a lot of time eating because Piers said one of the things he likes about me is my gluttony.

I should be so flattered?

 

Piers and Sheylara

 

Invisalign

I thought I’d be in discomfort for a year because I was finding it impossible to get used to Invisalign in my mouth. But just 11 days into it, I hardly feel it anymore.

Was playing on my iPad before bed last night when I suddenly couldn’t feel plastic in my mouth and for one horrifying moment, thought that I had forgotten to put my aligners back on after dinner, which was ages ago.

Turned out it’s just my mouth has started to adapt.

Teeth

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! I have severe back pain and got acetaminophen with codeine and diclofenac. But that didn’t work enough. Then I got Tramadol tramadolhclnorx.com and that finally helped. I’m just a little tired of the drug… Otherwise, I was always very quick, now I need it forever. The other side effects are not that dramatic.

 

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!

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