If you haven’t been genetically blessed with straight teeth, chances are you have considered getting the metal contraption of adolescent nightmares: braces.
From dealing with too-tight rubber bands to wires cutting into your gums, metal braces are no easy feat. But up until recently, they were the only solution when it came to crooked, overlapping teeth.
We’re talking about Invisalign. Regarded as the world’s most advanced digital orthodontic treatment system, Invisalign in Singapore allows for precise, predictable and gradual teeth movement that gives you the straight teeth of your dreams— all of which appears virtually invisible once you clamp them on.
Sounds perfect, right? We thought so, too. But as it turns out, there is more to this treatment than most people think.
Luckily for us, our writer has just undergone (and completed!) her Invisalign treatment. Here is everything she wished she knew before embarking on her Invisalign journey (well, along with the mistakes she’s made, so you don’t have to make them!)
1. You need to have a truck load’s worth of discipline
There’s no better way to guilt you into wearing your Invisalign than by printing it right SMACK on your aligners case, right?
Newsflash, guys: considering how you have to take your Invisalign off during meals, the temptation to keep them off the entire time is really high as well. This especially applies whenever you are issued a new set, where you’ll experience some pain and sensitivity as your teeth begin to move.
Considering how the success rate of your Invisalign actually largely depends on how committed you are to wearing them, I really recommend that those with a lack of discipline (and willpower!) avoid getting Invisalign completely.
It is recommended that you wear them for 20-22 hours on a daily basis— this means brushing your teeth every single time without fail after meals to slide them back on. Ugh! I survived mostly because of my undying determination to obtain a straight, Colgate-worthy smile, but I’ve seen Invisalign wearers give up mid-way due to how troublesome it can all get.
2. You will experience some pain
I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you: it will hurt, especially when you’ve just swapped to a new set! This is because the first few days is when the most teeth movement happens. You can rest easy knowing that it’s not a sharp, persistent sort of pain, though, but more of a dull, throbbing one.
I’ve seen some advice out there about putting wax on your trays to help the situation, but in my experience, all you can do is (literally) grin and bear it.
3. You won’t be able to wear any lip products with glossy or satin finishes
You can see how upsetting this would be for someone who is a self-proclaimed lipstick aficionado. And it’s not something they’ll warn you about at the dentist, either! Unfortunately, I’ve learnt this the hard way.
As it turns out, glossy and satin finishes have the tendency to rub off onto your clear aligners — staining them a variety of colours and leaving your friend to inform you in a rather awkward manner that you, uh, have a little something on your teeth. Trust me, no amount of lip liner or hacks (yes, including popping your index finger between pursed lips) is going to help.
However, you can comprise by wearing matte and ultra matte lip shades. I practically lived on budge-proof formulas such as the Colourpop Ultra Matte Liquid Lipsticks during my time with Invisalign.
4. Snacking becomes the most troublesome thing ever
The pros? If you’re a serial snacker like me, you’ll probably lose a significant amount of weight. The cons? You’ll be miserable doing it.
To be fair, my lack of snacking mostly had to do with laziness. Picture this, though: every time you snack, you’ll be required to yank off your Invisalign, snack, brush and floss, and push it back on again. Only to be overcome by the urge to snack again just two hours later, repeating the whole process. I’m not kidding when I said that at one point, I once brushed my teeth six times a day.
Eventually though, snacking just gets to be way too inconvenient. I’ve heard of many cases where Invisalign users have given up on snacks entirely for this precise reason. Sigh. 1 for health, 0 for sugar-laden sweet treats and crisps. Hey, no one said getting Invisalign in Singapore would be easy.
This, however, does bring me to my next point, which is…
5. Drinking anything but water also becomes a chore
If you love your coffee, KOI milk teas, and/or carbonated drinks… boy, do I have bad news for you. Drinking them casually is pretty much impossible when you have Invisalign on. This is due to how coloured liquids can (and will!) stain your trays beyond recognition. This means that you have to take them off just to drink, brush your teeth, and put it on all over again. ARGH.
My pro-tip? Drink all your favourites alongside your meals. At least this means you don’t have to brush and floss on a separate occasions each time. This actually forced me to start taking my caffeine with food, which works out better for my stomach in the long-run. So I guess there is a silver lining to the situation, after all?
6. You will need to bring a travel-sized toothbrush and toothpaste around with you 24/7
… you will also brush your teeth just about everywhere. I used to feel weird about brushing and flossing in public bathrooms, but putting your Invisalign back on after meals precedes everything, really. Even shame.
You can always just bring around a full-sized toothbrush and toothpaste with you, but I highly recommend a travel-sized one, just so it can fit into your bags and purses easily. My trusty Phillips one accompanied me all throughout the two years of wearing Invisalign in Singapore, making it well worth the SGD100 or so.
7. You will have a little bit of a lisp in the first few weeks
I’m not going to lie— it’s weird, and also a little disconcerting. On some people, it’s not really noticeable, though! A good trick is to keep talking, still, so you’ll get used to it and adjust. My speech was completely back to normal by the second week, and it didn’t affect me further from then.
8. You may have to get attachments on your teeth
Depending on your orthodontist (and if you choose to get Invisalign in Singapore) you may require to have attachments or ‘buttons’ bonded to your teeth. This ensures that the aligners grip each tooth more securely, allowing them to move into place more effortlessly than before.
The process of getting them bonded or molded onto your teeth doesn’t hurt much, and you’ll pretty much forget about the existence of your attachments in the coming few weeks. Don’t worry — they aren’t noticeable by others or even by yourself, except when you run your tongue over your teeth, probably!
9. The amount you pay for your Invisalign in Singapore varies
As much as I’d like to able to give you a concrete figure, it really depends on the dentist you go to, the complexity of your treatment, as well as the duration you’re required to wear them.
From what I know, it can cost anything between SGD8,000 to SGD10,000 to get Invisalign in Singapore. This doesn’t include the aftercare required after Invisalign either, such as retainers, bite guards, and bite adjustments. This also conveniently brings me to my next point, which is…
10. You’re not done after Invisalign, either
Say hello to Invisalign 2.0: your retainer! Yup, the suffering doesn’t end after you’re done with your course of Invisalign. To maintain it, you’ll be required to wear retainers for the rest of your life.
For me, I had to wear them full-time for six months and on nights after the six-month mark. Does this mean you’re never fully done with Invisalign? Pretty much, yup. But considering you get straight teeth from it without having to deal with wires cutting into your gums and too-tight rubber bands, I’d say it is worth it.
11. Your face shape might change after Invisalign
Image on left: before obtaining Invisalign in Singapore. Image on right: after two years of Invisalign treatment.
I’ll admit: this can be credited to the Invisalign diet, where snacking and sweet drinks are pretty much made impossible. However, there is a large part of it which is due to the movement of my teeth, as well. As you can see, my face appears less puffy and round around my lower jaw area. My jaw line also appears sharper and more defined than before (thank god), which is a welcome sight, I’d say.
It really depends on the outcome of your treatment, though. There are reports of Invisalign users experiencing no change in their face shapes entirely, and some who feel that their jaws have gotten more prominent than before. The most you can do is cross your fingers and hope for the best!