For those of us who are not genetically blessed with straight teeth, chances are you have considered getting the metal contraption of adolescent nightmares: braces.
From dealing with common brace-wearing problems such as rubber bands that are too tight and wires cutting into your gums, metal braces are seriously no easy feat. But up until recently, they were the only solution available when it comes to crooked, overlapping teeth.
The new alternative that we’re referring to is Invisalign, of course. Widely 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 appear virtually invisible once you clamp them on.
This alternative option 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 undergone (and completed!) her own Invisalign treatment. And here, she is sharing everything she wished she’d known before embarking on her Invisalign journey as well as the mistakes she’s made, so you can avoid making 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 on your aligners case, right?
Newsflash, guys: considering how you have to take your Invisalign off during meals, the temptation to put them back on afterwards is really high. This is especially so whenever you are issued a new set, where you’ll encounter some pain and sensitivity as your teeth begin to move.
It is also recommended that you wear your Invisalign for 20-22 hours on a daily basis – this means you’d have to brush your teeth every single time after your meals without fail to slide them back on. Ugh! I survived mostly because of my undying determination to obtain a straight, Colgate-worthy smile, but I’ve encountered Invisalign wearers who give up mid-way due to how troublesome it can all get.
And since the success rate of your Invisalign largely depends on how committed you are to wearing them, I highly recommend that those with a lack of discipline (and willpower!) avoid getting Invisalign completely.
2. You will experience some pain
Look, I’m just gonna be honest and not sugarcoat it for you: it will hurt, especially when you’ve just swapped to a new set. This is because the first few days of wearing the Invisalign is when the most teeth movement will occur. You can rest easy knowing that it’s not a sharp, persistent sort of pain though, but more of a dull throb.
I’ve seen some advice out there about putting wax on your trays to help ease the discomfort, but in my experience, all you can do is (literally) grin and bear it.
3. You won’t be able to wear any glossy or satiny lip products
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, lip colours with glossy and satin finishes have the tendency to rub off onto your clear aligners and stain them with a variety of colours, 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 compromise 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 snack-eater like me, you’ll probably lose a significant amount of weight. The cons? You’ll be really miserable doing it.
That’s because every time you snack, you’ll be required to yank off your Invisalign, snack, brush, and floss, then push it back on again. Only to be overcome by the urge to snack again two hours later, repeating the whole process. I’m not kidding when I said that I once brushed my teeth six times a day courtesy of my snacking habit.
Eventually though, snacking just becomes too inconvenient so trust me when I say you’ll give up munching on your favourite tidbits in due course. I’ve heard of many cases where Invisalign users have given up on snacks entirely for this precise reason. On the plus side, score one for health, zero for sweet treats and salt-laden crisps. Hey, no one said getting Invisalign in Singapore would be easy.
This, however, brings me to my next point, which is…
5. Drinking anything but water also becomes a chore
If you love your coffee, bubble tea, 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 separate occasions during the day. Invisalign has 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
Spoiler alert: you will have to brush your teeth just about anywhere and everywhere. I used to feel embarrassed about brushing and flossing in public bathrooms, but putting your Invisalign back on after meals precedes everything, really. Even shame.
You can always bring around a full-sized toothbrush and toothpaste with you, but I highly recommend carrying a travel-sized set with you, just so it can fit into your bags and purses easily. My trusty Phillips one accompanied me throughout my entire two years of wearing Invisalign in Singapore, making it well worth the S$100 price tag.
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 that I learnt is to keep talking, so you’ll get used to it and adjust in no time. My speech was completely back to normal by the second week, and it didn’t affect me further after that.
8. You may have to get attachments on your teeth
If you choose to get your Invisalign done in Singapore (and depending on your orthodontist), you may be required 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.
The process of getting them bonded or moulded onto your teeth doesn’t hurt much, and you’ll pretty much forget about the existence of your attachments in the coming few weeks. You don’t to worry much about other people noticing your attachments either – even you might hardly see it, 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 share with you a concrete figure, it really depends on the dentist you go to (whether it’s a local dentist here in Singapore or if you’re in Ohio, USA, consider this dentist in Avon Lake), the complexity of your treatment as well as the duration you’re required to wear them.
From what I can gather, it can cost anything between S$2,888 and S$8,000 to get Invisalign in Singapore, depending on the complexity of your treatment. This doesn’t include the aftercare required after you complete the Invisalign treatment either, including retainers, bite guards, and bite adjustments. This also conveniently brings me to my next point, which is…
10. You’re not entirely done after Invisalign, either
Say hello to Invisalign 2.0: your retainer!
That’s right, 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? The answer is a resounding yes. But considering how Invisalign can give you a set of beautifully straight teeth without having to deal with wires cutting into your gums and too-tight rubber bands, I’d say it’s worth all the trouble.
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 with the amount of cleaning work that has to be done afterwards. However, it is also largely 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 jawline appears sharper and more defined than before, which I’d say is a welcome sight.
This face-slimming benefit really depends on the outcome of your treatment, though. There are reports of Invisalign users experiencing no change in their face shape, while some feel that their jaws have gotten more prominent than before. The best you can do is cross your fingers and hope for the best!
Alternative to Invisalign: Zenyum
Invisalign is indeed one of the most popular and effective invisible braces in the market.
We also note that there are many who are considering Zenyum as an alternative to Invisalign. Zenyum is often seen as a cheaper alternative to Invisalign, setting most patients back by S$2,400 on average. In addition, while most braces are worn for an average of 24 months, most patients using Zenyum need to wear its invisible braces for only three to nine months to see substantial results.
While all these sound too good to be true, note that the criteria for Zenyum is a lot more stringent; in other words, not everyone is a suitable candidate for the treatment, as compared to Invisalign, which is able to help most patients with misaligned teeth. Zenyum mainly targets mild to moderate cases and your condition will need to be assessed before you are confirmed as a suitable candidate for it.
To learn more about this teeth-correcting option in Singapore, visit the official Zenyum website.