I hated taking photos when I was about 9 to 11.
Other than the fact that I was plump, I hated seeing my side profile; my upper teeth protruded so much, I couldn't even close my mouth.
Knowing how bad I felt about it, my mom scrimped and saved, and eventually got me to go for braces at the National Dental Centre when I was 13.
Without a doubt, the dental procedure changed my life. 4 years later, it not only rectified much of my overbite, it even gave me some semblance of cheekbones.
Agent G and Agent A
I remember wearing retainers 2 years after wearing braces but laziness meant that I eventually stopped after entering university.
Guess what? My teeth started shifting again. In fact, I've noticed that my upper teeth seems to be protruding more and more again in recent years and I can no longer fit into my retainers.
Does that mean that I have to go for braces again?~ Agent G
On top of the high cost ($3,500 to $4,200), I'm not looking forward to wearing metal braces. It may be fine wearing it when you're a pimply teenager but it's another thing altogether to be wearing one when you're in your 30s.
For a few years now, I've had people mention to me the possibility of invisible aligners or Invisalign.
Instead of having ugly metal brackets over the teeth, you wear plastic molds that fit over the teeth. You wear each mold for a set time and swap to the next, slightly straighter mold as your teeth aligns over time. It can also be removed and replaced, making it the more comfortable option.
Sounds perfect, isn't it?
Well, it comes at a huge cost that range between $4,200 to $9,000... and you still need to go to the dentist every 2-3 months.
I was complaining about the cost to Agent E, a friend of mine who recently did her invisible aligners.
Why don't you try SmileDirectClub? I've had mine done at just around $2500 and you don't even have to go down to the dentist. ~ Agent E
Just over $2,500? I'm intrigued.
Apparently, it works almost like Invisalign, except that they'll send you the molds all at one go after the initial consultation. No more dentist visits as you can schedule remote consultations online and I'll get straight teeth in just 4 months.
Exactly how does that work?
TBH, I was a bit confused when I first arrived.
I'm positive that the website says #05-19 One Raffles Place but when I reached there, I saw only Nuffield Dental Clinic.
No sign of The Smile Shop or SmileDirectClub.
Not about to waste my trip here, I decided to pop in and ask anyway. The receptionist at Nuffield kindly directed me towards SmileDirectClub. Apparently, SmileDirectClub is located within the premises of Nuffield Dental. I'm told that they're not the same company but SmileDirectClub works with dentists at Nuffield Dental in Singapore to prescribe, direct and monitor the entire process so we can be sure that our teeth is well taken care of throughout the process.
All decked in bright blue and purple, The Smile Shop looked bright and cheery - possibly the most welcoming dental clinic I've been in.
The very friendly Oral Health Therapist came over and helped me with the entire registration process that started with temperature taking and disinfection.
In just a few minutes, I completed the registration process and was escorted to their Smile Room.
There, I met my Smile Guide, Leena. She's the one who would bring me through the entire process.
But first, another round of distinfection.
She doesn't just start with the 3D scan immediately but took the time to understand my concerns and explain what SmileDirectClub is all about. Leena started by sharing that SmileDirectClub is actually NOT for everyone.
It is best at treating overbite, underbite, crossbite, open bite and small gaps in the teeth but may not be the best solution for those with the more serious dental issues such as intrusion, extrusion, misshapen teeth or tooth rotation.
To see if I'm suitable, she'd be taking some photos for the Dentist to check and see if I'm a suitable candidate for the procedure.
For hygiene purposes, that required me to do a rinse of my mouth first.
She then requested for me to smile and take some photos on the iPad.
To see things more clearly, Leena also helped me put on the Smile Stretcher and proceeded to take even more photos.
*CAUTION: DISGUSTING PHOTO AHEAD*
The first part of the diagnosis was done!
The next step is the 3D scan.
The Oral Health Therapist, Paul, came in to perform the scan. He warned me that it may feel a little uncomfortable at the beginning but hey, it turned out quite alright.
What he did was to put a wand with an imaging device around the edges of my teeth and it miraculously formed a 3D model of my teeth at that moment!
This is an important part of the process as this information will go into creating the aligners I will need for the next 16 weeks.
After about 5-10 minutes, he was done!
If you were wondering why I wanted to do aligners, this should give you a clear idea.
This is how my teeth actually looks like NOW.
Kind of like a dinosaur, isn't it?
I'm really hoping that the front protrusion can be moved backwards with the help of the aligners.
At this point, the dentist from Nuffield Dental came over for a brief consultation. He checked my teeth and also the 3D scans to confirm that I'm a good candidate for the procedure.
Based on what he saw, the dentist shared that correcting my teeth should not be a problem. While the upper teeth was protruding a little, there doesn't seem to have any complications to worry about.
After giving my scans the green light, the dentist explained that he will be designing the Smile Plan in this way: in order to give my front teeth some space to move back, he will widen the front and make it more of a U shape rather than a V shape to reduce the protrusion.
Not sure what he means? Check out the visualization that SmileDirectClub sent to me a few days after.
Apparently, they do this visualization for all customers so that we know what to expect each time.
If you wear your aligners consistently for about 22 hours every day, you should see a brand new smile in 4 months.
The million dollar question lies: will I receive my aligners today?
Not so soon.We will take a detailed 3D scan of your teeth and manufacture your very own aligners in the US.Once completed and checked, you will receive the aligners in this box in about 2-3 weeks.
Now is when Leena took over.
She proceeded to explain what I could expect to receive in the Smile Box, which includes the weekly aligners
teeth whitening solution
and a stress ball?
Nope. It may look like a stress ball but really, open it up and you'll find that it's a lip balm!
A little bummed that I cannot get all of these during this visit but as they say, good things gotta wait right?
Leena went on to explain about how to use the teeth whitening solution, just apply a little on the teeth and wear the LED light for 5 minutes! It reminds me of the LED Teeth Whitening services I did previously and is possibly a lot more convenient for me to do this at home.
With that, I've ended my first consultation at SmileDirectClub.
The initial consultation may look fun and cheery but how is it like wearing aligners for 22 hours a day? And, does it really work?
Stay tuned to track my progress with SmileDirectClub and also, my tips on surviving invisible aligners.