A chronicle of our time with “invisible” braces

Say cheese

  • 02.12.2021
  • By Emily Heng

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It truly is a testament to technology that we can now alter what is pre-determined by genetics: Teeth. That is, how straight someone’s teeth with. In the days of past, this was done with a motley assortment of metal, wire, and rubber bands — all of which come together to forcefully shift chompers in place. In recent times, a more subtle variant is used. We’re talking clear aligners; bespoke trays designed to do the job while causing minimal disruption to one’s lifestyle.

SmileDirectClub proves to be one of the purveyors of said product. Established in 2014, the company touts custom-made, BPA-free aligners that gradually move teeth into the desired position. Unlike other options in the market, SmileDirectClub stands out in large part due to various features: The promise of convenience as well as uniqueness in design, where the goods are trimmed in a straight fashion across the top, thus eliminating the need for buttons or attachments.

And so, we decided to put it to the test for ourselves by getting Group Digital Creative Producer, Vanessa Caitlin, to embark on her very own journey with SmileDirectClub clear aligners. Read on for her full experience, below.

How long were you using the SmileDirectClub clear aligners for?
I went for my first appointment on 10 November 2020. I then received my first plan on 16 November. After some feedback on my part, I was sent an updated plan on 2 December 2020, and I started wearing them in January 2021. Close to 12 months later, and I’ve completed my treatment plan!

What made you want to get invisible aligners in the first place?
I wore braces when I was younger, and while I was quite diligent with wearing my retainers for the first few years, I stopped after a few years. I noticed that my teeth slowly started to shift recently, and didn’t like the side view of my teeth as I felt that the top row was starting to protrude out. My top and lower teeth didn’t match up in the center, resulting in a weird bite. It’s funny because I actually went to consult a dentist prior to knowing about SmileDirectClub, and he even advised me against fixing my teeth as he said it will affect my lips.

What was the process like?
The initial consultation process was quick and easy. I was in and out in under 30 minutes, I believe. They just needed to do a 3D scan of my teeth and even gave me some gels to help whiten my teeth, so that was a nice touch. The aligners itself was smooth-sailing, for the most part. But, there were some issues with the fit of my aligners mid-way through my plan, and I had to go down to get my teeth scanned again.

After the scan, I had to wait for my new aligners to come from the States. This extended the duration of my plan, so instead of completing my program in about 3-4 months, it ended up taking 10-11 months instead. Separate to that, it did take some time for me to get used to speaking with the aligners, especially the thicker ones.

Were there any drastic lifestyle changes you had to get used to once you started wearing the aligners?
Not really! There’s the part where I have to excuse myself before meals to remove my aligners and after, too, to put them back on. It can be quite disgusting to remove them at the table itself, so it’s best to do it in the bathroom. But SmileDirectClub did provide a nice and compact case to store the aligners when you’re not using them. It comes with a mirror, too.

Are you satisfied with the results?
Yes I am! The top and bottom row of my teeth finally aligns — something that has been bugging me for the longest time — and I don’t have a protruding top row. The extension of the timeline was worth the wait. On a side note: I don’t believe the shape of my lips are affected in the slightest, so I’m glad I did not follow the previous dentist’s advice and went ahead with fixing my teeth.

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