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Tag / invisalign

I’ve been slacking on the updates on my invisalign journey. It’s been a little over a year since the last update, and it wasn’t until a reader emailed me about my progress that I realised it is about time to provide a progress report. So thank you for the email, Pinky Tan.

late november 2012, 3rd set of invisalign
late november 2012, 3rd set of invisalign

Over the course of last year, I’ve been visiting MyDentist pretty regularly to get my new invisalign aligners.

The change of aligners is usually done every two weeks, with the appointment lasts not more than half an hour, so I usually get it done over lunch time. If you’re unable to make the next appointment, extra set of aligners can be requested so that your next appointment is in 4 weeks’ time.

As always, the aligners will feel a bit tight in the first couple days, follow by some 10-12 days of not even realising it is there.

As a bonus, since I have to remove the aligners every time I eat, snacking is almost nonexistence, which probably contributed to me losing a couple KGs.

december 2013, after gum contouring procedure & 26 sets of invisalign
december 2013, after gum contouring procedure & 26 sets of invisalign

At my 26th set, which was about half way through my rather complicated program (some people only need 20+ sets in total), my dentists decided to do a total do-over since my top aligners weren’t engaged perfectly, so a new set of moulds were taken and I’m currently waiting for new aligners. They are perfectionists like that at Mydentist.

One of the more interesting procedures that was done on me was the gum contouring process that addressed my gummy smile problem.

The procedure basically removed a few millimetres of my gum to show more “white vs pink” ratio, resulting in a better smile. While this sounds painful, it was actually pretty mild. The whole process, including anaesthetic (local and general) and the actual surgery itself took a little over an hour, and then I was sent home for rest.

There a bit of pain and discomfort for the next 3 days or so, and the gum was completely healed in 2 week+.

So  ya, I now technically had plastic surgery, and couldn’t be happier with the result!

A week ago Haze treated me to my very first experience at the acclaimed Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra. We caught Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy, conducted by Arnie Roth.

Final Fantasy Distant Worlds at MPO
Final Fantasy Distant Worlds at Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra

The show features many iconic music from the 25 years of Final Fantasy games, with many scores by Nobuo Uematsu. While I never really played Final Fantasy myself, and hence not particularly familiar with the music other than listening to them while watching friends playing the game, the orchestra still manage to massage my emotion just as easily. It was a splendid performance and definitely a very unique and moving experience.

Unlike classical orchestra, Distant Worlds features many cut scenes from the game and is just a tad less formal (you don’t necessarily need to wear a jacket and tie).

If you haven’t been to MPO, I highly recommend it. For those who wants to catch Distant Worlds though, you can check out the dates for other performances here. They’re in Chicago, Montreal, Paris, and Omaha.

Teeth makeover updates:

I’m now at my 3rd set of Invisalign braces, so I guess it’s high time for some updates.

Extractions for Invisalign
Extractions for Invisalign, my dentist looked happy at my misery

To kick start it all, I had 4 teeth (pre-molars) taken out on 19th October, 2012. Now most sane people usually have two on the same side taken out each time, separated by a week, instead I chose to have all four teeth extracted all at one go.

It was a mixed result I guess, I was a bit miserable for a couple days, but it saved me a trip and at least a week’s time, so it was all good. My dentist was professional and the process was actually quite painless.

my third set of Invisalign braces
my third set of Invisalign braces, notice the “attachments” on top two pics?

Each set of braces are to be worn for two weeks. They are usually very tight for the first couple of days, and then your teeth gets adjusted and moved to the new location after that, then it’s another 10 days or so for the new foundation to get strengthened. Two weeks, rinse and repeat.

For the second set of braces I had some attachments put in as well. There are totally 12 buttons on my teeth right now, they are there to hold the braces better and allow more efficient movements. The process of putting these attachments took almost 2 hours, while not particularly comfortable, it wasn’t painful.

The attachments felt like you have rice stuck on your teeth when the braces is off, but with braces on I don’t really feel them.

I’m about 10% through the treatment, will update as we move along.

Most everyone have a preferred angle when it comes to taking photos. For example, if you are to pose with Amber Chia for a picture, she will always stand on the right side (check this old post from Cheesie), therefore showing the left side of her face to the camera. This is mostly because we are not exactly symmetrical.

hidden smiles
many props were used to cover the lower half of my face, hehe

As for me, the left/right side thing doesn’t affect me. I have a very different approach instead, over the years, I have perfected the skill of  having my mouth inconspicuously covered. Variety of props were used, my hands, coffee, beer, fish ball, pizzas, etc.

The reason is simple, I don’t have a great set of teeth, or jaw line for that matter.

the overbite and not-so-aligned teeth
the overbite and not-so-aligned teeth

My teeth has several “problems”:

  • they are not aligned, lower set of teeth’s completely skewed to a side too
  • i have a pretty severe overbite, to the point where I have to cut noodles using my upper teeth and tongue (something I did without realizing)
  • I have old fillings and metal crown that’s not terribly sweet looking
  • one wisdom tooth at the bottom jaw (I don’t have any in upper jaw) is pointing side way, and the other is surfacing (yes I just reached the ripe age of 21 :P)
  • my front bunny teeth chipped (notice the “n” shaped curve?) during a fall when I was young

the model of my teeth and jaw
the model of my teeth and jaw

Haze has started putting on braces a few months ago to correct her teeth as well, and has been encouraging me to do the same.

After a pretty long research, studying, and procrastination, I am finally doing something about it. I will be getting Invisalign and some other treatments to fix these teeth once and for  all.

I wouldn’t say that Invisalign is the answer to everyone’s crooked teeth problems. You have to be a right candidate for it as it is for you. The benefit is obvious, it is pretty much impossible for others to tell when you’re wearing it, and it usually take less time to correct the teeth than traditional braces.

putting in the Invisalign starter kit
putting in the Invisalign starter kit, both trays already on in pic 4.

The disadvantages?

The biggest of them all – you can take them off.

Well, you need to take them off in order to eat. As with any method of adjusting the position of your teeth, it can get very uncomfortable/pain. With traditional braces you have no choice but to bear with it, but with Invisalign, you can take them off and throw them away. Invisalign therefore, is terrible if you aren’t disciplined enough to keep it in 22 hours a day.

Oh, and the constant cleaning. The clear trays can get dirty very quickly, and you’d have to brush it at least 3 times a day, and preferably after every meal. This is a pretty huge commitment, but something not something that is terribly difficult. After about a week of forcing myself to do that, it became sort of a habit anyway, and this is from someone who used to only brush teeth once a day.

Then of course, there’s the price. Invisalign is quite a fair bit more expensive than traditional braces in Malaysia (actual cost depends on your condition). However, since payment is pretty flexible (one shot, half-half, monthly, every visit etc), you can always spread it out. I think of it as a one year project and more than worth delaying having a new car for the same period of time.

mydentist.com.my
mydentist.com.my at Jalan Ipoh, I’ll be visiting this place pretty often

I am now on my starter kit with one set of trays just to let myself get used to having them in my mouth, the first set of Invisalign  trays that will actually align my teeth will be coming in a few weeks’ time. Will be documenting my journey to better teeth here.

Can’t wait!