Those difficult teen years can be tough, even without the discomfort and aesthetic challenges of wearing metal braces to straighten and correct crooked or misaligned teeth. But does Invisalign and its virtually invisible technology (clear aligners) take away some of those issues? We take a look at getting Invisalign in Singapore, how Invisalign works (for one teen in particular) and ask orthodontist Dr Boey Pui Yunn of T32 Dental Group a few questions.
Let’s start close to home with the story of our own Editor-in-Chief Rebecca Bisset and her younger daughter, Georgia. When the time came, metal braces did not appeal to the then 14-year-old. “Apart from looking odd, metal braces just seemed so difficult when it came to eating – and getting them clean afterwards,” says Rebecca. So, for them, Invisalign’s clear aligners was the obvious choice.
Here’s how Invisalign works
This mother and daughter’s decision reflects a fast-growing trend towards treatment that is “comfortable, convenient and clean”, according to Dr Boey. She confirms that more and more patients nowadays are choosing Invisalign over other types of braces.
Word of mouth is helping to drive the trend: “Teenagers tend to be influenced by their friends’ positive experiences and successful outcomes. In the end, there’s nothing like a first-hand recommendation.”
Invisalign technology consists of a customised series of clear aligners or plastic trays. Generally replaced weekly, they are designed to gradually and systematically move your teeth into their optimally desired position. Invisalign has treated over 9 million patients worldwide. With their huge digital database at the backend, there’s a comfort knowing you are in good hands.
Invisalign holds several important benefits over conventional metal braces, says Dr Boey. “Made of smooth plastic, the clear aligners are definitely more comfortable than metal braces. For one thing, they apply gentle pressure to the teeth. For another, there are no metal wires that can poke into the inner cheeks and lips.” If you have any doubts or questions about how these plastic clear aligners are able to move teeth, Invisalign also has an Invisalign Centre located in Wisma Atria (#B1-14), so you can head down anytime to check out the quality and flexibility of these aligners for yourselves.
What’s more, she says, being able to take your aligners out before you eat means you can carry on enjoying all your favourite foods. Anyone who has worn fixed metal braces knows what a pain these can be at mealtimes. Leafy greens like spinach become a social minefield, a crunchy apple presents a serious challenges, and you can forget trying to bite into a Chunky Kit Kat treat!
More importantly, from the viewpoint of an orthodontist like Dr Boey, is that you can take your Invisalign aligners out to clean your teeth properly. This is a major advantage, she explains: “Metal braces can trap food particles and cause cavities, especially if you do not take the necessary time and effort to clean your teeth thoroughly.”
Follow doctor’s orders!
However, Invisalign works most effectively for a responsible teen. Generally, that means wearing the trays at least 20 to 22 hours a day, every day. In Dr Boey’s experience, teens are just as compliant as adults.
“We had a really good experience,” Rebecca recalls. There was sometimes a day or two of discomfort while Georgia’s mouth adjusted to a new set of trays, “but nothing too serious”. “She was also pretty good about putting her aligners back in after meals. She knew she had to do that in order to get the nice teeth she wanted!”
Timing is another consideration, adds Rebecca. “We waited until our dentist was happy that Georgia’s mouth wouldn’t change dramatically or her teeth move too much after her two years of treatment.” The first step was to take out a couple of cramped teeth to free up space. Only after that could they start to correct the position of the inward-slanting teeth.
Duration of treatment varies according to the complexity of the situation, says Dr Boey. Where there is severe crowding or severe protrusion of the teeth, extractions may be necessary. A straightforward case may take six months; a complex case like Georgia’s that involves extractions may take 18 months.
She finds that most patients – whatever their age – are motivated by wanting to achieve a good result in the shortest time possible. “As the treatment progresses, they will see improvements clearly for themselves, and that usually helps to keep them on track.”
Time and money
In some instances, Invisalign treatment can be faster than metal braces, says Dr Boey. “That’s partly because its digital planning of tooth movement gives a more precise and effective outcome.”
Another reason patients find Invisalign treatment so convenient is that it requires less frequent visits to the clinic. “In addition,” she says, “Invisalign treatment involves fewer ‘emergency’ appointments than you’ll experience with metal braces. Overall, it is less disruptive to the schedule of the typically busy teenager, not to mention their parents.”
Rebecca agrees: “Some people regard Invisalign as being more expensive than other forms of braces. But when you consider the general ease and convenience, and that you need fewer appointments, I think it probably works out costing about the same.”
Of course, Invisalign is not just for teens. Whether it’s to straighten teeth, to close gaps between them, or to correct an overbite, underbite or crossbite, Invisalign has become the first choice for adults, too. Remember, it’s never too late to achieve a beautiful smile!
There may be other clear aligners in Singapore, so why choose Invisalign? “After trying a few brands of clear aligners,” in Dr Boey’s opinion, “we found that Invisalign delivers the most consistent, predictable and effective results.”
Finally, she recommends that you find a provider that you are comfortable with. “You will be meeting your provider numerous times throughout the course of your teeth-straightening journey. You should be able to have open discussions that will help to align your treatment goals and expectations.”
Interested in learning more about how Invisalign works?
Visit the Invisalign Centre at Wisma Atria #B1-14, or complete your Free Invisalign Smile Assessment online today! Upon completion of the Smile Assessment, a Smile Concierge will reach out to help you arrange an appointment with your preferred Invisalign doctor, at your convenience.
Written in collaboration with Invisalign Singapore.
Disclaimer: Dr Boey is an orthodontist at T32 Dental Group; the opinions she has shared are solely her own, and are given in her own capacity. The opinions of the writer and her daughter (Rebecca and Georgia) are their own, and not reflective of Invisalign’s.
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