Sunday, April 3, 2016

Finally, I'm Fixing My Teeth And This Is How I'm Getting Them Done!

Me and my ClearSmile Aligner on! 

I'm super excited that I finally get to pen down my thoughts about my ClearSmile Aligner journey! Bear in mind, I've only been wearing them for about a month with their first set of aligners, thus changes are very small to almost nothing, not quite visible with our naked eyes. Besides that, be warn, with me going on this journey, there will be a lot of my "scary" teeth pictures that I've never, ever imagine posting it online or even shown to anyone as I am truly self-conscious about them. If you have seen my IG, FB, or even just following me on this blog, you'll notice that I've almost never smiled with my teeth or even show my teeth for a picture. Doing this is rather a big deal for me because like many others (yes, I've spoken to so many people who had at least get their teeth straighten before), this will be one of the life changing moment for me once I'm done with the treatment. 

Without further ado, enjoy reading my story!

My usual pose without showing teeth
Why am I doing this? 
As much as I am a confident, bubbly person (I've been told that a lot) and you've probably known me as someone that don't really care about what others said about me, I do have insecurities too. My teeth being one of them and being in this industry or the industry that want to make it in the future, I feel that not having a "beautiful smile with teeth" is some what a setback. I feel like I'm being held back from so much more opportunities, preventing me from going further or even at least, in my mind, I feel that I can't go further or not getting certain engagements because of this "lacking".

I know this sounds like a #FirstWorldProblems reasoning and there are so many in need people out there, but I'm doing this for me. I have been living 25 years of my life accepting my teeth as it is with a full awareness that I just won't smile with teeth when getting my pictures taken, so this is me, investing in my future. I'm always a firm believer of bettering myself in all aspects. Physical attributes are not everything but plays an important role in my life because I personally am one of those people that feels better when I know I'm looking my best. Additionally, having long term plans being in this industry (blogging and YouTube) fully motivated me to get this "setback" out of my way and I'm doing this with the help of ClearSmile Aligner!

What is ClearSmile Aligner?
This is a clear removable cosmetic appliance designed to straighten mostly your front 6-8 teeth. ClearSmile Aligner technology can straighten teeth that are crowded, rotated, tilted forward or backwards using exact impressions taken by a dentist. Then, a proposal incorporating your dentist’s advice will be presented to show you the possible results. Once you've approved the proposal, custom-made ClearSmile Aligners are fabricated using the latest in 3D printing technology.

In layman terms, unlike metallic braces, these practically invisible aligners can be removed at any time. It claims to be almost completely painleswith the use of 3 different thicknesses (soft-medium-hard) for every step throughout the treatment, thereby uses very small amount of pressures to gently and progressively correct dental misalignment. The aligners are manufactured from lightweight transparent materials and custom made for each patient, making them comfortable. The treatments with ClearSmile generally lasts 6-15 months, depending on the condition of your teeth.

What you'll receive? 
  • Container for the aligners
  • 1 set of aligners (3 pairs, soft, medium, hard)
  • Chewies (to facilitate the fitting)

How to use? 
It's basically as easy as putting it on and only taking it off when eating. It's suggested to wear the for at least 17 hours per day, and do regular chewing exercise with the chewies provided, in order to turn the aligners from ‘ill-fitted” to “well fitted” before moving to the next step. Of course, to keep it as hygienic as possible, I'll usually clean them with my toothbrush.

As for the process, they calculate by step. Each step, we'll be given 3 pairs of clear aligners in different thickness - soft, medium, and hard. Each pair of aligners are to be worn for a full week before switching to the next thickness level. Thus, making it give or take 3 weeks for each step. Dentist may just ask you to wear slightly longer if you can't fit in the current step of aligners by the end of 3rd week. However, for the medium and hard aligners, it's normal should you need to somewhat force them to fit.

More explanation will be given in a video some time mid next month.

My Experience

I had to get a full X-ray taken before an impression/mould of my teeth was taken to check if there are any complications that might not be suitable for the treatment. Then once the moulds are taken, I waited for them to send me a treatment proposal for me to see if the possible final results are desirable to my expectations. My teeth proposed results are as below. If everything is okay, the ClearSmile Aligner team will start to prepare the plastic aligners. I waited for about a month to get my first set. 

Upon arrival of my first set of aligners (Step 1):
Just before I put on my first set of aligners, my teeth case did not require any extractions but I had to get some parts of my teeth stripped (shaved) to create space for teeth movement. Besides that, I also had to do scaling so I can start with a clean set of teeth. 

After that, Dr. Tan (my dentist) taught me on how to put it on and how to remove them. Truly, others can't really tell that you are wearing them. My friends all had focused hard to really see the aligners. 

Set 1 Journey

When I wore Step 1, Soft: 
It was a bit weird at first and quite painful. I was suffering for the first few days, especially for the lower teeth. My teeth and gums wasn't used to it and I had to take some pain killers just to ease the discomfort. After taking out the aligners for food, I remember always don't feel like eating as my gums became a little sensitive to munching on foods. Then, on my 4th or 5th day, things just got so much easier from there. I can easily put and remove the aligners as wished. During the second visit later, my dentist said I should have informed him if not feeling comfortable, as every case is different. If the aligner is pressing on the gum, he would trim off the edge a little. As for my case, he said he had no worries looking at my progress and the discomfort was probably due to the first time wearing and adjustment by aligners.

When I wore Step 1, Medium:
I changed to my medium set 1 exactly on the day I was supposed to. However, it took me some time to get it in. I was still new on this, thus wasn't very daring in forcing it as I'm afraid that I'll break it or hurt my gums. Once it was in, I was so happy.. until I tried to remove it, =_= it was tougher than getting them fitted onto my teeth. I swear it took me at least a good 5 minutes to figure out the best way to remove it. On a brighter note,  I did not experience any severe discomfort as I did with the first ever aligners. I could focus and do my work without any problems. 

When I wore Step 1, Hard: 
It was around the CNY time and I knew that I will have a lot of house visiting and munching to do. Thus, I believe I only started this the 2nd day of CNY. The experience was similar to the medium thickness aligners, harder to get it on and take it off but I did not really felt any major discomfort as the first time. I knew that I was going to wear them less often, I totally reschedule my dentist appointment to a week later just to make sure I have covered up the hours I missed during the festive season. 

Overall for Step 1: 
So far, comparing side by side my before and after picture, I don't really see much difference but what's more important to see the end result. I have another 6 Steps to go thus should end around July if all goes well. However, after wearing them for a month, even with me feeling as if like there's no changes yet, I know very well that I've actually starting to smile with teeth or at least practice smiling with teeth so that I'm prepared when the beautiful straight teeth comes. I trained myself to be more confident smiling with teeth and finding ways of the best angles for pictures. Not perfect yet but I know at least I'm doing something about it and getting there! :D

Step 2 Journey

After 3 weeks, I had to drop by the dentist to follow up on my progress and proceed with the fitting for step 2 aligners. It's just basically a really simple check to see if step 1 hard aligners fitted well on my teeth before putting on step 2 soft aligners. It took me less than 30 minutes and I'm out of the place. 

When I wore Step 2, Soft: 
Just a slight tightness and sore to the teeth and gums. Nothing major and no massive pain. Slipping in and out of the aligners were like child's play, so easy. 

When I wore Step 2, Medium: 
Of course, felt even tighter and took me some time to put it on for the first time for the upper aligner as it does need some forcing but all good. No issues slipping it on and off the lower aligners. Again, no pain whatsoever. However, I realise the easier it is for me to slip them off and on, the more often I would take them off to snack during the day which ultimately, made me wear them less in a day. Need to stop the bad habit. I had to wear them for an extra 1 to 2 days before proceeding to the final stage.

When I wore Step 2, Hard: 
Slipped right on without hassle! Hallelujah! Just the usual tightness, no pain, no major soreness, and no cuts. The aligners are getting pretty comfortable and I feel I'm really getting used to the whole aligners' lifestyle where it does feel like there's something missing if I don't have it on for the day, especially when I'm out and about the entire day. I remember accidentally fell asleep without my aligners' on and woke up feeling extremely bad the next day. Geez. Oh well, sometimes, it's just unavoidable. 

Overall for Step 2: 
Somehow, slipping the aligners on and off became really easy. Wearing my aligners was really growing on me and becoming apart of my lifestyle. They were comfortable with no pain other than the usual tightness on the teeth and gums. By the time I was done with my set 2, it was quite apparent that my lower teeth are moving because the gap of the hole is reducing (thank God!). It's really not pretty to have a hole in your teeth, glad that's closing up! It's harder to pin point the movements of my upper teeth as not visible on pictures. My dentist says that it will take a little longer to move the upper teeth as there are no gaps like the lower teeth, so I will have to be patient with that. Though, apparently he said that the front upper tooth with the button seemed to have moved downwards a little, which honestly, I'm not going to lie, I can't tell the difference at the moment. 

I got my ClearSmile Aligner treatment done by an amazing Dentist, Dr. Tan in Klang. He's young but very professional and most importantly handles my teeth with much gentle care. Plus, his rates are generally much cheaper than most dentists around Klang Valley. For ClearSmile Aligner treatment, it can range from RM9000-RM15,000 depending of cases. 

As mentioned, there will be a video up around mid next month talking more about my experiences and some tips on tackling different situations when using the ClearSmile Aligner. 

For more information on ClearSmile Aligner, visit

Tan Dental Surgery
No. 208, 1st Floor,
Jalan Pekan Baru, Kawasan 17,
Off jalan Meru, Klang, Selangor.
(near Klang Parade)


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Jean said...

oooo... can't wait to see the final result!! =D
me too always don't show teeth when smiling for pictures.. =x

Unknown said...

Wow I really need to try this. I traveled a lot and at times I forgot to take care of the essential, the teeth.. Thanks for the tips Sincerely Lan,

Nahda said...

How is your Invisalign journey going so far?

JQLeeJQ said...

Hi Nahda, I'm not going through Invisalign. I'm going through another clear aligners brand called Clear Smile. You can find my update here:

Mabel Garcia said...

This was a really helpful post, now I am wearing clear smile aligner.