It was reported in the news that there has been a surge in plastic surgery procedures done in Korea during the Covid-19 pandemic. And the reason is because people think that they can hide behind masks or stay at home to heal from their surgeries without anyone seeing.
Well, in my case, I wouldn’t go so far as to get plastic surgery. But, working from home is certainly one of the motivators for me to get one aesthetic procedure done — straightening my teeth.
There are a few ways to get your teeth aligned – among the common ones would be the traditional metal braces method and the clear aligner treatment, otherwise known as invisible braces. For people with extremely crooked teeth and misaligned jaw, metal braces is currently the only option as the clear alignment treatment has limitations to its effectiveness. For the others, invisible braces are not only a much more painless and aesthetic pleasing option, it can also be more affordable. It is also a quicker way to get your teeth straightened as the treatment cycle of five to nine months is much shorter compared to the metal braces route which takes a minimal of two years to complete.
I decided to reach out to SmileDirectClub, a company founded in the U.S. in 2014, to get a new megawatt smile. Headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee, SmileDirectClub is an oral care company and creator of the first medtech platform for teeth straightening, now also offered directly via dentist and orthodontists’ offices.
First Things First
Money can’t buy everything. And in this instance, you can’t purchase a SmileDirectClub treatment even if you have the means to do so. That’s because not everyone is suitable for the treatment. To get things started, I had to undergo a physical teeth assessment with one of the partner dentists on the SmileDirectClub panel first. SmileDirectClub arranged for me to visit Nuffield Dental, their local partner dental clinic.
The first dental session was relatively seamless and took just half an hour. A 3D scan was made for my teeth. The dentist also provided professional advice on the condition of my teeth. The entire assessment did not only entail this 3D scan though. A week later, SmileDirectClub arranged for me to undergo an X-ray for my teeth. While I appreciate the meticulousness of the process, I do feel the X-ray could have been done on the same day as the 3D scan though to avoid having customers make multiple trips.
About 10 days after the second dental appointment, I received good news — I have been approved to go onboard with SmileDirectClub! Based on my scan results, my customised treatment plan is to last for a duration of five months. All SmileDirectClub aligners are manufactured in the U.S. so I waited for one month for my aligners to be made and delivered to Singapore. I didn’t have to make a physical trip to collect my aligners this time — my SmileDirectClub kit was sent to my doorstep via courier.
The kit arrived in a box that contains 15 sets of aligners for my five-month programme. Each set is put in a white plastic bag that clearly labels which set it holds and when to change them. It is note-worthy that the aligners are custom-made from BPA-free plastic thermoformed onto personalised 3D-printed mouth moulds.
The box also includes a guide on how to wear, remove and maintain my aligners. There are also a handy aligner remover; a smile stretcher for me to wear and take photos with to monitor my progression; a container to store my aligners; an emery board for me to smoothen any edges of the aligners that made me uncomfortable when wearing them; and thoughtfully packed mints for me to chew on if I have difficulty biting and putting the aligners in place with my teeth. On top of all of these, there are also four complimentary sticks of teeth whitening gel for me to enhance the shine on my teeth, to be used at the end of my teeth-straightening treatment.
The Start of My SmileDirectClub Journey
As SmileDirectClub is a teledentistry company, it means there will be no further physical consultation with a dentist for me, I was given a link to register and monitor my progress via an online account or a mobile application (currently available only on iOS). I could even view online a simulation on how my teeth will shift in place over the course of the treatment to achieve that desirable smile.
Wearing the aligners for the first time is akin to wearing a pair of new shoes. You may feel uncomfortable because your shoes are not broken in yet. I did feel so discomfort and soreness when I put on my first set of aligners for the first time. However, this is perfectly normal as the aligners are made to push your teeth to move into the desired position they are supposed to be. The soreness disappeared within two days as my teeth shifted into place. Well, vanity comes at a price. No pain, no gain.
The aligners are going to be my closest friend for the next five months; after all, I am expected to wear them for about 22 hours every day, only to take them off for eating or drinking. To some people, this might seem like a hassle. But hey, I see is as the perfect opportunity for me to diet and lose some excess baggage around my waist. Truth be told, it is a bit of a hassle to remove the aligners every time I snack or take a coffee break (yes, you need to remove them even when drinking coffee). The aligners do make me snack less.
So, here begins my five-month journey towards a spanking new smile. I will emerge with my new teeth in five months’ time.
For more details on SmileDirectClub, visit SmileDirectClub.com.sg to schedule a SmileShop visit. SmileDirectClub aligner therapy is available for a flat rate of SG$2,500, or through its SmilePay™ option of a SG$350 deposit and SG$115 per month for 24 months. In celebration of the new year, SmileDirectClub is offering a promotion now for customers that visit any of the SmileShops. Use the code NEWYEAR21 to get S$200 off SmileDirectClub aligners for a limited period.