I’m gonna share something very intimate about me today. You are going to see a very private part of me paraded in various poses and contortions. MY MOUTH LA!! Teeheehee.
For the longest time, I was unsatisfied with my smile. I knew what I didn’t like, but didn’t know how to fix them, or if fixing them was even possible.
6 things I didn’t like about my (old) smile:
1. Misaligned teeth
I had braces when I was 18, those super ugly metal ones that no matter how colorful and luminous I chose my bands to be, remained UGLY.
Not to mention painful and uncomfortable! Ulcers were a constant thing throughout the agonizing 3.5 years that I wore them. I remember having to wear these tiny elastics to improve the bite of my upper and lower jaws. There were bands, hooks, wires, brackets in my mouth and I always had food stuck in between and everywhere else.
Ah, the price to be paid for not having naturally straight teeth! Mine were all over the place, some hiding behind one another, some growing like cactuses reaching out for the sun. Lol.
During the period when I was wearing braces, I don’t think I had that many suitors. WAHAHA.
My teeth were pretty straight after that but one day my retainers disappeared. I asked my dentist if I should make new ones and he said “Nah, it’s alright. Some natural crookedness will make your teeth look nicer”. Whuuutt…?? WORST ADVICE EVER. =.=
2. Yellow Teeth
I don’t smoke, I don’t take coffee or tea, not even coke. I just had yellow teeth. =(
OH GAWD. I would never have had to courage to post all these photos of my unsightly teeth if not for the fortunate fact that they do NOT look like that anymore.
3. Receding Lower Gums
When I ate ice cream or any cold stuff, my lower teeth hurt.
This sensitivity was caused by receding gums, causing teeth to be exposed more than necessarily. The exposure was caused by having my teeth ‘bent inwards’ to close up the gaps from having 4 teeth removed for the braces. My mouth is too small to accommodate that many teeth so they had to be extracted.
By the way, I have 8 teeth less than most people – 4 extracted for braces, 4 wisdom.
4. Ugly Crown
The condition of my receding gums deteriorated so much that I couldn’t eat chocolate without wincing in pain. Yes, CHOCOLATE.
That was it. I HAD to seek help.
So I went to a dentist near my house and he pasted something over one tooth (the one that caused the most pain) and called it a day. It did improve the sensitivity, but left me with an ugly-looking tooth. Look at the above picture showing an abnormally long tooth on the left – that’s the crown. That picture also shows the slight crookedness of the lower teeth.
Update: This has been solved with Gum Grafting Surgery.
5. Uneven Gum Line
6. Hidden Smile
As mentioned, my teeth were all moved inwards to accommodate the lesser numbers and close the gaps. So not only did my gums suffer, the irony of having straight teeth was that my smile got brought backwards and ‘hidden’.
I decided to do something about it.
I really wanted to have a smile that would allow me to smile my widest and happiest on my wedding day without feeling self-conscious about having a crooked smile. Yes, a wedding is such a huge motivator to looking good. It’s made me start to work out too! HOHO!
I did my research and after hearing and reading plenty of positive reviews about Orchard Scotts Dental (OSD), I had my first consultation with Dr Jerry Lim.
Instead of just agreeing to whatever the patient – me – (blindly) asked for >> Invisalign <<, Dr Jerry asked if I’ve heard about Veneers and a Smile Makeover. I was like ‘Whuuut?’.
I was initially interested in Invisalign because I’d been seeing promotional posters and ads everywhere recently and thought that might be a solution to fixing my misaligned teeth, and probably some whitening kit to get rid of the yellowness.
I had never heard about Veneers nor Smile Makeovers so was excited to hear more about them!
Visit 1 – Consultation & Analysis
I only knew about my ‘withdrawn’ or ‘hidden’ smile after that consultation. No wonder no matter how wide I used to smile, it didn’t have that kind of beaming effect.
Dr Jerry explained to me what’s a Smile Makeover (aka Dentamorphosis. *whispers “It’s morphin’ time!”*). It’s essentially like having a makeover, you know, with changes to your hair and makeup and clothing highly customized for what fits YOU.
So a Smile Makeover means making highly customized changes to your smile, changes made specially for you, according to your face shape, facial proportions, size of your mouth, desired shade, and so on.
Invisalign would be great for people with very crooked teeth, but mine were not that bad so Invisalign would ultimately not give me that kind of ‘beaming smile’ I yearned for.
To do all that I wanted, Dr Jerry said Veneers would make me realize my dream. I will talk about Veneers in Part 2.
I really appreciate that Dr Jerry didn’t just go “Okie you want Invisalign? Yes, we have Invisalign. Come, sit down, we shall give you what you asked for”.
Instead, he listened to what I truly envisioned and conveyed the appropriate procedure in layman’s terms so that I could understand and make an informed decision.
Visit 2 – Smile Trial
During the last visit they took a mould of my teeth to make a set for the Smile Trial, to see if I liked the effect of a brighter and wider smile. This was me wearing the trial teeth.
OF COURSE I LIKED IT!
I LOVED IT!
It was hard going back to my old smile after that. And it made me even more determined to complete my Smile Makeover.
We took another mould for the actual veneers.
By the way, I love watching the videos played on the tv at the reception area. My eyes are forever transfixed on these real people sharing real stories on how their new smiles have changed their lives – better oral hygiene, a brightened appearance, greater confidence in talking to others, improved general well-being. It’s so amazing how a better smile can bring such huge improvements to a person’s life.
Oh yes, the lighting at the reception area is always excellent. Please take plenty of selfies there if you ever want to try their dental services. The first picture of this post was taken at the reception area. ^_^*
Couldn’t wait to get rid of this…
This is a comparison of my actual teeth (before) and the trial veneers made for the Smile Trial (after).
Because they’re not real veneers, just a sample to let me feel the fit and picture the final result, they don’t look all that real. You probably can’t tell from these pictures, but they are more plasticky, slippery and fake-looking than the real deal (which you will see in My Smile Makeover At Orchard Scotts Dental – Part 2!).
This is Dr Jerry! I’ve seen pleeeeennty of dentists my whole life and I must say Dr Jerry really is my favorite dentist. =) Always so cheerful and friendly, I actually look forward to going to a dentist << I cannot believe I would ever say that.
Visit 3 – Laser Gum Recontouring
I was REALLY excited to get started on the makeover.
I felt like I was undergoing a life-changing transformation, like those participants in reality shows, and after a few weeks they strut down the runway to a madly applauding audience. Hahaha! I bet you’ll applaud for me when you read my next post where you’ll see just how much my smile has improved.
No, ‘improved’ would do it injustice. More like, ‘perfected’. Heh.
The first thing we did for the makeover was to make my upper gums more aligned. Before that, let me take a mandatory selfie. BAHAHA!
Dr Jerry taking some measurements. I love how meticulous Dr Jerry is in everything that he does. While you’re lying there feeling all vulnerable with your mouth wide open, your senses seem to be more attuned to everything that is going one, like every nudge and prod is magnified.
Having been in and out of numerous dental clinics my whole life, I really can tell when the dentist really cares about your well-being and wants the best for you.
(By the way, I was wearing the Lioele Volume & Curling Mascara. Love it!)
Laser Gum Recontouring, as the name already implies, is the correcting of uneven or excessive gumlines with laser.
My gums cover a large portion of my teeth, especially on the right, making the teeth look smaller. Larger teeth make one look more youthful and healthy.
I asked if it meant having some of my gums removed coz how else do you correct an uneven gumline without removal, right? Dr Jerry said yes, but it’s done with laser which is much less invasive than practices of the past. Traditionally dentists really used a knife to shave off excess gums. Shave+gum+knife = @_@””
Here we go. The pink light is the laser. How pretty! (The pink light, I mean, certainly not me in this pose)
I didn’t feel a single thing throughout the whole procedure, just saw a lot of things going in and out of my mouth, and some smoke. Cool.
As you would have seen from previous pictures, my right gumline was much lower than the right, causing the slanted gumline, so more work was done on the right.
Let’s compare the appearance of my gumline before Laser Gum Recontouring and after.
Teeth still very YELLOW-YELLOW-DIRTY-FELLOW, but you can see that the gumline is much more even!
A full face comparison so you can see just how much my smile improved with only Laser Gum Recontouring.
To be honest, before I started on my smile makeover journey, I always hated and avoided taking frontal shots because I was conscious about baring my slanted gumline and uneven-looking teeth to the camera. Right portraits were totally out because it was the uglier side with the yellower teeth and uneven gumline.
Right after I saw myself in the mirror for the very first time after the Gum Recontouring, I was like ‘You wanna take my picture? HELL YEAH, BRING IT ON!!’. =D
Can you see just how much my smile improved in one session?
Dr Jerry said a nice smile is when the teeth and a smooth gumline show when you smile and follow the curve of the lips. That day, I felt like my enhanced smile improved my overall appearance by 60%.
I’m so glad to live in this era of laser treatments and equipment. There was hardly any bleeding (I can’t imagine the horrifying bloodshed from having gums shaved off with a knife in the past), everything was done in a jiffy and the healing time took less than a week.
I really wanted to share my Smile Makeover with you guys much earlier. The Laser Gum Recontouring was actually done in May 2013, but SHIT HAPPENED, and I just couldn’t bring myself to talk about my teeth when I was fighting battles called How-To-Make-My-Skin-Heal and Time-Wasting-Legal-Nonsense.
When I got better, I returned to Orchard Scotts Dental to continue on my Smile Makeover journey and was touched to know that everyone at the clinic was so concerned about me.
If you are interested to know more about Laser Gum Recontouring, or Invisalign, or a Smile Makeoever, or anything dental-related, please don’t ask me. HAHAHA! No, really, I don’t want to dish out advice I am not confident of giving. Ask me what kind of eyeshadow brushes a beginner should start with, I can rattle on easily, but dental-related, please pick up the phone and give them a call, okie? =)
Orchard Scotts Dental
501 Orchard Road
Wheelock Place #05-08
t. +65 6732 9939
+65 8223 6334 (emergency)
f. +65 6732 6883
My journey continues in the next post, so I’ll see you soon!
Actually you can ask me questions, you know like: Were you able to eat after the Gum Contouring? Why did you have an uneven gumline? Where did you get your hair done? Lol.
Oh, I just realized my hair looked different in all three visits. From black+pink highlights to >> whole head purple to >> brown base+purple highlights. Always LOVE how my stylist Weng from Salon Vim manages to transform my hair! =D
Okie bye! Tune in again soon! *muack*!
Smile Makeover Series