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Invisalign Experience in Singapore: A Guide From Start To End

A lot of people want to feel more confident when they smile but they don’t know what’s involved to get them to the goal.

But it’s frankly very straightforward and easy with Invisalign.

Let’s walk you through the Invisalign experience, starting from what happens when you approach us for a consultation.

A Five-Step Pre-Invisalign Experience

invisalign singapore patient journey timelines

At Gentle Smile Dental Studio, your pre-Invisalign experience can be split into five steps.

By the end of the fifth step, you will have all the information you need to make a decision on whether you want to go through with the Invisalign procedure.

Step 1: Registration

Gentle Smile Dental Studio’s admin team will gather some essential information from you, such as your contact details and dental history.

Step 2: Smile Analysis with Treatment Coordinator

Once you’re all registered, it’s time to dive deeper into your smile goals.

You’ll meet with our knowledgeable treatment coordinator, who will take the time to listen to your concerns and discuss your desired outcomes.

This step is crucial because it allows us to understand your specific dental needs, answer any initial questions you may have, and create a personalised treatment plan just for you.

Step 3: Digital Scan with iTero and Photo Taking

photo studio at gentle smile dental singapore for invisalign

Gone are the days where tech-savvy dentists use a clay-like compound to create dental impressions.

Instead, Gentle Smile uses iTero to create a digital impression instead. iTero is a digital tool that captures a virtual scan of your teeth. The scanner allows us to create a 3D image of your smile, which is not only incredibly accurate but also a much more comfortable experience.

Then, you’ll go into the photo studio where our dental professionals will analyse your smile relative to your face.

Here’s the thing. Even with perfect teeth, your smile might not be perfect for your facial proportions. A lot goes into crafting the perfect smile including symmetry, alignment, tooth proportion, spacing, width and gum health and gum line.

With information from the photo studio, Dr. Kelvin Chua can help you craft a smile that syncs with your facial proportions, giving you better confidence every time you smile.

Step 4: Consultation with Dr. Kelvin Chua

Finally, you will meet Dr. Kelvin Chua, who will assess your suitability for Invisalign.

As a dentist, Dr. Chua has been inducted into Align faculty. Align is the parent company that produces Invisalign. This allows you to receive the most up-to-date treatments and innovations on Invisalign. Also, Dr. Chua lectures for Align on topic of Invisalign and digital scanning. Dr Chua has been an Invisalign Platinum Provider since 2016.

invisalign dentist dr kelvin chua

Dr. Chua will carefully review your digital scans and photos, discuss your treatment plan in detail, and answer any additional questions you may have. This consultation is an opportunity for you to gain a deeper understanding of how Invisalign will work for you and to address any concerns or doubts you might have.

Step 5: Post-Consult and FAQs

After your consultation with Dr. Chua, your treatment coordinator will run through treatment fees and also address some frequently asked questions to ensure you have all the knowledge and confidence to navigate your treatment journey smoothly.

Only if you decide to go forth with this, then we’ll collect payment, which can range from $4,500 to $9,000 with most cases falling within the $5,500 to $7,500 range.

After you have made payment, you will be asked to come into the clinic in about two weeks to view the ClinCheck (Invisalign simulation). At this stage, we will inform you how many aligners you will need in order to achieve the end goal. We will also share with you if we need to do any related procedures like attachments and sandpapering.

Once you agree to the ClinCheck plan, you will get your first aligners in about two weeks.

Experience Living With Invisalign

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise: Invisalign is shiong (intense).

When you on the Invisalign journey, you’ll know it involves a significant commitment. You have to wear Invisalign for about 20-22 hours a day, which will change the way you enjoy food and beverages.

In the few hours that you take the aligners off, you will have to keep an eye on it. Not that it has legs or anything, but sometimes people think it’s rubbish! Countless times waiters have swept it up with used tissue paper…

For traditional clinics, you will have to visit your dentist every six weeks, so make sure to plan for these visits.

Luckily, Gentle Smile actually uses Virtual Care that allows more frequent monitoring from the comfort of your home. Through your phone or tablet, you’ll take photos and get your progress monitored every week. Dr. Chua will advise you on when you need to come in for a visit, but visits are generally 10-20 weeks apart, compared to six weeks at traditional clinics.

The force will be with you

OK, let’s not sugarcoat it. Invisalign puts a force on your teeth so that it can gradually achieve alignment.

Every set of aligners helps you achieve a milestone in that journey. The problem is that every time you wear a new set of aligners, you are the furthest away from that milestone.

Meaning you’ll deal with some pain.

But tahan!

Remember that it gradually gets better over time. Plus it’s not the kind of stabbing pain that will cause you to scream.

Rather, it’s a dull force that you will eventually get used to, especially over the next few days after wearing your new set of aligners. To be fair, if you got braces, you will also experience the same type of discomfort. No force, no alignment!

Temporary speech impediment

Also, you might also notice your speech being affected. Will I have a modified voice for the next year?

Luckily, no.

Yes, it’s a foreign object in your mouth, but you will get used to it after the initial couple of days. Dr Kelvin Chua advises new patients to speak slower and louder in the initial days until I get used to it.

This is a one-off challenge some Invisalign users experience, meaning you aren’t likely to experience the same thing when you get a new set of aligners.

Manageable lifestyle changes

You should expect some changes to your daily routine when you are undergoing the Invisalign process.

These changes might come as a shock at the beginning of the process, but you will gradually adapt to it.

One big change involves eating. After eating, you will have to maintain a high level of oral hygiene.

Some have noticed that they snack a lot of less because of Invisalign and therefore it can help you avoid unhealthy and unnecessary empty calories. Over time, these temptations start to dull so it becomes a lot easier.

Luckily, it’s easier to maintain oral hygiene with Invisalign compared to people using braces. With Invisalign, you can brush and floss as per normal because it’s removable. Braces require you to re-learn how to brush and floss because the braces get in the way.

Besides eating and drinking, Invisalign has almost no effect on your daily life. You can continue enjoying sports and enjoying the usual activities that you used to do.

And the transparent Invisalign means you can smile as usual!

Post-Invisalign Experience

Once you are done with the final retainer, you will have a smile that is similar to the one set out in your ClinCheck Invisalign simulation.

Your teeth will look straighter with more even spacing and reduced crowding. If you have any misaligned bite such as an overbite, underbite or crossbite, that would be fixed. In other words, you will feel more confident when smiling.

At this stage, you still have a role in maintaining your newfound look.

From Aligners to Retainers

Once your Invisalign treatment is completed, Dr. Kelvin Chua will typically recommend wearing retainers. Retainers help maintain the new position of your teeth and prevent them from shifting back. You may need to wear your retainers for an extended period, initially for around 20 hours a day and later transitioning to wearing them only at night.

Proper care of your retainers is essential to keep them in good shape. Clean your retainers regularly with water or specialised cleaning tablets designed for retainers.

Take your retainers out when eating, and after finishing a meal, brush your teeth and rinse your retainers before putting them back in your mouth.

Ready for Invisalign?

Gentle Smile Dental Studio welcomes you to book a consultation to assess how your Invisalign journey will look like.

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Dental Articles

Singaporeans are getting a smile makeover for confidence, career and relationships

Many Singaporeans get their photo taken every day by cameras on mobile devices but not everyone feels confident about their smiles.

When we smile, we want to express friendliness, confidence and energy. However, we might not have the perfect set of teeth that can exude these characteristics.

As a result, some people do not smile in photos or actively avoid taking photos. Underlying this involves a lack of confidence in their smiles.

The good news is that getting a smile makeover in Singapore is easy, comfortable and you can even preview your perfect smile.

Do you hesitate when you want to smile?

woman grinning

Getting a smile makeover is increasingly important these days especially if you have to meet a lot of people daily or have a public-facing role like being an influencer, public speaker or video host.

One way to know whether or not your smile is holding you back is to test whether you have to actively suppress your smile. For example, if you want to smile wide with your teeth showing, but somehow your logical brain tells you to hold that back and only move your lips.

This happened to British TV presenter Saira Khan who felt self-conscious when she smiled which led her to seek a smile makeover treatment involving Invisalign. She told Dentistry UK that,

‘I am finally going to get my teeth straightened and gain the confidence to smile without feeling self-conscious or nervous’, she said.

‘I love smiling and laughing, but have found that in photographs I don’t smile as much and tend to keep my mouth closed and cover up my teeth.

Saira was 45 when she did the treatment, which reflects an increasing trend of career-oriented people looking to improve themselves as they succeed in their careers.

What is a smile makeover?

When we look at people, we can unconsciously know who would be considered attractive.

It might seem like it’s magic and unexplainable, but there’s actually a science to it involving proportionality, symmetry and alignment.

For example, smiles that expose too much gum (over 3mm) tend to be rated as a less-attractive smile. Darker gums and yellow teeth also rate lower in attractiveness.

Dentists know the signs to look out. At the initial consultation, dentists will find out what your goal is and then select the appropriate treatment.

This may involve a combination of different treatments, including teeth whitening, dental veneers, dental implants, and orthodontic treatments such as braces or clear aligners.

The three principles of a smile makeover are, “Realign, Reshape and Brighten”.

Here are the most common procedures involved in a typical patient’s smile makeover.

Teeth straightening with braces or Invisalign

Singaporeans can mistakenly associate teeth straightening with the braces that some of their peers wore during primary and secondary school. It might look very out-of-place for a career professional in their 30s and beyond.

However, one of the most popular cosmetic teeth straightening options is clear aligners, such as Invisalign. Clear aligners are custom-made trays that fit over the teeth and gradually shift them into the desired position. These aligners are virtually invisible and can be easily removed when you don’t want to be seen with them.

Another option for cosmetic teeth straightening is traditional braces, which involve metal brackets and wires that are affixed to the teeth. For adults, braces do have their place in dental treatment because they are more effective at tackling complex cases of misalignment.

In addition to improving the appearance of the teeth, cosmetic teeth straightening can provide other benefits as well. For example, straight teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of developing cavities and gum disease. Straight teeth can also improve the function of the jaw and reduce the risk of jaw pain or other discomfort.

Veneers

Dental veneers are the “touch ups” to teeth that bring perfection to your smile makeover.

Veneers are thin shells of porcelain or composite material to the front surface of the teeth to enhance their appearance.

Smile makeovers use veneers to address a range of cosmetic issues, including chipped, stained, or uneven teeth, as well as gaps or misalignments.

Veneers are designed to match the natural color and shape of the teeth, providing a seamless, natural-looking result. They are custom-made to fit each patient’s teeth and with proper care and maintenance they can last for many years.

Implants

Dental implants are primarily used to replace missing teeth and enhance the appearance of a smile.

They blend into natural teeth well because they are shaped to look like natural teeth and also matched to suit the colour of the rest of your teeth.

As the perfect smile requires a coherent set of teeth, dental implants provide a durable, long-lasting solution for missing teeth that can help to restore a patient’s confidence in their smile.

Updating old silver fillings with natural-coloured fillings

If you had dental fillings done in Singapore a long time ago, you might still have some grey-coloured fillings made of a dental amalgam (also known as a “mercury filling” or “silver filling”).

These fillings are a blemish in what would be perfectly white teeth but the good news is that they are easily updated to a more modern, more naturally-coloured filling,

Teeth whitening

Teeth whitening can bring the shine out of your smile, which is why a lot of Singaporeans opt for it as part of their smile makeovers.

Dentists have access to special tools that can whiten your teeth beyond what you can do with whitening strips or toothpastes.

In order for teeth to sustain its brightness, we recommend you to avoid drinking tinting liquids, quit smoking and ensure regular dental hygiene.

How we create your Trial Smile

While every dentist has their own approach, this following represents the approach we have been using for almost a decade.

We start with our consultation that ends in the creation of a Trial Smile.

  1. To start, it is essential to comprehend what the client wants to enhance about their smile.
  2. We create a balanced smile that takes into account the client’s gum-to-teeth ratio with a particular emphasis on improving their teeth.
  3. After confirming that our analysis of the smile aligns with the client’s goals, we develop a personalized plan.
  4. We use Digital Smile Design (DSD) software to offer a preview that enables the client to visualize the final outcome before commencing their orthodontic treatment.

After these four steps, we create a physical Trial Smile that you can wear and have a real life preview of how you will look after the procedures recommended.

Your trial smile is a removal and reversible physical mock up where we put the designed smile over the real teeth

Timelines for a smile makeover

A smile makeover’s timelines vary depending on the procedures that you need in order to achieve the smile that you liked in your Trial Smile.

If your teeth are simply yellowing but are otherwise in perfect condition, then whitening them takes almost no time. One sitting at the dentist and you are out.

If you need implants, crowns or veneers, then your timelines lengthen to up to two weeks. With some procedures like dental crowns, this can be sped up with a same-day crown.

If your teeth need realignment, then the timelines would be about 18 months to two years before your perfect smile arrives.

Experience a smile makeover at our clinic

https://youtube.com/watch?v=wl21CvwHduY%3Fautoplay%3D0%26mute%3D0%26controls%3D1%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.gentlesmiledentalstudio.com.sg%26playsinline%3D1%26showinfo%3D0%26rel%3D0%26iv_load_policy%3D3%26modestbranding%3D1%26enablejsapi%3D1%26widgetid%3D1

In this video, our dentist, Dr. Kelvin Chua talks about how he consults and interacts with his smile makeover patients.

If you are curious about whether we can help you enhance your smile, book an appointment with us now!.

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Why are my teeth yellow when I brush them every day? Habits Singaporeans can correct.

Most Singaporeans don’t realise that their daily habits are one of the biggest reasons why they have yellow teeth despite keeping up with their dental hygiene.

Think of it this way: if you drink bubble tea once a year, the effects of the high-sugar drink will be negligible.

However, if you do it multiple times a week, it will have a significant effect on your weight, health and wallet!

Maintenance of teeth is the same. If you are the type of Singaporean who starts their day with a cup of kopi-o or smokes multiple times a day, you might be accelerating the staining of your teeth.

Luckily, with a change in habits and some professional dental help, you can get great pearly whites that you will feel confident about when you smile.

Reason 1: your diet involves a lot of staining foods

If you have eaten a curry dish like laksa or roti prata, you might have stained your shirt with the gravy.

Notice how difficult getting curry stains off your shirt. It’s even worse when you’ve just stained a white shirt.

Among the many foods and drinks Singaporeans consume, curry, coffee, tea, wine represent some of the most staining foods out there.

The same logic applies to teeth. When you consume staining foods and drink, your teeth will naturally get tinted. These are called extrinsic stains.

If you have removed blood from a shirt, you’ll know that the quicker you do it, the more effectively you can remove the stain.

Extrinsic stains are the same. As they are mostly surface-deep, they can be treated by regular brushing and rinsing after a meal.

Regular cleaning is effective to remove extrinsic stains.

Reason 2: you smoke

Smoking is damaging to your teeth because of how nicotine causes deep yellow stains.

By itself, nicotine doesn’t have any colour. However, when mixed with oxygen, such as when you inhale, it becomes yellow and stains teeth.

Unlike stains caused by food and drinks, nicotine discolouration can appear spotty or in clusters. Food-related stains are more uniform.

People who smoke many cigarettes a day will generally see this pattern of discolouration much quicker as their teeth encounter nicotine much more frequently.

Reason 3: your brushing needs an upgrade

Are you using the right technique to ensure that you are brushing every part of each tooth?

Poor brushing techniques that miss areas will allow surface stains to get embedded into a deeper layer the called the enamel.

On the same note, brushing too hard will wear your enamel away which will reveal the dentin, which is naturally yellow in colour.

Most Singaporeans struggle to remove stains and plaque in harder-to-reach areas such as the near the gumline and on the rear teeth.

Having some guidance on how to brush effectively will help you more effectively control stains over the long term.

Reason 4:Your genes and you

Some people are luckier in that they have thicker enamels and others have thinner enamels.

Enamel is the whitest part of our teeth with deeper layers being darker and yellower.

Unfortunately, time causes wear on enamel, even if you are on-the-ball with brushing and dental check-ups.

This does mean that everyone will have teeth that look yellower as time passes, but some are luckier to have their white teeth last longer.

How can I get whiter teeth?

You have decent control over the yellowing of your teeth, and with a combination of adopting sustainable habits and seeking professional dental help, you can have great pearly whites that will give you the confidence when you smile.

Habit 1: Use a whitening toothpaste

If you haven’t given much thought to your toothpaste, now’s the time to invest in a whitening toothpaste.

A whitening toothpaste has a special formulation that goes beyond what a regular toothpaste can do such as:

  • Polishing abrasives
  • Chemicals like peroxide to remove stains

They are great as a quick way to upgrade your dental hygiene regimen. They remove external stains effectively. Combined with regular and thorough brushing, you can stop external stains from developing further into the tooth.

The abrasive particles in whitening toothpaste help to whiten the teeth but it also roughen the teeth surface resulting in more stain to be trapped on the surface of the teeth.

What about teeth-whitening kits?

Teeth whitening kits and services offered by non-dental professionals aren’t likely to work due to one major reason:

Gahmen.

The MOH only permits dentists to have access to the full-powered whitening agents that can really get to the core of teeth that have become intrinsically yellow.

Whitening agents used in unregulated kits have a maximum concentration of 0.1 per cent.

The low concentration avoids any severe problems that come from user error, but this is far too low for any meaningful effect.

To put it into context, our clinic has access to whitening kits with up to 45% concentration of bleaching agents.

Habit 2: brush effectively and regularly

Make sure you are doing these:

  • Not brushing too hard, which wears down the enamel
  • Using a soft toothbrush to protect the enamel
  • Floss daily
  • Brush with the right technique to ensure all areas of your teeth are covered
  • Visit a dentist every 4-6 months. A dentist can advise you of your brushing quality

Bad habits you have to stop now!

Of the many DIY methods to whiten your teeth, here are some that might seem effective but are incredibly damaging over the long term.

Using acidic citrus fruit to “sand” your teeth

You might have heard the suggestion to rub orange peels or lemon on your teeth to whiten your teeth.

This is very, very bad for your enamel. Remember, your enamel is non-renewable!

Acid interacts with enamel and wears it down.

It’s similar to taking sandpaper to a very thin piece of wood. Within years, you’ll have nothing to sand.

Sure, you will see improvement of your teeth’s colour. Until the day when there’s no more enamel to erode.

Your enamel is precious and it’s the only layer that can sustain a white colour.

If you believe drinking soft drinks is bad for your teeth, then it’s equally bad to subject your teeth to a fruit’s acid.

Baking soda guarantees to shorten your enamel’s lifespan

If you have a severe stain on your stove, toaster oven or countertop, you might turn to baking soda to remove that stain.

So why shouldn’t you use it on your teeth?

Just like the problem of using acidic fruits to whiten your teeth, you are basically wasting away the precious layer of enamel.

Baking soda is extremely abrasive. When used on appliances, there’s no problem because these appliances are replaceable and probably made of a harder material than baking soda.

Enamel isn’t replaceable and is rather soft. Remember that harsh brushing can degrade your enamel.

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Busy Singaporeans love instant, same-day dental crown

Singaporeans love the same-day dental crown because it saves time, energy and reduces time off work and from your personal schedule.

There’s a case for both a same-day crown and a traditional crown, so let’s get an understanding of what’s best for you.

Is the same-day crown right for you?

The biggest advantage to choosing a same-day crown is time. Here’s a quick comparison:

​Same-dayTraditional
Timelines1 dayA few days to weeks
Appointments12
MaterialsCeramic/porcelainVarious, including metal alloy
DurabilityHighHigh
CostSimilarSimilar
ColourNaturalNatural or metallic

A same-day crown is generally preferred if you,

  • Only want to see a dentist once
  • Are OK with ceramic/porcelain as a crown material
  • The tooth you are crowning is suitable for a same-day crown

Only want to see a dentist once

A same-day crown is extremely quick in comparison to a traditional crown.

A same-day crown takes a few hours from start to finish, and a good portion of it involves the 1+ hour for the fabrication of your crown.

Here’s a breakdown of the steps for a same-day crown:

Appointment 1

  1. Initial dental work to shape tooth for incoming crown
  2. Imaging and evaluation
  3. Fabrication of the same-day crown
  4. Testing, adjustment of same-day crown
  5. Cementing of same-day crown

Let’s see the steps for a traditional crown:

Appointment 1

  1. Initial dental work to shape tooth for incoming crown
  2. Taking an impression for the permanent crown
  3. Creating a temporary crown
  4. Implanting temporary crown and finalisation
  5. Impression for permanent crown gets set to external lab for fabrication

Wait for permanent crown (a few days to a few weeks)

Appointment 2

  1. Removal of temporary crown
  2. Testing, adjustment of permanent crown
  3. Cementation of permanent crown

Are OK with ceramic/porcelain as a crown material

Making a crown in-house has become a typical procedure for most dentists over the last 20 years as technology matures and dentist gain a familiarity with it.

Over these two decades, dentists and patients enjoyed the significant reduction of turnover time for a crown from a few days to a couple of hours.

You might also be curious about alternative materials for a crown, which you can get if you opt for a traditional crown.

The old-fashioned but very functional gold-and-silver metal crowns still requires traditional methods for processing which means if you want one, you will have to wait for a few days.

The main advantage of a metal crown is that they are malleable. Some foods, like nuts, require a lot of force to chew, which can cause fractures in less malleable materials. A metal crown will alter its shape to the force rather than fracture which means you’ll have a larger margin for error.

That’s not to say that a ceramic/porcelain crown is fragile. In fact, they are still very strong and can withstand periodic heavy chewing.

The best way to find out whether you can achieve a good outcome with a porcelain/ ceramic same-day crown as compared to a traditional crown is to speak to our dentists.

The tooth you are crowning is suitable for a same-day crown

The initial appointment with our dentists will explore whether you have other options beyond a crown to help you achieve your goals.

At this initial appointment, our dentists will also examine whether the condition of your tooth is better suited for a same-day crown or a traditional crown.

Our expertise with same-day crowns

At Gentle Smile Dental Clinic we have created many new smiles for Singaporeans at our Millennia Walk clinic.

Employing advanced digital dental technology helps us get a detailed evaluation of your teeth in one sitting.

Our dentists are also constantly upgrading their knowledge and techniques, and contributing to the knowledge pool within the global dental community.

Advanced imaging tools that save time

Our clinic uses a fully-digital imaging device called the iTero Element 5D imaging system.

The iTero 5D is both a digital imaging tool capable of creating a 3D image of your teeth, including the spaces between teeth, and it’s able to detect damaged areas all in one scan.

Sophisticated technology helps our patients save time while providing valuable data that informs our approach to your same-day crown.

Advanced dental knowledge

Our dentists are continually upgrading to learn the best techniques that provide patients a longer-lasting and better-fitting same-day crown.

Dr. Kelvin Chua has trained under Professor Pascal Magne to understand the details on the bonding of same-day crown onto the tooth.

Professor Pascal Magne is the Don and Sybil Harrington Foundation Professor of Esthetic Dentistry in the Division of Restorative Sciences at the University of Southern California’s Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry.

Throughout Dr. Chua’s career, he has also shared his knowledge about techniques to create a better same-day crown.

Dr. Chua is a speaker with iTero on the topic of restoration/same day crown and Invisalign. He has most recently spoken at the Asia Pacific Oral Health Congress on digital dentistry.

Ready for a same-day crown?

Now that you have an understanding of the procedure to get a same-day crown, the next step is to get a consultation.

During your consultation, our dentist will discuss your goals and will provide a personal approach to achieving this.

The personal approach could involve alternatives or a combination of procedures to reach your dental goals.

Book an appointment here.

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Gummy smile treatment in Singapore

When you look at yourself in your photos, do you notice that your gums are very prominent?

This is what’s known as gummy smile which is also known as “excessive gingival display”.

Worldwide and in Singapore, what’s considered attractive is a smile that shows minimal gums. Ideally, your lips would cover most of your gums. This allows your teeth to take prominence in your smile.

What is the perfect gum height in a smile?

A 2006 study by Vincent O. Kokich found that “laypeople rated a 3-mm distance from gingiva to lip as unattractive.”

This means that if you smile and you show 3mm or more of your gums, the general public will perceive it as unattractive.

The study showed participants seven images of women’s smiles which were Photoshopped with a variety of permutations and asked them to rate how attractive these looks were.

Why do I have a gummy smile?

Singaporeans can have a gummy smile because of genetic factors as well as habits. Here are the main factors.

Short teeth due to genetic factors or grinding

When your adult teeth emerge from your gums, it will emerge to a certain distance with the rest remaining under the gums.

If your teeth do not go far enough, you will have “under-erupted” teeth which make teeth appear short in comparison to the visible gums.

However, if you find that your smile has become more “gummy” over the years, it might be due to long-term teeth grinding at night.

Singaporeans live in a high-stress society and this can sometimes cause some people to have nocturnal bruxism.

As you grind your teeth at night over a long period of time, your teeth’s height gets shorter. The wear happens over a long period of time and you will find it very hard to perceive unless you do a comparison over many years.

This leads to a worsening of your gummy smile over time, but the good news is that it can be managed by your dentist.

Gummy smiles related to the jaw

The jaw doesn’t like to leave gaps between your top teeth and bottom teeth.

Therefore, every time your teeth gets eroded, your jaw bone and gum will shift downwards in order to fill the gap.

Particular to Singaporeans, our high-acidity diet can further erode our teeth. Drinking or eating foods and drinks with a high sugar content such as bubble tea, ice kacang and pineapple tarts are some examples.

Another factor is also due to teeth grinding. As you grind your teeth, you will create small gaps which will cause your jaw to shift.

Finally, you could very well have excessive upper jaw growth that causes the upper jaw to show more gum.

Hypermobile or short upper lip

The upper lip plays an important role in preventing a gummy-smile look.

In essence, they mask your gums. So if you have thick lips that don’t move much upon smiling , most of your gums will be hidden from view.

On the other hand, having a short upper lip can cause an excessive display of gums when you smile.

Besides the thickness of your upper lip, the other factor is how much they move between your non-smiling face and when you smile.

People who have hypermobile lips will have smiles that reveal too much gums as their lips shift too much when they smile.

I want to fix my gummy smile. How involved is it?

As you have read in the section above, a gummy smile can be the result of various factors.

As a result, the treatment for a gummy smile that comes from excessive upper jaw development would be different from a treatment from nocturnal teeth grinding.

Depending on the reason why you have a gummy smile, our dentists can suggest the most effective way to treat it.

Our dentists will generally use these methods:

  • Laser gum contouring
  • Botulinum toxin (BTX)
  • Lip repositioning
  • Jaw surgery

Laser gum contouring

Want to talk about laser gum contouring? We love talking about it!

Dr. Kelvin Chua lecturing about combining modern tools to manage gummy smiles at the Medical Alumni Association Dental Conference in 2018.
Dr. Kelvin Chua lecturing about combining modern tools to manage gummy smiles at the Medical Alumni Association Dental Conference in 2018.

Laser gum contouring uses a laser to shape the gums and move your gum line back. It’s minimally invasive and the dentist can reshape the gum line to achieve your desired results.

At Gentle Smile Dental Studio, we have many years of knowledge and practice when using laser gum contouring to build a beautiful smile.

Using a digital tool called the Digital Smile Design, we help our patients have the confidence and an idea of how they will look after the laser gum contouring procedure.

Our dentist, Dr. Kelvin Chua, has given talks about laser gum contouring in various symposiums including the World Clinical Laser Institute Asia Pacific Symposium and the Asia Pacific Dental Congress.

At these conferences, dental professionals listen to Dr. Chua as he talks about how he uses digital tools and multidisciplinary approaches to achieve the results that his patients want and to create a more predictable and quicker treatment outcome.

Lip repositioning and BTX

If the reason why you have a gummy smile involves your upper lip, then our dentists could suggest going through lip repositioning and/or BTX.

BTX is one of the fastest and easiest ways to reduce a hypermobile upper lip.

Injecting BTX will limit the range of movement of your upper lip, thereby ensuring that your smile does not show too much gum.

Usage of BTX in Singapore is regulated. Every clinic that wants to use BTX must have training and be certified by the MOH.

At Gentle Smile Dental Studio, we only use BTX to treat dental-related conditions such as square jaw and gummy smile.

In addition, our dentist, Dr. Kelvin Chua, has lectured on the usage of botulinum toxin locally and regionally since 2018.

BTX’s effect on your upper lip can be seen within a few days to two weeks and it will last for 3-6 months.

If you are looking for a more permanent solution, then lip repositioning surgery could be your solution. Lip repositioning surgery moves your upper lip downwards to hide more of your gums.

Lip repositioning surgery is a minor surgical procedure that will provide you with a long term solution to your gummy smile.

Orthognathic (jaw) surgery for gummy smile

Orthognathic surgery is generally not the first line of treatment for gummy smile but it can provide major and long term benefits for people willing to go through with it.

If you have a major case of gummy smile, then our dentists could suggest this as an option.

A few considerations that dentists will have include how many millimeters of gum is exposed, how your lips are positioned at rest and whether alternative treatments are available.

Gummy smile jaw surgery centres around shifting the upper jaw upwards so that it reduce the exposure of your gums.

In addition, this can create a proportional look between the top teeth and bottom teeth.

Furthermore, having a properly positioned jaw will give you a better bite and reduce wear on your teeth over a long period of time.

Get a preview of your smile after our gummy smile treatment

Your gummy smile can be resolved and you can look better in the mirror and in photos at our Millenia Walk (Singapore) dental clinic.

At Gentle Smile Dental Studio, we have many years of experience using various methods to help improve your public image.

One method which our patients love is the ability to preview the final results using a digital tool called Digital Smile Design which allows you to preview your smile after treatment of your gummy smile.

Book a consultation today.

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How Singapore dentists remove mercury fillings and is it worth it?

If you have taken a closer look at your teeth, you might find silvery-grey fillings.

Those are commonly known as “mercury fillings” but they’re really a mix of materials and called a “dental amalgam”.

An amalgam is a material made from different elements. In the case of a mercury filling, they are a blend of copper, silver, tin and mercury. For each unit of a dental amalgam, about 50 per cent is mercury.

Mercury is poisonous.

Mercury is indeed poisonous to humans, but only if a person ingests, inhales or comes into contact with a large quantity of mercury.

People who are likely to get mercury poisoning are the ones who eat a lot of fish, live near a mine or work in a setting where mercury could be airborne such as mines, labs and industrial locations. Most Singaporeans do not fall within these risk groups.

However, if mercury is directly in your teeth, does that present an immediate risk?

The biggest risk with dental amalgams that use mercury is the effects of long-term exposure of mercury, supplemented by the fact that the mercury is in a place where you can swallow it.

Therefore, are mercury fillings poisonous?

Prior to the new millennium, dentists in Singapore have used mercury fillings as the main dental filling material.

If you have had dental fillings in the ’80s, ’90s or early millennium, you might have had these mercury fillings. They have proven the most cost-effective, reliable and durable filling for decades.

Mercury fillings can release a small amount of mercury over time and is worsened if a person grinds or clenches their teeth. The quantity released is generally small and does not pose a risk to most people.

In fact, research from around the world shown that there’s no conclusive evidence to prove that mercury fillings pose a danger to a person’s health.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,

“In general, people with multiple dental amalgam fillings may have slightly higher mercury levels in their blood or urine, however, they usually remain at a level considered safe. Studies on people with dental amalgam do not show conclusive evidence that dental amalgam causes harmful health effects in the general population.”

And the British Dental Association says,

“We have worked alongside the Council of European Dentists (CED) to avoid a full ban of dental amalgam … amalgam remains one of a range of safe and effective filling materials that are available to dentists to provide the most appropriate treatment for the needs of each individual patient.”

Should you remove mercury fillings?

At Gentle Smile Dental Studio, we remove mercury fillings on a case-by-case basis, but generally, mercury fillings are only removed and replaced if there’s a treatment that needs to be done.

For example, if your tooth’s filling is worn and damaged, the dentist could use this opportunity to replace it with a more modern material.

Outside of these circumstances, removing a filling for the sake of removing the filling is generally not recommended for two reasons.

One, every dental intervention might cause the weakening of your tooth structure, and two, removal of mercury fillings will cause a temporary spike in mercury levels.

That said, there are people who might be at higher risk of mercury poisoning:

  • Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers
  • Very young children
  • People who are allergic to mercury

Some possible effects of mercury poisoning include,

  • Unexplained fatigue, sluggishness, clumsiness
  • Changes in mood
  • Sleep disorders
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Uncontrolled shaking

The best way to know if you should get your dental fillings replaced is by contacting our dentists here.

SMART certification for mercury filling removal

As there is some risk involved with manipulating mercury fillings, the International Academy of Oral Medicine & Technology (IAOMT) have developed a set of techniques to safely remove mercury fillings.

Gentle Smile Dental Studio’s Dr. Kelvin Chua is a SMART dentist from IAOMT since 2016.

At our clinic, we take steps laid out by the SMART process including,

  • Air filtration to ensure no inhalation of mercury vapour
  • Dental dams to ensure that mercury fillings do not get swallowed or inhaled
  • Saliva extractor to reduce mercury exposure

There are many more steps to the SMART procedure that you can view here.

We use modern dental filling materials

bonded composite restoration in singapore

A modern bonded composite restoration

Gentle Smile Dental is a mercury-free dental clinic as we prefer to use modern materials made from composites, glass ionomers and porcelain. Here’s why.

White in colour

Unlike mercury fillings, modern fillings can be white in colour and therefore blend much better into your teeth. They also have a matte look to them, which helps them blend into your teeth much better than the reflective material of mercury fillings.

Advances in technology

Advances in modern materials have allowed them to come close to the reliability and durability of mercury fillings.

This was not the case for many decades, but the dental community now has a material that is reliable, long-lasting and durable.

Environmentally friendly

A global shift to move away from mercury fillings comes from the acknowledgement that we are stewards of our environment.

Mercury fillings have a limited lifespan of 10-25 years, and therefore when they are discarded, they can contaminate our water supply.

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Dental Articles

Square jaw treatment in Singapore for more confidence & better teeth

Singaporeans can sometimes look in the mirror and wonder why they have square jaws.

At the heart of it, a square jaw is the result of having larger jaw muscles called the masseter muscle.

Masseter muscle, in red. (image from Wikipedia)

The reasons for square jaws are generally as such:

  1. Genetic: Asian men and women tend to have more square-shaped jaws
  2. Diet and habits: if you chew on a lot of hard or chewy foods often, you are “training” your jaw muscles to grow. Some examples are almonds (a hard food) or bubble tea pearls (a chewy treat).
  3. Overnight tendencies: when we sleep, we’re unconscious about what we are doing. Unfortunately, some people grind their teeth or clench hard, which results in the development of your jaw muscles.

Aesthetically pleasing jaws start with square jaw reduction

Looking good plays a big part in your self-confidence.For people with a square jaw, this can harm their self-confidence when they look in the mirror or in photos.

It comes down to how we perceive a square jaw.

Society perceives hard corners and distinctly-angled shapes as a sign of masculinity. For example, think about circles and ovals versus squares and rectangles.

Just think about the headlights on a car. Cars perceived as friendly and feminine will generally have rounded headlights while aggressive and masculine cars will have more rectangular and sharper edges.

And just like headlights, your jaw shape sends a subtle message about yourself.

The goal of square jaw treatments at our clinic is to carve out a V-shaped jaw line.

With a more subtle, curvier and gradual jaw, you can present yourself better in public.

The best part about square jaw treatments in our clinic is that it’s painless, simple and quick Botulinum Toxin/BTX treatment (see below).

Square jaws can also be harmful for your teeth’s durability

We’re generally aware of how we’re using our muscles except when we’re asleep.

This is a period of time where we might be unconsciously causing our masseter muscle to grow.

What happens when you continuously use a muscle?

Simple. It grows larger.

A square jaw is a sign that your masseter muscle, which is the muscle you use to chew, is very large and strong.

When it comes to your teeth, having a strong muscle can cause problems.

It means that you can exert a strong biting force on your teeth. Teeth aren’t indestructible and if you bite too hard, you might cause pain and damage on every bite. In the longer term, this might cause extensive damage that requires crowning, root canals and maybe extraction.

Square jaw treatment in Singapore

Square jaws can be treated in several ways with each having their own benefits and applications.

Our dentists can advise on what’s best in your case, but in general, all Singaporean dentists will look to these four options:

Nightguard

One easy way to reduce your square jaw is by using some specifically designed nightguard to reduce clenching and grinding.

A nightguard is basically something you wear between your top and bottom rows of teeth overnight.

It helps reduce overnight grinding and clenching, which are ways in which your jaw muscles develop over time.

Our dentists can detect whether you are showing signs of overnight grinding and clenching, hence will be able to advise you whether a nightguard is suitable for you.

If our dentists determine that a nightguard is a suitable solution for you, we’d invite you to get a dental imprint of your teeth which gets sent to a lab where your personal nightguard would be created.

Once the nightguard is made, you will wear it every night after brushing your teeth.

Having a nightguard will reduce the chronic overnight “training” of your jaw muscles, which means that over time, you might see a sustained reduction of your square jaw.

Getting a nightguard is a painless process and a dental imprint can be done in one sitting at the dental office. In addition, nightguards require no healing or medical leave from work.

Botulinum Toxin/ BTX

Botulinum Toxin injections can help you reduce the size of your jaw muscles.

Every injection of Botulinum Toxin will reduce your jaw muscles and help you achieve your goal whether it’s to achieve a V-shaped jaw line or to reduce damage from teeth grinding and clenching.

You will see the effect of Botulinum Toxin quite quickly, by a few days to 2 weeks, and it will last for about six months.

Dentists with relevant training can administer botulinum toxin for facial aesthetics treatment, at Gentle Smile Dental Studio only use botulinum toxin to treat dental-related conditions such as square jaw and gummy smile.

Injections of BTX are very similar to getting a vaccine as they are quick and generally painless beyond the initial jab.

Every injection will reduce your jaw muscles, which is why dosage varies depending on your goals. If your goal is to reduce teeth damage from grinding and clenching, a dentist will typically give you a lower dosage. If your goal is to carve a V-shaped jaw contour, you will likely get a higher dosage.

The effect of BTX is quick. In one month, you should see some change, with the most visible change peaking around three months.

Shrinking of your muscles can also lead to some changes such as your ability to bite in the way you’re used to.

If you find that you can’t bite properly, it might be because the amount of jaw muscle shrinkage required to achieve a V-shape jaw was significant.

So you might not have the same ease of biting as you had before.

It’s the same as the annual NAPFA 2.4km run you had to do in school.

After the annual test, most people will stop running regularly, and as a result, their muscles shrink and weaken.

So, when the next year comes, starting from zero will cause aches and sores.

Just like overexertion of any muscle, if you overexert your shrunken jaw muscles, you might experience headaches(from overusing of temporalis muscle). This type of headache can be lessened by massaging the sides of your head.

BTX injections for square jaws last for about three to six months. However, if you are prone to grinding and clenching, you might need a supplementary injection.

BTX is quick, effective and causes no disruption in a person’s work and leisure time.

Braces or clear aligners (e.g. Invisalign, Clear Correct)

Sometimes we’re not blessed with having well-aligned teeth. It’s epigenetic and therefore only dental intervention can correct it.

There are many reasons why you should get braces or clear aligners. For example, having a proper bite will help you reduce tooth wear and pains.

Specific to your jaw shape, realigning your teeth with braces or clear aligners will help you achieve a more pleasant facial look.

Braces and clear aligners(e.g Invisalign, Clear Correct) can reduce a “deep bite” which is a misalignment of the teeth where the upper front teeth excessively overlap the bottom front teeth.

Having deep bite can potentially cause the the lower jaw to be trapped behind the upper jaw, which contributes to the square jaw look that you want to avoid.

Braces or clear aligners will gradually reverse this as your teeth become more aligned day by day.

Jaw surgery

Jaw surgery is a major undertaking but can help you improve your bite and jaw shape in a way that no other method can.

For one, you will be able to reshape your jaw and chin in many ways because a surgeon can shave, cut and carve the perfect shape for you.

The effects of jaw surgery are also permanent and require no further intervention for most people.

Typical timelines for jaw surgery is a few weeks. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. A few hours: Consultation with a surgeon
  2. One day: Typically, a surgery is a one-day operation
  3. Within 1 week post-op: Removal of bandages
  4. 2-3 weeks post-op: Return to normal life and work
  5. Follow-up appointments
  6. Beyond 1 month post-op: Swelling subsides fully

When you are recovering from surgery, you will have to adapt to a “recovery lifestyle” that includes:

  1. drinking food for the first week, and avoiding hard foods for a month.
  2. No smoking or alcohol
  3. Wearing a bandages on your face for about a week
  4. No strenuous activities for at least a month
  5. Sleeping face-up, in an elevated position.

Gentle Smile Dental Studio can help your square jaw

How we look can make or break our confidence, and confidence is a very important part of success in business, relationships and family life.

If your square jaw is harming your ability to smile in photos and among people, then you should consider having square jaw treatment at our Millenia Walk clinic.

Likewise, if you are seeing the deterioration of your teeth as a result of grinding and clenching due to overpowering jaw muscles, you will experience longer-lasting teeth with prompt square jaw treatment.

Among the four options – nightguard, BTX, clear aligners and surgery – our dentists will be able to find a suitable one for you that will reduce your square jaw with minimal disruption to your everyday life, and help you achieve your personal goals.

Book an appointment here.

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Dental Articles

Ugly black gums? Gum bleaching & whitening in Singapore

Most Singaporeans will try to achieve a perfectly white set of teeth in order to improve their smile, and if you are blessed with perfectly pink gums, then your smile is complete.

However, for some Singaporeans, they find that their dark gums are a problem.

They see themselves in photos with a great set of teeth but their black gums hamper a complete smile.

Is this an urgent problem?

Black gums is generally not a health risk

Your gum’s colour comes from cells like melanin, carotene and haemoglobin. The first two being pigments and the last being red blood cells.

Almost all of us have pigments on our gums.

In other words, your gum’s colour can be a natural phenomenon in the same way people have different skin tones.

And just in the same way some people tend to have darker skin, some people tend to have darker gums. Specifically, Asian, African and Mediterranean people may have higher pigment activity which also results in darker gums.

In this respect, black gums are not related to any health issue so you won’t need to worry about your gums presenting a physical health concern.

When is black gums a concern?

Having darker gums can be a health concern, both in terms of mental health and physical health.

Darker gums might be a sign that you have an underlying condition or habit that is causing the symptoms.

For most people, the biggest concern with dark gums lies in their concern about how they look and their self-confidence. So let’s examine that first.

When it affects your self-esteem, confidence and happiness

Every time you look at yourself in photos, do you feel a sense of confidence and happiness?

The main reason why Singaporeans get teeth whitening treatment is the same reason why people get their gums whitened.

Feeling good about how you look and feeling confident about your smile helps people feel more confident and happy.

Feeling confident helps people do better in their career, relationships and other interpersonal interactions.

Darker gums can cause people to feel a sense of worry every time they smile and harm their self-esteem. It can hamper their ability to express themselves fully.

This represents a psychological concern and it’s worth considering whether gum bleaching can help you overcome these issues.

When you have poor oral hygiene

If you reviewed your photos and noticed that your gums are getting darker over the years, it might be a sign of poor oral hygiene.

The reason why we need to brush twice daily is because we want to get rid of plaque and tartar.

However, brushing with the right technique is also very important. For one, a lot of the tartar and plaque that collects where the gums and teeth intersect are generally difficult to clean without proper technique.

Furthermore, Singaporeans who enjoy drinking sugary drinks like bubble tea or dessert like ice kacang can see a higher rate of deterioration.

For this reason, your gums may be getting darker because of habits. Our dentists can advise on how you can maintain better habits and how you can reduce or reverse the darkening of your gums.

Smoking

Every time you smoke a cigarette, you trigger the darkening of gums.

This phenomenon is called smoker’s melanosis – a process where the nicotine causes an increase in melanin production.

Not only does this affect your gums, this can also affect your cheeks and lips. It can appear as patches or a general darkening of any pinkish area.

Quitting smoking today might help reverse your gum discolouration. However, just as the darkening of your gums is a slow and pernicious process, the discolouration is not guaranteed and might take a very long time.

Your dentist can advise of a faster way of reversing your gum discolouration.

Diseases

Some diseases can cause your gums to darken. While not an exhaustive list, here are two diseases to look out for:

Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis

Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis is a gum infection which causes pain, bleeding, bad breath and black gums.

The black gums are caused by the infection of the gum which causes a layer of dead tissue to build up over the gums.

Its causes are poor oral hygiene, poor lifestyle habits (stress and lack of rest) or a poor diet.

This is reversible and our dentists can treat it.

Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease is an uncommon disease that causes your body to not produce enough hormones.

As the disease progresses, this can cause people to experience darkened gums and lips.

Your family doctor or our dentists can diagnose this.

We prefer laser gum whitening. Here’s why.

There are many techniques that dentists use to lighten gums including scalpel, radiosurgery, gum graft, abrasion, chemical and laser.

At Gentle Smiles Dental Studio, we whiten gums with lasers. Here’s why.

Laser gum whitening is a treatment that uses a dental laser that helps achieve a lighter-toned, pinkish appearance on the gums.

Laser is one of the best ways to achieve lighter gums quickly and painlessly.

Treatment timelines: one-day

A typical treatment at our clinic would take 30 to 90 minutes, depending on how many areas need to be treated.

If you just need to treat a few spots, it will be very quick. However, if you want to lighten every area, it will be more involved.

Treatment is generally done one a single day and the results are instantaneous. It’s very rare to need a follow up.

Instant results

The best part is that the results are instantly perceivable, the process is painless and the treatment can last many years as long as you follow up with good oral hygiene.

How much?

The costs are $250 to $2100 depending on the severity and extent of the black gum.

We’re here to help

At Gentle Smiles Dental Studio, we have helped many of our customers achieve greater confidence and happiness when they smile and pose for photos.

Gum whitening is among the many ways that we help our customers achieve this. It all starts with booking an appointment with us.