The Dentist in the Dentist’s Chair
Did you know one of Singapore’s leading Invisalign providers Dr Cheng is also a former Invisalign patient? Here’s his story!
When Dr Cheng Eng Wah says that he knows what the Invisalign experience is like, he means it. Like many of us, the veteran dentist suffered from misaligned teeth most of his life. But unlike most of us, he grew up to be a certified Invisalign provider and treated himself.
“I was never too bothered about my teeth until I entered university,” admits Dr Cheng. As a dentistry undergraduate, he learnt about the various types of teeth misalignment and began feeling uncomfortable seeing it reflected back in the mirror. His lower front teeth were crooked and there was a gap between his upper left canine and the premolar beside it. He also came into the age where appearance started to matter, so when the opportunity presented itself, a young Dr Cheng jumped at it… and missed.
“My dentistry lecturer offered free treatments to his students so you can imagine how many of us signed up. By the time I graduated, my name was still on the waiting list,” he recounted.
Getting it Fixed as an Adult
By then, as a young dentist finding his feet in the professional world, his misaligned teeth quickly faded into the background. It was only after several patients commented on his teeth that, in 2014, Dr Cheng decided to get Invisalign treatment.
Having been an Invisalign provider since 2009, he was deeply familiar with the benefits of this teeth-aligning method but perhaps what excited him most was the prospect of treating himself and satisfying his own professional curiosity.
“I wanted to find out what the aligners can and cannot do so I experimented a lot with my own treatment. I would remove them for up to half a day before putting them back on; I would wear them for a period shorter than the prescribed 14 days,” he shared.
The nine-month adventure not only gave Dr Cheng the perfectly straight teeth he sports today, it also gave him plenty of insights into Invisalign that have helped enhance his patients’ experience.
“This may be rather unconventional but I encourage my patients to keep their aligners on even when eating. Aligners are trying to move your teeth into position but when you chew without them, the force of your bite may be pushing your teeth in a different direction,” suggests Dr Cheng. Based on his own experience, it takes a few days to get used to chewing with aligners and it’s important to clean them after each meal, but there’s no concern about the aligners wearing out.
“During my treatment, I also realised that I had to carry several items to store and clean the aligners. So I came up with the idea of ‘Confidence Starter Kits’ for my patients. It’s a handy pouch that contains dental wax, chewies, pull tool, nail file, toothbrush, toothpaste and the aligners case. It’s really convenient for patients since everything they need is already prepared for them.”
Knowing Your Needs
When prompted for his advice for people who are considering straightening their teeth, Dr Cheng had this to say:
“You first need to know what you don’t like about your teeth and understand what they should look like. Then think about the extent of the treatment you’re comfortable with — is surgery, for example, acceptable?
The next thing that you need to understand is that there may be limitations to treatment, whether due to the dentist’s skill or the method selected, so it’s really important to choose a dentist who is experienced and skillful. You should also be sure that you are comfortable communicating with your dentist. Your treatment is not a short-term one and will involve numerous visits. If you have trouble communicating with your dentist, it may cause misunderstandings and problems during the treatment.”
Dr Cheng Eng Wah is the principal surgeon and founder of i.Dental, the only Invisalign Dedicated Clinic in Singapore and a Black Diamond Invisalign Provider. His Invisalign treatment was voted as the Top 3 best cases in 2015 Global Peer Review award and was awarded the Life Time Achievement award by Align Technology for having treated over 1,000 Invisalign patients.
Looking to fix your teeth alignment and achieve your ideal smile? Request for a consultation with Dr Cheng today!