Fear Of Braces? Unlocking The Alternative With Aligners

It certainly sends shivers down to one’s spine when hearing that braces are the only solution to a perfect smile. Let’s face it, nobody wants metallic brackets and wires for a smile even if it’s temporary. So it begs the question, is there no other alternative for that ‘Mona Lisa‘ smile? Well, it is time to put that fear behind as we unlock an alternative with aligners.

A woman visiting her dentist for her monthly aligners review.
Can you see it? Aligners are the perfect alternative for those who have fear of wearing braces.
Image by ClearSmile FB.

I Never Knew Of Such An Option…

The reason why I didn’t choose aligners was because they were just too expensive. Furthermore, my orthodontist never did recommend them to me. I wondered why?

Shahida, medical officer and FORMER MASTERCHEF MALAYSIA contestant

Imagine looking in the mirror everyday only to see that gaping or crowded teeth becoming apparent day by day. It is an aesthetic dilemma that many of us (literally) face, even more so when it begins to affect our self-esteem. True, a smile is the prettiest thing one can wear, yet it is often underrated, and many are not aware of their options when it comes to fixing misaligned teeth.

Shahida, who is a government medical officer was one of those who shared a common misconception on aligners. Like many of us, she was under the assumption that aligners are more costly. “I always thought that the whole process of remoulding, if the teeth alignment is not going as expected, would burn a hole in my pocket,” said Shahida. She also added that, to begin with, the option of aligners was never on the table. “If I had known of such an affordable alternative, I would have saved myself the ordeal of wearing braces.”

Shahida showing her lovely smile with her braces.
Here is Shahida, a doctor and our very own MasterChef Malaysia Season 2 contestant recounting her experience on wearing braces.

Braving Braces

Ever wondered what is it like wearing braces? It is a given fact that not all of us are gifted with a perfect set of teeth and, at one point, we have all considered braces. The initial thought of it is cringe-worthy – subjecting oneself to months or even years of seemingly ‘caged’ smile that appears uncomfortable. So what is it actually like to wear braces?

“Well, at first, it was the most uncomfortable thing, having something foreign on your teeth. No doubt, it was a painful experience during each visit when it required tightening. Somehow, you eventually become accustomed to it and it no longer bothers you as much,” explained Shahida.

While the discomfort eventually ebbs, the maintenance of good oral hygiene can be a hassle. “I had a special toothbrush just to clean the braces after every meal. Yes, it was a nuisance and embarrassing! I wish I could remove it especially when I’m eating,” said Shahida.

In any treatment, compliance is key. Shahida recounted that she had to repeat wearing braces for a total of two years because she did not use the retainers. “People often think that the treatment ends once the braces are off but that is far from the truth. What comes next is the use of retainers to maintain the new position. Unfortunately, I did not comply and had to put on braces again,” said Shahida.

How To Decide Between Aligners And Braces?

I saw some posters on aligners during my dental visits but my orthodontist never did utter a word about it.”


While it is not our forte to dictate our treatment plan, it is always advantageous to be informed of your available options. To say that aligners will replace braces is a fallacy as no two individuals possess the same set of teeth. Depending on the complexity of the misalignment, braces, of course, reign supreme in the more complicated cases. As for the rest, having a background knowledge on some of the benefits of aligners can aid in decision-making.

Can I actually take it off while eating? Is it suitable for my problem? These are just some of the questions posed not just by Shahida, but by many users. Firstly, it is important to consult your dentist before you jump the gun. Aligners may not be the best option for everyone but if it is, then comes your informed decision. If compliance is on point, the treatment length can be the same if not shorter than traditional braces. There are usually three sets of aligners with varying texture (soft, medium and hard) provided, one for each week. After which, a regular dentist review (three to four weekly intervals) is necessary before proceeding to the next step.

ClearSmile aligners kit.
This is an example of a ClearSmile kit which includes the thermoplastic aligners of varying texture.
Image by @haumin from ClearSmile FB.

Just like braces, the initial step may bring about some discomfort before the adjustment phase kicks in. As for the question of whether it can be removed during meals, the answer is YES! However, it is crucial for consumers to comply with the 20 hours a day usage to see the desired results at a shorter treatment length. Being removable also makes it easier for cleaning, ensuring good oral hygiene at all times.

Are Aligners Refinements Costly?

“I just assumed that refinements have additional charges, so I didn’t probe further about aligners. Are they really expensive?”


What are refinements? Think of it as remoulding another set of aligners after each review to fit your teeth. Unlike other aligner companies that offer complementary refinements for years, ClearSmile has a different approach.

“While refinements are included, it eventually bores down to the chosen package and patient’s situation. We do not want doctors and patients to take it for granted. Hence, all oral scans are uploaded into our web monitoring system. In that way, we can be sure that the doctor does the actual monitoring. Otherwise, we will be re-fabricating over and over again without an end game.”

Calvin SOO, clearsmile’s MARKETING executivE

The Choice Is Yours

Be it traditional braces or aligners, the ultimate aim is to ensure a successful treatment. True enough, both treatments have its own perks but, at the end of the day, an informed choice goes a long way in ensuring the right treatment plan. Remember, no two individuals are alike, so be sure to find one that suits your needs.

clearsmile lady smiling, invisible aligners
In the end, the choice is yours. So make an informed decision and pick what is best for you.

For more information on ClearSmile and its invisible aligners, visit ClearSmile website, Facebook and Instagram page. A list of providers is also available on the website. Alternatively, you can contact them via email at care@clearsmile.asia.

Read more about The Secret To A Perfect Smile with ClearSmile aligners!

About Jeevitha KUMAR

Hiker, mountain climber, diver, globe trotter, and all-round adventurer, she is probably one of a handful of medical doctors who has left her footprints (almost) all over the world.

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