A Gentle Guide to getting Orthodontic Braces done in Singapore
If you are visiting this page, it means you would like to know more about braces. So we’ll give you a friendly and complete guide to what orthodontic treatment (braces treatment) in Singapore is all about.
Being Singaporean, we can guess what your first question is. Cost?
It will cost $3.5-$6k at Katong Dental.
At Katong Dental, you can pay in installments during follow up visits. Most people won’t pay in one shot. Different clinics have different billing practices.
Are there subsidies or is insurance coverage available?
Nearly all orthodontic treatment is considered to be performed for cosmetic reasons, and does not qualify for insurance payout.
A tiny number of cases that do justify braces (and insurance coverage) for medical reasons, involve misaligned teeth that cause health problems such as severe pain or speech impediments. If you have been in an accident, braces might also be justified for medical reasons.
We have heard from patients that ‘some other dentist’ says you can use Medisave to pay for braces. That is totally not true. Medisave is for medically necessary surgical procedures.
You can get cheaper work done elsewhere, but chances of satisfaction go down. That’s because most of the work done cheaply are by ordinary general dentists rather than a specialist called an Orthodontist, which is the case with us. (Dr. Ang Poh Kang has an honours, which is a rare honour that is rarely given.)
In a prestigious city practice braces will cost even more usually, without necessarily better quality. (People do need to pay for that rent in a first tier location and that beautifully renovated clinic!)
How much you pay eventually (and also how much you have to suffer!) really depends on the amount of work needed. Sometimes a person with severely crooked teeth and a big mouth, can have the problem solved in a straightforward way. 12 months, no extraction of teeth needed, $1.8k.
Sometimes you only need a bit of adjustment, but there is no space in your mouth to move your teeth. Orthodontist will have to pull one or more teeth out, put in a pin, and do other things that take time and effort and do involve some soreness on your part. It could take 24 months or more, and total costs at $4.5-$6k.
OK, now lets consider your second question. What do braces treatment seek to correct?
Most people are going to say, braces treatment are for giving you that nice smile.
Oh yes, that’s true. But that’s just cosmetics. Even if you don’t care about a perfect smile, many people do need braces to improve their quality of life.
Braces help to correct overbites, to correct underbites, to straighten tooth allignment, and to reposition jaws. If you find it hard to chew, if you find yourself unable to bite through your food, you should get braces. That way you can enjoy eating.
Quite frankly, eating is the No. 1 Singaporean hobby. Even shopping can’t compare with eating, because so many people go window shopping and then eat out, but nobody goes shopping and just looks at restaurants before going home to eat. Good teeth allignment help you enjoy your food better. I have plenty of personal experience on this.
When teeth are poorly alligned, you can’t eat properly. Your teeth may be worn down more quickly.
If you keep getting food jammed in some part of the mouth, you should get braces.
In the case of me (the writer), I used to have food get stuck between two of my molars. It was very painful.
Dr. Ang helped solve my problem by correcting my tooth allignment.
Let me care to add, I actually had work done by not one but two dentists prior to Dr. Ang. The problem was, these people only cared about making the front teeth look good. They didn’t take a complete view of my mouth and my bite into account when they moved my front teeth to create that smile. The rear teeth got misalligned.
So do be aware that some orthodontists only care about the ‘smile’ and not about what goes on behind the smile.
One of the orthodontists even made a point of taking many photos of my smile to ‘prove’ that work was well done. But she caused my rear teeth to be incorrectly positioned, leading to much pain and discomfort for me because nearly every meal I would have food jammed between my molars.
So no, orthodontics are not just about that glamorous smile that some people claim. It’s also about quality of life.
Who to choose for braces?
You don’t need a specialist for getting your braces done. In Singapore, most orthodontic treatment is actually delivered by general dentists.
Somebody on another website says “you can get your orthodontic treatment done by post grad orthodontic students (under supervision) at the NUS Post Graduate Orthodontic Clinic for a fixed cost of $2800, not including X-Rays and extractions. It’s by far the cheapest option.”
OK, that’s true. I got mine done that way, at a lower cost (1997 prices). I suffered and had to have Dr. Ang correct the problem that was created by that person. I won’t recommend the same thing to anyone. Students have nothing to lose, so they do just enough to pass out. Practicing specialists are more likely to consider the long term implications of their work. If you are going to be in private practice for another 20 years, you would like your satisfied patient to keep recommending new patients to you.
Different types of braces treatment:
Now lets talk a bit about the different types of braces treatment available in Singapore.
This has become the most popular form of braces treatment. The best thing is that Invisalign is practically invisible. You don’t embarass yourself, and you remain entirely photogenic throughout your braces treatment.
Invisalign also feels much better than other forms of orthodontic treatment. There are no metal things stuck to your teeth, so it is easy to brush your teeth. You can eat just about anything without fear of damaging your braces. Just take out the aligner to eat or brush teeth, and you can pop it back in later.
Some people have a tendency to develop ulcers. These people tend to suffer more during braces treatment, because the metal contacts rub against their inner linings of their mouths. There are people who get 3, 4 ulcers in their mouth as a result of wearing braces. With Invisalign, all these discomforts go away.
The big disadvantage of Invisalign is the cost. This is by far the most expensive form of braces treatment in Singapore, at $6-11k. Invisalign works by using transparent aligners moulded to fit only your mouth. Each aligner is designed to move your teeth a bit. So you need many aligners over the course of a long time, to slowly reallign your teeth. Typically you use an aligner for 2 weeks, then when your teeth have adjusted to the new position, you change another alligner. People commonly use 18-30 aligners in the course of this treatment.
I should point out, if you lose one aligner, replacement cost is substantial.
Furthermore, not everyone can just pay the money and get Invisalign adjusters. If your tooth allignment has complex issues, other forms of orthodontic treatment may be better.
Metal braces are the most traditional form of orthodontics. These consist of metal wires and brackets that are cemented to your teeth. Every subsequent visit to the orthodontist, he will change or tighten the wires so that your teeth can be moved. Sometimes the orthodontist will also put in a retaining pin into your mouth to anchor the braces.
Metal braces are the best for complex cases.
Costs for us are $3.2k-$5k
There are numerous disadvantages of metal braces:
1. difficult to brush one’s teeth properly. It is very common for dental hygiene to be negatively affected by metal braces. It took me 3 times as long to clean my teeth because I had to brush at different angles to clean the braces.
2. appearance. Generally teenagers are very sensitive about how they look. There are also quite a number of older people going for braces treatment in Singapore nowadays. As career people they may feel embarassed to be seen wearing braces which are associated (whether fairly or not) with vain young people.
3. mouth soreness. The metal parts will rub against your mouth all day, and even more when eating. This causes abrasions and ulcers to form. If you are the type of person who develops ulcers in the mouth frequently, you are likely to hate braces.
Ceramic braces are actually the same as metal braces, with the sole exception that the brackets which hold the metal wire to the teeth are made of ceramic. Being made of ceramic, what colour are they? Same as your teeth! That makes them significantly less visible and is the main reason for people using ceramic braces. (The metal wire still shows up as a line across your teeth).
And what would be the disadvantages of ceramic braces?
Same as for metal braces! Plus, you are advised to stay away from staining foods such as coffee which will reveal the ceramics. Even worse, ceramics are… of course, fragile! (They will require more maintenance from the orthodontist, which means more visit, more treatment time and more cost.)
These will cost $4-6k at Katong Dental. We don’t do so many cases of ceramic braces, because about their only advantage is a cosmetic one.
One way that we can help patients save money, is by putting ceramic braces on their upper teeth and standard metal braces on their lower teeth. Since the lower lip tends to cover the lower teeth, the upper teeth are the ones that could benefit from being less obvious – ie using ceramic braces.
Unlike the metal and ceramic braces described above, lingual braces are not visible externally. They are basically metal braces, but mounted inside rather than outside. Good thing is you won’t be getting ulcers in your cheeks or inner mouth surfaces.
But if they’re on the inner surfaces of the teeth, what do they come into contact with? Your tongue. So lingual braces are more likely to cause abrasions and ulcers to your tongue.
Lingual braces are not really popular. They are expensive and cost $8-10k, and adjusting them is more complicated work. Even worse, they will affect your speech significantly. Nowadays I believe they have been superceded by Invisalign.
Contact us for an appointment!