If you are interested in getting braces treatment in Singapore, you’re not alone. In fact, the National Dental Centre of Singapore (NDCS) observed an increasing trend of adults pursuing orthodontic treatment from 2011 to 20171. But why are braces treatments so popular amongst all age groups, what are the other treatment options available, and which option is the easiest on the pocket?
Read on to find out more about the cost, process, and subsidies available for orthodontic treatment in Singapore.
What causes crooked teeth?
How do dental braces work?
Simply put, dental braces work by applying pressure on your teeth over time to move them in a desired direction. The shape of the bone supporting your teeth will also change simultaneously along with the teeth, hence ensuring an esthetically pleasing smile and better overall dental health2.
Braces can be fixed to your teeth, or removable. Clear aligners, such as those by Invisalign, braces are one such example of removable braces or retainers.
What are the benefits of dental braces?
From improving your self-confidence to correcting speech impediments, invisible braces are beneficial for many reasons.
How much do dental braces treatment cost in Singapore?
The prices for common orthodontic treatment in Singapore depends from individual to individual, as the treatments are largely customised and affected by various factors such as age, insurance and type of braces needed. On average, the price ranges from an average of $5000 or as high as $11,000.
The cost of braces is also dependent on factors such as:
- The complexity of your case
- The extent of treatment required
- Type of orthodontic material used
- Whether you will need extraction or jaw surgery
- Your dentist’s level of expertise
While public institutions can offer cheaper priced services, do know that waitlists can stretch as long as two years. However, a private dental clinic will be able to provide you with quicker service and more attention.
Types of dental braces in Singapore
Now, there are a few main types of braces such as ceramic and metal braces and clear aligners. Here, we’ll assess the costs and the pros and cons of each one.
With the above in mind, remember that your dentist can always help you decide what type of braces are best for you.
Can dental braces be paid by MediSave or insurance?
Unfortunately, dental treatments like braces and extractions are generally not claimable under the MediSave3 scheme, unless the treatment involves surgery and is deemed medically necessary.
In terms of insurance, you will need to secure a health insurance plan with dental coverage added to it. At Dental Designs, we are an accredited provider for most major international insurance companies, including AIA, MHC and IHP.
Find out more about our dental insurance coverage.
As for expats, you can purchase an add-on to your international health insurance plan that could cover up to 50% of your orthodontic costs. Alternatively, if you already have a private health insurance plan, you can also add on coverage for braces.
With that said, we do not recommend buying a plan just to get coverage for braces since the annual cost of some of these plans is nearly the same as getting braces.
Why are dental braces so expensive?
Orthodontics is highly labour-intensive and is therefore costly. We have to take into account the dentist's working time, which covers everything from time spent diagnosing your case to forming an effective plan, to treatment. Here’s a deeper look at why braces are not cheap:
1) Appointments over a few years
Getting braces means a load of chair time. Your orthodontic work can take a few years for you to see your desired results. With a typical two to three year plan, a patient is likely going to be sitting in a chair for up to an hour at a time. Plus, you’re looking at an average of around 30 visits, and potential emergency appointments.
2) The mechanisms used for braces
Braces aren’t as simple as they seem. There are many detailed mechanisms inside of them that help move your teeth. After all, the moving of teeth through the bone can prove to be tricky, and even the slightest mistake can cause complications to one’s jaw and teeth. Also teeth can move differently due to individual factors in the bone, age, chewing patterns etc. The treatment planning is also unique for each patient, in order to achieve a harmonious outcome which suits the patient best, hence the treatment is customised and always different for each patient.
3) Materials and supplies
Not only are you paying for the intricate mechanisms of the braces that help move your upper and lower teeth, but you are also paying for:
- The supplies used each time you visit, eg. the braces and wires come in a variety of sizes and have to be changed at specific intervals.
- The costs of the sterilisation equipment
- The time and expertise spent in a laboratory
- Products that are used during treatment
- The expertise of the doctor to understand how the braces are moving the teeth and to adjust them accordingly to achieve the desired movement.
What is the timeline and treatment process of getting dental braces like?
The length of treatment largely depends on two factors: Complexity and age.
Braces cases that are more complex (eg. they require extraction, or jaw surgery) will take a longer time to complete. Adults can also expect a longer treatment time than children. While some can solve their orthodontic issues in six months, most typically wear braces for an average treatment duration of about 22 months. Treatments tend to last from 18 to 30 months.
Here’s a general timeline for orthodontic treatment in Singapore:
a) Step one: Evaluation
You’ll meet with us to assess your bite, teeth alignment and spacing issues. You will also be guided in your decision of what type of braces are best for you and your lifestyle. You can expect to go through examinations like X-rays and a bite analysis. You might be recommended to get additional dental care (eg. address cavities, extractions) in preparation for braces.
b) Step two: Getting your braces
Your teeth are prepared for a special adhesive that will hold the brackets of your braces in place and is hardened using a special curing light. Our orthodontist will then ‘sew’ it all together – an arch wire will be fed through the braces, and tightened. Unless you’ve got self-ligating braces, elastic bands may also be inserted.
c) Step three: Living with your new braces
- First few weeks: Your teeth and gums will feel extra tender, so you’ll be eating soft foods for a while. You might also have to adapt to using new dental tools and cleaning requirements, and you will have to keep up an excellent standard of dental hygiene.
- After 4-8 weeks: You’ll visit us for an adjustment and progress check.
- For the first few months: The focus is on correcting your alignment. Once those issues have been addressed, we’ll work on adjusting your bite to a more natural position.
- Regularly till the end of your treatment: You’ll return for regular appointments. Make sure to ask questions, discuss any concerns, and follow care instructions.
d) Step four: Your last appointment
At this stage, we’ll take off your braces and remove the residue left over from the bonding material. This process shouldn’t take longer than 15 minutes, and will leave you with the perfect smile you have been dreaming of.
e) Step five: Maintaining your results
To ensure your teeth do not gradually shift back into their previous positions, you’ll have to wear a retainer. This is where many patients tend to get complacent and neglect wearing the retainers– but do not let your time, effort and money go to waste! Teeth shift for many reasons, and to maintain the position which your braces have achieved, retainers are essential.
Additionally, the following add-ons could affect the length of your treatment plan.
- Rubber bands: These attach to braces to treat jaw misalignment.
- Palatal expanders: These fit in the roof of your mouth and use gentle force to widen your jaw. These are prescribed in children who are still growing, and can help avoid a future need of braces or lessen the time needed for potential treatment.
- Headgear: This is a device you might mostly wear at night, over your head or on your face
What is the best age for dental braces?
There is no ‘best age’ for orthodontic treatment per se, but some cases where jaw growth modification is desired, it is beneficial to start treatment from baby teeth, as early as seven years of age.
Interceptive braces can be used to correct dental problems and help with jaw growth disharmony and a poor bite. Early dental checks can also help to prevent problems in jaw development. For example, a tongue tie can affect the upper jaw arch development due to poor tongue positioning. Furthermore, early treatment in children can also help to eradicate bad habits like thumb or digit sucking, and facilitate and guide permanent teeth growth.
Are dental traditional metal braces safe?
Braces and arch wires are usually safe for most. However, those with a nickel allergy should avoid traditional braces*. The material used for their metal brackets fixed braces and arch wires generally tend to contain nickel, so if you’re one of those who constantly feels itchy when wearing non-precious jewelry, metal braces treatment might not be the wisest option.
*Thankfully, there are now many alternative materials available for you to choose from. Your orthodontist will be able to guide you regarding these issues.
How to make dental braces more affordable for yourself
Braces treatment is an investment in yourself, but it can be expensive, as it is a prolonged treatment that can span years. Instalment plans are available which can help mitigate the cost.
Follow these guidelines so that you won’t have to go through treatment twice, or risk breaking your braces, which could result in more time and money spent.
What happens if you don’t fix misaligned teeth?
In many cases, braces are not just an aesthetic procedure. Here’s what could happen if you do not fix crooked teeth:
- Crooked teeth, especially upper front teeth that stick out (protruding upper incisors), are more likely to become damaged.
- Other types of misaligned teeth can also cause jaw joints to ache, make a clicking or popping sound, or become “locked”. This can make it hard or impossible to open your mouth wide.
- Compensatory movements and teeth grinding can cause your teeth to wear each other down.
- Some types of misalignment might make it harder to clean teeth properly, which can lead to tooth decay and periodontal disease4.
- Chewing, speech and digestion problems.
- Lowered self-esteem.
Plus, it is easier for orthodontists to perform restorative procedures such as crowns and bridges on properly aligned teeth.
Choose a skilled dentist
If you are worried about the cost of braces, you might be tempted to go with the cheapest dentist who might not be the most skilled or experienced. But by cutting corners now, you might be putting yourself at risk for future financial and physical complications.
Additionally, if you end up having to undergo orthodontic treatment more than once, you will not only have to go through twice the porridge dinners but double the discomfort too.
As the old adage goes, you get what you pay for, so always do your research and place your trust in an orthodontist who has a good reputation, reviews and skills. Getting braces can be an incredible braces journey that could help bring out the best version of you and impact your wellbeing greatly.
Contact us for the straighten teeth and healthy teeth you’ve always dreamed of.
- InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Misaligned teeth and jaws: Overview. 2020 Jan 16. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK553375/