Teeth Braces - Cost, Types, Do Dental Braces Work

Beautiful young woman with metal teeth braces

Today we pay a lot of attention to our appearance and a beautiful smile is one of the factors determining our self-confidence and self-esteem. However, not everyone is lucky to have straight and nice-looking teeth. About 40% of people are born with a perfect bite. The beautiful smiles of the others are results of the hard work of a dentist and orthodontist who work in the cosmetic and aesthetic dentistry field.

The orthodontic treatment gives us much more than a beautiful smile - it is an investment in the health of our teeth and our body. Clustered teeth and improper bite lead to bone loss, gum retraction, tooth decay, even a tooth loss, discomfort, and pain in the jaw joint. Many times the orthodontist recommends using tooth braces to improve the teeth and correct the bite.

What are teeth braces?

Braces for teeth are devices that are placed directly on the upper and lower teeth in order to correct their alignment and position as well as improper jaw growth. Also,  it is possible to get braces on lower teeth only. 

For most of us, braces are the most popular method for achieving well-aligned teeth. In addition to straightening the teeth, dental braces are also used to correct the bite. Orthodontic braces are one of the best treatment options in cases when you want to improve the aesthetics of your smile and the functionality of the bite.

How do you know if your teeth need braces?

The most common problems that require teeth braces are deep bite1, crossbite2, or open bite3. Crooked teeth are considered an aesthetic problem, but in many cases, this is not the main problem at all. Improperly positioned teeth cause a number of issues, such as tartar accumulation, tooth decay formation, and other periodontal problems. All of these conditions can cause serious damage in the long run. That's why early consultation with a braces specialist is recommended.

What do braces do to the teeth?

Orthodontic treatment is a totally natural tooth movement process. Our teeth move naturally throughout life. As you know, your teeth came into your mouth and you feel like they grew, but the doctors call that erupting. As the structures change, muscle change, as we grow up, all of that effects movement of teeth. Orthodontic treatment is exactly the same process. It is a slight pressure on the teeth that cause them to move through the bones. The orthodontists create light pressures through the use of elastics and flexible elastic wires.

After the braces treatment, the orthodontists often prescribe retainers to keep the bite in the correct place. Retainers are removable braces that normally help to maintain the results of braces.

Why you have to see an orthodontist for braces?

There is certainly a difference between a general dentist and an orthodontist. While the dentist deals with the main problems of the oral cavity and dentition, the orthodontist is familiar with all of these problems but also has in-depth knowledge about the function of the chin, as well as the need for braces. In short, orthodontists know everything that every dentist needs to know, but their speciality is knowledge of how teeth move in the oral cavity. That is why choosing an orthodontist to prescribe, select, and place braces are the best solution for each patient.

What types of braces are there?

The development of orthodontics and the application of technologies in the manufacture of braces allows the use of various techniques and methods to optimize the straightening of teeth and reduce pain during the process. Modern orthodontic treatment offers a choice of different types of braces. Among the most common types of dental braces in Singapore are traditional metal braces, ceramic, lingual, and Invisalign. Braces can also be fixed and self-ligating. Traditional fixed braces hold the tooth-aligning wires in place with rubber bands while self-ligating braces don't have rubber bands, they have a door mechanism.

Metal braces

Metal or traditional braces are very effective and most often used in orthodontics. Their advantages are the affordable cost and easy maintenance. They are visible, which makes them easy to clean in children.

Metal braces are made of high-quality stainless steel brackets and are attached individually to each tooth, then connected to each other using a metal arch that puts pressure on the teeth and places them in the correct position.

Metal braces offer placement both on the outside of the dentition and on the inside. The inside braces are practically invisible. Placing them on the inside of the teeth can cause temporary discomfort at the beginning. They are not suitable for very severe cases of deformation.

Ceramic braces

woman with ceramic braces smiling

Ceramic braces are the same size and shape as metal, but the difference is that they are made of clear brackets or tooth-coloured material. They are also known as clear braces. This type of braces can be almost invisible. However, if you choose ceramic braces you should know that with improper maintenance the colour of the braces can change and be more visible than at the beginning.

Lingual braces

Lingual braces are fixed braces that are placed at the back of your permanent teeth. One of their main pros is that they are completely invisible. So this type of braces is a good option for someone who is very aesthetically conscious. This really does sound like an amazing choice. However, lingual braces have some cons as well and the most obvious one is the discomfort. Also, they tend to catch a lot more food when you are eating and a lot more things may get stuck in the braces.

Invisalign (aligners)

Invisalign is another type of invisible braces. This is one of the best-developed technologies for straightening the dentition and arranging the teeth. More than 5 million patients have chosen aligners, as 1 million of them are teenagers. These types of liners are used as an effective alternative to static braces. Basically, the technology involves a set of invisible rails that are used for a specific period and in a specific sequence. The goal of each subsequent liner is to move the process one step forward. All liners are made individually for the dentitions of each patient. Their advantage over standard braces is that Invisalign can be removed during eating and brushing. They are suitable both for correcting the dentition and for prevention after treatment by an orthodontist.

How long will your braces be on?

The treatment time usually depends on how much work needs to be done to reach the correct, orthognathic bite. Fixed braces4 are usually placed for about 12-24 months, but the wearing time can be extended if it is necessary. The orthodontist is the one who can give you an approximate duration of treatment with braces. In adults, the treatment time can be a little bit longer compared to adolescents.

You should know that you will have to visit regularly the orthodontist during the braces treatment. The dentist should monitor the treatment and the expected results.

Do braces hurt?

The most common question asked by patients undergoing braces treatment is whether these regular visits will be painful. You should know that your oral cavity is a very sensitive place and it will take time to get used to the device and the changes in your mouth. When you first get your braces they are going to be a little bit uncomfortable for the first couple of days. It might be some mild discomfort or you may experience significant pain. The good news is that it doesn't last for the whole treatment. It is just for a few days and the main thing that you need to remember is that it gets better. Painkillers can help in these moments when the pain is so strong and the feeling is really uncomfortable.

Some parts of the braces may cause discomfort to the lips, cheeks, gums by forming traumatic sores in these places. The dentist or orthodontist may give you a special orthodontic wax so you will be able to cover your braces in the places where they irritate the oral mucosa. If this does not help within a few days, you should seek help again from your dentist.

The benefits of braces treatment

Braces not only straighten your smile but they also have some health benefits such as:

  • braces improve your oral health and enhance your confidence;
  • they align underbites and correct overbites;
  • braces adjust protrusions;
  • they straighten and fill in the gaps in your smile.

Straight teeth can help maintain good oral hygiene and health. If teeth are misaligned they will easily trap bacteria and food particles. Even after brushing, food particles in hard-to-reach places get left behind. This can lead to plaque accumulation, gum disease, bad breath, and other dental problems. Braces can help you to improve your smile as they will give you nice and straight teeth.

How to take care of your teeth with braces on?

Cleaning teeth with dental braces

As a patient, you play a key role in the success of orthodontic treatment. It is extremely important to keep your teeth, gums, and braces clean throughout the treatment. Proper dental care requires a little more time and effort, but it's worth it. It is important to strictly follow the instructions of your orthodontist. You should brush your teeth immediately after each meal. If you can't always do that then rinse your mouth well with water. 

If you are wearing fixed braces, brushing teeth should be done 2 times a day - in the morning and evening. This should be done with a normal toothbrush and toothpaste of your choice, for at least 2-3 minutes. The movements of the brush should be in all possible directions. You also need to well rub the surface of the teeth and braces. The use of mouthwash is recommended, especially if you have periodontal problems and frequent mouth sores. Remember to clean your tongue and palate as well. Clean your gums carefully and regularly. A good way to find out if your brushing is right is if your braces look shiny and their edges are perfectly clean. It is good to change your toothbrush every month. To clean between your teeth you can use dental floss every night before bed. Make sure you clean carefully along and below the gum line.

When you are wearing removable teeth brackets, brushing should be done both on the teeth and on the appliances themselves. The teeth must be brushed in the morning and evening. The braces are washed 2 times a day with a separate brush and paste, and once a week you need to put them in a special solution. When the devices are not in the mouth, they are stored in a special box.

If you don't have good oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment, plaque and food particles can accumulate around your braces. This may lead to the development of tooth decay5 and inflammation of the gums as well as periodontal disease.

It is very important to take extremely good care of your teeth during orthodontic treatment. With regular brushing and cleaning of the interdental spaces, you will keep your teeth and gums in good condition and ensure a healthy orthodontic treatment. All of this will make it possible to achieve the dream smile. Once your braces are removed, you will notice that your efforts are rewarded with a healthy, great-looking smile.

How much does it cost to get braces in Singapore?

It is a hard question to give it a precise answer about the cost of braces because it depends on many factors such as the complexity of your treatment as well as the way that you choose to treat your teeth (with ceramic braces, metal, or with Invisalign). If your case requires tooth extractions or it's going to take dental surgery to fix, it is going to cost more. Each office is different and if you have dental insurance - each insurance company is different as well. According to the Ministry of Health getting braces at a public institution in Singapore is a little bit cheaper than at a private clinic. Usually, you can't use Medisave for braces treatment.

The average price for orthodontic treatment as an adult can range somewhere between $4000 and $60000 depending on the specific orthodontist, although, some clinics may offer less than $3500 and others much more than $11000. The cheapest braces in Singapore are the metal ones - around $4000, followed by ceramic braces that may cost you somewhere between $5000 and $6000. The cost of self-ligating braces may vary between $5000 and $8000. The treatments with Invisalign and Lingual braces in Singapore cost more - approximately $10000 - $110000. Braces for students in Singapore might cost a little bit less than for adults as many clinics have special students' plans.

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