Not everyone is born with perfect teeth and the desire for a beautiful smile is enough to put some people through years of pain by getting braces and spending thousands of dollars in that process. However, the eventual satisfaction of having straight and aligned teeth have given many people new-found confidence that they will willingly go through the entire process again.
If you are thinking of getting braces, be assured that it's never too late. Here's a little heads-up on what you should consider before taking the plunge.
Do I Really Need Braces?
Braces are largely considered for cosmetics purpose rather than mandatory for health purposes. However, ask someone with severely crooked teeth and they can attest to the “cost” of not having straight teeth. Most of it comes at a social and psychological cost, affecting a person's social life and confidence because they are too embarrassed to open their mouth.
So if the state of your teeth is hurting your psychologically, you might want to consider getting braces.
Getting braces is definitely not a one-time process. You will require prior consultation where X-rays and photos of your teeth are taken so that the orthodontist can plan your treatment and recommend the best option for you. You may also need some teeth removed before fitting of your braces.
Other than that, expect to visit your dentist every month every 8 weeks to tighten the braces. The entire process of treatment usually lasts between 1 to 2 years, but you will still need to wear retainers after the removal of braces to keep your teeth from moving.
Other than that, you also need to commit some time on a daily basis to maintain good oral hygiene. Food can easily accumulate on the brackets and teeth, causing gum diseases or decay. This can complicate the whole process and risk unsightly teeth that are patchy.
All in all, it can be a time-consuming process, so make sure you are committed to it before embarking on it. If not, it could end up being a big waste of your time and money.
Pain and Discomfort
Anyone who has gone through the process will tell you getting braces is not fun. It will be painful – from tightening of the teeth to chafing on the cheeks and tongue. Your teeth will also be exceptionally sensitive when eating. However, take heart that this pain and discomfort usually only lasts for a week before you get accustomed to your new braces.
How It Will Affect Your Daily Life
The most common problem have is that they need to pay a bit more attention to what they are eating. You may need to avoid certain food for awhile, like crunchy and hard food, sticky food, and even food where you need to bite into, like apples, corn on a cob and chocolate bars.
Financing your treatment
When it comes to getting braces, some people forget one of the most important issues – financing the treatment! Because orthodontics are largely considered cosmetics rather than a medical treatment, you most likely can't claim from your health insurance, and not even your Medishield.
The average cost of getting braces is between S$3,500 to S$6,000, and you can expect to pay about half the cost upfront, with the rest split into subsequent visits. Considering this is quite a large sum of money, you might want to think about how you can finance it.
A good way to do this is to pay for the treatments with a credit card. With the initial upfront cost of around $2,000, make use of a good rewards credit card or cashback card to help you save some money. If you regularly spend around S$2,000 a month, you can consider the UOB One card, which offers a flat 5% cash rebate on our purchases per month.
Certain clinics also offer 0% instalment plans in conjunction with some of the banks. For example, if you are a frequent flyer, the DBS Altitude card can be used to help you earn air miles, and you can use the 0% IPP at Smile Inc Dental.
If you do not own a credit card, a personal loan from a bank can help as well, which can cost around 12-15% per year in interest payment. Since a personal loan can be comfortably paid using fixxed monthly instalments, it makes it rather easy and simple to manage your monthly payments to the dentists.
Getting braces is a big decision that can affect your daily life. Consider the above points before going for it and look forward to a beauiful smile at the end of 2 years!
Written by Lynette Tan