The Ultimate Guide to Braces in Singapore (2021)

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Dr Enrica Sham

October 31st, 2019· 5 min read

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Having braces put on can be a daunting procedure that many people dread. However, this procedure will help to correct a malocclusion – a misalignment between the upper and lower sets of teeth when the mouth is closed.

If you want to gather more information on braces, whether you are about to see a dentist in Singapore yourself for braces or Invisalign, or are a parent intending it for your child - look no further!

In this guide, I will cover all you need to know about braces treatment in Singapore.

Read on to find out more!

What are braces?


Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that specialises in treating patients with crooked teeth. This is done by using a combination of braces and appliances to straighten teeth and correct bite issues. These methods help to ensure that your teeth can fit together correctly and give you a great-looking smile.

Braces work by applying pressure on your teeth over some time. This pressure slowly moves your teeth in the desired direction [1]. The shape of the bone supporting your teeth also changes when pressure is applied. Braces can either be fixed to your teeth or can be removable.

Clear aligners, such as those by Invisalign, are an example of removable braces.

You can read up on the costs of Invisalign in Singapore here!

Are braces safe?


The procedure for putting on braces is usually a safe one for most patients. However, there are certain small risks you should be aware of.

Patients with severe nickel allergy may want to avoid the traditional metal braces [2]. The material used for their brackets and wires generally contains nickel. If you always feel itchy when you wear non-precious jewellery, have yourself checked for nickel allergy.

Thankfully, there are alternative materials available for you to choose from these days. Patients should discuss with their orthodontist/dentist regarding these issues.

Other common problems you may experience include [3]:

  • An increased chance of ulcers. This is typically due to irritation from the braces.
  • Gum disease and decay. This occurs when the wearer practices poor oral hygiene while wearing braces.

Fixed appliances such as traditional braces see these problems more commonly as compared to removable appliances.

At what age is it most suitable to get braces in Singapore?


Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Generally, most patients begin active treatment between the age of 12-14 years. This is around the time when all the baby teeth have fallen off and are replaced by a new set of adult teeth.

However, some patients can get braces as early as seven years old. This may be indicated in some patients due to jaw growth discrepancy or improper positioning of emerging teeth.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that your child should go for a proper check-up with an orthodontist no later than at the age of seven [4]. This is important as problems such as improper jaw growth or erupting teeth can be modified. These conditions may be easier to correct if they are found early enough to avoid bigger problems.

Early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to:


  • Guide jaw growth
  • Lower the risk of trauma from protruding upper front teeth
  • Correct harmful habits such as thumb-sucking
  • Improve appearance
  • Guide the eruption of permanent teeth into a better position

Children may require an orthodontist if you find any of the following problems:

  • Crowding, misplaced or block-out teeth
  • Early loss of teeth
  • Retained baby teeth after 13 years old
  • Difficulty in chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing and snoring
  • Finger-sucking or other oral habits
  • Difficulty in producing certain sounds
  • A jaw that is too long or short, slanted to one side, shifts when biting or makes sounds
  • Protruding upper or lower teeth
  • Biting the cheek or into the roof of the mouth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Teeth that meet abnormally or don’t meet at all

Is tooth extraction required for braces?


To align crowded teeth and to place teeth in the position of ideal facial harmony, space is required. Space can be created through:

  • Expansion of dental arch
  • Proclination of teeth
  • Interproximal reduction of tooth contacts
  • Distalisation of teeth
  • Teeth extraction

Thankfully, with early intervention and improvements in braces technology, extractions are done much less frequently than it used to be. However, for the best orthodontic results, extraction is sometimes unavoidable. This is especially true when a large amount of space is required for orthodontic movement.

It is best to discuss with your dentist/orthodontist and raise any concerns as well as understand what your suitable treatment options are.

Who can perform braces treatment in Singapore?


Braces, or orthodontics, is a branch of dentistry that specialises in treating patients with crooked teeth. This type of dentistry requires more advanced dental training. These skills are not taught in the most basic dental bachelor degree programs.

According to the Singapore Dental Council guidelines, any registered dentist can provide braces treatment. One can see a general dentist or an orthodontist for their treatment. However, the level of expertise and knowledge of the individual dentist in the practice of orthodontics varies.

General dentists can acquire orthodontic knowledge by attending part-time courses and conferences. The level of practical experience varies among different general dentists. Some general dentists do great orthodontic work. Others may have minimal practical experience in treating malocclusions.

Orthodontists are accredited dental specialists by the Ministry of Health with verified levels of expertise in the treatment of crooked teeth through braces, as well as the control and modification of different parts of facial and jaw growth.

An orthodontist first goes through an additional three years of full-time specialised education in an accredited orthodontic residency program (Master’s degree). There, they learn the skills required to manage teeth movement and guide facial development. After they have gained at least five years of clinical experience in orthodontics, they can then be accredited by the Singapore Dental Council by going through an exit exam conducted by the Dental Specialist Accreditation Board [5].

They use their knowledge and skills to help you get the best results possible by identifying and planning the right treatment options for you.

If you would like to find out more about your dentist/orthodontist qualifications, you can find it on the Singapore Dental Council website. You can also refer to the Association of Orthodontists (Singapore) website for the list of orthodontists/dentist with formal accredited orthodontic training.

How Long Will I Need to Wear My Braces for?


The length of treatment depends on two factors:

  • Case complexity
  • Age of the patient

Typically, braces treatment takes an average of 18-30 months to complete [6]. Cases that require extraction or a combination of jaw surgery will take a longer time to complete. Adult patients may also expect a longer treatment time as compared to young children.

What Are the Pros and Cons of the Different Types of Braces?

Metal Braces


Metal braces are made of medical-grade stainless steel

The pros:

  • Most affordable braces
  • They work 24/7

The cons:

  • Visible metal brackets, wires and rubber bands
  • Wires can cause irritation and ulcers to the inner cheek or lip
  • Certain foods must be avoided to prevent breakage
  • Require special dental tools to clean the teeth

Ceramic Braces


Ceramic braces can be made of:

  • Ceramic
  • Sapphire
  • Composite material

The pros:

  • Brackets are tooth-coloured or clear – reduces the visibility of braces
  • They work 24/7

The cons:

  • Visible wires and rubber bands.
  • Wires can cause irritation and ulcers to the inner cheek or lip
  • Certain foods must be avoided to prevent breakage
  • Require special dental tools to clean the teeth

Self-ligating Braces


Metal and ceramic versions are available. Braces have a self-locking system.

The pros:

  • Self-locking systems eliminate the need for rubber ties on individual brackets.
  • The force applied to the teeth is gentler than traditional braces
  • They work 24/7

The cons

  • Wires are visible
  • The wires can cause irritation and ulcers to the inner cheek or lip
  • Certain foods must be avoided to prevent breakage
  • They require special dental tools to clean the teeth
  • Rubber ties are stained from coloured food and drinks such as curry and coffee

Lingual Braces


These braces are fixed braces. However, they are attached to the inner side of teeth, facing the tongue. They are made from stainless steel or gold

The pros:

  • They work 24/7
  • Invisible to the outside

The cons:

  • The most expensive type of braces
  • Can cause speech impairment and more irritation to the tongue
  • Not commonly used and may not be done by all dentist/orthodontist
  • Certain foods must be avoided to prevent breakage
  • They require special dental tools to clean the teeth

Invisible Braces

A well-known example is Invisalign's clear aligners. They are made of thermoplastic material.

The pros:

  • Clear/virtually invisible
  • Removable (for cleaning and during meals)
  • Easy to clean
  • No food restrictions
  • Most comfortable to wear
  • Causes the least irritation to the gums and cheeks
  • Less disruption to day-to-day activities
  • Less review and emergency visits

The cons:

  • More expensive than traditional braces
  • Requires patient discipline. Patients are to wear aligners for a prescribed period. The optimal wear time is 22 hours a day.

Also read our webinar session about "Teeth Alignment in Adults".

What Are the Average Costs of Braces in Singapore?

The cost of braces can vary considerably from clinic to clinic. It is largely dependent on a few factors such as:

  • The extent of treatment you need
  • Complex cases involving extraction or jaw surgery can require a longer treatment time and, hence, be more expensive
  • Type of orthodontic material used
  • Level of expertise of the dentist/orthodontist

Instalment plans are available in most clinics. They could be tied up with credit card companies or in-house instalments. Clinics can have different instalment policies and down-payment terms; do check with your clinic of choice regarding such plans.

Here are the average costs of each type of braces:

Types of braces



$5500 to $10000

Metal braces

$3500 to $7000

Ceramic Braces

$4200 to $ 8000

Self-ligating braces

$4500 to $ 8000

Lingual braces

$7000 to $15000

%treatmentquote title=Get treatment quote for Braces%

Can I Use Medisave for Braces?


Unfortunately, we cannot use Medisave for braces treatment. However, sometimes adjunct procedures concerning your braces treatment may be partially covered by Medisave. Such procedures include:

  • Exposure or removal of impacted teeth
  • Gold chain bonding or jaw surgery procedures

Most dentists/orthodontists will offer instalment plans to make braces treatment more affordable. Do discuss with your dentist/orthodontist about your financing options.

What can I eat while wearing braces?


Your teeth will likely feel sore throughout the first week after you have had your braces fixed on or after your braces adjustment visit. Therefore, you may not be in the best mood to chew on your food. But fret not, you won’t have to starve during this period. You should choose foods that will lift your spirits and brighten up your day. Ideally, anything soft and cold will be the best choice for sore teeth [7].

Below are some cold and soft food ideas for sore teeth:

  • Ice cream
  • Jelly
  • Pudding
  • Yoghurt
  • Soft fruits (e.g. oranges, ripe mangoes)
  • Smoothies
  • Milkshakes
  • Bean curd
  • Cakes (e.g. mousse-based, chiffon, sponge)

If you want something warm instead, you may try these options:

  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Porridge
  • Tofu
  • Fish
  • Poached or soft-boiled eggs
  • Soup

There are no food restrictions for patients wearing removable braces such as Invisalign, but patients with fixed braces need to take extra precautions in what they choose to eat.

Braces are glued onto the teeth using dental adhesive. Eating hard foods can cause the braces brackets to dislodge from the teeth. Some examples of hard foods include:

  • Nuts
  • Hard candies
  • Pretzels
  • Nachos
  • Popcorn
  • Ice

You may also want to avoid sticky and sugary foods. They may stick to your teeth or braces and increase your chances of tooth decay. Maintaining good oral hygiene will also help keep tooth decay at bay.

How do I maintain oral hygiene while wearing braces?


To maintain good oral hygiene while wearing braces, you should brush your teeth for at least three minutes, three times a day [8]. Do not rush through your teeth cleaning. It takes time and effort to reach all areas as well as underneath the wires to remove dental plaque and food particles.

Flossing between your teeth is an important part of your dental hygiene regime. It should be done at least once a day. You can use super-floss or floss threader to help you floss your teeth. If your hands are not so nimble, you may want to consider investing in a water floss machine.

When brushing, brush over the chewing surfaces of your teeth and directly over your wires and braces. Next, angulate your brush bristles towards your nose for your lower teeth and downwards towards your chin for your upper teeth to ensure you remove the food underneath the hooks of the brackets.

Pay special attention to the areas at the back of your mouth where your bands are. Ensure that no food is trapped there. Lastly, brush the inner surface of your teeth, holding your toothbrush vertically at the front teeth region and horizontally angulated towards your gum using a small jiggling action.

Ensure the bristles of your toothbrush go between each braces bracket and underneath your wires. An orthodontic brush with a V-shape design makes brushing easier for you to reach those areas.

If you think that an electric toothbrush will help you brush better, feel free to do so. You may also want to use an end tuft brush to help you reach those hard-to-reach corners, especially during the initial stage of treatment when your teeth are still crooked. You may also want to use an interdental brush to clean underneath the brackets.

After you have finished brushing, look closely in the mirror. Check to see if you have removed all the plaque and food particles

How often will I need readjustments?


For fixed braces or lingual braces, readjustments are usually done at a 4-8 weeks interval. This allows for the reactivation of braces and more movement. Readjustment appointments usually take 15-30 minutes. The adjustment interval also depends on the stage of treatment and your dentist's/orthodontist’s preference. Your dentist/orthodontist may see you less often in the initial stages of treatment and more frequently towards the end of treatment.

For Invisalign treatments, reviews may be scheduled between 6-12 weeks. The intervals of the reviews for this treatment also depend on the stage of treatment and patient compliance.

How do I care for my teeth after my braces have been removed?


Congratulations on your brand-new smile!

However, you must know that removing your braces is NOT the end. Your teeth love to move and they will continue to move for the rest of your life. The tongue and cheek muscles move and apply pressure on our teeth and can cause teeth movement. If you want your teeth to continue to look great, then you will need to continue to wear your retainers for years to come [9].

Many orthodontists suggest wearing your retainers full-time for the first six months after having your braces removed. You can then continue with night-time wear after that. It is also important to have regular reviews with your orthodontist/dentist to ensure your retainer is of optimal condition and tightness.

He/she can also check on the condition and alignment of your teeth and make the necessary adjustments and corrections. If this is delayed for too long, retreatment may become necessary [9]. I normally review my patients every six months to a year after braces treatment. This is so that I can advise them on their retainer regime.

If you know that you may have problems with retainer discipline, you may also want to discuss with your dentist/orthodontist on the option of a fixed retainer.

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Having a proper treatment plan will ensure that a desirable outcome of orthodontic treatment is obtained. It is also crucial for the treatment’s success for a dental professional to be carefully monitoring the course of the braces' treatment throughout.

Monitoring helps ensure any complications during treatment will be managed at the most appropriate time. Failure to do so may lead to irreversible damage to teeth structure and can cost a lot to correct.

Braces treatment is an incredible journey that can bring out the best version of you and impact your psychosocial well-being greatly.

As orthodontic treatment is a long-term commitment (typically takes about two years), find a dentist/orthodontist you can trust and are comfortable with. Be sure that they understand your concerns and have the necessary skills to give you that beautiful smile you desire.

Dr Enrica Sham is an Orthodontist and Clinical Director at TLC Dental Centre. She also serves as a part-time clinical tutor at the Faculty of Dentistry, National University of Singapore.

Read more of Dr Enrica Sham's QnA here.

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I hope that you've found this guide useful, and perhaps gained more insight into the application process. Most of the admissions-related information (admin and logistics wise) can be found on the official NUS Faculty of Dentistry website.

To help yourself out, you should take note of what people look for when they look for a dentist.

This article was written by Dr Enrica Sham and published on Wednesday, 25 January 2017. Human medically reviewed the article on Wednesday, 25 January 2017. The last update was made on Friday, 18 September 2020.

Disclaimer: Opinions belong to the author and not to the platform.

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