Having braces can be a daunting prospect – not only for the potential embarrassment (being called ‘metal mouth’) but also from the pinch in your wallet.
Yes, there’s no denying it; braces are NOT cheap.
Especially since most braces are done for aesthetic-enhancement purposes. That means you can’t use your Medisave funds to offset the braces costs!
Thankfully, though, there are now a variety of teeth-straightening options to suit different needs, each of them ranging in price-points.
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Metal Braces Price: HK$30,000 – HK$40,000
Traditional braces are also known as metal braces, which involve metal wires and individual brackets cemented to the front of each tooth. The metal archwire is then held in place by elastic bands.
Your dentist adjusts the tension on each bracket (and, thus, each tooth) to shape the perfect smile for you. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons associated with metal braces:
- Often cheap, if not one of the cheapest teeth-straightening options available
- A tried-and-tested method
- Can straighten teeth quickly (24 months treatment time on average, which is quicker compared to other less visible teeth-straightening options)
- Sometimes the only option for complicated cases (e.g. severe overcrowding, rotated tooth, etc.)
- Aesthetically unappealing
- Definitely not the most comfortable thing to have inside the mouth; wires can cause irritation and ulcers to the inner cheek or lip
- You need to avoid consuming certain foods to prevent breakage of the wires
- Typically requires special dental tools to clean the teeth (i.e. get in-between the wires)
Ceramic Braces Price: HK$35,000 – HK$50,000
Ceramic braces work in pretty much the same way as metal braces. Except, of course, that the brackets are made of ceramic, which can be clear or made to match the colour of your teeth.
The archwires used in ceramic braces are also thinner. And typically, instead of metal, they’re made of polymer – a transparent material. Now, what about its pros and cons?
- Less visible because of the ceramic brackets and transparent archwire – looks better than metal braces
- Roughly the same treatment time as metal braces (on average 24 months)
- Ceramic brackets are more brittle (as if the pain of avoiding your favourite hard candies were not enough, you also have to pay extra for broken brackets)
- Prone to staining; which means you can say goodbye to that glorious morning cup of coffee
- Also not the most comfortable thing to have inside the mouth; expect irritation and ulcers to the inner cheek or lip
- Tricky to clean (as with metal braces)
Lingual Braces Price: HK$50,000 – HK$70,000
Lingual braces have the same components as metal and ceramic braces, but they’re fixed to the back of your teeth, on the tongue (or lingual) side of the teeth. You can think of them as something like ‘internal braces!’
- Because they’re behind your teeth, nobody will know you’re wearing braces
- Roughly the same treatment time as traditional/ceramic braces (24 months on average)
- Incredibly expensive just because of how difficult they are to install and adjust
- Reduces the space in your mouth, which equates to a whole lot of discomfort and ulcers (ouch)
- Can cause speech impediment
- Certain foods must be avoided to prevent breakage (e.g. popcorn)
- Tricky to clean (requires special dental tools)
Invisible Braces Price: HK$13,800 – HK$50,000
Don’t want to be called ‘Brace Face,’ and don’t have a ton of cash to spare? This is where invisible braces come in.
They’re hands-down the most affordable braces in Hong Kong.
Invisible braces, also known as clear aligners, eliminate metal brackets in favour of plastic moulds that fit over the teeth. Your treatment is broken up into phases, and in each phase you gradually wear a straighter mould as your teeth get more aligned, giving you that Hollywood smile over time.
- Much cheaper than other modes of straightening
- More aesthetically pleasing as they’re less visible
- Removable when you’re eating or brushing your teeth, which means you don’t need to worry about avoiding certain foods
- Shorter treatment time (12 to 18 months)
- Least irritating to the gums, cheeks, and lips
- May not be suitable for severe conditions (e.g. overcrowding, severe tooth rotation, etc.)
Safe vs Unsafe Invisible Braces
Not all invisible braces are created equal though.
There are the ‘Safe’ kinds, and the ‘Unsafe’ kinds. How do you tell if the invisible braces you’re eyeing falls into the ‘Safe’ category? Here are 4 tell-tale signs:
- X-Rays – Licensed invisible braces providers always perform X-Rays to help the dentist identify any problems under the gums before straightening your teeth.
- In-person dentist visits – Safe invisible braces providers work closely with local dentists and orthodontists throughout the screening and treatment process.
- Interproximal reduction (IPR) – Legit invisible braces providers will always offer IPR, which is crucial in preventing a protrusive jaw profile (aka ‘duckface’), particularly common in Asians.
- Professional screening process – Safe invisible braces providers will always require a professional 3D scan and X-Ray at a local, licensed dentist’s office. You should NEVER get your teeth imprints done in a coworking space. Or worse, at home, by yourself.
It must be pretty clear by now, but for good measure, here’s a reminder: you should always go with a ‘Safe’ invisible braces.
Whatever You Do, Don’t DIY
There are indeed many options available, each with their pros and cons – you’ll have to weigh your needs and budget to select one most suitable to you.
That said, never go for DIY braces (e.g. 3D printing or the ones you find on Carousell – those are definite no-nos!)
A Fearless Smile Begins With Straighter Teeth
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