Orthodontic care and your dental insurance in Singapore

Orthodontic care and your dental insurance in Singapore

Whether you’re looking to improve your smile or fix the positioning of your jaws, correcting your orthodontic condition as early as possible can prove less costly than the additional care necessary to treat any further problems that may develop in later years. Fortunately, expats looking for orthodontic care in Singapore will find that there is no shortage of world class public and private dental clinics. Depending on the type of clinic you visit and the severity of your dental condition, orthodontic work can be very costly. As such, having the right dental insurance plan in place can really help in offsetting these costs. 

This article by Pacific Prime Singapore offers some useful information on everything you need to know about orthodontic care and dental insurance in Singapore.

What is orthodontics?

As one of the seven dental specialties recognized by the Singapore Dental Council, orthodontic care deals specifically with the “prevention, interception, and correction of irregularly positioned teeth as well as skeletal disharmony between the upper and lower jaws”. In most cases, orthodontic work involves the application of treatment appliances like braces, invisalign, retainers, or splints.

Common orthodontic problems

The most common dental problems that orthodontic treatment can correct include: 

  • Underbite - This occurs when the lower jaw extends too far forward, causing the lower teeth to sit in front of the upper front teeth.
  • Overbite - This occurs when the upper front teeth are far too forward, sometimes causing the lower front teeth to bite into the roof of the mouth.
  • Crossbite - When there is a misalignment of your upper teeth in relation to your lower teeth.
  • Openbite - This describes upper and lower teeth that do not overlap, causing difficulties in chewing properly.
  • Crowding - When there’s not enough space for the teeth in your mouth.
  • Spacing - This is the opposite of crowding, and happens when there is an excess of available space in the mouth, causing gaps in between the teeth.

Causes of orthodontic conditions vary. Genetic factors can play a significant role, especially with problems like crowding, spacing, and various other jaw problems. Environmental factors such as fall accidents during childhood/ adolescence can also cause orthodontic problems. Children born to mothers who consumed alcohol or certain types of drugs during pregnancy may also be prone to developing facial/ jaw deformities.

Is orthodontic care necessary?

Orthodontic work not only corrects the physical appearance of teeth and jaws, but in many cases also improves their functioning. This type of dental treatment is important because crooked teeth are often hard to clean, increasing the chances of tooth decay. An improper bite can also lead to difficulties in eating, and may even affect the way you speak. Therefore if you have an orthodontic problem it is often advised that you undergo the right treatment as early as possible to prevent the chances of developing more severe and expensive dental conditions.

How much does orthodontic care cost in Singapore?

Like virtually all forms of medical treatment, the cost of orthodontic care in Singapore depends on a number of factors, such as the clinic you choose to go to, the severity of your orthodontic problem, the duration of treatment required, and the type of appliance needed (e.g. braces, invisalign, etc.).

That said, getting a rough idea of how much treatments can cost in different facilities is a great way to start your research. For instance, the Ministry of Health website is great resource as it lists the average fees for orthodontic work at public and private institutions:

  • Public facilities: SGD 3,000 to SGD 4,870
  • Private facilities: SGD 2,000 to SGD 10,700 

As can be seen above, orthodontic work can be very expensive in Singapore. Costs can be even higher if you have more than one family member requiring care. As such, having the right dental insurance can really help in saving you money.

Which type of dental insurance covers orthodontic care?

Dental insurance plans in Singapore offer varying levels of coverage, the major types being:

  • Routine dental - This type of dental plan covers standard dental treatments like tooth cleaning, x-rays, fillings, consultations, etc.
  • Major dental - More comprehensive dental insurance plans cover major dental treatments like orthodontic work (e.g. medically necessary braces), gingivitis treatment, dentures, etc. As they cover more expensive treatments, these plans tend to charge a higher premium.

For dental insurance that covers orthodontic work, be sure to look for a plan that covers major dental treatment. Please note that every plan is different and offer varying elements of coverage, so it is definitely worth reading through the fine print of any dental insurance policy, or talking to a trusted broker like Pacific Prime Singapore before you make your purchase.

Things to look out for when purchasing dental insurance

In most cases, dental insurance is purchased as an add-on coverage benefit to primary health insurance plans. Insurers will often refer to this add-on as a “rider”. One thing to note here is that these riders often come with a waiting period of around 6 to 12 months, which is the time that will need to pass after you’ve secured the policy before you can make a claim on that benefit.

If you’ve got any more questions or would like to learn about your dental insurance options, be sure to contact the helpful advisors at Pacific Prime Singapore today.

02 Sep 2017
Travis Jones