Wednesday, July 23, 2008

bracing matter

the question of the week: berapa cost nak buat braces?

braces (or pendakap gigi, or besi pada gigi, or medically known as orthodontic treatment) has somehow becoming a trend among youngsters now. usually this type of treatment is done under advice of our dentists, but there are some cases in which the patients themselves request for it for various causes, example for self esteem, aesthetics reasons, because its cool and also because all their friends have it.

the cost of wearing braces varies from one clinic to another, but on average it is between rm3500-rm5000. no no no, you are not paying this amount in one shot. most of the payment you will have to put down is on your bonding appointment, in which your dentist cements the braces onto your teeth. on that appointment only you will pay about rm1500-rm2000. after that, you will have appointments on monthly basis, up to two years or more, to change or tighten the wires. those appointment costs about rm150-rm200. easy said, consider the initial rm1500-rm2000 as down-payment, and rm150-rm200 as monthly payment. so, for example, if you pay rm1500 as your initial payment and rm200 consequently on every monthly visit, and your dentist charge you rm4300 for the whole treatment course;

(rm4300 - rm1500) /rm200 = 14 months
you will finish paying in a little over one year. its not bad, isn't it?

okay, those rm4300 does not include the consultation before you start wearing braces, the treatment you need before you put on the braces and also the follow up after you remove them. specialist will charge you around rm50 for consultation. scaling or filling or extraction prior to putting on the braces will be charged accordingly. and x-ray cost is around rm100.

minor malalignment- non-specialist case

general dental practitioners do provide orthodontics treatment. we do this after we attend some short courses that enable us to provide those services to our patients; but only for simple cases such as minor malalignment of the teeth or spacing of the teeth (gigi jarang). we tend to charge lower for our services.

moderate-severe crowding: specialist's case

orthodontists, on the other hand are specialists that specializes in correcting major malalignment such as jongang (pardon my word, but i need to be blunt) and severe crowding of teeth, so their charges will be a little bit on the costly side. my advice is: always get a second or several opinions before you decide. get these dentists to tell you whether yours is a simple or a complicated case.

wearing braces is no ordinary or simple matter. a lot of failed cases attributes to lack of discipline and knowledge. so make sure you do your research and mentally well-readied before deciding on flaunting them. good luck!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


'saya nak putihkan gigi saya...'


'saya nak macam orang kat hollywood sana...'

untuk rawatan tuh kita charge rm500 untuk satu session yea...

'ape pulak... kawan saya buat hari tu rm60 aje!!'

yg rm60 tu cuci gigi lah dikk..

our teeth is naturally yellowish white in colour. the intensity of the colour yellow very much depends on the thickness of our enamel (the outer layer of our teeth) and dentine (the inner layer of our teeth). this thickness, in turn, believe it or not, depends on our genes. those who has thicker enamel will have whitier teeth and those with thicker dentine will have teeth that appears more yellowish. that is why dark-skinned people (indians, african-americans) seems to have whitier teeth whilst those with fair skin (chinese, eurasian) have more yellowish teeth. malays? we are somewhere in between (as always).

what do we mean when we say ' cleaning' or 'cuci' our teeth? simply means we are removing the plaque (or in our world better known as tahi gigi) and calculus (i.e tahi gigi yang dah keras macam batu). plaque and calculus will appear as yellow depositions along our gum margins, and they easily irritates our gum. the simplest sign that you have plaque and calculus deposition is when you have bleeding gums while brushing.

plus, if you frequently indulge yourselves in heavily coloured food (example: coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, chocolates, liquor, etc etc) and of course, if you smoke, these depositions will be coloured as well, and we call them staining of teeth. the older you are, the more apparent these staining will become as our dentine will become thicker hence teeth become yellower and stains become darker.

brushing alone, be it 5 times a day, will not enough to remove plaque if you do not accompany them with flossing. calculus, on the other hand, can only be removed by your favourite person (the dentist). this is the main reason we encourage dental check ups. just do it on your own accord, be it thrice a year or once in three years. but do it routinely.

while teeth cleaning is a routine treatment need, teeth whitening on the other hand is completely for cosmetic purposes, just like a makeover. i am of course referring to here in Malaysia. Do not compare ourselves with them in Tinseltown where they seem to suffer without collagen injection and whitens their grins routinely.

there are all range of whitening options, from rolls royce level to motor kapcai. the most expensive is the laser treatment, which can cost about rm2k per session and the result is very satisfying. you can achieve that 100 watt smile, no argue there. the cheapest would be the take-home toothpaste ones you get over the counter anywhere between carrefour and kedai runcit abu. the result? you tell me. i'm sure everyone have tried it before one way or another.

for me, just like you do those makeover once or twice for that extra-special occasion, you can also whitens your teeth for the same purposes: engagement, wedding, graduation... but let me also suggest, that if you opt for the lower-middle or higher-middle range (which costs from rm100-500 per session) that you try it once about 3-6 months before the purported time. because incidentally, the result of these mid-range type varies to different types of teeth. some lucky ones can get up to 5 shades whiter than their original shade, but others cannot see the difference at all. even if you choose the laser treatment, you should also try it once before, see whether it suits you and whether you can control yourselves afterwards (in your smoking and eating habits, i mean) because whitened teeth are super-easily stained and there are reports of hypersensitivity in some patients. you do test drive the car first before you buy, right?

and oh, yes. you do have to have your teeth cleaned first before you even think of whitening them.