“The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second-best time is now,” I told myself as I made an appointment with my dentist to essentially glue on metal fixtures in my mouth. Yes, I’m talking about braces. I’ve been putting it off all my life but finally decided to go through with it.
At time of writing, they have pulled out 4 perfectly healthy teeth to make room for my teeth to straighten later. Pardon my Malay, but BAPAK KAU SAKIT GILA DOWH.
Being cost-conscious and all, I did research on the braces cost in Malaysia, but specifically in KL/Subang/Shah Alam area. I asked friends, family members, Twitter as well as scoured Google for answers (not that helpful tbh). In this blogpost I will share what I found out, plus the additional costs that I personally incur while getting braces.
#1 – There are 3 types of braces, and they have very different price points
(Source: From a Twitter follower, cross-checked with a dentist who said, “ya more or less lor”; as of July 2017)
Conventional braces cost in Malaysia
- What it is: Braces which the wire is secured with elastic bands. Most people have this option, it’s the most cost-effective
- Cost: GP – RM5k++ | Specialist – RM8-10k
Damon braces cost in Malaysia
- What it is: Braces which the wire is secured by something they call ‘slide mechanism’. Doesn’t look as metal-ly as conventional braces. Sometimes referred to as self-ligating braces, or self-lig for short.
- They come in (at least) two types: metal (silver) and ceramic (white). The ceramic one is more expensive, by at least a few thousand.
- Cost (metal) : GP – RM7k++ | Specialist – RM12k
Clear aligners cost in Malaysia (like Invisalign braces and ClearPath braces)
- What it is: A set of 10 or so retainers which you have to wear consistently; each set adjusts the teeth a little bit straighter than the last one.
- Cost: RM15-20k (!!!)
Honestly, I wanted the Invisalign because – no shame – vanity reasons. But at that price? No way.
I took Damon braces because my dentist said:
- Faster results than conventional braces
- Less pain than conventional braces
- Usually don’t have to do teeth extraction (this one doesn’t apply to me, I still had to take out 4 teeth)
My dentist, in Subang area, charges RM8,500 for metal Damon braces. The deposit is RM3,000, and I have to pay RM300 monthly until finish payment. It will take roughly 18 months to pay it off at that rate.
According to friends and family, the deposit+monthly payment is usual system. This includes the cost of installing braces, adjusting every 4-5 weeks and retainers. The elastic band and dental wax are also included.
I considered the ceramic Damon braces but she said it’ll cost quite a bit more, around RM11k, NOT including retainers (approx RM1k more).
Update: Managed to snap a pic of this price list from my dentist. Braces cost is second-last in the table
#2 – Is it possible to get cheap braces in Malaysia?
Yes, can. But you’re not going to like both options.
- Disclaimer! I didn’t even contact them to get more info and prices because I know I’m not going to go with government orthodontic option. So take whatever info here with a grain of salt.
- Cost: Some mentions in forums that adult braces in government hospital cost around RM1100.
- Notes: Quite a few people say, ‘confirm slow one’. But you know what? None of those people actually tried it so don’t believe them until prove right. If you got your braces from government hospital, can you comment below on the price/experience? I’ll update it here crediting you. EDIT: a reader commented on this, scroll down below.
#3 – On top of the price of braces, you have to shell out some extra costs
For me personally, I paid for:
- RM510 for teeth scaling and polishing, X-ray and study model. The scaling/polishing is optional (I wanted it) but the x-ray and study model was compulsory (to make mold of my teeth, pic below).
- 4 x teeth extraction for RM100 per teeth. She took two first on the right side, then another two the week after on the left side (see ‘x’ in pic – they took those teeth out.)
- RM30 for painkillers for the teeth extraction. YES YOU NEED THIS.
- RM8 for antibacterial mouthwash after I complain my teeth extraction was still painful after a week
- A lot of paracetamol. I go the unbranded 40-pills for RM4.45, sold at Guardian. Cheaper than Panadol, works just as well.
- RM16.75 for two 750ml mouthwash (Guardian brand, on sale)
- RM12.55 for two 5-in-a-pack Interdental brush (Guardian brand, on sale)
Well at least I won’t need to buy red meat for the next two years. Crap. I can’t eat rendang anymore. Crap crap crap.
Braces prices in Malaysia is as stated above, more or less. Pay for quality – that’s very important. Also pick a dentist at locations you like. You’ll visit them quite a few times during the process. I’m avoiding transportation cost by selecting a dentist within walking distance from where I live.
To recap, the ‘best dentist’ is the one that is (a) near your location, (b) have the qualifications, and (c) fits into your budget. Visit Dental Departures to see a listing of available dentists near your area. You can even book appointments from the platform.
On another note, I know I’m supposed to ‘own it’ and just have to start pretending people did not just glance at my teeth mid-conversation. But holy cow. It’s quite the mindshift, quite the habit changer. I’ve noticed that I started to cover my mouth when I smile and laugh. How perempuan melayu terakhir.
If you had/ is having braces, can you say something positive about your experience, please?
Related: Save money on glasses, too
UPDATE: The braces are off! See my follow-up post, How I Spent Over RM10k During My Braces Journey