Common Grievances Among Orthodontists and Patients in Singapore

Embarking on orthodontic treatment is often a journey toward achieving the perfect smile, but it’s not without its share of hurdles.

This article delves into the myriad of challenges and complaints that patients typically encounter during their orthodontic treatments. Additionally, we shed light on the perspective of orthodontists in Singapore, highlighting the challenges they face with patients

Common Complaints of Orthodontic Patients

Orthodontic treatments are pivotal in correcting dental irregularities and enhancing oral health. However, patients often face a range of challenges and complaints during their orthodontic journey, including:

  • Wait Times and Accessibility: Patients can face long wait times, especially in the public sector, where waiting periods can range from 1-3 years due to larger patient volumes. In contrast, private orthodontists usually have shorter waiting times, with patients being able to get an appointment within a few weeks.
  • Costs: Orthodontic treatments can be quite expensive. The cost varies depending on several factors including the type of treatment (fixed vs. removable), the material used, the extent of treatment required, the skill and expertise of the orthodontist, and insurance benefits. For instance, costs for Invisalign can range from $5,500 to $10,000, while metal braces can cost between $3,500 to $7,000.
  • Treatment Types and Complexity: Different types of treatments are available, each with its own set of complexities and requirements. For example, functional appliances like the Twin Block, Orthodontic Mini-Implants (OMIs), and Orthognathic surgery each serve different purposes and involve varying durations and complexities of treatment.
  • Insurance and Financial Plans: Orthodontic treatments are often not covered by Medisave, except for specific surgical procedures. Insurance coverage varies, and it’s crucial for patients to understand their insurance policy details. Many clinics offer instalment plans to help manage the financial burden.
  • Quality of Care: The quality of care and the level of personalised treatment can vary among clinics. Some clinics focus on integrating technology to improve accuracy and patient care, while others might offer a more traditional approach.
  • Treatment Experience and Satisfaction: The overall experience, including the duration of the treatment, comfort during the process, and the final outcome can also be a source of patient dissatisfaction or complaints. For example, discomfort during treatment, prolonged treatment duration, or unsatisfactory results can lead to complaints.

Common Complaints of Orthodontists

Orthodontists often face a unique set of challenges with their patients, such as:

  • Non-compliance with Treatment: Orthodontists often encounter patients who do not adhere to the treatment plan, whether it’s not wearing orthodontic appliances as instructed, missing scheduled appointments, or neglecting oral hygiene. Non-compliance can lead to prolonged treatment times and less effective results.
  • Unrealistic Expectations: Some patients might have unrealistic expectations about the outcomes of orthodontic treatments or the time frame required to see results. This can lead to dissatisfaction with the treatment, even if it is progressing as planned. For example, a patient might expect instant results or a perfect alignment that is not achievable due to their specific dental structure.
  • Financial Concerns: Orthodontic treatments can be expensive, and sometimes patients struggle with the costs involved. This can lead to difficulties in payment, which can be challenging for both the patient and the orthodontist.
  • Communication Barriers: Effective communication is key in any healthcare setting. Misunderstandings or lack of clear communication about treatment plans, risks, and expectations can lead to frustration on both sides. For example, misunderstandings may arise about the treatment plan, duration, potential discomfort, or aftercare instructions.
  • Anxiety or Fear of Dental Procedures: Dental anxiety is a common issue among patients, which can make them hesitant to undergo necessary procedures or follow through with treatment plans. Patients, especially children or those with negative past dental experiences, may have significant anxiety about orthodontic procedures.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene: Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial during orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists often have to deal with patients who do not maintain the required level of oral hygiene, which can complicate and prolong the treatment process.

Final Thoughts

Understanding the common complaints and challenges in orthodontics is crucial for both patients and practitioners. It helps patients set realistic expectations and prepare for their treatment journey while enabling orthodontists to address these concerns proactively and improve the patient experience.

As we navigate through the complexities of orthodontic care, it becomes evident that effective communication, empathy, and patient education are key elements in mitigating these challenges.


Denisse loves reading and writing about culture, history, and politics. Outside writing articles for The Singaporean, Denisse enjoys musicals, gaming, and Harry Potter.

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