22 July 2024

Knowing the ROI of your braces investment


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By: Assoc. Prof. Dr Saritha Sivarajan, Dr. Eunice Soh Xinwei

When it comes to achieving the perfect smile, more individuals recognise that braces are not just a dental treatment; they are an investment in long-term oral health and overall well-being. Braces bring multifaceted returns on investment (ROI) to individuals of all ages. So, do you wonder what the ROI of braces is? Technically, ROI equals the gain from your investment minus its cost, divided by its cost. Economists often give people the green light to make a specific investment when the ROI is positive or better than the alternatives.

While orthodontic treatment involves financial considerations, understanding the comprehensive ROI is essential. The return on investment is not merely cosmetic; it extends to oral health, psychological well-being, and an improved overall quality of life, often far outweighing the initial costs.

Gone are the days when braces were synonymous with metal wires and brackets. The contemporary orthodontic landscape offers a diverse range of options, from tooth-coloured ceramic braces to discreet clear aligners and lingual braces. This evolution addresses the concerns of those who may have hesitated to embark on the journey to a straighter smile due to appearance-related considerations. Did you know that the majority of adults believe that having a straight, beautiful smile is a crucial asset for social situations? According to statistics, attractive people tend to get hired and promoted faster.

Braces are not solely cosmetic; they play a pivotal role in improving oral health. Having straight teeth may not be at the top of the list of important health factors for most people, but it does have several health benefits. Correcting misalignments through orthodontic treatment enhances bite function, reducing the risk of dental issues such as cavities, gum disease, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. The dividends paid in terms of oral health contribute to a lifetime of sustainable dental well-being.

Besides that, the psychological impact of a well-aligned smile cannot be overstated. Patients undergoing orthodontic treatment often experience a significant boost in self-esteem, confidence, and even attractiveness. Studies have shown that people with straight teeth are perceived as more competent, intelligent, and trustworthy. These qualities can translate into real-world benefits, such as higher salaries and greater career success. Therefore, a confident smile can open doors in social and professional settings, contributing to overall mental well-being. Across cultures fascinated by physiognomy, straight teeth have been linked to positive traits like good character, health, prosperity, and fulfilling relationships.

Beyond cultural variations, the underlying thread often centres on good oral health’s impact on overall well-being. Straight teeth often suggest proper oral hygiene and care, which can contribute to increased confidence, positive social interactions, and even career success. In essence, strong dental health lays the foundation for a person to function optimally and pursue their goals.

The integration of technology into orthodontics has revolutionised the braces experience. Digital impressions, 3D printing, and virtual treatment planning have not only increased precision but also reduced treatment duration. Patients can now experience a more streamlined and comfortable journey towards a perfectly aligned smile.

Orthodontists are key partners in the braces investment journey. With a commitment to providing personalized care, orthodontic practices guide patients through a transformative experience. The focus extends beyond the treatment duration to ensure that patients enjoy the full spectrum of returns on their investment.

Of course, the ROI of braces treatment is not just about numbers. The intangible benefits, such as improved self-confidence and better oral health, can have a profound impact on the quality of life. For many people, the cost of braces is a worthwhile investment in their overall well-being. Braces represent more than just a pathway to a beautiful smile. They are a strategic investment in a healthier, happier future.

As individuals embark on the braces journey, understanding the comprehensive ROI empowers them to make informed decisions that go beyond cosmetic enhancements, and thus offering returns.

The authors are from the Department of Paediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, Faculty of Dentistry, Universiti Malaya, and may be reached at saritha@um.edu.my