As appearance becomes increasingly important for many residents, the rising demand for straight teeth has opened opportunities for orthodontists offering to install braces at far cheaper prices.
Edy, 45, is an orthodontist, who established his business 20 years ago making dentures and fitting them to patients. Three years ago, he began fitting braces.
“Some of my clients having crooked teeth, but many come to my studio to get braces merely for the sake of style,” said Edy who runs his workshop in Kalibata, South Jakarta.
Edy is not a qualified dentist.
“I learned my trade after a one-year apprenticeship with a dentist,” he told The Jakarta Post recently.
His prices range up to Rp 2 million (US$180) for upper and lower teeth, depending on the material for the braces.
Dentists and professionally-certified orthodontists can charge between Rp 4 million and Rp 10 million for similar service.
The price did not include monthly check-ups, Edy said.
His clients, he said, can call him for the on-the-spot orthodontic appointments if they pay extra for transport.
Like Edy, Agus, 27, an orthodontist, admitted that he never attended any formal education about dentistry.
He said he had learnt the skill for five years from his uncle who runs a dental workshop in East Jakarta.
Agus opened a “dental clinic” in Slipi, West Jakarta, two months ago.
“Our main service is to make and install false teeth. But since many people are now looking for braces, we have included braces fitting among our services,” he said.
He claimed his service would not undermine the business run by dentists or professional orthodontists since his customers were those from middle to low income brackets.
“Middle-to-upper class people will likely prefer to seeing dentists and professional orthodontists,” he said.
Dr. Ruby Karyadi, a dentist, confirmed there was a rising demand for braces among Jakartans.
However, Ruby warned that cheaper treatments offered by unqualified orthodontists came with
She assumed the untrained orthodontists did not follow standard procedure, including necessary
X-ray analyses prior to fitting braces.
“That’s why chances for mistakes during the treatment and check-ups is a lot bigger,” she said.
Similarly, certified orthodontist Maya Himawati suggested people to see a professional to have for braces fitted.
An orthodontist, she added, must study for three years and master the subtleties of all teeth. When
they do eventually start practicing, they are bound by a set of procedural guidelines.
“However, we reserve the final say for the customers. It comes down to their comfort and financial ability,” she said.
One braces patient, Siti Aishah, 21, said she saw an unqualified orthodontist for her braces due to the lower price.
“Besides, I know the orthodontist in person. He charged me only Rp 3 million for both upper and lower teeth,” she said.
She said she was not really concerned with the orthodontists’ backgrounds.
“Three months on, I don’t feel there is anything wrong,” she said.
“I think the difference between [qualified and unqualified orthodontists] is just status,” she said.