Orthodontic treatment – more commonly known as braces – used to be the bane of adolescence. Now new techniques and materials make wearing braces to correct teeth that don’t line up correctly, are crooked or crowded less painful and problematic.
But one thing hasn’t changed – braces are expensive! Here’s a breakdown of the types of braces now available, and the average cost of each treatment:
Metal braces: These are the traditional braces you – or your parents – may remember. But they’ve gotten lighter, smaller and less metallic, thanks to better adhesives that reduce the need for running wires across the teeth. Depending on what kind of metal braces your dentist recommends to achieve the desired results, they’ll cost $3,000 – $7,000.
Ceramic braces: blend with the color of teeth, usually with only a thin metal wire visible, cost $4,000 -$8,000. Ceramic braces are preferred by adults and anyone who wants their braces to be affordable and almost undetectable when you smile. Ceramic braces are very smooth an may be less likely to irritate your gums than metal braces. But they aren’t quite as strong as the metal variety and may not be suitable for people who need extensive orthodontic treatment. Make sure to ask your dentist what foods and drinks to avoid, as ceramic braces can pick up stains.
Lingual braces: these are made out of metal but are bonded to the inside surface of teeth (the side facing your tongue) which makes them virtually invisible when the wearer smiles. Be aware that it may take a little bit of practice to learn how to talk normally right after these are installed (hint: read the alphabet out loud to yourself for 10 minutes, several times a day to speed the process of learning to speak clearly with your braces. Lingual braces cost $8,000 – $10,000.
Braces are applied by general dentists or orthodontists, dentists who specialize in realigning teeth and jaws. Only 6% of dentists are orthodontists, having completed 2-3 years of additional education in their specialty. The American Association of Orthodontics says that at any given time over four million people in the U.S. – are undergoing orthodontic treatment.
What other costs are involved?
In addition to the prices above, you should factor in the additional costs required to prepare your teeth for braces. These treatments will almost certainly include X-rays, and may include cleanings and fillings to get teeth as healthy as possible before the braces go on. Occasionally, and typically for adults rather than kids – extractions may be required to open the space required for teeth to move into their preferred new position.
Braces also need to be adjusted regularly. So you’ll need to plan on seeing your orthodontist once a month or so over a two-year period. This depends on the type of braces you get, and the dental issues you are trying to correct, you may not need to see the dentist as often and the frequency of visits may change during the course of the treatment – more dentist visits in the beginning and near the end of the process, and fewer in the middle.
Orthodontics treatment realigns teeth by applying constant, gentle pressure to move them into a new position. After your braces are removed you may need a custom retainer, which you’ll wear at night in order to keep your teeth from returning to their original position.
Dental insurance can help make braces more affordable. The better plans provide a separate orthodontic benefit that doesn’t count against your deducible. Dental insurance providers may have also negotiated lower rates for treatment with dentists/orthodontists in their networks. If you stay in network, you may be able to save money on the typical cost of braces
Dental savings plans, sometimes known as dental discount plans, are not insurance but can make orthodontics far more affordable with savings of 20%-25% on orthodontics, on average. Savings vary based on plan member’s locations, the average rate for dental care locally, and the savings negotiated by plan providers so check plan details for the specifics before you purchase.
Dental savings plans members can use their plan to reduce their costs at the dentist as often as they wish, there are no annual maximum spending limits. Plus, the majority of dental savings plan provide significant discounts on many other types of dental care and treatments. Look at both traditional dental insurance and dental savings plans to find the solution that can help make orthodontics affordable.844.651.6105