The average cost of braces can range between $4,500 and $10,000 depending on how crooked your teeth are and the type of braces you want. If you need braces, your dentist will refer you to an orthodontist. This is a dental specialist who has undergone further education and training in dentistry and has expertise in teeth straightening. Whilst dentists cannot apply traditional braces, there are many who deal with simpler cases of crooked teeth and use Invisalign.
Typically, because of their skill and experience, having an orthodontist affix your braces is usually more expensive than what a dentist would charge. However, the cost of having braces can be cheaper than buying Invisalign for the same set of teeth. Other than the type of specialist (dentist or orthodontist) and the treatment method, the price can also vary depending on your location and which clinic you choose.
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Types of Braces
Braces come in a variety of styles, shapes and colors. Choosing the right type for you or your child is a matter of weighing up your budget, the severity of your teeth problems, the orthodontists’ recommendations and you or your child’s personal preference. The price can be reduced depending on the extent of treatment necessary. For example the cost of braces for bottom teeth only can be cheaper than having a full set of braces.
Standard Metal Braces
These are your original types of braces. Although not very appealing, metal braces are the most functional as they provide optimum teeth straightening in the least amount of time. The average case takes approximately 1 year and four months to attain straight teeth with the traditional metal brackets. You will need to revisit the orthodontist every two weeks for adjustments. Unfortunately, there are downfalls as well which you need to consider when thinking about the total dental costs.
Metal braces often leave your teeth discolored, which requires additional teeth cleaning. Additionally, there have been reports of standard brackets actually weakening your teeth, which may attract additional dental expenses in the long term. Whilst metal braces seem to be the most viable cheapest option, they may not turn out to be the most cost effective in the long run. If you’re looking for cheaper braces alternatives, you may want to ask are braces cheaper overseas?
These are essentially metal braces with ceramic brackets which are suited to your teeth color. They are less noticeable as the color is matched to your teeth. Typically, you will notice the horizontal connecting wire rather than the metal plates on each tooth. Having ceramic brackets will cost you approximately $500 in addition to the cost of normal braces. These are a great option if you are concerned about the look of your smile but cannot afford lingual (behind the teeth) braces or Invisalign.
Since braces are extremely common among teenagers, many have come to accept the fact of having them and have even resorted to pimping up their braces. It’s usually only done on the upper teeth, but it can be arranged for all brackets. This includes having colored elastics or brackets with letters or funky pictures of their choice. This trend is becoming more popular among adolescents. Having trendy braces can cost an additional $50 to $300. Most parents find this expense worthwhile as it helps to alleviate their children’s shame and embarrassment of having braces at all.
Lingual brackets are metal braces which are placed behind the teeth (facing the tongue) rather than at the front. They require special training and experience to attach and tighten. Concealed braces are very appealing for those with a larger budget who wish to have the same functionality as standard braces but without the unsightly consequences. You can expect around $9,000 as the minimum cost of braces on back of teeth. The costs may be higher depending on the extent of your crooked teeth and whether any need to be pulled out.
A relatively new product on the market, Invisalign is a plastic plate type of brace which is placed over your teeth (like a mouthguard, but not as bulky). The plastic is moulded in order to reposition your teeth and needs to be remoulded biweekly. Invisalign does not look unsightly and does not impair your speech. The plastic is clear, making it scarcely noticeable unless up close. The plastic trays need to be removed prior to eating, which can be frustrating for some. A benefit of having your teeth fully covered by plastic is that there’s no multi colored results and discoloration is hindered as well. The plastic trays attract an additional $500 to $1,000 on top of the cost of traditional metal braces. Many adults consider the cost of braces vs Invisalign a worthwhile investment, especially if they’re in a professional working environment.
Why so expensive?
When you hear that it’s going to cost you in the thousands just to get your teeth straightened, it’s natural for some people to get a shock and consider not even getting the treatment. The fact is, having your teeth realign is a long and arduous process, not only for you but your dental provider as well. It involves a lot of appointments, assessments, realignments and checkups. When you’re researching how much you’ll be up for, you’ll want to make sure to understand what’s included in the cost of braces.
Depending on the clinic, they may only quote you for part of the job. You want to clarify whether their pricing includes the whole process including the cost of having the braces removed. Just beware that once the treatment is completed and the braces are taken off, the amount you paid usually doesn’t cover any movement in your teeth after that. If you do experience crookedness, be prepared to fork out more money.
How can I get cheaper braces?
The best way of saving on teeth straightening treatment is to have it done while you’re still young. Parents may want to take consideration on board when weighing up whether to pay for children’s braces. This is because children’s braces cost a lot less than for grown-ups. If you’re too late and your parents never gave you the privilege of orthodontic treatment, then you’re stuck paying the cost of adult braces. This can be quite daunting, especially if you have a family of your own and lots of bills to pay.
You can make the ordeal a little easier on the bank balance with dental insurance. When you budget for the cost of braces with insurance, you can end up with some huge savings. With the right policy you may be able to get that great looking smile at a fraction of the cost. Also, this is an aspect of treatment you can’t help (the degree of your malocclusion) but you can choose to only have part of your mouth worked on. If you can live with your bottom row, maybe you’ll be able to afford braces costs for your upper teeth only or vice versa?
I can’t afford orthodontic treatment
There are lots of people out there who find the costs to be out of their reach. Not many can afford the upfront cost of braces without insurance. That’s why many dentists and orthodontists offer in-house payment plans. This helps less fortunate patients and also gets them business. If your teeth are very crooked and you are struggling financially, you may want to ask whether Medicare/Medicaid covers the cost of braces. This could be a means for you to finally get your teeth problems sorted out. Besides getting insurance and relying on the government or charities for funding the only other option is to keep saving.