Getting braces involves a number of phases. The whole treatment can span from 16 months up to even five years. The costs will either be broken down for each stage of the process or your orthodontist may simply provide you with a total all inclusive figure. The stages involved in having teeth straightened are:
Before getting any type of medical or dental treatment, the practitioner first needs to assess the situation and diagnose the problem. This requires a full assessment of your mouth including molds and x-rays. For this reason, you won’t be able to obtain a comprehensive quote at your first meeting with the orthodontist, who will first need to see the extent of your problems. You should be able to discuss the prices of obtaining diagnostic records and payment plans and other financing options if you decide to proceed with the treatment. Standard fees for initial consultations are approximately $80 to $170 depending on your location and the dental clinic. Many orthodontists also offer free no obligation consultations.
X-Rays and Molds
This stage is usually done as part of the initial consultation. Some orthodontists may require you to schedule another appointment. In order to fully assess your case and provide a comprehensive treatment plan, the orthodontist will need to see the whole picture (just like a doctor carrying out medical tests before diagnosing and proposing a course of treatment).
For braces, the standard diagnostic records involve taking photographs of your face, mouth and teeth. You will need to have molds (impressions) taken of your upper and lower teeth. A panoramic x-ray will show your present and developing teeth, their health and your supporting bone structure. A cephalometric analysis will show the side of your head to assess facial growth abnormalities which is essential for treatment planning. The outlay of obtaining these records can range between $300 and $500.
After the molds, photos and x-rays have been taken, your orthodontist is able to provide a thorough treatment plan with more accurate pricing. Some doctors will provide rough figures or an estimate in the same appointment. If the case requires more detailed assessment, your surgeon may require you to schedule another appointment and may charge an additional fee.
The costs for a diagnosis and treatment plan are typically charged separately since at this stage you can still refuse to get treatment. This can add up to around $380 to $670. Depending on the clinic’s policies, your orthodontist may bundle these expenses with the total cost of treatment if you decide to go ahead with getting braces.
Ongoing Treatments & Adjustments
Once you decide to proceed with treatment to have your teeth straightened, you will have the whole treatment process to pay for. This involves the initial gluing of the braces to your teeth, regular adjustments and periodic progress x-rays. The adjustments are a very simple short procedure, only requiring a few minutes each.
Depending on the clinic, you may be able to pay as your treatment progresses, with an initial down payment. Many patients find it more convenient to calculate and pay the cost of braces per month. Other clinics require the full cost upfront which means you may need some form of financing such as medical credit cards or third party loans in order to pay for the braces costs. The cost of treatment is the most expensive part of braces pricing and largely depends on the length and frequency of visits required. This aspect can add up to anywhere between $3,000 and $9,000.