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Why Are Braces So Expensive And How Can I Afford Them?

Why Are Braces So Expensive And How Can I Afford Them?


Straight teeth don’t just look nice. They’re also better for your overall dental health. Teeth  that are properly aligned are easier to keep clean, more resistant to damage and less likely to develop problems. 

Braces can be an effective solution to address misaligned teeth regardless of the patient’s age. Unfortunately, the potential costs of braces can scare many people away. Let’s take a look at what braces cost and what options are available to make them more affordable.  

What Are The Average Costs For Braces? 

Prices will vary based on individual needs, but orthodontic treatment averages $3,000 to $10,000. Traditional metal braces range between $3,000 and $7,000. While these are the least expensive type of braces, they’re also the most noticeable.    

Invisalign plastic trays cost between $3,000 and $8,000. The clear aligner trays are hard for others to notice. Plus, they’re removable, so they don’t interfere with your ability to eat. Ceramic braces are tooth-colored, so they’re very discreet. The unique construction does come with an increase in price. Also, ceramic braces aren’t quite as stain-resistant as traditional metal. They cost between $4,000 and $8,000.  

Finally, lingual braces are installed behind your teeth, so they’re almost completely invisible. With a price range between $8,000 and $10,000, these are some of the most expensive braces you can buy. They’re the best choice if you want to conceal your braces as much as possible.     

What Type Of Dentist Specializes In Braces? 

Orthodontists are dental professionals who specialize in jaw and tooth alignment. If you want braces, you’ll need to find an orthodontist in your area. Keep in mind you’ll likely have to visit his or her office several times a year, possibly for many years.   

Why Do Braces Cost So Much?     

First, braces actually involve a fair amount of treatment for a long period of time.  Depending on the specifics, you (or your child) might wear braces for anywhere from 18 months to three years or more. Generally, you’ll need to visit the dentist about every six weeks. 

Some of these appointments will be nothing more than a short 15 or 30-minute check-up. Others will last an hour or more. When the braces are ready to be removed, you’ll have spent a fairly significant amount of time at the orthodontist’s office.  

You or your child may also need pre-treatment before braces are applied, such as a deep cleaning or – in some cases, tooth extractions – and will almost certainly need to wear retainers at night for a set period (depending on your treatment plan) after the braces are removed to stop teeth from moving back into their original positions. 

Do Braces Make A Lot Of Money For The Orthodontist? 

While most orthodontists make a fine living, there’s a common misconception that they’re raking in big bucks from braces. Truthfully, most dental offices have far more overhead than many people think. Staff, equipment and other expenses are behind the prices of every dental procedure.  

Most orthodontists have one price for braces which covers everything including work, materials and appointments. However, sometimes additional fees can apply for the first visit, x-rays, replacement materials and more. Be sure and ask what’s covered so you’re not surprised with additional costs down the line.  

If a dentist recommends orthodontic work, his or her main concern is almost certainly not personal profit. Instead, he or she wants your teeth to be healthy. Straight, even teeth are far less likely to develop problems later in life. Plus, a great smile can be a lifelong confidence booster.    

Does Dental Insurance Cover Braces? 

Although dental insurance plans vary, full coverage for braces is almost impossible to find. Orthodontic treatments for adults are almost never covered by dental insurance. Plans do often cover children under the age of 18, but only partially.  

Many insurance providers offer supplemental orthodontic insurance. Specifics depend on the plan but the typical maximum benefit for braces is around $1,500.  

If you do find dental coverage for braces, be prepared to keep it for a year or more. You likely won’t be able to switch to a new carrier. Dental insurers typically do not cover braces applied before the effective date of the policy. 

Do Dental Savings Plans Offer Discounts on Braces? 

In many cases, yes. Dental savings plans offer members discounts on a wide range of dental procedures, including many cosmetic procedures, like braces, which aren’t covered by dental insurance.  

Members can save between 10% and 60%. With no health restrictions, patients who already have braces can often find discounts. This can help save on maintenance and removal costs. 

Discounts can be used as often as you like. There are also no annual limits. Plus, membership is activated within just a few days of application, so you can start saving on the care you need right away.  

Are Braces Worth The Cost? 

The health and beauty benefits of straight teeth should last a lifetime. So braces are absolutely worth the cost for most people. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune.  

While dental insurance can provide some financial relief for the cost of braces, a dental discount plan is often the more affordable alternative. With instant discounts, a dental discount plan can help you save whether you want to get braces soon or already have them applied.  

Braces can be expensive, but savings options are available which are sure to make you smile.     


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