How to Plan for The Cost of Braces
By: Orthodontist Nicolas Branshaw
Planning for the cost of braces, or orthodontic treatment is something we often forget to take into consideration. With the increased popularity of orthodontic treatment, many parents have begun to expect this additional expense and are looking for ways to plan effectively and prepare for a treatment that will set the foundation for their child’s smile.
Plan. Plan. Plan.
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids begin seeing an orthodontist at age 7. These early exams are often complementary diagnoses conducted by a licensed professional that most often result in future observations until all permanent have erupted. Though if your orthodontist diagnoses skeletal issues, possible tooth impactions, or trauma to the teeth, they may prevent the need for expensive future surgeries or a lifetime of oral health issues with a short phase one treatment.
Based on your initial visit, I recommend starting to save as often as you are able. Being able to pay for the cost of braces upfront is ideal and often less stressful for parents or individuals. When that is not possible, payment plans may be available depending on the cost and need.
See Your Dentist Regularly
When individuals consistently follow up with their pediatric dentist, attend routine visits and have any necessary maintenance done, it is likely that treatments and costs are spread out over time, making orthodontia more affordable.
When you come to the orthodontist after infrequent visits to the dentist, you may have more dental work that needs to be completed before an orthodontist is able to begin the process for braces.
Consider Payment Plans
There are also many financing options that individuals can use to reduce the cost of braces, bringing what may seem like a high-ticket price down to reasonable monthly payments.
A lot of dental work and orthodontia can be paid for using Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) or Health Savings Accounts (HSA) which provides additional flexibility in payment methods.
Remember Cheaper is Often More Expensive
Remember when buying commodities like books, streaming services, brand name toiletries, etc. cheaper is better because the product does not change. For medical and dental care, “cheaper” services often end up costing you more money.
In dentistry, temporary and poor-quality fixes do not last, and improper bites can often damage your teeth costing you even more money to fix in the future. The biggest hidden cost in orthodontic treatment is time. You will be attending appointments every 4-8 weeks over possibly multiple years; this is time off work or free time that you cannot get back.
While the $500-$1,000 difference in treatment costs may seem like a lot between providers, if you must take off work and drive your kids to their appointments for an additional year of treatment, you may have spent more money in gas and time. What you want to find in any type of medical treatment is value in terms of quality, efficiency, and the services provided.
So, How Much do Braces Cost?
The cost of orthodontic treatment really varies depending on the complexity of the case. An initial limited Phase I treatment in adolescence to prevent future surgeries, extractions or trauma to the teeth may range between $1,000 and $3,500.
The cost of teenage or adult orthodontic treatment may range between $5,000 - $10,000, depending on corrective work needed. With the median cost often ranging between $5,000 - $6,500. Orthodontic treatment is spread out over time, so financing options are available to make it more affordable. Your orthodontist will help to identify the best course of action for your specific needs and will work to utilize a cost-effective method.
Working with your health care provider and Patient Care Coordinator, you can ask about payment options and together work to identify the various options for corrective work.
For more information about the cost of braces, or if you are ready to begin your journey to straighter teeth or would like to see an orthodontist for other needs or concerns request an appointment, and a member of our team would be happy to assist you.