Braces are used to improve orofacial appearance. They straighten crooked/crowded teeth, fix overbites and under bites, and other orthodontic problems. Other problems may include speech difficulty and jaw disorders. These can be painful for the person by causing headaches, earaches, gum disease, and tooth decay. However, braces can be expensive and the cost is determined by the type of braces you want with multiple types to choose from as discussed below.
Metal braces, also known as traditional braces, can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000. Ceramic braces are basically the same as metal braces only they blend in with the teeth so as to be less noticeable if kept well cleaned. They cost approximately $4,000 to $8,000. Lingual braces are the same as metal braces. They are placed on the inside of the teeth and are not noticeable from the outside, however, they are harder to clean and more expensive at a cost of $8,000 to $10,000. Invisalign are custom made mouth guard like pieces that are for adults and teens. Treatment takes longer and they are easily lost and can be expensive to replace. They usually cost around $4,000 to $7,400. The cost of each also varies depending on your location. Living in a rural area is likely to be not as expensive as receiving treatment from an orthodontist in a large city.
In most cases health and dental insurance will partially cover orthodontic treatment for people under 18 years old however it would be best to talk with your insurance provider. Supplemental orthodontic insurance can be bought if your plan does not include orthodontic coverage. You should ask your provider the lifetime maximum and percentage they cover because this usually varies greatly with a common figure of 50% coverage and a $1,500 maximum for each child. Keeping the same insurance plan is highly recommended for during the entire treatment process because most orthodontic coverage plans will not cover the treatment if they were previously applied before the effective policy date meaning any costs would have to be personally paid for. Occasionally, if the braces are considered medically needed, some dental health care costs can be tax deductible if the cost exceeds a certain amount. All expenses, including co-pays and check-ups, should be kept track of as they can add up quickly.
Some orthodontist offices offer payment plans so it’s always helpful to ask your orthodontist. Another way to pay for braces is to save pre-tax dollars by putting them in a health savings account, health reimbursement account, medical savings account, or even a flexible spending account. Also, Orthodontists can usually tell if a child will need treatment years beforehand so a check-up by age 7 (recommended by orthodontists) can help you begin budgeting and determining if insurance would be a worthwhile investment.