It’s an important question that many parents ask when they find their children need orthodontic care: How much do braces actually cost? While you mostly want the process to be productive and painless, it’s also important to consider the varying costs of braces.
While it’s possible to calculate your payment amounts, many factors contribute to the cost of orthodontics. These include the type of braces, your child’s teeth, your child’s dental hygiene, and your plan of financing. Your total cost for braces may be as low as $3,000, or as high as $8,000. With a little bit of research, you can choose a course of treatment that saves you money, and a financing plan that makes the cost easier to bear.
How Much Do Braces Cost and How Can You Save?
Type of Braces
There are several different types of braces, and the type that your child needs will impact the total treatment plan and cost of treatment. Some braces, like clear aligners and ceramic braces, are harder to see, while others will take less time. The average cost of braces for kids will vary based on time and type.
- Traditional Metal Braces: Traditional metal braces are the oldest and most common type of braces. The average cost of metal braces is also generally lowest. These braces stand out more than other types, and some children dislike the obvious appearance of metal braces.
- Damon Braces: Damon braces use clear, sliding brackets in lieu of metal brackets. The average cost of Damon Braces is usually higher, but can generally shorten the term of the orthodontic treatment.
- Clear Aligners: Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, seem to be the most visually appealing to many. Clear aligners use a series of trays molded to your teeth to gradually move them into position. Compared to traditional braces, Invisalign are usually the most expensive option for treatment. If only minor corrections are needed, Invisalign may be a cost-effective option.
- Ceramic Braces: While traditional braces use metal and clear aligners use plastic, ceramic braces use ceramic material to align teeth. Ceramic braces may work slower than metal braces and the total cost of treatment may be higher.
- Lingual Braces: Lingual braces work similarly to traditional metal braces, except they are attached to the inside of teeth. This means they are out of sight, but they can make major corrections like traditional braces.
Don’t be afraid to ask your orthodontist which type of braces will be most affordable and why. Remember to consider the average of treatment for a year as well as how long treatment will be required. This will help you assess the total cost of treatment.
Preparing Your Child’s Teeth
Your child’s treatment plan before they get braces can decide what type of braces are best for them, how long they will need braces, and the total cost of treatment. Some children may need teeth extracted to leave enough room for other teeth to come in. Other children may need a palatal expander before getting braces. A palatal expander creates more room in a child’s mouth, so teeth can come in straight. This will add to the total treatment cost your child will need to straighten their teeth.
Once they have braces, some children may only need to wear them for a year, while others will need more time. The arrangement of your child’s teeth and their bite will determine how long they should wear braces. In general, children tend to wear braces between 18 and 24 months.
Dental Hygiene Considerations
A child’s dental hygiene will impact how much braces cost. Maintaining good dental hygiene is difficult for many children, and this is harder with braces. Children that exercise good dental hygiene and clean their teeth carefully while they wear braces will benefit from stronger, healthier teeth and they will shorten the time they need braces. Children who are less careful might require extra treatment to prevent gum disease, infection, or tooth decay, and they may need to wear braces longer, incurring more costs.
Here are a few of the ways you can help your child keep their teeth clean before and while they’re wearing braces.
- Brush teeth twice a day every day at the same time
- Floss carefully at night around brackets using dental floss or a water flosser
- Avoid sugary candy and drinks
- See your dentist regularly
- If you use Invisalign, remove the trays when you brush, floss and eat
Cost of Dental Visits
The amount and frequency of visits will depend on your child’s teeth and the type of braces they have. However, the cost of each visit depends on your dentist and your insurance. The cost of each visit will be an especially important consideration if you are paying for braces without dental insurance. To know how much braces will cost for your child, get an estimate of how many visits your child will need and the cost of each visit.
Other Financial Considerations
Insurance and FSA
When it comes to how much braces cost, your insurance plan is one of the most important factors to consider. Insurance can cover up to $3,500 of your child’s orthodontic care. The copays, deductible amount, maximum coverage, and type of care covered in your plan will significantly impact the cost of braces. A flexible savings account (FSA) can be used to cover up to $2,550. Before selecting an orthodontic specialist, make sure you fully understand the specifics of your insurance policy and FSA.
The right payment plan can make the cost of braces much more manageable. Paying more for your child’s braces up front will reduce the overall cost, but paying for braces in one lump sum is not practical for many families. Ask your orthodontist about the available payment plans and you can make the cost of braces a part of your regular budget. Our handy Orthodontic Payment Calculator can provide you with a reasonable estimate of your payments, depending on how long of a term you choose.
How much braces cost varies greatly, but you can estimate the cost and budget for your child’s braces. Most likely, your child will have braces for at least a year and a half with ten to fifteen orthodontic visits in that time, so it’s a wise financial decision to compare prices. To get an estimate for your child’s braces, schedule an orthodontic appointment at BDG today.