The advent of braces to straighten misaligned teeth can only be described as a revolutionary invention. Braces have changed the lives and smiles of billions of people across the globe and it has helped renew the confidence of many kids and even adults who had to endure the teasing and judgments of others. If you or your kids have a problem with the alignment of teeth the first question that will come to mind is How Much Do Braces Cost?
When assessing the overall cost of braces there are many factors that come into play which will influence how much you pay for braces. If you are looking for a figure to provide an idea of the price you will pay you might be slightly disappointed because all the information you will find online will only provide an average price. Only a dentist or Orthodontist will be able to provide you with a detailed quote on the cost of fitting braces which will be customized to your specific requirements.
However, we will provide an outline that will provide a clearer picture of the costs that are associated to braces. These costs are given assuming you do not have a dental plan. If you do have a dental plan the overall cost will be much lower. Each dental plan on the market varies considerably and the cover you can expect will be determined by your specific plan. What we can say is that cover will only be implemented if you took out the plan before fitting your braces and not during the treatment process which can extend from 1-6 years.
How Much Do Braces Cost for Kids
Oddly enough, most braces cost about the same amount of money. This applies to just about any kind of braces you buy: metal band, glue-on, Damon braces, behind-the-teeth, or invisible (invisalign). The fact is that most of what you’re paying for is the doctor’s expertise, and that isn’t cheap. The mechanics of the actual stuff in your mouth will be about 1/3 the final cost of treatment.
The average cost of braces for kids is in the region of $3000-$7000. Factors that will influence the cost include:
Braces Cost Factors
The ultimate cost of your braces will mostly be determined by the amount of work you have done. The amount of treatment necessary will determine the cost. There may also be prep work necessary before you even start paying for braces:
- Dental work – If you have any cavities, you dentist will need to treat you before you start braces. You’ll also have your teeth thoroughly cleaned. Cavities cost anywhere from $80 to $120 each. The orthodontist may or may not use the same x-rays the dentist took. This expense usually is not figured in to the cost of braces.
- Jaw work – If you have a serious underbite, in which the bottom jaw protrudes, placing the bottom teeth in front of the top teeth, you may need jaw surgery before you get braces. This is considered major surgery, and may be covered on your health insurance. However, this cost is not part of the cost of braces.
Actually getting braces may require several visits to the orthodontist before you even get to the “straightening” part.
- Spacers – Spacers may be placed between your teeth to force them apart, making room for the bands that will be going on your teeth.
- Invisalign braces usually don’t use the spacers, but you’ll have more sets of the clear inserts, which will drive up the cost.
- Removing teeth – Another move you may have to choose is to have teeth removed. This is especially common with older patients whose mouths have stopped growing. Younger patients still have a malleable palate, so the upper jaw can be spread to make room for all of their teeth. But once you’re grown up, that palate is not easily spread. The result may be tooth extraction to make room for overcrowded teeth. This, of course, will drive up the cost of even invisible braces.
- Attachments – Even with Invisalign, you’ll have some attachments which are necessary to rotate your teeth. This is done in the form of a “bump” that is glued onto the outside of your tooth. It’s sort of like the stuff they use with metal braces. The liner will push on these bumps, and make the tooth rotate. But, you don’t have to wear rubber bands or anything like that. Adding and removing these attachments will be part of your periodic visits to your orthodontist.
- Geographic Region: rural areas tend to charge less for braces as compared to urban areas. Costs vary considerably from state to state.
- Treatment Period: treatment time varies in accordance to the seriousness of the misaligned teeth and whether both upper and lower sets will require straightening. The longer the treatment time the more it will cost.
- Age: age is a significant factor that will influence treatment time. Kid’s jaws and gums are more pliable than adults and treatment usually can be completed within 2 years. For adults the treatment time can vary and can take as long as 6 years, but the average time is in the region of 3 years (depending on seriousness). Treatment can begin in kids at the age of 3, but a retainer will have to be used in most cases after treatment to ensure new teeth do not shift the others.
- Expertise: a dentist will cost you about $500 less than an Orthodontist. Although it will be advised to be examined by an Orthodontist if your positioning is seriously misaligned as often there will be more advanced techniques that will need to be implemented to ensure effectiveness of treatment.
- Pre-Treatment and Post-Treatment: The initial consultation with an Orthodontist is free. The Doc will examine each case and determine how long treatment will take. Diagnostics will have to be undergone for the Orthodontist to get a clear picture and these X-rays will have to be paid for.
The dentist or orthodontist will then provide you with detailed information of what treatment will be required and how long it will potentially take. After the braces are fitted you will be required to undergo regular checkups as well as cleaning and this will add to the cost of braces.
Once treatment is completed a retainer will have to be used for an unspecified length of time. If the patient is younger it is usually advised that the retainer be used until wisdom teeth have fully grown as this can cause a shift in the straightened teeth.
How Much Do Braces Cost for Adults
Unfortunately, as an adult you will pay more for braces. It can cost you up to $10 000, but again, the cost will be influenced by the factors mentioned above. The primary reason for the elevated cost is treatment time. The straightening of teeth in an adult almost always takes longer compared to the treatment time experienced in kids.
However, if your confidence has been affected by the condition of your teeth then cost should not be a factor as the results will more than justify the final price.
A few tips to remember before and during treatment: get at least two separate quotes and do your homework on what to expect during treatment. Keep in mind that you will in all likelihood be treated for a minimum of two years, as such, it is pivotal that you choose an Orthodontist or Dentist you are comfortable with. Expect to undergo some pain and prepare yourself for this as one can experience severe pain when the teeth begin to shift within the gums, but painkillers will be prescribed to lessen the discomfort. Ensure you follow your dentist’s advice with regard to hygiene by keeping your mouth clean at all times. Flossing and brushing of teeth is essential.
We have now analyzed the cost of braces, and an alternative approach in the form of veneers. You should evaluate each procedure as well as your own financial situation before choosing which alternative will suit you or your child; you can decide whether it is time to take out a dental plan or to make that appointment with your Orthodontist.
It is clear that most braces cost around the same amount and we did identify the areas that will actually affect the price you pay, but regardless of the price the health of your overall confidence and well-being is not financially quantifiable and as such the cost of braces is minuscule compared to the reward you will undoubtedly receive.