Finding out how much braces cost can be a shock to parents. Pricing varies depending on the type of braces, complexity of the treatment plan, and length of treatment needed. According to the New York Times, the average cost of braces falls between $3,000 and $7,000. Fortunately, there are usually ways to bring down the cost or at least spread out the expense with a payment plan.
Here are some ways to make paying for braces fit into the budget.
Not all dental plans cover braces, so check your policy. If you're in the market for a new plan, focus on the orthodontics coverage offered. Plans that do cover braces usually pay around 50 percent of the cost. Cutting the price in half can be a relief! If dental insurance isn't an option, dental discount programs offer savings of up to 20 percent on braces.
Credit Cards and Payment Plans
Some orthodontic offices offer discounts if you pay the entire bill up front. You can save even more by using a credit card that offers points or cash back for purchases.
Alternatively, most orthodontist offices offer financing options. Find out the interest rate and compare it to your credit card's rate. If the orthodontist's payment plan will save you money in interest, go with it.
Flexible Spending Accounts
If your employer offers this benefit, channel the maximum amount allowed into your flexible spending account (FSA). The money you put in the account is not taxed, which means your dollars will go further. Use these funds to pay for expenses not covered by insurance, including the cost of the braces, deductibles, and co-pays.
If you live near a university with a dental program, check to see if they accept orthodontic patients. Some schools offer orthodontic treatment at highly discounted rates in exchange for allowing students to do the work. The students are supervised by licensed orthodontists.
Determining how much braces cost is more complicated than just figuring out a dollar amount. It's important to also take the benefits into consideration.
- Improved appearance: Straight teeth improve the smile and facial appearance. This is good for self esteem and improved confidence.
- Improved oral health: Braces straighten teeth. Straighter teeth are easier to clean. Correcting the bite reduces the likelihood of fractures and gum recession.
- Improved oral function: Correcting the bite also reduces grinding and clenching. It improves the ability to chew and reduces jaw pain. It also reduces difficulty in producing certain sounds.
In most cases, you'll find that the benefits of braces far outweigh the cost. So, look into your options. You might find that the cost of braces may not be as alarming as you thought.
Learn more about braces in the Colgate Oral Care resources.