What Is the Average Cost of Braces in 2014?

Knowing what different types of braces cost plays a big part in which one you choose for yourself or a family member. In general, the average cost of braces can be anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000, depending on the severity of the problem, if braces are placed on one or both arches and the type of braces you choose. The following factors contribute to the cost of braces; knowing what you're paying for can help you make a decision.

Severity of the Problem

The primary factor affecting the cost of treatment is the degree of correction the patient needs. Patients requiring minimal or basic straightening wear braces for a shorter time, but the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) states the average patient's treatment is less than two years, but treatment can range from one to three years. Don't feel overwhelmed; advances in today's practices typically require visits just once every six weeks.

Adult patients can benefit similarly from braces; in fact, the AAO says that one in every five orthodontic patients are adults. But those who wait to get them may discover more severe malocclusions later in life; in rare occasions, this can require jaw surgery rather than braces to correct, according to the National Institute of Health's Medline Plus site. Check with your dentist to see whether braces are a worthy investment for you. The sooner you do it, the better your chances of resolving your teeth alignment problems without the cost of surgery.

Age of the Patient

Since enough adult teeth need to come in before one's condition can be evaluated, children should be screened at age seven to see if they need treatment — as recommended by the AAO. Young and still developing teeth are more easily manipulated by orthodontic treatment. So the earlier they begin, the faster they'll see results and the less braces will cost.

Types of Braces

The type of product you choose can create an even more specific difference in the average cost of braces. For example:

  • According to Cost Helper, traditional metal braces cost between an average of $3,000 and $7,500. The duration of treatment ranges from one to three years depending on the how severe the problem is for the patient.
  • Brands of clear braces, such as Damon, carry an average cost of treatment between $3,800 and $8,000, depending on the patient's requirements. Clear braces are unique in that they employ a "passive" sliding system that allow teeth to move freely with the Damon brackets on them as they realign, producing less physical stress to the patient.
  • Invisalign treatment, a removable aligner, comes in at an average cost of around $5,000, though it could be as high as $8000. Simpler orthodontic problems can be corrected by using as few as five sets of aligners, costing around $2,000.
  • Lingual braces, which are hidden behind the teeth, are typically custom-made for each patient and are more challenging to place on the back of the tooth surface. As a result, they cost between $5,000 and $13,000 for the full treatment, according to Cost Helper.

The type of braces chosen determines the number of necessary orthodontist trips. Damon braces, for example, are self-ligating and require the wire to be changed and to move the teeth which is usually faster than traditional braces. A major Invisalign advantage is that they require even fewer individual visits because you're provided with many of the replacement aligners yourself each time.

Patient Compliance

Preliminary appointments can be uncomfortable for children, but it's important that they comply with the orthodontist's instructions in order to get the best possible results. This includes maintaining good oral hygiene at home to protect their mouth during treatment. And remember that tooth decay is still a problem when wearing braces, so encourage children to brush regularly using toothpastes such as Colgate® 2in1 for kids, an anti-cavity fluoride toothpaste that comes in fun fruit flavors.

If you're considering orthodontic treatment and want to evaluate how it will affect your budget, consider your family's unique case and ask an orthodontist how much treatment you'll need.

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