The prospect of paying for braces can be a shock. The average cost of braces is between $5,000 and $6,000. Fortunately, there are options to pay less out of pocket, reduce this price, or pay over time. Learn about the different braces types and their cost, and learn about the other payment options so you can make an informed decision.
How Much Braces Cost and Finding Payment Solutions
Long-Term Benefits of Braces
Your dentist may recommend or refer an orthodontist for braces because correct teeth alignment can improve your oral health and quality of life. Consider the following benefits when deciding on getting braces or aligners:
- Straightened teeth may improve your self-esteem and confidence in your smile.
- Straightened teeth are easier to clean, reducing the risk of tooth decay.
- Correcting the bite may reduce damage from grinding and clenching.
- Aligned teeth are more comfortable with chewing food.
Orthodontic Options and How They Affect Price
There are more options for teeth alignment than ever before. The total cost can vary depending on how much alignment you need and where you live.
- Traditional braces: Traditional braces involve metal brackets and wires on the front surfaces of the teeth. There are other material options, like ceramic braces, that are less noticeable. The average price of braces runs between $5,000 and $6,000. Ceramic materials may add more to the total cost.
- Invisible aligners: Invisible aligners are another option. These clear braces fit over your teeth like a mouthguard, and you can remove them to eat. Aligners can cost roughly the same as traditional braces, averaging $2,000 to $6000, depending on how long you need to wear them.
- Clear braces: Clear braces use thin wire and clear brackets. They typically are not as tight to wear as traditional braces, but they are not removable like invisible aligners.
- Lingual braces: Lingual braces go behind the teeth. They are custom-made for each patient. Since it's more challenging to fit braces on the backside of teeth, they can cost between $5,000 and $13,000 for the full treatment.
How to Pay for Braces
Let's review four common ways to pay for braces. These options include dental insurance, financing, flexible spending accounts, and more. You should speak with your employer about what benefits you qualify for and then seek independent payment options if you need them.
1. Dental Insurance
Some dental insurance policies cover a portion of orthodontic treatment, but not all of them do. Insurance plans that do cover braces usually pay around 50 percent of the cost. Cutting the cost of braces in half would be a relief!
2. Financing and Braces Payment Plans
You may also find discount programs through your orthodontist's office that can reduce the price. Most orthodontist offices offer financing options that will cover the cost of braces but will accrue interest. It would be best to weigh the pros and cons of having monthly payments yet paying a higher total cost after interest accrues.
3. Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account
Even if your dental plan does not cover orthodontics, your employer may offer a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). You contribute a portion of your paycheck into an account specifically for health and dental expenses. The money you contribute is pre-tax dollars, and you accrue interest. Depending on the rules, your FSA or HSA may reimburse you for co-pays or office visits as well.
4. Finding a Provider at a Dental School
Some dental schools, like the University of Maryland, provide orthodontic services performed by their students. These schools have licensed dentists who are completing their orthodontics training. These services can be more affordable than at a private practice.
Now that you have reviewed the payment options, braces may not be so scary. Speak with your orthodontist about payment options and speak with your employer about what benefits you are eligible for to help you with this treatment.