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7 Ways to Get Affordable Braces for Adults

The prospect of paying for braces can be a shock. According to US News, the average cost of braces is between $3,000 and $6,000. Fortunately, there are options to pay less out of pocket, reduce this price, or pay over time. Learn about seven payment options so you can make an informed decision.

How Much Are Braces for Adults?

Determining how much braces cost depends mainly on the type of treatment and length of time they’ll need to be worn. However, considering those variations, insurance, and location, the average cost of braces for adults could be between $4,800 and $7,000. Orthodontic treatment can be expensive, but there are many ways to find affordable braces for adults.

How To Get Braces

The type of treatment your orthodontist recommends can create an even more specific difference in cost. For example, while traditional braces may generally be more cost-effective, self-ligating braces require fewer in-office visits. Your orthodontist may recommend removable aligners or lingual braces, which can create a more subtle appearance during treatment but also come at a higher cost.

The primary factor affecting the cost of treatment is the degree of correction you need. Patients requiring minimal or basic straightening wear braces for a shorter time. Still, the average patient's treatment is around two years but can range from one to three years.

Keep in mind, finding cheap braces shouldn’t be your only goal. It's also essential to consider the numerous benefits of braces. Straighter teeth can improve the smile and are easier to clean. Correcting the bite reduces the likelihood of fractures, gum recession, grinding, clenching, jaw pain, and more. In most cases, you'll find that the benefits of braces far outweigh the cost.

How to Pay for Braces

Let's review seven 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. Choose Low-Cost Braces if Possible

Traditional braces or metal braces are generally the least expensive option compared to removable aligners or lingual braces and effectively correct most orthodontic issues. Traditional braces now come in various models – stainless steel, tooth-colored ceramic, and even gold-colored. Traditional metal braces, which include orthodontic adjustments usually occurring every six weeks, will range in price from $3,000-$5,000. Prices vary depending on your treatment plan, orthodontist office, and even the area you live in.

2. Visit an Orthodontic School Clinic

Instead of visiting a full orthodontic practice, consider visiting a dental school. Most states have schools that are open to taking patients on certain days. Students are required to do supervised treatments as part of their orthodontic education with their faculty members.

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. Check the Commission on Dental Accreditation's list of dental schools across the country to find one nearby. Costs are usually much lower, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).

3. Insurance

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. Insurance plans that do cover braces typically pay around 50% of the cost. Cutting the price in half can be a relief!

4. Ask for a Payment Plan

Most orthodontic clinics offer payment plans for patients without insurance. For example, many clinics partner with financing companies to provide flexible payment options that cost less than conventional credit financing. You can choose between plans with little to no interest and payable by up to two years. These types of plans help tremendously when investing in affordable braces for adults.

5. Flexible Spending Accounts

Even if your dental plan does not cover orthodontics, your employer may offer a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). If your employer offers this benefit, contribute the maximum amount allowed into your account. 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 braces and deductibles. Depending on the rules, your FSA or HSA may reimburse you for co-pays or office visits as well.

6. Financing Braces

Regular credit finance, such as personal loans or credit cards, is always another option. Even though they cost more in interest than other payment methods, you can spread repayments over as long as you can negotiate with your bank.

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.

7. Look for Dental Assistance Programs

Many states have dental assistance programs to help low-income families get the dental treatment they need. In some cases, not-for-profit organizations can assist. Other options include free clinics run by medical and dental volunteers or grants to cover costs that you may not be able to cover under extraordinary circumstances.

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.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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