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6 Ways to Get Affordable Braces

A better bite. An easier clean. A renewed confidence in your smile. Braces can really make an impact on your life. Unfortunately, they can also make an impact on your wallet. But don't let the cost of braces prevent you from improving your oral health. Instead, explore these options for affordable braces for adults and kids.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

If you want to know how to afford braces, the first thing to do is explore your options. Many factors impact braces' cost, including your age, location, insurance coverage, and reason for treatment. You can get an idea of how much you will pay by comparing the types of braces and their cost. Authority Dental lists the average cost of braces for each type as follows:

  • Traditional braces: This method attaches metal brackets and wires to the front of your teeth to slowly move them into place. Average price: $5,350
  • Ceramic braces: Similar to traditional braces, this method uses a clear, transparent ceramic material instead of metal. Average price: $5,500
  • Self-ligating braces: This gentler treatment uses a slide mechanism instead of elastics to connect the archwires, providing faster results and fewer office visits because teeth can move on their own without needing adjustments. Average price: $5,500
  • Invisible aligners: These clear and custom plastic aligners fit over your teeth like a mouthguard, and you can remove them for eating and cleaning. Average price: $5,700
  • Lingual braces: This method attaches metal brackets and wires to the back of your teeth, making them unnoticeable but more expensive. Average price: $12,000

Does Insurance Pay for Braces?

If you're fortunate enough to have dental insurance, you're probably wondering, "How much do braces cost with dental insurance?" First, check your policy to see if it includes coverage for braces. Your policy might cover at least part of the cost of your orthodontic care. It also might support prescription products such as anticavity fluoride rinse, which helps ensure healthy teeth once braces are removed.

Out of pocket, patients with insurance paid an average of $3,407 for traditional metal braces, per reader reports from CostHelper. Insurance usually pays a part of the down payment and spreads the rest of the benefit across the treatment duration. The total amount covered by insurance is typically subject to a maximum benefit, so check with your insurance provider to determine your coverage ceiling.

How to Pay for Braces

How can you afford braces without insurance? Don't worry! When it comes to paying for braces, you have options. Explore how you can get cheaper braces and a confident smile:

  1. Choose a low-cost option. If you want affordable braces, you probably shouldn't pursue lingual brackets. Ask your orthodontist about all your options and their costs. Braces that require fewer office visits, and are made with cheaper materials, will help knock down that price tag.
  2. Find a dental school clinic. Instead of visiting an orthodontic practice, consider finding a dental school nearby. Students are required to do supervised treatments as part of their orthodontic education with faculty members. These programs usually have reduced fees or only require you to cover the cost of materials and equipment. Check the Commission on Dental Accreditation's list of dental schools across the country to find one nearby.
  3. Ask for a payment plan. Many orthodontic clinics offer payment plans for patients without insurance. These clinics often 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 and kids.
  4. Use your Flexible Spending Account. Even if your dental plan does not cover orthodontics, your employer might offer a flexible spending account (FSA) or health savings account (HSA). The money you put into this account is not taxed, which means your dollars will go further. Contribute the maximum amount and use these funds to pay for expenses not covered by insurance, including braces and deductibles. Depending on the rules, your FSA or HSA might reimburse you for co-pays or office visits as well.
  5. Finance your braces. Regular credit finance, such as personal loans or credit cards, is always another option. Even though interest is greater than other payment methods, you can spread repayments over as long as you negotiate with your bank. You might also find discount programs through your orthodontist's office that can reduce the price. Many 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.
  6. Explore 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 with the cost. Other options include free clinics run by medical and dental volunteers or grants to cover costs that you might not be able to cover under extraordinary circumstances.

Though orthodontics can come with a higher price tag, you have many options if you need help paying for braces. Start with conversations with your orthodontist about paying options and with your employer about dental coverage benefits. Then begin your journey toward an improved smile.

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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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