When the dentist says that you need (or a child needs) braces, lots of questions may race through your head. How much do braces cost? Do you really need them? Will they be worth the investment? So let’s get answers.
Straight to the Facts > How Much Do Braces Cost
First, to be clear, we are talking about dental braces here—those typically metal brackets that get glued to your teeth, and tied together by wires and tiny rubber bands—for an average of 2 years, all in an effort to straighten your teeth.
Nowadays, you can get more options for braces, like brackets that closely match your natural tooth color. Or you can make a fashion statement out of your mouth by choosing colored brackets or bands.
In addition to monetary costs, plan on a few other costs during your treatment with braces.
- Time: Typically with braces, you will need to visit your orthodontist every 4 weeks for an adjustment.
- Comfort: Not surprisingly, braces will take getting used to. And sometimes they require an extra visit if wires or brackets are uncomfortable a couple days after an adjustment.
- Confidence: If you’re self-conscious about having wired teeth, you may feel a shift in your confidence. If this is a concern, talk to your orthodontist about ceramic or clear braces, or Invisalign, before committing to braces.
Softening the Blow > A Sigh of Relief
While initially the cost of braces might seem high, rest assured that they will be worth it. They may actually save you money in the long run. Those crooked teeth, missing teeth or irregular bite causing you to need braces could result in tooth decay or more missing teeth if left untreated.
And we all know that those dental visits for tooth decay and extractions or implants add up quickly. And chronic oral problems can lead to bigger health problems like obesity, malnutrition, diabetes and heart disease. These are serious conditions that can affect your quality of life, which is difficult to put a price on!
Plus, financial relief options are available.
Health insurance and dental insurance
Coverage will vary with your provider and plan. Some health plans will not cover orthodontic treatment for people over 18 years old, but offer some coverage for kids under 18. Other plans cover braces if they are considered medically necessary.
- Ask your health insurance provider what percentage they cover and the lifetime maximum. Common coverage is 50% with a $1,500 lifetime maximum per child.
- Ideally, you will want to stay on the same insurance plan throughout treatment to avoid any ‘pre-existing’ condition debates.
Medicaid may cover braces if you quality for Medicaid, and your braces are deemed medically necessary. But as with health insurance, ask about the percentage of coverage and the lifetime maximum.
Braces may be tax deductible if:
- your insurance does not cover them.
- they are considered medically necessary (unlike whitening or veneers).
- the cost exceeds a certain amount, so track all expenses including co-pays and check-ups (for more info http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc502.html).
Orthodontic Payment Options
Some orthodontists, like The Happy Tooth, will offer additional payment plans to help make braces more affordable.
The idea of getting braces can be overwhelming. But remember that millions of people are adjusting to them, and you will too. Besides, getting braces for a couple of years is really a small price to pay for better oral health and overall health that will impact the rest of your lifetime.
Whether you have yet to visit a dentist to determine a need for braces, you’re trying to find the best orthodontist or you want to discuss other options like Invisalign, contact The Happy Tooth today to set up your complimentary new patient consultation.
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