Cheap orthodontics: Is it possible?


Dental braces or orthodontic braces used to be shunned by people as being geeky or nerdy but nowadays, with better awareness of the benefits of having orthodontics that help improve our appearances and self-esteem, wearing braces seems to be a norm and some might even say fashionable. Generally speaking, putting on orthodontic braces can get pretty expensive and many are avoiding it due to the cost however cheap orthodontics may be possible – it just depends on your treatment planning.

Why get dental braces?

  • The first thing you notice when you see a person is his/her smile. Crowded or crooked teeth can look unsightly and affect your confidence in front of people. Orthodontic treatment can help straighten the teeth or move them into a better position which will make our smile look better and correct the way our teeth bite together.
  • Well-aligned teeth are easier to clean and may help prevent any gum disease cause by badly-positioned teeth.
  • Prominent front teeth can be prone to accidents which can cause fracture of teeth. Braces can move them back into line.
  • Teeth that do not meet correctly may cause strain to our jaw muscles which may lead to joint problems in our jaw.

When should I get dental braces?

Orthodontic treatment can be done at any age – as long as you still have teeth around.

What are the types of dental braces?

Ceramic or metal braces

There are several types of dental braces that can help straighten your teeth. Generally braces can be grouped into:

  • Fixed appliance – most commonly used to guide teeth correctly, these have brackets and bands temporarily stuck to the teeth. You get to choose from ceramic braces, Invisalign braces, metal braces or lingual (behind-the-teeth) braces.
  • Removable appliance – simple tooth movements can be carried out using removable appliance that can be taken out to be cleaned.
  • Functional appliance – this appliance uses the jaw muscles to help change the way jaws grow, mostly used during the growth period, for example orthodontic headgear.

Lingual 'behind-the-teeth' braces © G C Dental

The type of braces you get depends on certain factors that include:

  • The severity of the tooth/teeth problem
  • The amount of time you need to wear braces
  • Whether extractions or jaw surgery is necessary
  • The preference of your orthodontist
  • The amount you are willing to pay
  • What you want – make sure you discuss your preferences with your orthodontist so he/she can work out a treatment plan that suits you

How much would orthodontics cost?

Invisible braces, Invisalign

The cost of braces can be a significant financial investment though most find it worthwhile. Typical orthodontic treatment costs between $3,000 and $7,000 in the US. An accurate estimate would be difficult to provide since treatment costs vary depending on each individual and the problems they face.

For example, an individual who needs very minor teeth adjustments may require only a retainer which costs around $500 to $1,000 compared to an individual with severe teeth problems that may escalate cost to $7,000.

Due to variation in regional overhead, there can be significant differences in fee charges. Same goes for the type of braces you opt for – traditional metal braces can start from $5,000 onwards, ceramic brackets will need an additional $500 while an extra $2,000 to $5,000 is required for lingual braces. The national average price for Invisalign braces is about $5,000 with a starting price of $3,500.

Where can I find cheap orthodontics?

Cheap braces may be found at the following places:

  • Dental school clinics may offer reduced rates for services done by supervised students.
  • State dental societies sometimes provide financial assistance for low-income patients.

Orthodontics insurance may help reduce some financial burden but it differs from company to company. Most dental insurance cover orthodontic treatment for children up to the age of 18, but not for adults. Some may find that their dental insurance will cover a certain amount of the treatment. Orthodontics insurance rarely cover the entire treatment cost therefore it is advisable to know not only how much of the fee your benefit will cover but also if there is a maximum amount of benefit. It is important to understand the benefits available before beginning any orthodontic treatment.

You can try to get an average cost and price of dental care in your hometown using this Dental Cost Calculator so you can plan ahead your financial needs. However it is still best for you to scout around for cheap orthodontics as you might never know that you might have an orthodontist in the family or one living next to you.

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