- Chosen treatment
- Duration of treatment
- Orthodontist’s training and experience
- Complexity of the case
- Location of the dental office
- Dental insurance coverage
Chosen TreatmentChosen treatment refers to what kind of braces you choose. There are several options available, including traditional metal braces, braces with ceramic or clear brackets, lingual braces, and invisible braces (such as Invisalign).
Traditional metal braces use metal brackets cemented to the front of your teeth. These brackets are connected with wires, which are attached with elastic bands or wire ties. Sometimes you will need rubber bands to apply additional pressure. This is especially common in younger patients. Traditional braces usually cost 5,000 to 8,000 dollars, including treatment.
Ceramic or clear brackets are also available. Ceramic or clear brackets are usually chosen for aesthetics. The brackets for these kind of braces are also bonded to the front of teeth, but the brackets are an off-white or clear in color, making them less noticeable. The brackets are connected with wires, as in traditional braces.
The materials for clear ceramic braces are also more costly than traditional metal brackets. Ceramic or clear braces usually range from 3,500 dollars to 8,500 dollars in price.
Lingual braces are like traditional braces, but backwards. Lingual braces are bonded to the backside (tongue side) of teeth. The technology for attaching and adjusting these braces is different than traditional braces, and requires custom made braces for each patient. These kind of braces often require a more experience orthodontist because they are so specialized. Lingual braces tend to cost 1,000 to 5,000 dollars more than traditional braces.
Lingual braces are a good choice for athletes, especially those who play contact sports. They are also good for those who play wind instruments. These kind of braces can be uncomfortable if a bracket ever becomes detached, but this problem is fixed easily with a visit to the orthodontist.
With invisible braces, misaligned teeth are corrected through a series of clear trays that fit over the teeth. The patient wears each tray for about two weeks, then uses the next set of trays. This method focuses on only a few teeth at a time, rather than your whole mouth (as with traditional braces).
Invisible braces can cause a slight lisp, but are also unnoticeable in appearance. These kind of braces are also virtually pain and discomfort free. Invisible braces usually run between 3,500 dollars and 8,000 dollars.
Duration of TreatmentDuration of treatment is how long you will need to follow up with your orthodontist, which is determined by the amount of time you will need to wear your braces. Typically, braces are worn for a year and a half to two years. Depending on the correction needed, you might have to wear them longer or shorter. The length of time is also influenced by the type of braces you choose.
Traditional braces require monthly adjustment. This gradual treatment allows for the bone to grow and support the changing position of your teeth. Rushing your treatment can harm your teeth or even pull them loose.
Ceramic or clear brackets are not as strong as metal brackets. The ceramic brackets can’t withstand the same amount of pressure as metal brackets. This prolongs treatment, since adjustments have to be more gradual than with metal brackets.
Lingual braces are adjusted similarly to traditional braces, and duration of treatment is usually the same as with traditional braces. Invisible braces are worn 12 months on average. These type of braces don’t require adjustment by an orthodontist. You simply replace your trays every two weeks or so.
Orthodontist’s Training and ExperienceYour orthodontist’s training and experience will have an impact on the cost of your braces. Some kinds of braces, such as lingual, require a higher level of training and experience. Other kinds of braces are easier to adjust, and don’t required specialized techniques.
With that said, you will want to take care as you select an orthodontist. As with any medical procedure, your orthodontist’s training and experience can influence your overall experience and comfort.
Complexity of the CaseThe more difficult the alignment, the more time it will take to correct. Prolonged visits to the orthodontist accrue more costs. Some cases might require a more experienced orthodontist, which can also raise the price.
Location of the Dental OfficeDental offices located in rural areas tend to have cheaper rates for braces, but they might not offer option you would prefer. Dental offices located in bigger cities with larger populations offer you more choices, but often at a much higher cost. For example, traditional braces in a rural community might cost 3000 dollars, whereas in a bigger city the cost could be closer to 10,000 dollars.
Dental insurance coverageIf you have dental insurance, it will usually cover some portion of your braces and treatment. Most dental plans cover traditional metal braces, so if you are interested in another kind of braces, you will want to take that into consideration as you contemplate costs. Many dental offices offer financing through payment plans. Some payment plans require a large down payment and smaller payments in subsequent months. Other plans don’t require a down payment but instead call for moderate payments at regular intervals.
There are also discount dental plans available through various agencies. A discount dental plan can save you 50 percent of the total cost of braces.
Another option available is a third party flexible spending account. These kind of accounts are specifically designed to cover bills from medical treatment.
Dental schools often offer discounts of up to 30 percent. All procedures are overseen by experienced professionals, but the actual work is done by dental students.
Additional CostsGold-plated or colored brackets require an additional fee, often around 300 dollars. Other decorative accents also cost extra, including decorative metal or plastic shapes.
Keep these factors in mind as you weigh your options for braces.