The cost of braces can vary widely, depending on a number of factors. The experience of the orthodontist you choose, the area of the country where you live, the degree of correction needed for your teeth, and other important considerations will help determine the final cost. However, on average, patients should expect braces to cost between $4,000 and $10,000.
Braces Pricing Breakdown
The science of orthodontics has greatly advanced in recent years, with new alternatives to traditional metal braces emerging and giving patients a choice. The cost of different types of braces - traditional metal, clear, or ceramic - can be a major factor in which type you eventually choose. Another important consideration is the additional cost of retainers, which may be necessary to further correct teeth once braces are removed.
The traditional type of braces, where thin metal wire is run between anchors attached to each tooth and tightened gradually to move the teeth into the desired position, are still generally the most economical option. These traditional metal braces may also be required for patients needing extensive realignment that cannot be achieved with other types of braces. Your orthodontist can tell you whether you need metal braces or if you have the option to use other types.
Ceramic "Tooth Colored" Brackets
Ceramic braces are a popular choice for patients who want less noticeable braces on their teeth. By using braces that are colored to blend in with the natural color of your teeth, these braces can be much less noticeable than traditional metal braces. Also, ceramic braces are made to retain their color without becoming stained or discolored over time. Ask your orthodontist if ceramic braces are right for you.
Some dentists offer their patients the option of choosing clear braces, which are made of pure monocrystalline sapphire, making them virtually see-through. Only the thin arch wire is visible, making clear braces nearly invisible. Generally, the cost of clear braces is slightly higher than traditional braces. On average, clear brackets placed on the front six teeth will cost about $200 more than with metal brackets.
Retainers are a removable type of orthodontics commonly used to hold a patient's teeth in position either before or after braces have been installed. The retainer, made of plastic and metal, is cast from a mold made of the patient's teeth and designed to fit snugly on the teeth. The retainer keeps teeth in place, limiting unwanted movement while allowing the gums to grow and adjust. Many patients must wear a retainer at all times except when eating, while others only wear the device at night while they sleep. Your orthodontist will determine what is best for your individual case.
Braces represent a big financial investment for many adult patients or the parents of young children who need the orthodontics. In fact, some people may put off getting braces for themselves or for their children in large part because they do not think they can afford them. However, with developments in orthodontics making braces more affordable and flexible financing programs that allow payments to be spread out over years, braces are now more affordable than ever for most patients.
Financing and payment plans for the cost of braces and other orthodontics vary. The terms of when payments will be paid and in what amount depends entirely on your dentist's payment policy. Generally, an orthodontist will require the patient to pay a down payment amounting to anything from 10 to 50 percent of the total cost before beginning treatment, with regular monthly payments following until the total amount is paid. Some dentists offer interest-free payments for 18 months.
Choosing an Experienced Orthodontist
As with any medical procedure, it is very important that you choose only an experienced orthodontist to place braces on your teeth. Orthodontics is a complicated medical field and an inexperienced orthodontist can cause you substantial pain and can even permanently damage your teeth if the braces are not placed and maintained correctly. Therefore, you should be careful to shop around for your orthodontic care and choose only an experienced orthodontist for your braces.
Find an Orthodontist
If your teeth need some straightening to give you that million-dollar smile you've always wanted, braces may be the answer. Locate an orthodontist in your area today to find out if traditional braces are right for you.