Approximately four million Americans — the majority of them children — currently wear braces. Have you recently found out that your child needs to join their ranks?
Braces are a right of passage for a lot of kids. They can also be quite a strain on parents’ wallets. In fact, the average cost of braces ranges from $5,000 to $6,000!
If your child needs braces and you’re worried about how you’re going to afford them, keep reading.
Listed below are some tips that will help to make the process of paying for braces more affordable and less stressful.
Start Treatment Early
As soon as you learn that your child may benefit from braces, it’s a good idea to jump on it and start seeking treatment right away. Don’t wait around and hope that the problem goes away on its own. It’s highly unlikely that this will be the case.
Remember, too, that the longer you without addressing your child’s crooked teeth or alignment issues, the more time these problems have to get worse.
If you take care of them as soon as you learn of them, the orthodontist will likely have to do less work. The treatment may also take less time. Both of these things can result in more savings for you.
Look Into Assistance Programs
Many people don’t realize that there are assistance programs designed for people who can’t afford braces or other orthodontic treatments.
Depending on the area in which you live and your income, you may qualify for one of these programs. Talk to your child’s dentist or orthodontist to see if they know of any such programs.
You can also search online to see what kinds of programs are available in your area. You might be surprised at what you find, and you may be able to qualify for free or discounted braces for your child.
Check with Your Insurance Provider
Reach out to your insurance provider and find out what percentage of your child’s treatment they cover.
In most cases, they will cover a least a portion of the cost and make it more affordable for you.
Sometimes, they’ll even pay as much as half of the cost of treatment. This isn’t common, but they may do it, especially if the braces are correcting a serious issue that could impact your child’s oral and overall health in the future.
Look for Dental Schools
Sometimes, dental schools will have orthodontists-in-training who can provide your child with the treatment they need at a reduced cost.
If you decide to go this route, your child’s treatment will be supervised by a licensed orthodontist, so you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that they’re being taken good care of.
Ask About a Payment Plan
In many cases, orthodontists do not demand that patients (or the parents of patients) pay for the cost of treatment upfront. They know that braces are expensive and likely have some kind of payment plan option for those who cannot afford the whole treatment at once.
Ask if your orthodontist has such a plan in place or if they’re willing to put one together for you.
Ask for a Cash Discount
You may also be able to save money on the treatment if you can pay for it all at once. Talk to the orthodontist and see if they will give you a discount if you pay for the treatment in cash upfront.
Many orthodontists are willing to deduct a percentage of the treatment cost (often between 5 and 15 percent) in exchange for paying in full that same day.
Be sure to compare rates from different orthodontists before you make a decision.
Don’t assume that you’re getting the best price or that the quote you get from their current orthodontist is your only option. There’s a lot of variances when it comes to the price of braces, and you may be able to save money by taking your child to a different orthodontist.
When you’re comparing orthodontists, be sure to look beyond the price they give you. Dig a little deeper and find out what’s included in that treatment and whether there are any optional treatments that you can remove to lower the price.
Use for Flexible Savings Account
If your employer offers a flexible savings account (or FSA) or a health savings account (or HSA), use the funds from that account to help offset the costs of your child’s braces.
When you take this approach, you’re able to pay for your child’s braces before you pay income taxes.
Keep in mind that FSAs and HSA payments don’t take any money off the cost of your child’s treatment. However, they can help to cover a big chunk of the payments.
Consider Alternatives to Braces
When you first find out how much braces cost, you might find yourself asking questions like “are braces worth it?”
In some cases, braces are the only option to straighten your child’s teeth or correct their jaw alignment. Other times, though, you can get away with other, less expensive and less invasive measures.
If you can’t find a way to pay for your child’s braces, consider an alternative like veneers or Invisalign instead.
These treatments can be more affordable and work very well for a lot of issues, especially problems like minor tooth overlap. They won’t be a viable option for everyone, but they might be a better option for you and your child.
Get Help Paying for Braces Today
Finding out your child needs braces can send any parent into a panic spiral. If you’ve been stressed out about the idea of paying for braces, hopefully, you now know that there are options out there for you.
Whether you choose one of these methods to lower the cost of braces or you decide to forgo them altogether and go with a more cost-effective approach, there are lots of ways you can help your child get straight, even teeth without breaking the bank.
Do you want to learn more about saving money on health and dental care treatments? If so, visit the Health and Fitness section of our site today for more advice.