So, you just left the orthodontist office and found out your child needs braces.
Great. Now what?
Your initial thought is probably, “How much do braces cost?”
It’s a legitimate concern. After all, you’ve heard that braces can get pretty pricey. You also likely didn’t start saving for braces during your pre-baby financial planning.
The good news is that braces may not be as expensive as you think. We’re going to explore how much braces cost and give you some tips on paying for them!
How Much Do Braces Cost?
The first thing – after you stop panicking – is to know that you’re not alone. Around 5.9 million people in the U.S. wear braces and 4.7 million of them are under the age of 18.
That means that there’s a lot of parents out there that feel your pain. We know while it’s a comfort to know you’re not alone, it doesn’t answer your question.
So, let’s go through this step by step.
There are five common types of braces. The orthodontist will choose which one is best for your child based on several factors, such as:
- Health concerns
- Overall teeth health
- The issue leading to braces
- Mouth/head size
After the orthodontist gathers all the data, they determine which will help your child the most.
These are the standard metal apparatus that you always think of when you hear the word “braces.”
These can run between $1,500-$10,000 depending on the severity of the issue. The average cost is $4,900.
Insurance will pay some of the cost, leaving parents with a $3,400 bill.
Like traditional braces, ceramic braces affix to the front of your child’s teeth. But, they use ceramic brackets instead of metal.
On average, these are a little less expensive than metal braces at $4,600. The range is anywhere from $1,500 to $7,800.
If you have insurance, your bill will be reduced to $2,600.
These are similar to traditional and ceramic braces in the sense that they use a wire and bracket system. But, instead of rubber bands, the brackets have clips that hold the wire.
The cost is also similar to ceramic braces. These are very popular today since rubber bands aren’t a factor.
Invisalign are all the rage these days and fall in line with the other types at a range of $3,000-$8,000 or an average of $5,000.
This is a system that uses several clear trays to straighten teeth. The downside is that they don’t help fix an extreme over or underbite. The upside is that they’re removable and easy to clean.
Lingual braces attach behind the teeth. While these may sound like they’re great for cosmetic purposes, they aren’t favored by orthodontists.
They have to be custom-ordered and they don’t fit well on tiny teeth. They also take a different skill set to install. In fact, the orthodontist may not even offer this as an option.
These will run you $5,000-$13,000 out of pocket.
Options for Paying for Braces
If you have dental insurance, you can call your provider and get the rates from them. The percentage they will pay depends on your policy.
But, you may not have dental insurance. In that case, you don’t need to take money from your child’s financial future fund to pay for braces. But, you can take out a line of credit.
The orthodontist office can set up a payment plan with you. They usually charge little to no interest, but this depends on the office and their policies.
You can also apply for dental credit through a reputable company. Care Credit is one of the most popular medical and dental credit companies in the country.
Another option if you fall into the low-income range is applying for Smile Changes Lives. This organization has been around for more than 20 years and provides braces for kids in low-income families.
Brace Yourself (Or, Your Child)
Now you know the answer to “How much do braces cost?” Unfortunately, that answer depends on several factors.
Once you discuss the option the orthodontist feels is best, talk to them about the cost. They may offer a payment plan with an interest rate lower than your credit cards.
The most important thing to remember is that you’ve got this, mom!
You’ll find a way to stay calm (at least on the outside), even when the dreaded “braces day” draws nearer. You’ll also figure out your finances and how to pay for braces, just like every other wrench that’s been tossed into your budget.
If you’d like some more tips on saving money, check out our frugal living blog.