Dental braces can improve your smile and align teeth that are crooked or poorly positioned in the mouth. Some adults have put off getting braces because they’re not sure of the cost or what is involved with the process. In many cases, the cost can be spread out to make it more affordable if you’re on a tight budget. The benefits of adult braces are a smile that you’re happier with, greater ease in chewing food and an enhanced ability to more completely clean your teeth for better dental hygiene and less tooth decay.
What do braces cost?
There is no set price for adult braces because it varies from one person to another. There are four things that will determine how much braces will cost you. The cost varies with the type of braces, the kind of preparatory work that is needed beforehand if any, the duration of the treatment time required to align the teeth and the specific dentist/orthodontist that you go with.
Types of braces
Metal braces are the most common type. They’re made of stainless steel and they’re the most popular choice because they are the most affordable and the most durable. The one drawback is that they are the most visible. They require a lot of maintenance to ensure that the teeth are properly cleaned to prevent staining under the brackets for the duration of time that the braces are left on the teeth. The typical cost for metal braces is around $4,400 but the cost can go all the way to $5,300. Some insurance plans will pay at least part of the cost but you need to check with your dental insurance provider to find out how much if any of the cost is covered under your plan. On average, insurance can decrease the out of pocket cost to around $3,200.
Ceramic braces are less visible because they match the color of your teeth better, but they are not as durable as the metal types. The average cost of ceramic braces is around $4,600 if you have no insurance and on average, the cost is $2,570 if you do have an insurance plan that pays part of the cost.
Lingual braces are the next most common type that is made to fit behind your teeth so they are not as visible. They are usually more expensive than either ceramic or stainless steel braces. This type is not effective for people who have small teeth. There are a few drawbacks associated with them including the potential for causing speech problems and injuries to the tongue. The cost for lingual braces ranges between $5,000 all the way to $13,000 and in some cases more. Most dentists do not offer lingual braces because of the risks associated with them.
Invisalign braces are becoming a more popular option for adults who have minor alignment problems with their teeth. They are invisible and the overall costs are between $3,500 and $8,000 with the average cost at $5,600. Insurance doesn’t cover any part of the cost because these braces are considered a cosmetic dental procedure.
The steps involved in getting braces
The first step is an examination to determine the extent of alignment that needs to be done. You may need to have some preparatory work done in advance. A deep cleaning of the teeth is necessary prior to beginning. Some patients require filling replacements or extractions before the braces are applied and this can also affect the total cost. Some adults require a retainer to keep the teeth in place after the braces are removed and this can also increase the total cost.
Metal, ceramic and lingual braces must all be applied by a licensed dentist or orthodontist. After the prep work is done, the braces are placed on the teeth. Most patients return once per month to have the braces adjusted as the teeth begin moving into place. The total number of visits determines how much the alignment procedure will cost. Those with minor alignment issues will end up paying less than those who must return over a period of several months or up to 23 months on average.
Invisalign braces are applied in the form of plastic trays that are placed over the teeth. Impressions are made for the first set and they are placed by the dentist or orthodontist. Monthly visits for new trays are necessary for the realignment process and as with the other types of braces, the total cost depends on how long it takes to achieve alignment.
Each dentist or orthodontist charges rates that are usually based on what competitors in the area or region charge for these services. You may want to check around and compare rates. Most dentists offer payment plans or offer a third party financing service such as Care Credit to help make the payments for braces more manageable.