Now that we’ve sufficiently covered the “are-braces-for-kids-really-necessary?” question… …it’s time we tackle the brass tacks: how much do braces cost?
I know, it’s the elephant in the room, and the question nobody really likes talking about. Most orthodontists get nervous about it, while most parents avoid the topic altogether for as long as they can.
If finances are the only thing standing in the way of a perfect, healthy smile, most…
…and then can’t be helped by the doctor.
Both sides have to learn to trust each other.
Remember, at your initial consultation – and every appointment after – the discussions had are entirely confidential. Orthodontists are not Martians, by the way; we have kids, expenses, and family budgets just like you.
A complete treatment program, including braces for kids, can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $6,000. Most fall somewhere in the middle.
Adjusted for inflation, these prices are actually less than braces decades ago, even as the technology and quality have advanced.
If you consider the cost of…
…then correcting your teeth and bite can be one of the best investments to avoid unnecessary future costs.
Your braces costs will usually include:
Each year, we provide braces of one kind or another to countless patients. Even parents who shook their heads at the cost of braces for their kids to start with tell us after seeing the outcome itself, that they feel undercharged.
While it’s never easy to part with such a sum, people do it every day for all sorts of less important things like…
Many pay for orthodontic treatment outright with their favorite credit card (getting the reward points in the bargain).
If you put the braces cost on a typical credit card and you choose to make only the minimum required monthly payment, your monthly payments will be relatively small. (If you don’t want to use a credit card, ask us about our in-house interest-free financing plans!)
Even tight budgets can accommodate this when it is really important. It’s less than most families pay for their cable and streaming entertainment.
For many, if they got all their Starbucks stops consolidated into one monthly bill, it would be more than this!
And rather than a few hours of entertainment each night, or a jolt of caffeine, you’re significantly improving your child’s quality of life for the rest of their life!
You can’t say that about most things anymore (even college).
The HSA allows you to set aside pre-tax dollars to be used for certain medical and health expenses, including the cost of braces.
If you have accumulated money in an HSA, chances are good you can spend it on orthodontic treatment.
If you don’t have an HSA, you might want to start one. Information can be found online about existing or new accounts and their rules of use, at www.healthcare.gov.
Other kinds of FSAs are typically set up through your place of employment and also let you set aside pre-tax dollars for medical expenses and braces costs.
Sometimes, employers match contributions to your FSA!
Again, you can almost certainly tap funds from your FSA for your kid’s braces. Check with your employer about this.
TIP: How can you make the most out of your employer’s flex-pay plan?
First, make sure you understand how it works.
Second, set aside flex-spending dollars in advance of need, and if possible, make the maximum contributions.
Third, be aware of “family status changes” allowed by your plan that may enable you to change the amount being moved pre-tax from your paychecks to your account anytime during the year rather than just once at the first of the year.
IMPORTANT: Be aware of the balance and the loss of unused funds. In most cases, if you do not use these funds, you lose them, year to year. You usually have three months after the end of the calendar year to submit claims for eligible expenses from the previous year.
These days, there are as many different types of insurance plans as there are patients in my office…
I can’t possibly speak to your unique and personal insurance policy without seeing it first but, in general, my experience tells me that “most” insurance policies cover at least “some” of the cost of braces for your kids.
I realize that answer sounds very vague, but here are a couple of questions you need to answer before an insurance agent can help you determine what, how long, and how many procedures fall under your insurance:
I can only partially answer this question within this guide, but at your initial consultation our team will personally look at your insurance plan and make sure that we can maximize your insurance benefits to help cover the cost of braces.
Many of our patients choose to take advantage of our in-house financing and payment plans to cover the cost of braces for kids.
We offer extended, interest-free financing that many of our patients take advantage of. You don’t need a credit check and you don’t have to go anywhere else to fill out extra paperwork.
We have payments plans as low as $99 per month. After treating nearly 15,000 patients, we’ve found we’re able to create payment plans that fit nearly any budget.
Obviously, a private loan from a family member can be an easy option. A lot of preteens’ and teens’ important orthodontic care is financed at the Bank of Grandma and Grandpa.
I have compiled a list of ten ways you may be able to substantially reduce the cost of braces for your kids.
See if you can save a little extra by paying in full.
Most orthodontists offer a pay-in-full discount that could save you several hundred dollars on the cost of braces.
See if your local dental school has an orthodontic program.
While you will be spending a lot more time in the chair as a teaching case, if you have the time, it might be well worth the wait because you can save up to half the cost of braces.
Get your flex spending dollars in order with your employer.
If you set money aside in a flex plan, it may be “tax-free” but it comes with some stipulations: namely, you have to use it before the end of the year or else you lose it.
See if your husband or wife has an insurance plan that covers the cost of braces.
Be sure to enroll in the plan with enough time to spare before your child needs braces, so that the procedure is not denied by your insurance company due to a waiting period.
Ask for flexible financing options.
When you boil it down to the basics, your orthodontist really just wants to help you.Your doctor spent way too much time in school not to love what he or she does. He or she will probably be thrilled to help you finance your treatment or find another way to afford the cost of braces.
Do you have multiple kids in treatment?
If so, take advantage of that fact and see if you can get a family discount.
If finances are extremely tight, you should check out the organizations that orthodontists have created to help provide pro-bono care, such as SmilesChangeLives.org.
There are even more foundations like this if you have a cleft palate or other facial anomalies.
Military, schoolteachers and firefighters sometimes receive special courtesies in dental and orthodontic offices.
As your doctor if there is a discount for first responders or educators.
Got taxes? Good! Why not use your tax refund to help pay for treatment in full and ask for pay-in-full discount?
In some areas, you can save as much as 10 percent on the cost of braces for kids by simply saving your pennies and paying the entire bill at once, up front.
Ask for more flexible financing, through a third-party credit company like Lending Point, CareCredit, or by using in-house financing through your orthodontist.
Most orthodontists will allow you to split the amount into easy monthly payments. You might be able to stretch the monthly payments out over a longer period to make each payment lower.
Most of the time your monthly orthodontic bill is lower than your cable TV or cell phone bill!
However, armed with these ten massive, budget-saving tips, you won’t need to decide between braces and another expense ever again!
Now that we have the cost of braces for kids out of the way, let’s discuss whether braces or Invisalign would be the best choice for you or your child.
You can schedule a 100% free consultation for you or your child with Premier Orthodontics to find out if and when your child needs braces.