Orthodontic treatment – what most of us simply call braces – correct teeth that don’t line up correctly, “bad bites,” or teeth that are crooked or crowded together.
Sometimes the sole purpose of orthodontics is to produce a more attractive smile. But for many people, braces result in a healthier mouth. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), orthodontic treatment helps to prevent:
- tooth decay
- gum disease
- tooth loss
- difficulty in speaking clearly
- difficulty in chewing properly
- abnormal wear to tooth enamel
- jaw problems
Orthodontics treatment realigns teeth by applying constant, gentle pressure. In the not-so recent past, this was typically done with metal braces. Small brackets cemented to the teeth were connected by a wire, which was regularly tightened by a dentist or orthodontist to shift teeth into the desired position.
Metal braces are still utilized today, but so are ceramic, clear and micro braces. In some cases, clear or invisible aligners can also do the job.
Braces are applied by general dentists or orthodontists, dentists who specialize in realigning teeth and jaws. Only 6% of dentists are orthodontists, having completed 2-3 years of additional education in their specialty. The American Association of Orthodontics says that at any given time over four million people in the U.S. – are undergoing orthodontic treatment.
Affordable Orthodontics – What Do Braces Cost?
The cost of braces varies according to what type of braces are used:
- Metal braces (traditional braces) cost $3,000 – $7,000.
- Ceramic braces, which blend with the color of teeth leaving only a thin metal wire visible, cost $4,000 -$8,000.
- Invisalign® aligners, clear plastic devices that fit over teeth and can be removed temporarily when the wearer chooses, cost $4,000 – $7,400.
- Lingual braces, which are made out of metal but are bonded to the inside surface of teeth making them virtually invisible when the wearer smiles, cost $8,000 – $10,000.
In addition to the prices above, you should factor in the additional costs required to prepare your teeth for braces. These treatments will almost certainly include X-rays, and may include fillings, cleanings, and – occasionally for adults – extractions to open the space required for your teeth to move into their desired new position.
Depending on the type of braces that you get, you’ll also need to see the dentist – typically once a month or so over a two-year period – to have the braces adjusted. Newer types of braces may require less frequent adjustments.
And after your braces are removed you’ll probably need to have a retainer made, in order to keep your teeth from returning to their original position.
Dental Insurance That Covers Braces
A healthcare or standalone dental plan may partially cover the costs of braces for children under the age of 18. Adults are typically not covered, but a few insurance providers are now offering orthodontia benefits for plan members of every age.
The problem with traditional insurance is that it tends to offer extremely limited coverage for orthodontic treatment. Dental insurance typically covers orthodontics up to a lifetime maximum of $1,500 for each eligible member of the plan. And virtually all insurance plans do not cover orthodontics treatment that is already in progress when you purchase the plan. There may also be a waiting period of six months to a year after purchasing a plan before orthodontics coverage is available.
One benefit of traditional insurance is that plan providers probably have negotiated lower rates with dentists/orthodontists in their networks. Even if the plan doesn’t cover much of the cost of braces, you may benefit from getting a lower rate overall.
Orthodontic Discount Plans
Dental savings plans, sometimes known as dental discount plans, are particularly well-suited to making orthodontics affordable. Many plans on dentalplans.com offer savings of 20%-25% on orthodontics, on average. Savings vary based on plan member’s locations, the average rate for dental care locally, and the savings negotiated by plan providers.
Dental savings plans are often the best choice when it comes to paying for braces because unlike insurance, savings plans have no annual limit. A plan member can use their plan to reduce their costs at the dentist as often as they wish. This is a significant benefit over insurance, which imposes that $1,500 lifetime cap on coverage.
Additionally, dental savings plans don’t have waiting periods. Plans activate within 72 hours of purchase, and can be used to save on orthodontics or other costly treatments that insurance plans typically don’t cover for many months. You can also use a dental savings plan to reduce orthodontics costs even if treatment is already underway. There are no restrictions on pre-existing conditions with dental savings plans, making them a great option for people who have exhausted their traditional insurance coverage.
And many dental savings plans do offer orthodontics savings to adults as well as children.
Affordable Braces and Dental Care
Besides helping to reduce the cost of orthodontic care, dental savings plan can save you from 10%-60% on virtually all dental care and treatments. And with 40+ different plans from trusted healthcare brands like Cigna and Aetna, there is a dental savings plan to fit any dental care need and budget.
Not sure which plan to choose? Our :DP AtYourService Team™, the dental savings experts, can help you select the perfect plan for your needs. And if your needs change, they’ll always be happy to help you switch to a different plan.
If you have any questions, such as:
- What plan offers the best savings on braces?
- What plan does my current dentist accept?
- What plan provides the biggest savings on braces and the other dental care my family needs?
- What’s right for me; dental insurance or a dental savings plan?
- Can you help me find the best prices on braces/orthodontic treatment in my area?
- Can I get savings on vision, hearing and other healthcare services with my dental savings plan?
Call us at 1-800-238-5163 to find out about how dental savings plans can help make quality dental care affordable.