How to Save Money on Braces

how to save money on braces

Alright, so you’re getting braces soon and you’ve heard they can be crazy expensive. No worries, we have your back today. Straight teeth don’t have to drain your health savings account – there are some smart ways to save and still get that perfect smile you want. In this blog post, we’re going over a couple tips to make braces more affordable.

From insurance tricks to payment plans, you’re going to learn how to work the system and not go broke for your pearly whites. These are an investment in yourself, but you don’t have to pay more than you should.

Understanding Costs of Braces

Braces are a significant investment, so knowing the costs upfront should help you budget properly. The total cost ranges from $2,000 to $7,000, depending on the type of braces and severity of your case.

Initial Consultation

Your first visit will determine if you’re a candidate for braces and which treatment option is right for you. The initial exam, x-rays, and consultation usually cost between $150 to $350.

Down Payment

Once you decide to proceed with treatment, you’re going to have to make an initial down payment of $500 to $1,500 to secure your spot. This goes toward the total cost of your braces.

Monthly Payments

The remaining balance is paid in monthly installments over the course of your treatment, which typically lasts 12 to 30 months. Payments usually range from $100 to $300 a month. Some orthodontists offer payment plans with no interest, while others charge interest on the balance. Be sure to understand all the details before signing a contract.

Additional Costs

Other potential costs to keep in mind include:

Emergency visits – If you experience damage or pain from your braces, emergency visits are typically $50 to $150 each.

  • Replacement brackets or wires – If brackets or wires become damaged or lost, replacements are usually $25 to $75 per bracket and $50 to $200 per wire set.

  • Retainers – Once your braces are removed, custom retainers help keep your teeth in place. Retainers typically cost between $500 to $1000.

  • Tooth extractions – If any teeth need to be pulled to make room for your braces, that will be an additional cost of $75 to $300 a tooth.

  • Understanding all the potential costs of braces will ensure you can comfortably afford treatment without any surprise expenses. Ask your orthodontist for a complete breakdown of fees at your initial consultation so you know exactly what to budget for a perfect smile.

insider tips to save on orthodontic expenses

Insider Tips to Save on Orthodontic Expenses

Braces and orthodontic work is expensive, but there are ways to trim costs. Here are some tips to save money on your orthodontic treatment:

Ask About Payment Plans

Most orthodontists offer payment plans that allow you to pay for treatment over time with no or low interest. Ask if they offer a payment plan and see if you can negotiate a reduced payment and interest rate. Some plans may allow for $0 and 0% APR for up to 24 months.

Look Into Dental Insurance

If you have a dental insurance provider, check if they cover any part of orthodontic treatment. Some plans cover a portion of the costs, like 50% of braces. If you don’t have insurance coverage, you could be able to purchase supplemental insurance specifically for orthodontics that reduce your out-of-pocket costs.

Shop Around At Different Orthodontists

Compare costs between different orthodontists in your area. Prices can vary significantly, so you may be able to save $500-$3,000 or more by choosing an orthodontist with lower fees. Ask each orthodontist for a written treatment plan that includes total cost estimates before starting treatment.

Creative Payment Plans to Make Braces Affordable

Braces may seem expensive, but there are ways to make them more affordable so you can get the straight smile you want. Check with your orthodontist about payment plans they may offer to make the total cost more manageable.

Flexible Plans

Many orthodontists offer payment plans where you pay a down payment upfront, such as 20-30% of the total cost, then make payments monthly over the course of your treatment with no interest charges. The orthodontist’s office will determine a monthly payment amount that fits your budget. This allows you to get started with treatment right away while paying over an extended period of time, often 12-36 months.

Interest-Free Financing

Some orthodontists work with third-party financing companies like CareCredit that offer interest-free payment plans for medical procedures including braces. You can get preapproved for a spending limit and once treatment begins, you’re making fixed monthly payments over 6-36 months with 0% APR. If your balance isn’t paid by the time your promotional period is over though, interest charges could apply. Understand the terms before using a healthcare credit card with a flexible spending account.

Dental School or Resident Programs

If cost is a concern, consider getting braces through a dental school or orthodontic residency program in your area. Treatment is provided by students in advanced orthodontic programs or residents, under the supervision of licensed orthodontists. Fees tend to be substantially lower than in a private practice. The students and residents get valuable experience, while you get high-quality orthodontic care at a lower cost. The downside is that treatment may take longer and appointments may be less convenient. But for many, the savings are well worth it.

With some creativity and flexibility, you can find an affordable way to pay for braces so you can achieve your goal of a healthy, beautiful smile. Don’t delay—meet with your orthodontist today to discuss your options and get started on your custom dental plan.

do it yourself and diy braces alternatives

Do-It-Yourself and DIY Braces Alternatives

Want a beautiful smile without going in debt? Some options:

Temporary Alignment

If your teeth only need minor adjustments, try temporary teeth aligners like SmileDirectClub or Candid Co. These companies offer DIY impression kits you can do at home. You take impressions of your teeth, send them in, and receive a series of custom-made aligners to gradually shift your teeth into proper alignment. The average treatment time is 4 to 10 months, and cost is usually $1,200 to $1,900. While not as effective as traditional braces, these can work for minor crowding or spacing issues.

Dental bands or wires

For small gaps or minor misalignment, you can ask your dentist about dental bands or wires. These are small elastic bands or metal wires that are placed over or between teeth to help shift them into the proper position. They tend to be inexpensive, about $500 to $1,500, but also typically only effective for very minor adjustments. They need to be adjusted by your dentist every 4 to 6 weeks as your teeth move.

DIY braces kits

If you want to save money on braces but need more intensive treatment, DIY braces kits provide the materials for you to actually apply your own braces at home. The process involves taking molds of your teeth, sending them to the company, and then receiving brackets, wires, and tools for you to bond the braces onto your teeth at home. The average treatment time is 12 to 24 months. Cost is typically $500 to $2,500. However, this is a complicated process with a high chance of error if not done properly under the supervision of an orthodontist. Damage to teeth or gums could result.

While DIY and at-home options may seem appealing to save money on braces, for most people with serious alignment issues, traditional orthodontic treatment under the care of a licensed dentist is the safest, most effective approach. An orthodontist has the proper training, experience, and equipment to ensure your teeth are moved into the right position without damage or complications.

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