Wearing braces is an ordeal that a lot of people try to avoid. It’s not only because of the pain associated with the actual orthodontic appliance. Most of the time, it’s also because of the high costs. Therefore, a lot of people contend with having misaligned teeth and problematic bites, only to save up on dollars, or at least to avoid the discomfort of having to wear metal in one’s mouth for upwards of two years.
Comparing the prices of braces will depend on the exact orthodontic treatment you need. Orthodontists charge differently depending on how difficult it will be to correct the condition of your teeth. Apart from this, you would also need to know if you have different payment options, and how much orthodontic treatment will cost you in the long run. Here are a few rules of thumb that can help you compare the prices of braces and orthodontic treatments.
Material. Braces are traditionally made with alloys such as steel. Recently, however, lighter and stronger substances have also been popular, including titanium. For those concerned with aesthetics, alternative materials such as ceramic and clear braces are also available. These minimize the metallic look of the braces, as they are mostly transparent or at least close to the natural color of one’s teeth. Generally, steel braces are the baseline when it comes to cost. The cost of braces will increase with the cost of material. Titanium is usually more expensive than steel. For clear braces, “Invisalign” and “Lingual” braces are more expensive. These usually involve alternative “aligners” that straighten teeth. Lingual braces, meanwhile, are attached to the backside of teeth and not the front.
Type of treatment. The cheapest among orthodontic treatments is the simple bringing together of widely-gapped teeth. This will not involve any twisting or extractions. However, the more complicated the procedure, the more expensive it will become. If you have twisted teeth, for instance, these might be more difficult to manipulate. Jaw-related problems like crossbites and underbites might also require additional appliances like retainers, so you would have to shell out more money.
Length of treatment. Oftentimes, additional treatments and appliances like retainers would lengthen the duration of your orthodontic treatment. While this may not necessarily increase the cost of the braces itself, the consultation fees, and additional materials and appliances might contribute to the increased cost.
Expertise of the orthodontist. Apart from the materials, you would also have to consider the professional fees that your orthodontist would have to charge you. As expected, more experienced the orthodontists would probably charge you higher for his services. This is because orthodontists have to undergo continuous training on the new trends and breakthroughs in their field. If you’re willing to pay more, then you might be able to get better, more effective or at least less painful treatments.
Payment schemes. Most orthodontists will not charge you for the entire treatment outright. Since getting braces would cost anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 or more, orthodontics clinics usually offer payment schemes. Your orthodontist will usually charge an initial fee for tests and materials, and then you can pay him the balance in installments each time you visit for adjustments. This makes the treatment lighter on the pocket, and assures the orthodontist a steady stream of income. You may be able to get a discount, though, if you can pay in lump sum.
The price of braces generally depends on the material you want to use for your appliances, the skill of the doctor, and your payment scheme. While the cost is usually on the high side compared to ordinary dental procedures, it should be well worth it if it will be for the improvement of your smile.