Many parents dread finding out that their child needs braces.
And not for nothing—braces can rank among the heftiest health-related expenses you’re likely to face in the course of raising your offspring.
While it’s true that braces aren’t cheap, advances in dental technology have made them far more accessible to both adult and adolescent patients over the decades. If one of your kids needs braces, it’s possible to take the necessary steps to protect and improve their oral health without saddling yourself with an oversized financial burden.
Average Price for Braces for Kids
The first question on the mind of parents of children with dental issues is usually, “How much do braces cost for kids?”
Unfortunately, there isn’t one definitive answer—the cost of braces is contingent on many factors and can therefore vary widely.
On average, however, putting braces on your child will run you somewhere between $3,000 and $7,000. Those figures reflect the time, materials, labor, and expertise involved in carrying out the necessary treatment and are subject to increase depending on the type of braces you or your child’s orthodontist recommend.
Types of Braces
You might not know it, but “braces” is actually an umbrella term that can refer to a number of teeth-straightening solutions. There’s more than one way to ensure that your child’s teeth grow straight and strong, and the method you choose will play a big part in determining what you end up paying.
Standard Metal Braces
Metal braces consist of wires and brackets arranged to hold the teeth in a fixed position. They’re what most people picture when they think of braces.
Traditional metal braces are affordable, effective, and quick to produce results, but they tend to be more conspicuous than other solutions due to their all-metal construction.
Ceramic braces are virtually identical to metal braces, only made with (you guessed it) ceramic. The strong, light-colored material blends in with the patient’s teeth and doesn’t cause pain or irritation the way a mouth full of metal can.
Because of these virtues, ceramic braces can be considerably more expensive than metal braces.
Lingual braces are metal braces that attach to the lingual (tongue) edge of the teeth. They offer all the benefits of standard metal braces with the additional perk of being hidden by the teeth themselves.
They also have a couple of downsides. For one, they cost an average of $1,000-2,000 more than front-facing braces. And since their placement can interfere with the movement of the tongue during speech, they sometimes cause the wearer to talk with a slight lisp.
Alternatives to Braces
Heavy-duty hardware isn’t always the answer, particularly if your goal is to fix gaps and similar minor cosmetic imperfections. Other teeth-straightening solutions exist that may offer parents a simpler and more cost-effective alternative to traditional braces.
The Invisalign system makes use of hard plastic tray-style aligners that are molded to the patient’s teeth. These trays are transparent, making it hard to tell that the wearer has anything covering their teeth at all.
Invisalign is priced similarly to traditional braces treatments, but they come with a hidden cost—inconvenience.
The aligners must be continually replaced every 1-2 weeks to keep the teeth moving into the desired position. However, that might be a little too frequent for some parents, especially when compared with conventional braces, which only require adjusting every 4-6 weeks.
At-Home Teeth Straightening Kits
These products are essentially the over-the-counter answer to Invisalign.
These sorts of DIY solutions can be useful for patients whose teeth don’t require dramatic correction or aren’t willing or able to pay the full price for Invisalign. That said, they don’t work as well as the prescription version, despite costing almost the same amount in many cases.
Does Insurance Cover Braces?
This is another question that doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all answer.
Many dental insurance plans will at least partially cover the cost of braces for children under 18, so long as an orthodontist recommends them. Exact rates differ between providers, but companies who do offer coverage typically put up 50% or more of the total cost of the treatment.
It’s important to note that this coverage usually only applies to standard metal braces. If you or your child opt for a different style, you may have no choice but to pay the difference out of pocket.
What Affects the Average Price of Braces for Kids
Aside from the different styles and materials mentioned above, the biggest factor as far as the affordability of your child’s braces is the length of time they have to wear them.
Fortunately, youngsters don’t tend to require the corrective benefits of braces for as long as adults. Most kids are out of braces within 16-24 months of their initial installation.
Other Factors That Impact The Cost of Braces
Any of the following conditions could potentially increase or decrease the overall expense associated with getting braces for your child:
- Their age
- Their specific dental needs
- Your orthodontist’s experience level
- Your orthodontist’s individual rates
- The average cost of living in your area
How To Keep Orthodontics Costs Down
There are several strategies that savvy parents can employ to minimize the cost of braces. Here are just a few:
- Go with standard metal braces. As mentioned, traditional metal braces are generally the most affordable and readily available teeth-straightening solution out there.
- Ask your orthodontist what kind of financing plans they offer. A financing plan will allow you to pay for your child’s treatment over time in small, affordable installments. Children’s Dental FunZone offers multiple financing options so that parents can pay in whatever way works best for them.
- Check to see if your family Medicaid plan covers braces. Medicaid, like private insurance, will often pay at least a portion of the cost of your child’s new braces.
For more information about braces and the costs that come with them, book a free consultation at any of great locations. One of our experts at Children’s Dental FunZone would love to see you and answer any of your questions. We’re in the business of smiles and always treat your child as if they were our own!