Dental services provide different options for someone seeking to correct the appearance of their teeth. A person’s dentist will typically recommend or refer their clients to a particular orthodontist they know and trust, but they may also suggest a list of several orthodontists in the area. Orthodontists offer patients several different options for braces. Patients can then (with the orthodontist’s assistance) select the one that meets their dental needs, duration requirements and budget restraints.
How Do Braces Work?
Braces work to straighten crooked teeth or to correct a person’s bite by putting pressure on the teeth to move in a certain way. This pressure on the teeth is achieved through the three parts that make up braces: brackets, archwire and glue. Orthodontists also use elastics to keep the wires in place.
A bracket is glued to each tooth and a metal wire is run through the brackets. The wires are held in place by elastic bands. A person’s teeth gradually align to the position of the wire since it adds pressure on the teeth and retains its shape. Orthodontists use elastic bands (sometimes referred to as “power chains”) to increase the pressure. This helps the teeth adjust and align to the shape of the wire in a shorter amount of time. This is how braces work to correct crooked teeth.
The time it takes for braces to work their magic depends on the severity of the case. The average length of time for wearing braces is 2 years, but sometimes it can take longer to fix more severe dental problems. After the removal of braces patients are typically required to wear a retainer for up to a year.
Different Types of Braces and Their Costs
There are different types of braces available for children and adults. The average cost ranges from $3,000 to $6,000. The base cost is typically quoted at $5000 for two years of full (top and bottom) regular braces with no additional extras/options. Depending on the type of braces selected and the orthodontist fees for x-rays, replacement brackets and other additional services, this cost may be higher.
Here are the different types of braces available and their average costs.
Metal braces are traditional braces. There are several types of metal brackets available for individuals to choose from, including the newest type of bracket called the Damon 3. The Damon 3 is a bracket that is made up of a combination of ceramic and metal. This bracket is smaller than the regular metal bracket and is said to cause less discomfort. Metal braces with Damon 3 brackets cost a little more than average because of the use of ceramic.
Ceramic braces are another option. They are a neutral color which makes them less noticeable than traditional metal braces. However, the wires used are white and can be stained by drinking coffee or smoking. Ceramic Braces cost an average of 5% to 10% more than metal braces. Prices vary among orthodontists.
Clear braces have no color and are one of the least noticeable types of braces. They cost about the same as metal braces but treatment time is usually a bit longer. If an individual wants the clear braces but not the extended time wearing them, they may choose to get Damon Clear Braces. The cost for this type is a bit more than the average cost for braces – about $4,000 to $8,000.
Lingual braces are made of metal. These braces are placed behind an individual’s teeth, making them unnoticeable to anyone but the orthodontist who checks them. These are referred to as invisible braces since they cannot be seen on the front of the teeth. They cost significantly more than other types of braces. Prices vary among orthodontists but costs over $8,000 are not uncommon. Lingual braces are the most expensive choice among of braces available.
Invisalign braces are also considered to be invisible braces. They are custom made to fit a person’s mouth and are similar to mouthguards used in sports (they are smaller and much less noticeable though) as they can be inserted and removed. Many adults choose this type of braces as they are only able to fix teeth problems that aren’t too severe.
An individual must qualify for the Invisalign braces or success will not be guaranteed. Also, individuals will need to research their location to find an orthodontist who is specially trained to provide Invisalign to his or her patients.
Invisalign costs about the same as metal braces.
Though dental insurance coverage lowers the out-of-pocket cost for individuals getting braces, the percentage of the cost covered by insurance companies varies. Usually, about 10% to 15% of the total cost is covered by dental insurance.
There are other options for lowering the financial burden of braces. Some plans offer the opportunity to enroll in a plan and pay a membership fee in return for a discount off dental services. An individual pays for a membership fee then he or she is able to apply the service discounts the plan offers at selected dentists and orthodontists who participate in the plan. For braces, the individual pays about 80% of the total cost and the plan covers 20%. The average cost of membership for most plans is under $200.00 a year for a family of four or more.
Specials and Promotions
Many orthodontists (especially new ones) run specials and promotions to get more clients. Deals and coupons are often available on the internet or in paper form. Calling different orthodontists in the area and asking about specials is a good way to find the best deal.
Most orthodontists will agree to customized payment plans. They work out a payment plan with each customer by setting up monthly payments. By the time braces are to be removed, however, most orthodontists expect to be paid in full.