Braceseffectively position and align your teeth by consistently exertingpressure to move them. 

Accordingto the American Association of Orthodontists, treatment forbraces begins between ages 9 and 14, and an increasing number ofadults are getting braces, too.

Thefollowing factors can affect the cost of your dental investment. 

  • Typesof braces: Bracescome in a variety of types, which directly determine how much you’llpay. It’s best to do your research on the pros and cons of eachbefore making a decision.

  • Dentalissues: In additionto getting braces and having them adjusted, dental preparation isoften needed and will affect your overall cost. Sometimes you’llneed standard dental work, like a deep cleaning or fillingreplacement, before the orthodontist puts your braces on. In somecases, you’ll require teeth extractions to facilitate the movementof your teeth. If you need to wear headgear before brackets andwires are put on your teeth, this will increase the cost. You mayalso need to buy a retainer after the braces are removed to keepyour teeth from returning to their original spot.

  • Lengthof service: The morepreparation and dental work you require, the longer the process willtake to complete, and the more you’ll pay. Once your braces are on,you typically have to see the dentist once a month to have thebraces adjusted. The longer the process drags out, the costlier itwill be.

  • Thedentist: Not allorthodontists charge the same prices for their services. Things suchas operational overhead will affect how much they charge. Moneysaving tip: Shoparound before making a choice. If the dentist accepts your insurance(and assuming your insurance covers a portion of the cost), you canend up paying significantly less. In addition, ask if the price ofbraces is negotiable. Check the price in your area with HealthcareBlue Book,a free online guide that lists fair prices for healthcare services.The fair price is what a health service provider typically allowsfrom insurance companies as full payment, which is substantiallyless than the billed amount. 

Angie’sList Tips: Choosingan Orthodontist

  • What isyour background? Anorthodontist is a specialized dentist trained to align and moveteeth. These professionals have trained for two to three more yearsthan a family dentist, continuing in the field after they havecompleted dental school.

  • Are youcertified? Someorthodontists are certified by the American Board ofOrthodontics. The process is rigorous, as they are tested throughwritten and performance assessments using a series of exams andpatient cases.

  • Whatappliances are used? Somepractices use both removable and permanent retainers, while othersoffer one or the other. Some practices offer both metal and ceramicbraces, while others offer one or the other. Still other officesoffer clear, removable braces.

  • Take atour: Take a momentto visit during peak times to see how the staff interacts withpatients. Are they running on time? Do they have exceptional billingand insurance practices? Is the office patient-friendly for thedemographic it serves? By answering these questions, you can selecta doctor that aligns with your treatment goals, wallet and schedule.