What is the cost of braces?

When you finally decide that it is high time for you to do something good for your smile and your orthodontist admits: – You need braces!, you stumble upon the question about the costs. However, we cannot give a direct answer, because the cost of braces depends on where you live, on office and an orthodontist. If you live in a big city, you will probably pay more than people living in some rural areas. You just should start with “getting the lay of the land” so as to find out whether your wallet can carry the burden. Here is what you can expect in general:

Traditional metal braces: $3,000 – 7,000

Invisalign: $4,000 – 7,400
Ceramic braces: $4,000 – 8,000
Lingual braces: $8,000 – 10,000

How about my Insurance?

If you are under 18, you could probably have your orthodontic treatment covered (at least partially) by your insurance company. People older than 18 usually cannot count on such refund. If your dental/health plan does not say anything about this kind of help, you can buy additional orthodontic insurance. The only way to find out if your health/dental insurance will cover the cost of your braces is to contact the company and ask about the certain conditions in your case.

You should remember to ask about the possible percentage they can cover and the lifetime maximum. The conditions differ in many companies, but the most of them offer 50% coverage and a $1,500 lifetime maximum for a child. What is also important, you should not change your insurance plan throughout the whole orthodontic treatment period.

Of course, you can get to know that your braces will not be covered by your insurance. What can you do to reduce costs? The costs of dental health care which is considered necessary, are tax deductible. But you need to meet certain conditions first. Generally, the cost must be higher than a specified amount – visit http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc502.html to check more details.

Yet another option for you may be Medicaid. If you can be qualified for it, Medicaid may cover the costs of your braces. Also in this case, ask about the percentage they can cover and the lifetime maximum. You can find more information here: http://www.medicaid.gov/.

Other options

There are also a few options for those who must cover all the costs themselves:

Payment plans – you need to ask your orthodontist about it. There are many offices which offer this kind of convenient plans for their patients.

HSA/FSA/HRA/MSA – you can use your pretax dollars to help you pay for the treatment. They can be set aside to a spending account, health savings account, health reimbursement account, or medical savings account.

Choose orthodontists in training – Does your nearest university have a dental or orthodontic school? Yes? Perfect, you can receive service from an apprentice who is fully supervised by professionals, and all it for a reduced price.

Plan earlier – when it comes to children, orthodontists usually can inform you about a possible need for braces in advance. Take your child to a first orthodontic visit at the age of 7 and check whether you will need to start preparing for the coming braces cost or not necessarily.

Are Invisalign braces more expensive and better than the traditional ones?

Invisalign braces are a great innovation in the world of orthodontics. It is a kind of orthodontic treatment which is supposed to straighten your teeth, but does not mean wearing the traditional and a bit troublesome metal construction in your mouth. This option is perfect for those who cannot imagine presenting their smile dressed in an ugly metal thing for years before the teeth finally look satisfyingly. It really used to be a difficult decision – what is worse: having an imperfect smile for the rest of your life or living with an ugly “metal smile” for a few years?

Luckily, the decision has become much easier since we have one more option: Invisalign which is invisible. It consists of transparent plastic parts which are put on your teeth and make them sit in a desirable position. However, you may think that if it is so brilliant, it surely costs a fortune. Is it really so expensive?

The truth is that the cost of Invisalign is higher than it is in the case of the traditional braces. But it is higher only a bit. The cost can be different depending on individual needs of a patient and it usually is in the range between $3,000 and $8,000 on average. When it comes to the regular braces, the costs can be also very different. Usually, their price is somewhere between $2,500 and $6,000. It all depends on your certain situation which can be assessed by your dentist. Thus, in both cases the only way to get to know how much you would have to pay for the treatment is visiting your dentist/orthodontist.

There are certain factors which decide about the overall cost of your Invisalign treatment. First of all, it is how much alignment your teeth will need and how many aligners it will demand throughout the whole treatment period. Then, it is also the amount of time your teeth will need to come to the right place. Apart from this, the Invisalign’s cost can be lower thanks to your dental insurance plan. Most of them cover Invisalign as it is with the traditional braces, yet first you must check how much financing you can count on from your insurance company in this situation.

The choice is yours, if you find the Invisalign’s price too high and you definitely cannot afford it you are left with only traditional braces option. But on the other hand, the costs of Invisalign are not so drastically higher. Actually, the prices of both are quite similar and when we take the advantages of Invisalign into consideration, it can turn out really worth the slight difference. The biggest convenience of Invisalign is the removability, which means you can take it out to eat or clean your teeth. Besides, it solves the problem of a funny “metal smile” which is a huge deterrent for some patients. The good news is that you can be offered with some flexibility in payment and the overall cost can be paid in installments to make it more affordable.

Contact your dentist or orthodontist and find the best solution for you!

Lumineers and veneers – which are more costly?

Dental veneers are some kind of shells covering your teeth in order to hide any imperfections (stains, chips etc.). Lumineers are just a brand of veneers. If you are interested in getting this type of dental service contact your dentist so as to check whether you can be qualified for this. The procedure is simple – before you get the veneers, your dentist will probably want to check the overall appearance of your teeth so as to decide whether you can have the Lumineers and how many teeth need the cover.

In this article we provide some general information to help you gain an overall insight into the topic.

What is the difference?

The traditional veneers are thicker and more difficult to put on a tooth than Lumineers, which is the main reason why clients prefer the second ones. Lumineers are usually 0.3 mm, veneers 0.5 mm. On the other hand, in the case of intensively stained teeth Lumineers cannot provide enough cover since they are too thin. There is yet another disadvantage of Lumineers – they cover the direct tooth surface and make your teeth thicker. This may cause problems with cleaning gums properly and bring some risk of gum diseases. Veneers are placed on the smoothed surface of teeth and this makes them fit better.

How much is it?

The traditional veneers cost $500-$1900 per tooth and the prices of Lumineers start at $800 and the maximum reaches $2,000 per tooth. Why is the range so wide? Just because there are some factors which decide on how much you would have to pay. For example, veneers can be made from various materials, such as porcelain or resin composite materials, which obviously influences the cost. Apart from this, the prices simply depend on the dentist and on the place his/her office is situated. It is also significant whether you decide to have only one or more veneers placed all at once (check discounts). Compare the different offers of different dentists and choose the best for you. Remember to find out whether your dentist has enough experience with dental veneers, since having them placed improperly would mean more visits – and often costs – to fix the problem. Check if you could receive a guarantee for the service and for how long.

As dental veneers are considered cosmetic procedure, they are generally not covered by the dental insurance. To find out whether you can receive this service (sometimes partly) within the insurance contact your insurer.

Additional costs

If you can afford more complex service, you may decide to cover all your visible teeth. If your budget is low, you can cover only the damaged ones. However, you should always take some additional costs into consideration too. For instance, some dentists would like you to come for a follow-up visit after some time to check the effects. Some of such visits can be included in the price and some can generate another cost. In addition to this, remember to find out about guarantee conditions because it can be different in various offices. Ask whether you will be obliged to pay for any necessary replacement or fixing.

Hand Prosthetics

Even 10,000 new upper extremity amputations are recorded every year. It constitutes a large number of people whose lives need some reorganization. Prosthetics comes with help to them, but surprisingly, only a half of the big group of the amputees decide to use prostheses.

Some of us may think that hand prostheses play only the aesthetic role. It is not true, a hand prosthesis can help an amputee regain his or her daily activity and complete many types of everyday tasks successfully. Thus, wearing a hand prosthesis is very important in the process of psychological recovery and return to the normal way of living, including work and recreation time. Since people differ from each other in their activities and needs, hand prostheses need to be personalized and treated individually.

As we have been observing recently, lower limbs prostheses has undergone a lot of technological development. When it comes to the upper limb prostheses, they are bringing more and more innovations and facilitation for the amputees as well. Developments in the area of prosthetics are going to go continuously further thanks to the constant advances in computer technology which works brilliantly in service of people in need.

The available types of hand prostheses

Cosmetic; Passive Functional

This type of a hand prosthesis constitutes a visual replacement of a hand. Although it is treated as a typical aesthetic type of a prosthetic device, it can provide help in some simple actions like carrying or balancing things. It is lightweight and undemanding in terms of the maintenance.

Recreational; Adaptive

As it has been already mentioned, individual patients may need extremely different prostheses, which depends on the type of their activities. Playing instruments, construction work or sports demand an individual approach in terms of the specific prostheses usage. The adaptive or recreational prostheses are the most suitable in such cases. They can be customized in such a way that in effect, the personalized prosthesis functions accordingly to the patient’s unique needs.

Conventional; Body Powered

Such a prosthesis works basing on a special harness system which is operated by the specific movement of a patient’s body. Its assets are: good durability, less weight than in the case of Myoelectric, and lower price. The maintenance does not require lots of effort, which is another good aspect of using this type of a hand prosthesis.

External Power; Myoelectric

Instead of basing on the harness system, this type of a prosthesis remains under control of an electric motor powered by batteries. A patient’s skin sends EMG signals which are collected by the sensors placed in the socket. Then, the signals are directed into a processor which manages the functioning of the motor. Unfortunately, the prosthesis is not easy in usage. So as to use it successfully, patients need a proper training.


This is a combination of the conventional and myoelectric types. The hybrid prosthesis provides a good solution for patients after the transhumeral (above the elbow) amputations. It can help regain the cooperation of the hand and elbow. The harness system and the externally powered motor work together to control the device which plays a role of the elbow joint.

Leg prosthetics

Probably most of us have heard about Oscar Pistorius – a man who had his two legs amputated below knees, but still able to run in Olympics. It was possible thanks to the aid of the right prostheses. Production of the artificial limbs has undergone a huge revolution. Nowadays, prosthetics are much more useful and helpful than they used to be in the beginning. They help people regain their previous life and activity, like in the case of two soldiers who after having lost their legs, received prosthetics and went back to the service. This situation constitutes a very optimistic example of how efficiently technology works and is constantly developing for people in need. Losing a limb is as traumatic and depressing as it used to be, yet it is no longer the end of someone’s normal life. Prostheses enable amputees to walk, jump and even run. Not to mention the fact that it helps from the psychological point of view.

There is a general division into BK (below the knee; transtibial) and AK (above the knee; transfemoral) prosthetics. However, there are also other possible disarticulations: of a hip, knee and ankle (with heel preserved).

Improvements of the Socket

Socket is a very important part of a prosthesis – it fixes the artificial limb to the remains of the natural one. It used to be made universal for everyone and then,since 1990s, thanks to Sabolich Prosthetics, it has been made for an individual. They developed the socket so that the weight could be distributed evenly across the existing limb. Their next improvements – bio elastic sockets or sense of feel technology- were aimed at making it possible to AK amputees to run and walk down the stairs. This has created the new necessity – surgeons must have started to carry out the amputation in such a way that it would prepare the limb for the prosthesis.


“Intelligent prosthetics” entered the game at more or less the same time. The innovation provided by Chas. A. Blatchford & Sons, Ltd. used the microchips controlling prosthetic knees. This was the first step to make the prostheses’ movement more natural. Then, in 1998 the first usage of hydraulic and pneumatic control together with the microprocessor enabled to make walking adaptive to different speeds. These Adaptive Prostheses are quite expensive, though.

The C-leg

Not too much costly, adaptable type of a prosthesis. It imitates the movement of a natural knee, enables dynamic movement and calculates angles to adapt to the situation – all these thanks to the usage of a microprocessor and a lithium ion battery.

Flex – Foot

The type enabling patients to run and jump , the one used by Oscar Pistorius. It is made of carbon graphite blades. Their work resembles a spring – the blades bend and store the kinetic energy.

Future possibilities

Artificial limbs under control of a brain are not entirely a science – fiction creation now. There is a chance that it will be finally possible. Kevin Warwick proved that it is a matter of the future developments. He inserted electrodes into his median nerve which turned out to be successful in sensing the signals and make Warwick able to control a robotic arm. It copied his movement and gave a touch feedback through the implant.

No matter how much advanced the prosthetic technology is, it is going to go even further. There is some work to be done – achieving full mobility is finally proved to be possible.

3D printers helping the disabled?

The number of amputated limbs reaches as many as 15 million worldwide. It is a huge amount which, though, cannot picture how much of human emotional and physical pain is present in this situation. Losing a limb brings a drastic change of life, causing lots of stress and feeling of helplessness. Getting used to the situation is not the whole success. Yet another challenge is to find a solution which will regain the previous life activity as much as possible. Here prostheses come with help, but getting them (they are not cheap, unfortunately), learning to live with them and using them right become a difficult process with many obstacles to overcome. Luckily, there are more and more solutions which may help disabled people come back to normal life easier.

The lack of money no longer means an end of dreams about a prosthesis. The example of Selvan Mohan shows that crowdfunding may come with help also in such terrible life circumstances. He used YouCaring.com – a crowdfunding platform – to find help in funding his leg prosthesis.

What about people who cannot use such a platform? There are many people among inventors and businessmen who are willing to help those with problems in financing their prostheses or who cannot gather funds by the means of crowdfunding. With the use of 3D printers and some help from the outside you can achieve a simple prosthesis. We hear about such generosity from time to time in the news. It is a great hope for many people.

Yet another source of the precious hope is an organization – e-NABLE. Their work by gathering medicine and industry leaders and public policy to create an event which aims at not only educating professionals, but also at donating upper limb prostheses to children. A prosthetic hand created by their group of volunteers cost $50. All this thanks to 3D printed parts got together by the use of widely accessible screws and connectors. The organization has already helped many people in need of a hand prosthesis with the help of their global network of volunteers. Moreover, they aim at providing an open hand design files for printers.

As we can observe, innovative 3D printing has brought a new fertile and promising ground for prostheses industry. By making it much cheaper and more available for even the poorer group of people in need, it creates a great amount of hope for better life, even after so tragic event as is losing a limb. A leading trauma surgeon – Dr. Albert Chi admits that the $50-costing 3D hand appears to be of a great potential and is a chance for people who are in need of help, yet, paying from $30,000 to even $50,000 for a new limb is impossible for them.

For now, 3D prostheses production is still not sufficient and cannot solve the whole problem. However, observing the process of growing interest and a gradual improvement in the area, the appearance of new, cheaper and much easier available possibilities creates hope. This new “art” of making prostheses brings new opportunities and this is crucial. Let’s work on the better future.

Prostheses – artificial limbs

You may not even know that you have met a person with a prosthesis. The modern models are designed in such a way that they look very realistic, and they not only look good, they work like the real limbs. Thanks to the advance in technology, it has finally become possible to walk, run, swim or even climb with an artificial limb. Nowadays, the most innovative models give an arm/a hand prosthesis owner a power to control his or her fingers separately.

This invention has brought so much improvement to plenty of disabled people’s lives that it can surely be included in the group of the biggest inventions of all time. Prostheses help regain our priceless independence and feeling of normality.

Prosthesis – what is it?

In other words it is an artificial/prosthetic limb. Although our limbs are irreplaceable, prostheses are some kind of artificial replacements for them. Such a substitute is needed in many cases of either a lost limb – in many different circumstances – or an innate lack of a limb. A cosmesis is a type of prosthesis which plays an esthetic role only, usually it has no other functions. In the case of prostheses which are more functional than cosmeses, the artificial limbs consist of wires and metal rods and are supposed to be hidden by clothes.

What are the types of prostheses?

There are four main types:

  1. Below the knee – BK, transtibial – a prosthesis of a lower leg.
  2. Above the knee – AK, transfemoral – a replacement for an upper and lower leg with an
    artificial knee.
  3. Below the elbow – BE, transradial – a prosthesis of a forearm.
  4. Above the elbow – AE, transhumeral – a prosthesis of an upper and lower arm with an elbow.

How do the artificial limbs work?

A prosthesis is build of a few elements –the limb, the socket, the attachment mechanism and the control system.

The limb is usually made from carbon fiber (strong and light material) and covered with foam or plastic in the colour of body. The weight of a prosthesis plays a crucial role for a user. Actually, our natural limbs weight quite a lot and it would be too hard to move with the artificial ones in the same weight.

When it comes to the socket, it is a very important part deciding about the comfort of using the prosthesis and the effectiveness of its work. It is a connecting part for the artificial and the remaining natural part of a limb – residual limb. It must be made by a professional prosthetist, well fitted and then, adjusted regularly.

The appropriate attachment mechanism is necessary to support the connection between the prosthesis and the residual limb. It can be in a form of an elastic sleeve, a suction socket, straps or harness.

The control system is a substitute for the natural brain-muscles cooperation. In the simplest prostheses the role of muscles is played by a system of cables, the artificial legs usually use just the gravity to work. More sophisticated prostheses are controlled by electric mechanisms. For example, in myoelectric the complicated system of electrodes and electric motors help control the artificial limbs similarly to the natural ones.

The good cooperation between a patient and a prosthetist is fundamental to successful work of a prosthesis. And generally, the process of getting accustomed to the new part of your body must take some time and trouble, yet it is well worth the effort.

Few Words About Dentures

When do you need dentures?

If you have lost a tooth or even all of your teeth, dentures become the replacement for them and help improve both your look and health. Thanks to dentures, you can eat and speak as if you have your own natural teeth. As teeth, apart from the obvious functions, play an important role in supporting facial muscles, some unwanted changes in the shape of your face can be another consequence of losing them. Dentures can fill all the gaps in your set of teeth and help restore your appearance.

What are the types?

  • Conventional – this is a full and removable denture. In order to place it all your teeth must be removed and tissues healed – thus, the whole process may take a few months.
  • Immediate – in this case you do not have to wait for your denture until the wounds are healed, it is placed immediately after the teeth are removed. However, after the healing period, you may need to visit your dentist again to have your denture relined or remade.
  • Overdenture – here some of your natural teeth may not be removed (they only need some preparation) so as to become the support for the denture and preservation for your jawbone.


Some problems with your denture in the beginning are normal. You need some time to get used to the new “thing” in your mouth, which can be a bit irritating. You may experience increased saliva production and trouble with feeling of loosen dentures, which disappears when your tongue and muscles get used to the new situation. You should visit your dentist if the problems seem to last too long and you cannot feel any improvement. Of course, apart from this, you need to contact your dentist just to control the new dentures.

How should I treat my new teeth?

Proper hygiene is necessary even if you have the full denture. Remember about brushing your gums, tongue and the rest of your mouth each time you insert the denture. Stimulating the circulation in your tissues and removing plaque is very important.

It would be a good idea to treat your dentures as your natural teeth. They also need to be cleaned from any food remainings and plaque. Here we suggest a procedure for keeping your dentures in the right condition.

  1. Before you start brushing, rinse your dentures.
  2. To brush it use a soft toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste, which will prevent scratching.
  3. Brush not only your dentures, but also the whole oral cavity. It is very important for your breath.
  4. When not used, dentures should be kept in water to avoid warping.
  5. It can happen that you may need some adhesive. There is a wide choice of them so you can buy any form you prefer – cream, strips, pads, liquids or powder. If you have any problems with choosing the best option for you, contact your dentist.
  6. Finally, to keep your mouth and dentures in good condition, remember about regular checkups!

Dental Implants

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is the invention of Per-Ingvar Brånemark, an orthopedic surgeon from Sweden. The great invention, and a turning point in oral medicine at the same time, took place in 1952.

Nowadays, dental implants have become the standard treatment for patients with missing teeth. In short, a dental implant is some kind of an attachment fixed in the jawbone, which fuses with the bone after a period of a few months.

The implant becomes the substitute of the missing root, which provides a foundation for an artificial tooth or a bridge. This way of replacing a natural tooth offers good stability of the artificial one and does not affect the natural teeth situated next to it.

Dental implants are made of titanium in most cases so that the process of osseointegration  – dental implant and jawbone fusion – is possible.

By using this material, the risk of rejection by the body which recognizes the implant as a foreign object is minimized. The successful integration of the replaced tooth with the bone guarantees great comfort of usage and desirable esthetics at the same time.

After many years of improvements in the area, the effectiveness of the treatment have significantly increased. At present, as much as almost 98% of dental implant placements are successful.

Who needs dental implants?

This kind of treatment is recommended in the case of losing a single tooth, as well as a few or even all of the teeth. Its purpose is to help patients recover both the teeth function and nice esthetics.

Of course dental implants are not the only solution to the problem, there are also other possibilities available. In general, patients with missing teeth have three options to choose between:

  1. Removable dental appliance – full or partial denture.
  2. Fixed dental bridge.
  3. Dental implants.

In order to decide which of the options would be the most recommendable and convenient for a certain person, a few main factors need to be taken into consideration. In the case of dental implants these would be:

  1. Missing tooth/teeth location.
  2. Condition of the patient’s jawbone where the implant would be attached.
  3. Patient’s general health.
  4. Price that patient can afford
  5. Patient’s own choice.

The necessary procedure of qualifying patients for dental implants demands an examination of a dental surgeon who checks the individual patient’s conditions  and decides whether he or she can receive this kind of treatment or not.

Undeniably, the dental implant option is very advantageous as compared with the other available ways of treatment for missing teeth. Thanks to the integration with the jawbone, it is really comfortable and solid, which gives the feeling of having your own natural teeth. Dental implants do not influence the neighboring natural teeth negatively. Furthermore, what is really important, they are adjusted to them in such a way that the artificial teeth do not stand out from the healthy remaining ones. Therefore, by choosing dental implants, patients gain both good quality and look.