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/.
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.