While most things we know are covered when we go to see our family doctor, everything is always pretty much up in the air whenever it comes to seeing the dentist or orthodontist. There are pretty much more out of pocket expenses than we really want to think about. When we hear those dreaded words "your kid needs braces" leave the orthodontist's mouth, it's enough to make a parent panic and think they need to take out a personal loan to foot the bill. Good news though, there are some ways to pay less for braces and orthodontics visits as a whole.
The thing is that the cost of braces really hasn't grown with inflation (phew!), so parents have more choices these days than our parent's had when we were kids. The important thing is to know what to look for and which questions to ask whenever you're making all the big decisions.
Orthodontist Dr. Jamie Reynolds author of the orthodontics guide World Class Smiles Made in Detroit, shared with Fatherly that “if you’re looking to fix one crooked tooth it can be a series of retainers and a few hundred bucks. If you have very complicated problems and you want the fastest treatment and highest quality, you can be talking $7,000 or $8,000.”
Overall, the average cost of braces can be around $6,000, taking a year or two to complete. However, that’s just for the work in the office and does not include various additional costs that parents might not consider when starting orthodontic treatment with a child. For instance, if your child is extremely uncomfortable with their new braces and you need to go back and forth to their office a lot for extra visits - that will tack on additional costs.
“A lot of people in orthodontics will compete on prices,” Reynolds notes. “But if you miss an appointment there’s a fee. If you break a bracket there’s a fee. If you go over the 24-month treatment time allotted there’s a monthly payment.”
A few of the additional ways that Reynolds notes to save on this expense is to start preventative treatments when your child is younger, to look into different payment plans that the orthodontist might offer. look into credit through third parties that offer little to no interest, and look into health savings accounts.
Overall, orthodontists seem to understand the financial stress that parents go through whenever their kids need braces, so most try to be as reasonable as possible. If for some reason though, a diagnosis might not sit well with you, don't be afraid to seek a second opinion.
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