Braces can put a dent in your pocket. Here’s how to make your dental budget more manageable
Year after year, millions of people in the US underwent orthodontic treatments to align their teeth. They may need to visit their dentist to improve their oral health or seek cosmetic enhancements. No matter what their purpose is, only one thing is certain: Dental treatments are costly.
How Much Dental Braces Cost And How to Save
There is no exact amount for braces in the country. “People in the United States should expect to spend anywhere between $3,000 and $6,000 or even slightly higher depending on the type of treatment needed, length of time and age of the patient,” Dr. Tamara Kroboth, an orthodontist from New York’s Valley Pediatric Dentistry said.
Based on a 2018 survey conducted by the American Dental Association regarding dental fees, the average amount that patients need to spend for comprehensive orthodontic treatment can be between $5,000 to $6,000, but the pricing differs per region. For example, an adult living in Manhattan may open an average of $11.500 for braces.
There is also no average time frame on how long a person needs to wear their braces. The entire treatment may last from one to three years on average, with adults needing to wear braces longer than children. The additional year may raise the cost significantly, and those who need to wear their braces for two years may have to double their expenses compared to those who can complete the treatment in 12 months.
Controlling the high amount that they need to spend for orthodontic treatment is possible in several ways, including searching for the most reasonable price to maximize tax-exemptible savings. You may try the following strategies to ensure that you will not break the bank while attempting to get the best oral health possible.
- Ask for a second opinion
- Invest in dental insurance
- Ask the dentist for a discount
- Take advantage of tax-exempt savings accounts
- Sign up in no-interest financing
- Look for services from a dental school
- Apply for financial assistance
- Take care of your braces properly
Ask for a second opinion
Asking several orthodontists about their rates could one of the best methods to save on your dental brace expenses. It was what HerMoney CEO Jean Chatzky found out when her kids need their braces. “Different orthodontists recommended different treatments at different price points,” she said. Most orthodontists offer free consultations, making getting a second opinion more feasible even if you need to save money.
Invest in dental insurance
Several dental insurance plans include orthodontic treatment in their coverage. The insurers may also pay up a specified amount when the person insured needs braces. The majority of these policies can cover patients who are 18 years old or below. Typical yearly or maximum lifetime plans cover a portion of the total expenses for orthodontic brace treatments. It is necessary to study the terms of your plans to know if there is a specified waiting period before using the benefits of the insurance. You must also confirm if your orthodontist is a verified coverage provider of your insurance.
Ask the dentist for a discount
Some orthodontists provide discounts if you can pay in full at the start of the treatment. They may also offer discounted rates for multiple children belonging to the same family. “Don’t be shy to ask for help with financial arrangements and making payments ahead of time on children who will be going into treatment now or even down the road,” Kroboth shared.
Take advantage of tax-exempt savings accounts
Suppose you own a qualified high-deductible health insurance plan. In that case, you may sign up for a health savings account and deposit up to a maximum of $7,100 as part of your 2020 tax-deductible contributions if you signed up for family coverage. The contributions that you make under the health savings account will never expire, and you have the option to invest it. This option can make it a good method to save for future orthodontic costs in advance. It can also allow you to save as much as 25% on your braces by avoiding taxes.
Sign up in no-interest financing
It will also help you save money if you look for an orthodontist who offers flexible payment schemes for braces. Some are even willing to create a scheme based on a budget of their patents. It will allow those who will spend on orthodontic treatments to spread out the payments over some months up to two years with no high interests.
Look for services from a dental school
Those who are residing near a dental school may take advantage of programs offered by students in training. The amount that you may spend can be half the amount that you may normally spend when having the procedure done by private dentists.
The treatments offered by dental students are often supervised by orthodontic residents or students who already had several private practice experience years. However, these programs are usually limited.
Apply for financial assistance
Families who are dealing with financial hardships may apply for free treatments or discounted rates. You may find various programs like the Donated Orthodontic Services sponsored by the American Association of Orthodontists that provide pro bono treatments for children belonging to low-income families. To qualify, you must have no insurance coverage.
Several nonprofit organizations like the Smile for a Lifetime Foundation and the Smiles Change Lives offer free braces for kids belonging to families in poverty.
Take care of your braces properly
You will significantly reduce your expenses if you can shorten the time you need to wear braces. While there are no particular ways to make your teeth to get aligned faster, you can still find a way to avoid delaying the progress. “Patients can help their treatment … go quickly and smoothly by following the instructions given to them by their orthodontist, such as wearing their rubber bands as directed, not eating foods that will cause their braces to break and maintaining excellent brushing and oral hygiene,” Kroboth also said.