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Updated on September 29, 2022

How Much Do Braces Cost?

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The total cost of braces can vary significantly depending on various factors.

According to the ADA Survey of Dental Fees conducted in 2020, the average cost is around $4,200 to $6,600. In severe cases, it can cost up to $10,000.

The cost of treatment can depend on where you live. Orthodontists based in more rural areas are often less expensive than those in bigger cities.

Another factor that can add to the cost is if your teeth need to be moved significantly. 

Finally, the type of braces can affect the cost. If you want braces that are less noticeable than traditional braces, you can expect to pay on the higher side.

  • Traditional metal braces — $3,000 - $7,000
  • Ceramic braces — $4,000 - $8,000
  • Lingual braces — $8,000 - $10,000
  • Direct-to-consumer clear aligners — $1,700 - $5,500
  • Invisalign — $3,000 - $8,000

Does Insurance Cover Braces?

If you have medical or dental insurance, it may cover the cost of braces. It is best to check with your insurance provider to determine if the treatment is covered.

Most dental and medical insurance plans do not pay for orthodontic care and treatment for people over 18 years old. However, most partially cover children under the age of 18.

If your medical or dental insurance treatment plan does not include orthodontic coverage, you can also purchase supplemental orthodontic insurance.

How to Choose an Insurance Plan

Always ask about the percentage they cover and the lifetime maximum when choosing a plan.

The coverage amount can differ significantly, but a typical figure is 50 percent coverage with a $1,500 lifetime maximum per child.

It is also suggested that you keep the same dental care insurance plan during your orthodontic treatment.

Most insurance plans will not cover braces if orthodontic treatment starts before the plan's effective date. This is because the patient would be treated as having a pre-existing condition, making the costs of orthodontic treatment out-of-pocket. 

Other Ways to Pay for Braces 

If you do not have dental insurance, there are various other payment options for braces:

Will Medicaid Cover the Cost of Braces? 

If considered medically necessary, Medicaid will cover dental braces for children. In some states, Medicaid will cover adult braces if there is a medical need. This includes cleft lip and palate or other genetic conditions for kids, trauma or cancer for adults, and similar.

Ask about the percentage of insurance coverage and the lifetime maximum.

Dental Discount Plans 

Dental discount plans are a type of membership providing discounted prices on dental health services. It is essential to understand that dental discount plans differ from dental insurance.

Members pay an annual cost upfront instead of monthly installments or premiums like typical dental insurance. They then receive a dental discount card to present to each dentist for lower service prices.

Dental discount plans do not reimburse dentists and orthodontists like regular insurance does. Instead, patients must pay the dentist directly.

It is essential to use a dentist in your plan’s network to receive any discounts. Otherwise, you’ll pay full price.

Payment Plans (Monthly Payments)

Dental insurance plans work with a third-party finance company. Many dentists and orthodontists have arrangements with particular insurance companies. 

Payment plans are not any form of insurance. They are a way to spread the cost of your dental treatment to make it more affordable. You borrow the money required for treatment and make monthly payments.

Tips For How to Reduce the Cost of Braces

Braces can be expensive since orthodontic treatment is lengthy and complex. But there are several ways you can lower your out-of-pocket cost. 

Here are some key takeaways to help you reduce the cost of your treatment:

  • Buy dental or orthodontic insurance that covers braces
  • Get your braces from a dental school that offers reduced-cost treatment
  • Find a dentist outside of high-rent areas 
  • Take good care of your braces to avoid additional repair fees
  • Start your treatment early on to avoid bigger problems later
  • Use a flexible spending account (FSA)
  • Pay the full price upfront (some clinics may offer a discount)

Summary

The price of braces can vary depending on different factors, but generally orthodontic treatment will be expensive. At best you can expect to pay $3,000 to $6,000. However, the price can be as high as $10,000, especially if you don’t have insurance.

Before you get discouraged by the price, be assured there are ways of keeping the cost down. 

Most insurance companies don’t cover the cost of braces for adults. However, they do offer at least partial coverage for children.

With that in mind, it’s best to get started on treatment early.

7 Sources Cited
Last updated on September 29, 2022
All NewMouth content is medically reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to ensure the information is factual, current, and relevant.

We have strict sourcing guidelines and only cite from current scientific research, such as scholarly articles, dentistry textbooks, government agencies, and medical journals. This also includes information provided by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).
  1. FDA “Braces Have Changed, From Metal to Tooth-Colored to Clear.” United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA), June 2017.
  2. Health Direct“Dental braces and retainers.” healthdirect.gov, August 2018. 
  3. Healthcare, “Dental coverage in the Marketplace.” 
  4. Humana, “The scoop on dental discount plans.” 
  5. Moresca R. “Orthodontic treatment time: can it be shortened?” Dental Press J Orthod. 2018 Nov-Dec 23.
  6. LaPonsie M. “The Average Cost of Braces and How to Save” U.S. News. Jun. 7, 2022
  7. Norris L. “Reducing early childhood tooth decay: Approaches in Medicaid.” Medicaid.gov, May 27, 2015.
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