Updated on February 9, 2024
5 min read

Why Are Braces So Expensive?

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How Much Do Braces Cost?

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.

Here’s a general overview of how much different kinds of braces cost:

  • 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

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Cost of Braces and Factors Affecting It
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Factors That Affect Braces Cost

Braces are costly. There are a series of factors that can drive up the price. 

But before you turn away from braces, it might be easier to look at where your money is going.

Here are a few factors that go into the cost of braces:

1. The Type of Braces 

If you want less noticeable braces than traditional braces, you can expect to pay more.

For instance, lingual braces are more expensive than traditional braces. They’re more complicated to install and take more time for the orthodontist to customize each bracket.

2. Equipment 

Having top-of-the-line equipment and materials ensures that each patient has a pleasant experience with their braces. However, it can also drive up the price.

The braces themselves come with additional costs aside from manufacturing. These costs include:

  • Intricate parts and brackets
  • Dentistry supplies and tools
  • Equipment such as X-rays and other machinery

Orthodontists will use these tools and supplies throughout the treatment process. Essentially, your money goes into these supplies’ maintenance, use, and upkeep. 

3. Length of Time 

It can take time for your teeth to move into the correct position. Since teeth move so slowly, braces can stay on for up to 3 years. 

During this time, you’ll be visiting the dentist once or twice a month for adjustments. Every time you go in to tighten your braces, you’ll be paying for several elements of your treatment.

These treatment elements include:

  • Labor
  • Materials
  • Equipment
  • Maintenance

The time it takes to complete your treatment and the cost of each appointment add to the price. 

4. Your Dentist 

One factor that contributes to the price of braces is the choice of a dentist. The following can influence the overall cost:

  • Skill and experience. If your dentist has extensive experience in the field, prices will likely be higher. 
  • Reputation. The price can also go up if your dentist has a good reputation. More people will seek your dentist’s service, influencing their cost. 
  • Location. You can expect higher dental care prices in places where rent is higher. Conversely, you might find lower prices if you visit a dentist in areas with a lower cost of living. 

5. Payment Options & Plans 

How you pay for your braces also influences their price. This is due to differing dental plans and insurance policies.

The chances of insurance covering braces are higher when a dentist deems braces necessary for dental health purposes instead of cosmetic reasons.

The actual amount you pay out of pocket is based on the braces’ total cost minus the percentage covered by insurance. You must also consider deductibles, co-pays for visits, and other factors.

Does Insurance Cover Braces?

Medical or dental insurance may cover the cost of braces. However, checking with your insurance provider is best to determine if the treatment is covered.

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

If your medical or dental insurance treatment plan doesn’t include orthodontic coverage, you can also purchase supplemental orthodontic insurance.

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Alternative Ways to Pay for Braces

If you don’t have dental insurance, there are various other payment options for 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, etc.

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’s 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 for lower service prices to present to each dentist.

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

Remember to use a dentist in your plan’s network to receive 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.


  • The price of braces can vary depending on different factors, but generally, orthodontic treatment will be expensive.
  • If you can’t afford the full cost of braces, there are alternative ways of keeping the price down.
  • Most insurance companies don’t cover the cost of braces for adults. However, they do offer at least partial coverage for children.
  • Early treatment can help decrease costs as more discounts are available for children’s treatments.

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Last updated on February 9, 2024
6 Sources Cited
Last updated on February 9, 2024
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).
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