Dental Insurance - When Your Children Need Braces

By Susan Braden

Need dental insurance for daughter's braces

If your kids need braces, then you probably have a few questions about the cost. How expensive are they? Would it be a good idea to invest in dental insurance or a dental discount plan to cover the braces? Are the prices negotiable? Read on for the answers.

How much do braces cost?

It depends on where you live and how severe your child’s case is. If you live in a more rural area, you may be able to find orthodontic treatment for less than $3,000. However, if you live in a big city, the price could be up to $7,000 or more. If you have insurance or a dental plan, this can also help reduce the price that you pay out of pocket for the orthodontics.

Why do braces cost so much?

If you compare braces to other personal services, orthodontic treatment actually does not seem so costly. Your child will visit the orthodontist approximately 100 times during the course of treatment. The treatment usually costs between $3,000 and $7,000, therefore the cost is about $30-$70 per visit. That's just a little more than the cost of going to a beauty parlor, but less than the price of a visit to the car mechanic. Orthodontics only seem expensive because of their overall price: the price of straight teeth, a beautiful smile that could last a lifetime.

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Are the fees negotiable?

Typically, orthodontists will not cut their fees because of the all the costs they have to pay. They must account for the cost of their equipment, materials, sterilizers, and malpractice insurance. Orthodontist offices also need to pay rent and staff salaries. Most of the fee for orthodontics goes toward paying these operating costs. Occasionally, however, an orthodontist will consider lowering his prices for patients who sincerely cannot afford to pay, but these reductions are rare. You can also ask your orthodontist about paying in installments, as many orthodontists allow this. You could also sign up for insurance to help cover the costs, or turn to an affordable discount dental plan, which can reduce the cost of braces by 20%.

Is orthodontic treatment worth the cost?

Absolutely! If your child needs orthodontic treatment and does not receive it early in life, he or she could have oral problems for years in the future. As a result, many adult patients now choose to receive the orthodontic treatment they lacked when they were younger.

Common health issues due to putting off braces:

  • Increased chance of cardiovascular disease
  • Increased stomach problems due to difficult chewing
  • Failure to undergo palatal expansion, causing movement of the roof of the mouth to partially block air passages through the nose later in life. This problem can only be fixed with major surgery.

I absolutely cannot afford orthodontic treatment, but my child severely needs it. Are there alternatives?

The EPSDT program may pay for treatment if you are on Medicaid. By law, this program can allow every low-income child to be provided with dental services. There are some states that include orthodontics when it is medically necessary. Check with your state’s health department about orthodontic coverage if you cannot afford braces. If not, try a dental school or a children’s hospital. Often, student orthodontists will provide braces for your child for a cheap fee, though the treatment may not be the quality of a professional orthodontist.

Now that you know how to navigate orthodontic prices, you’re ready to decide whether you want to choose one of the orthodontic insurance plans available, a dental discount plan, or the EPSDT program to help cover your children’s braces instead of paying completely out-of-pocket. Whatever method you choose, remember the cost per visit is cheaper than the cost to fix your car, and aren’t your children’s teeth more important?


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