By Susan Braden
As families throughout the U.S. are dealing with higher healthcare costs and increasingly tighter budgets, dentist bills can take a big hit to the family bank account. Many families may find themselves in need of orthodontic care, which can be very costly. Because of this, parents typically look to dental insurance or discount plans as means for low cost braces.
Braces vary in cost depending on the region of the U.S. in which the patient lives. While dental insurance may help pay part of the price, the average price of traditional braces is between $4,000-$6,000.
Today’s braces are much less noticeable than in years past. Metal brackets are still the most common, but braces can be made clear or “invisible,” in the same color as a patient’s teeth, or placed behind a patient’s teeth. The more natural-looking they are, the more expensive they will be.
Due to the high cost of orthodontic treatment, there are a limited number of ways to pay for it.
Policies can vary considerably in terms of the amount they cover on a yearly basis. When a policy is offered through an employer, orthodontic coverage is often not included. This kind of insurance tends to differ from medical coverage in that the entire cost for a procedure like braces is rarely covered.
While some insurance companies may state 50% coverage for braces, that does not necessarily mean half of the fees will be covered – many traditional plans also state a lifetime orthodontic maximum of $1,000 to $1,500. This means that if your treatment costs $5,000 overall, you may still be responsible for paying the remaining $3,500 to $4,000. Because of this, it is often simpler to seek out a dental discount plan to gain a flat discount off orthodontic work.
Too many families are unaware of the high cost of braces prior to their initial consultation with an orthodontist. When they see that the cost can range from $4,000-$6,000, they typically begin looking for some form of coverage before starting the actual treatment. People that purchase insurance to help with the cost of braces need to realize that, while it can be helpful, it can only cover a limited amount of the treatment. These families need to assume that they will still have to pay for a large portion of the overall cost, and may want to seek out a discount plan as an affordable alternative to dental insurance that can offer low cost braces.