The trick is understanding your options—the types of braces available and the insurance alternatives that can help.
The cost of braces without insurance, on average, is about $6,000 to $7,000. With a dental savings plan, the cost is $3,000 to $5,000. This cost varies by type of braces you want, dental plan you use and where you live in the U.S.
|Average Cost of Braces|
|Type of Braces||Cost without Insurance||Cost with Dental Access Plan
(powered by the Aetna Dental Access Network)
|Comprehensive Orthodontic Treatment (Child)||$5,991||$3,549|
|Complete Orthodontic Treatment (Adult Braces)||$6,747||15-50% Discount|
*The select regional average cost represents the average fees for the procedures listed above in Los Angeles, Orlando, Chicago and New York City, as displayed in the cost of care tool as of June 2018.
**Actual costs and savings may vary by provider, service and geographic location. We use the average of negotiated fees from participating providers to determine the average costs, as shown on the chart.
This is NOT INSURANCE. Participants must pay health care providers directly.
Actual discounts will vary based on the geographic location of the dental provider and the services provided.
Careington International Corporation provides access to the Aetna Dental Access® network, which is administered by Aetna Life Insurance Company (ALIC). ALIC does not offer or administer the Careington discount program and is not an affiliate, agent or principal of Careington. Dental providers are independent contractors and not employees or agents of ALIC. ALIC does not provide dental care and is not responsible for outcomes.
While the Aetna Dental Access Network does not provide nationwide estimates on adult braces with their dental savings plan, you can expect similar savings to the comprehensive orthodontic treatment for a child (listed above). This offers you a significant break on the cost of adult and/or child braces.
If you cannot afford braces without dental insurance, consider using a dental savings plan, like our Dental Access Plan by the Aetna Dental Access network. The Dental Access Plan has over 226,000 participating dental locations nationwide and offers savings on traditional metal and ceramic braces.
Orthodontic coverage through a traditional insurance plan is usually only available for dependent children. However, with our dental plans, savings are available for adults and children right away.
Orthodontists usually offer additional methods of payment, beyond discounts with a dental savings plan or dental insurance, to help their patients pay for braces and make the price more manageable. Some of these payment options might include:
When choosing any sort of payment plan, make sure to choose one that works with your budget. If you miss payment deadlines, you could end up owing interest on the entire amount. We encourage you to ask your dentist plenty of questions about your payment plan to make sure it will work for you.
We want to be completely clear that NO dental plan discounts at-home clear aligners like what Smile Direct Club and Candid offer, since they are not administered by a dental professional.
However, Invisalign can sometimes be discounted with our plans, if the orthodontist assigns the same ADA code to it as braces. Since this is a newer procedure, some count it as braces (a dental procedure) whereas others consider it a product they sell.
We’d recommend - if you have your heart set on Invisalign - looking up an orthodontist near you that’s in our network for the Dental Access Plan by Aetna and calling them to see if you can get a discount on Invisalign with this plan at their office.
Braces pricing varies based on a few factors:
No matter what dental treatment or procedure you get at the dental office, the cost will usually depend on the factors similar to those listed above (material needed for the procedure, where you live in the United States as each state has different pricing standards for dental care and whether you use a dental savings plan, dental insurance or no dental insurance at all).
There are many different types of braces you can choose from--although each one will depend on the severity of the work you need done. They include:
Talk to your orthodontist about the options listed and which ones you might be eligible for. The cost of each type of braces does vary so make sure you discuss your options with your orthodontist.
For more detail on each, see types of braces listed below:
You’re probably most familiar with metal wired braces, which are still the most common type of braces. Metal wired braces are made out of stainless steel. The brackets are fixed, or bonded, onto the teeth, while the wire is secured with elastic ties made from rubber.
These are a lot like traditional metal braces; the difference is that ceramic wired braces have clear plastic brackets and wires so they aren’t as noticeable and match the color of your teeth. You’ll also have clear elastic ties. While they are more cosmetically appealing, these braces tend to break more easily compared to metal braces and usually cost about $1,000 - $2,000 more.
These braces are placed on the backside (lingual surface) of the teeth and are not easily seen. Lingual braces also have an added cosmetic benefit but usually lengthen the time of treatment.
For people who have nickel allergies, gold-plated stainless steel or titanium brackets can be used instead.
More commonly known as Invisalign, these braces are custom-made out of clear plastic without brackets or wires sitting on the teeth. They are much like clear retainers, except Invisalign is designed to realign your teeth. However, not everyone is eligible for these. It all depends on the condition of your mouth and what type of work is needed to correct the problem. Additionally, most plans do not offer discounts on Invisalign because they are considered a cosmetic change.
Dentists recommend braces for several reasons:
Below, we’ll explain a little more about each to help you understand why you might need braces for your situation. But first, it may help to understand what makes for a good bite.
In a normal bite , the upper teeth should sit a little outside the lower teeth at the front and back and both sides of the mouth. Your top front teeth and bottom front teeth should align.
When the upper front teeth extend out over the lower front teeth because of skeletal abnormalities. Unlike an overjet (commonly known as buck teeth), this misalignment is caused primarily by an overdeveloped upper jaw or underdeveloped lower jaw. This can sometimes cause the lower front teeth to bite into the roof of a person’s mouth.
Where the upper teeth sit inside the lower teeth. Crossbites can negatively affect your jaw and teeth. If left unchecked, your jaw can shift to one side and the outer layer of your tooth enamel can wear down (because the teeth sit unnaturally on top of the others).
The protrusion of the upper front teeth. Also known as buck teeth. This condition is primarily a horizontal overlap. Those with an overjet bite are at a higher risk of broken teeth and dental damage.
When there are too many teeth and not enough space in the mouth. Often, teeth are pushing against each other to try to fit and can cause teeth to be crooked.
Kids with Crowded Teeth
Usually, dentists recommend braces for young kids whose teeth are crowded to make room for teeth that haven’t yet erupted from the gums.
Adults with Crowded Teeth
In adults, crowding may require one of two options:
Braces are placed to straighten any crooked teeth, which can often happen with crowded teeth.
Spacing problems can be a result of missing teeth, but they can also be simply an aesthetic issue.
Sometimes a person’s back bite does not match the top bite, as it should. This can negatively affect the jaw and proper dental function.
Whether you need to straighten your teeth or align your bite, now you can confidently go to your dentist and orthodontist with the knowledge of what’s going on with your dental health and what you can expect in the coming months.
If you have no dental insurance, think about the many resources that are available to you, like dental savings plans. Searching online for your many options and talking to your dentist can provide you alternatives and help so that paying for braces is more affordable.