Braces are used as part of orthodontic treatment to sort out issues with teeth alignment and several other orthodontic problems. When we think of braces the image that comes to mind are metal brackets and wires sitting over and across the teeth – these are the traditional or dental braces. Dental braces are now available with ceramic brackets instead of metal ones and then there are lingual dental braces that are smaller than standard metal braces and are fitted at the back of the teeth. The use of ceramic in braces and reducing the size of the brackets were both born out of the longstanding stigma attached to metal braces, which were considered ugly. The ceramic braces have brackets colored to blend in with the teeth, while the brackets in lingual braces remain hidden. Whichever type you like the best, let’s take a look at the average cost of braces per month and how their price differs from one another.
What’s the Average Cost of Braces per Month?
Braces aren’t cheap, but among the different types of dental braces the metal ones cost the least. These cost between $3,000 and $6,000. The ceramic braces cost a little more than the metal ones at $4,000 to $8,000, while the lingual braces are really expensive at $8,000 to $10,000.
Clear orthodontic aligners are another type of braces. These are similar to mouth guards and can be slipped on over the teeth. As the term “clear” suggests, these are transparent plastic aligners that remain invisible. The process of alignment takes longer with clear aligners as compared to dental braces and these can’t be used for severe orthodontic cases either. Clear aligners cost almost the same as dental braces at $3,000 to $7,000. Invisalign and ClearCorrect are some of the most popular brands of clean orthodontic aligners.
Cost Per Month
Before we can calculate or estimate the average cost of braces per month, a few factors need to be taken into consideration.
Length of Treatment
Typically, orthodontic treatments last between 8 months and 24 months, depending on the severity of the issue. In some of the most severe cases, the length of the treatment may be extended further. The longer the duration of treatment, the higher the costs. You will have to replace brackets or even replace entire braces if the length of treatment is really long. This will make a big difference to the average cost of braces per month.
Whether your dental insurance plan covers orthodontic treatments or not will have a major bearing on the overall costs. A dental insurance plan that covers orthodontic treatments can reduce the costs by up to 50%. Typically, a part of the cost of the braces, installation charges and initial orthodontist consultation fees are covered by the dental insurance plan. The monthly premium you pay for the dental insurance plan will be one part of the monthly expenses. The premium varies from state to state. For example, in New York you will have to pay a monthly premium of $125-150 for orthodontic coverage worth $2,500-3,000.
Dental insurances are unlikely to cover clear aligners and lingual braces at all, because these are considered to be purely cosmetic. Orthodontists often offer discounts as well as financing options for these and other types of braces as well. Since dental insurance will only cover a part of the orthodontic treatment costs, the remaining part of the cost of the braces will have to be paid by you from your pocket. You can opt for financing options from the likes of Capital One and CareCredit for this as well. If you have a credit card that offers cash back, you can pay with that too. The monthly payment for the financing plan or the monthly payments towards your credit card will get added to the cost of braces per month.
While the initial consultation fee of the orthodontist will likely be covered by the dental insurance, you will have to pay for the subsequent periodic visits to the orthodontist for adjustment to the braces from your pocket. The frequency of adjustment appointments vary between every 3 and 10 weeks. So, standard metal braces would require visits every 4-6 weeks, while lingual braces will require visits every 3-4 weeks and clear orthodontic aligners will require visits every 8-10 weeks. Each of these visits will cost anywhere between $100 and $150, depending on the level of adjustments required. Metal braces do not require major adjustments, but ceramic braces need to be checked up as the brackets are brittle in nature, while lingual braces need regular adjustments because of the positioning of the brackets behind the teeth.
Orthodontic treatment costs are higher in urban areas with a high population density and cost of living. So, for the same orthodontic treatment you will have to pay more in New York City than say in Lincoln, Nebraska. Your average cost of braces per month will be affected by your location as well. The difference in total costs can be anywhere between $500 and $1,500.
Orthodontic treatment for adults cost more than that for kids. The difference in cost is about 5-6% or about $200-250.
It’s difficult to accurately estimate the average cost of braces per month along with expenses for orthodontic services, because it depends on a number of factors. First, you need to consult an orthodontist and find out the severity of the orthodontic issue you’re suffering from, recommended braces for you and the duration of the orthodontic treatment you will have to undergo.
Once you know these primary facts, you will be able to estimate the overall costs. Orthodontists usually offer discounts if the full amount is paid upfront and they can also offer you payment plans with low down payments and low interests via tie-ups with financing companies. Next you will have to decide the method of payment. Your dental insurance plan, if it covers orthodontic treatments, will take care of part of the costs. Will you be paying the remaining with your credit card or check?
Finally, the periodic appointments you have with orthodontist during the length of the treatment will also add to the monthly expenses.