Ceramic braces, also known as porcelain braces, are a type of dental braces. Just like the traditional metal dental braces, these are made up of brackets and wires that sit on top of the teeth and are used in orthodontic treatment. One of the main complaints about metal braces has been that they are distinctly visible over the teeth and appear ugly. This led to a stigma of being attached to metal dental braces and over the years many kids and adults have shied away from wearing braces for this very reason. It meant that orthodontic issues such as crowding of the teeth, crooked teeth, irregular spaces between the teeth, protrusions, etc., which could have been easily resolved, remained untreated.
Ceramic braces are made of tooth-colored brackets and in some cases even the wires are tooth-colored, which makes them less noticeable and thus makes it possible for a greater number of kids and adults around the world to undergo orthodontic treatment.
Cost of Ceramic Braces
On average, ceramic braces cost more than metal dental braces. While metal dental braces cost $3,000 to $7,000, ceramic braces typically cost between $4,000 and $8,000. The higher cost is mainly because of the materials used in making clear ceramic braces.
As you can see, the difference between the upfront cost of ceramic braces versus that of metal braces isn’t significant. The overall cost of orthodontic treatment using ceramic braces gets compounded due to the fact that it requires more frequent adjustment and maintenance appointments with the orthodontist. However, it needs to be mentioned here that in terms of quality of results, there’s no difference between ceramic braces and metal braces. The main difference is that ceramic braces remain sort of invisible, while metal braces stick out.
The cost of orthodontic treatment with ceramic braces also depends on a few other factors.
Length of Treatment
In ceramic braces, there’s more friction between the teeth and the wires than in case of metal dental braces. The higher degree of friction means that it takes longer for the teeth to get aligned as desired. Hence, the duration of orthodontic treatment using ceramic braces takes longer than the length of treatment with metal dental braces. The typical duration of an orthodontic treatment with metal braces involving teeth alignment is 24 months, but in case of ceramic braces this can go up to 36 months. The longer the treatment goes on, the higher the number of visits to the orthodontist and higher the overall cost. Also, the longer the treatment, the more likely that you will need to pay for multiple replacement ceramic braces.
Strength of Ceramic Braces
While ceramic braces are similar in both shape and size to metal dental braces, they are more brittle, which makes them likely to break or get damaged more easily than metal dental braces. The brackets in ceramic braces often get chipped or cracked, while the ceramic braces placed on the bottom teeth sometimes break at the time of biting down. This means that there are greater chances you will have to replace ceramic braces more than once during the length of the orthodontic treatment, which will add to the overall cost of orthodontic treatment with ceramic braces. Ceramic braces also get stained a lot easier and faster, unless it’s cleaned and maintained regularly by the wearer.
Besides these factors, there are a couple of common factors that hold true for all types of braces, including the clear orthodontic aligners. The orthodontist you consult and the city or town you’re located in also have a say on the overall cost of orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists with a practice or clinic in a densely populated urban area will naturally charge more than an orthodontist in a small town, even if their qualifications and level of experience are the same.
How Can You Lower Ceramic Braces’ Cost?
Ceramic braces and the overall orthodontic treatment isn’t cheap, so you should be aware of ways to save money.
A dental insurance plan that covers orthodontic treatments is the best way to save money. Not all dental plans cover orthodontic treatments. A number of dental plans that do cover orthodontic treatments, don’t cover ceramic braces, lingual braces and clear aligners, demarcating them as cosmetic treatments and not medical treatments. The other issue is that most dental plans do not cover orthodontic treatments for adults (above the age of 18).
You need to find out what the percentage of coverage offered by the dental plan is and what the lifetime maximum amount covered is. Typically, dental plans cover up to 50% of the cost of orthodontic treatment, including the cost of braces, installation charges and the orthodontist consultation fee. The lifetime maximum generally varies between $1,500 and $3,000.
If your dental plan doesn’t cover orthodontic treatment, you could buy a supplemental orthodontic insurance.
Note that if you already have got the braces fitted and then purchase a dental plan that covers orthodontic treatment, it won’t cover the costs as the braces will be considered as a pre-existing condition and not part of the coverage.
The amount you pay towards insurance premium for your dental insurance plan is tax deductible. If your dental plan doesn’t cover orthodontic treatment, even them your expenses towards dental healthcare are eligible for tax deductions. Braces are considered to be part of dental healthcare. However, the total expenses need to be above a minimum amount, as decided by the Internal Revenue Service, to qualify as tax deductible. On your end, you need to keep track of all expenses related to your orthodontic treatment, so that you can add all of these up, if eligible.
If the orthodontist prescribes braces as it’s a medical necessity for you, then the expenses may be covered by Medicaid, assuming you qualify for Medicaid. Same as a dental insurance plan, you need to find what percentage of the cost will be covered and what the lifetime maximum amount covered by Medicaid is.
If you or your child needs to get braces, then plan a little ahead. Make sure a dental plan or payment plan is in place before you get the braces fitted. Also, find out about the discounts offered by orthodontists before taking a final call on getting your braces.