People with crooked teeth can develop issues related to self-confidence very early in life. It can affect the way you smile, how you interact with other people and, most importantly, how you feel about yourself. Problems with your orofacial appearance, however, shouldn’t be able to affect your self worth. With the help of braces, you can change the look of your teeth and realign them in the correct manner.
Visiting a dentist or orthodontic specialist and getting braces isn’t very cheap. There are many people who avoid this exercise and prefer to stay with their original teeth because of the fear associated with the skyrocketing costs of getting braces. Here, it is important to remember that you don’t just get braces to look better. It can also be crucial for your oral hygiene, which may be getting hampered because of the positioning of your teeth. Braces will help in improving the condition of your teeth and gums.
Before getting into the average costs associated with the different types of braces, it is important that you understand what braces are and how the different types of braces differ from each other.
What Are Braces?
Orthodontic brackets are commonly known as dental braces or just simply braces. They consist of two parts – the metal or ceramic bracket and the wire that goes through it for stability. By using such orthodontic appliances that apply limited amounts of pressure on the patient’s teeth, specialists are able to align the teeth in a particular manner. This can also be used to fix gaps in teeth, straighten crooked teeth and correct problems like underbites (where the lower set of teeth project more than the upper teeth), malocclusions (imperfect positioning of teeth when you close your mouth) and overbites (where both sets of teeth overlap).
There are many other problems associated with a person’s teeth that can be fixed by putting braces. However, it is important to keep in mind that only an orthodontist or dentist can put braces for you. You will need to get an appointment with one, who will first assess your situation and then give you the right treatment method for dealing with your case. Once the braces are put on your teeth, you will need to come back after a certain period to get them tightened in order to ensure that you are getting the most effective treatment.
Types of Braces and How Much They Cost
When you visit your dentist or orthodontist, you will be given a number of options when it comes to the type of braces that will be on your teeth. The main difference between most of these is the material that they are made of, or the specific purpose that they fulfill. However, the costs associated with each are also different. Some of the most common types of braces that are popular amongst patients and a rough estimate of how much they cost, are mentioned below.
The traditional type of braces are usually made of metal. They can be distinguished by the silver and more noticeable effect that they have once they are on your teeth. There are two parts that make up metal braces – the bracket and the wire. Both of these are made of metal and while the first goes onto the teeth directly, the wire goes through slots within these brackets and holds them in place. The main purpose behind this is to apply the right amount of force that will help in aligning your teeth.
Metal braces are very popular even now. The main reason behind this is that they are relatively less expensive when compared to most of the other types of braces. These braces will set you back by anything between $2,500 and $7,000 for the entire treatment, depending on your condition.
The second type of braces to be discussed here are ceramic braces. These have been a popular alternative to the more traditional metal braces, with the main difference being the composition of the brackets and the wire. The color of these braces is very similar to the color of your teeth, which makes it easier for them to blend into the background and not stick out in an odd manner. Similarly, even the wire used isn’t the regular metal one so the color turns out to be similar to that of the ceramic and your teeth.
Ceramic braces cost a little more than traditional metal braces because of the material used. Rough estimates suggest that going for ceramic braces will set you back by $3,800 to $8,000. Again, this depends on your specific requirements.
The types of braces mentioned before required the brackets and wires to be place on the outside of your teeth. A lot of people can get self-conscious if their braces show at all times. An answer to this problem is opting for lingual braces. Instead of showing on the outside, the dentist will place the brackets on the inner surface of your teeth. This means no one can see that you have braces! There are, however, some problems with this variety. For example, cleaning the braces can get a little tedious, and it is tough to talk with these on, at least in the initial stages.
These braces can be quite expensive, with the cost starting at about $7,000 and going up to as high as $11,000 or more.
While regular braces use small rubber bands to hold the braces and wires in place, self-ligating braces do not require the use of these tiny bands as the brackets on these braces can hold on to the wire. The brackets have special doors or clips that keep the wire in place so that you don’t have to worry about dealing with rubber bands.
These braces have become more and more popular with orthodontists now because of their relative ease of maintenance. These are not very expensive and will cost you approximately the same amount as regular metal braces – between $2,500 and $8,000.
The last name on this list is actually an aligner called Invisalign. As the name suggests, these are invisible aligners – clear to be more precise – that can help in adjusting your teeth so that they get a more visually appealing look without having to deal with actual brackets and wires. Invisalign uses an impression of your teeth to generate a transparent mold that needs to be worn for up to 22 hours every day. While this aligner will not help in dealing with the more complex orthodontic issues, it is very useful when it comes to horizontal alignment.
Invisalign is more expensive than some of the options mentioned here – primarily because the mold needs to be changed every couple of weeks. It can cost anything between $4,000 and $8,000, depending on your requirement.
What Does the Cost of Braces Depend On?
Getting braces will not cost everyone the same amount of money. There are several different factors that determine whether you will be paying more or less when it comes to orthodontic procedures. Some of the most important factors out of these are briefly mentioned below.
Severity of the Problem
The first factor that holds great significance when it comes to deciding how much the braces will cost you is the severity of the problem that you are facing or the degree of correction that you will be requiring. For example, the more basic treatments like straightening some slightly crooked teeth or lessening gaps between teeth can be relatively cheaper than the more complex situations where a lot more correction is required.
While the simpler issues can be fixed in a couple of months, most bite correction can be dealt with in about a couple of years. The longer it takes for the problem to be fixed, the more money you will be paying.
While there is a misconception that teeth can only be fixed with orthodontic treatment till a particular age, adults can also benefit from orthodontic procedures. The prerequisite for getting braces is that your adult teeth need to be out. Therefore, once a child is over the age of seven, he or she should be taken to a dentist or orthodontist who may be able to suggest if any such treatment is required.
People are more responsive to such treatment when they are young as their teeth and jaws can be manipulated with greater ease, but this doesn’t mean that orthodontic treatments do not work for adults. It will, however, cost you more as you grow older, as a lot more sessions may be required for older patients.
Material Used for Braces
The material that is used to make the braces can also be a factor that influences the cost of the braces. Metal braces are relatively cheaper because it is cheaper to make them. Ceramic braces are a little more expensive. Similarly, Invisalign will set you back by a higher amount of money, as the mold needs to be replaced often. Lingual braces cost more because of the expertise involved.
Number of Appointments Required
The cost of the braces will go up as the number of appointments with your orthodontist or dentist increase. This factor is linked to many of the others mentioned in this list, for example, the older you get, the more time it will take to fix the orthodontic problems that you are facing – which translates to more time with the dentist. Similarly, with the increasing severity of problems, you will need more appointments with the specialist. This will end up increasing the amount of money that you will be spending.
Compliance with Terms
Braces require a great amount of upkeep, especially if you are opting for options like lingual braces or Invisalign. There is additional emphasis on the need for oral health care. If you brush and floss regularly and keep your braces in the best possible shape, you will not need to spend too much time with your orthodontist or make additional visits. However, if you aren’t able to keep up with the many responsibilities that come with going for orthodontic treatments, you may end up prolonging the treatment and spending a lot more money that you intended to, or were quoted initially.
Differences Between the Cost of Braces
As was mentioned before, children respond to orthodontic treatment faster than adults. The main reason for this is that when children just hit their teenage years, their mouth is still growing. The teeth and the jaws haven’t set themselves in their final position so a lot can be done to fix issues pertaining to their orthodontic health.
With age, this opportunity for improvement is affected in a way that it takes longer for treatments to work. Even when the treatment works, the effects will not be as great as they would have been if the procedure was carried out when the patient was younger.
While the cost of the treatment can differ with age, this difference isn’t too much. For example, while the average cost of getting orthodontic treatment is always higher for adults, the difference isn’t too much. It remains under the 4% mark for most cases in the United States. If this was to be converted to a particular value, you could say that adults may have to pay anywhere between $150 and $250 more than children for the same type of treatment.
If you want to know more about these braces cost differences, be sure to read the follow-up articles below:
Final Word on the Cost of Braces
Getting braces is not cheap. It is a complex procedure that will require a lot of care and some time before you start to see any difference. There are, however, many ways in which you can finance your braces. Check your insurance to see if braces are included. You can also contact orthodontists to see if there are any special plans that you can sign up for to help you manage the cost better.
Overall, getting braces to fix your teeth can make a huge difference to how you see yourself. It is a great investment to make for a brighter smile in the future.