Americans without dental insurance coverage should expect to pay around $4,937 on average for traditional braces, while it might be worth as low as $1,500 or up even up to $10,000.
Your location will also influence the overall cost of treatment. If you live in California, the average cost of orthodontic treatment will depend on your preferred type of braces. In Delano, the price of braces can be cheaper compared to having the same procedure in Los Angeles or San Francisco. Rates in major urban areas tend to be more expensive than those in smaller cities partly because of the difference in the cost of living.
The Impact of Dental Insurance
Dental insurance makes it easier to manage your budget, especially since you can only pay around $3,407 on average from your pocket. However, it is essential to review your policy on the amount that your insurer will be willing to cover for each procedure. For instance, insurers commonly pay up to $2,000 for such treatments for patients who are 18 years old and below.
While having braces is generally more expensive for uninsured patients, there are ways to save money. Choosing metal braces over lingual braces, for instance, can save you at least $5,000. The usual cost of metal braces ranges between $3,000 and $6,000. On the other hand, lingual braces start at $8,000 up to $10,000.
Metal vs. Lingual: Which Is Better?
Lingual braces are more expensive since these are installed behind the patient’s teeth, which is perfect for those who dislike the idea of visible metal brackets. Most dentists charge a higher rate for this because these are harder to install and adjust. This is the same reason why metal braces are cheaper, as these are only required to be placed in front.
Both are effective in aligning crooked teeth, although lingual braces may be considered more aesthetic since these are hidden from plain sight. Still, if you prefer having no brackets of any kind, then Invisalign serves as a better alternative. This costs between $3,000 and $8,000, but you should be aware that it would take you longer to use it to see results. Dentists might also advise against Invisalign for patients with severely misaligned teeth.
Time and Usage
Most patients usually wear braces for two years, and this also affects the price. If you are an adult, wearing braces for 24 months may require you to spend almost $5,100. The price for a child is slightly lower at around $4,900.
Invisalign is an exception since patients can remove them at any time. However, the recommended time for using it should last for up to 22 hours to achieve the desired alignment.
In the end, even if you do not have dental coverage, it should not stop you from having the required orthodontic procedure. Ask your dentist if they offer flexible payment options or discounts. Some might even be willing to accept installment payments, while others prefer cash payment over filing reimbursement claims for their services to insured patients.