Looking to get your teeth fixed? In the U.S., two years of orthodontics treatment costs between $5,000 and $10,000. The cost of braces will vary depending on many factors. The type of braces, the condition of your teeth, the area you live in, the experience of the orthodontist, etc...The traditional metal braces are normally the cheapest option and ceramic, clear braces or Invisalign could cost more. Remember you should expect to pay for X-rays, extractions and you need a deep cleaning and your old fillings need to be replaced before your actual orthodontics treatment starts. "If we move teeth when there is tartar present, infection can result, damaging the bone around the tooth root. So deep cleaning is important. Replacing old fillings is important if the filling is defective," says Dr. Gerald Nelson, University of California San Francisco Orthodontic Division.
Find your local dental schools and colleges that offer cheap braces and orthodontic treatments. Orthodontic students there are all qualified dentists and being trained to be orthodontists. The orthodontic treatment is done under the watchful eye of an experienced orthodontist supervisor while the student orthodontists practice and treat on real patients. The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) says check the list of accredited U.S. and Canadian orthodontic programs.
Check with your state's department of insuranceto learn what companies may do business in your state, suggests the ABO. Dental insurance that includes orthodontic benefits is not required for orthodontic treatment. Check your health insurance plan. Talk with Human Resources. Dr. Nelson says the least expensive way is through a job.
Talk to orthodontists. They may work out a payment schedule for you. Most orthodontists offer a variety of payment plans to help fit orthodontic treatment into your budget. Plans financed by the orthodontist often are interest-free. Some orthodontists can recommend outside finance companies as another type of payment plan. Outside companies likely charge interest. The American Association of Orthodontists endorses Springstone Financial (see references box 3) for such financing needs.
Check orthodontist reviews and recommendations in your area. Talk to your friends who had braces. Do your research about braces as much as you can. Having some basic knowledge will definitely help when you have a meeting with your orthodontist for the first time.
Tips & Warnings
- You get what you pay for. Well-known or most popular orthodontists will probably charge you more but you don't really want discounted prices if someone messes up your teeth, do you?
- Braces are much cheaper in Mexico. But Dr. Nelson warns, "Perhaps fees in Mexico would be less if you went through the entire treatment there. Putting on braces in Mexico and then coming here does not solve the problem. When you come to an orthodontist with braces on, they may have to completely change things, since the braces are not all the same, or the previous orthodontist may have not placed them ideally. They won't discount the fee, as they still have to do all the work."
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