Let’s face it: dental work of any kind isn’t cheap. If you’re working within a tight budget or just want to have a better grasp of the overall cost of braces or Invisalign treatments, we’ve got you covered. In fact, we’ve broken down the costs and given a few considerations for you to keep in mind as you work out your own budget and decide which of these options is the right choice for you.
First, let’s look at the options in a little more detail:
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, around 4 million Americans are wearing braces today. The cost of braces will vary depending on your location, how much treatment you need, and other factors, but the average cost outside of major cities generally falls between $3000 and $6000. Within city limits, it can be even higher.
You’ll also need to budget your time effectively if you do decide on braces — plan on making a trip to the orthodontist every four-to-six weeks for adjustments. And, while dental insurance will often pay part of the costs of braces for children and teens, it will rarely cover braces for adults.
There are even more potential costs to consider as well. Many patients opt for professional whitening treatments after the braces come off due to metal braces being tricky to brush with. You may also be required to wear a retainer after wearing braces in order to keep your teeth aligned, so it’s best to ask about that potential cost upfront as well.
Another option you may be considering is Invisalign. On average, the cost of Invisalign tends to be more than traditional braces, but it can vary with your age, location, and the level of treatment needed as well. While the numbers look similar to traditional braces at first glance, there are some extra considerations to keep in mind.
On average, you can plan to spend between three and seven thousand dollars on Invisalign treatments. While this is basically the same range as traditional braces, the Invisalign trays can be easily misplaced, and you will have to pay to replace them if you lose one.
Will your insurance cover Invisalign? That depends. While many providers will help cover the costs, there are many that do not cover any portion of corrective cosmetic procedures for adults. Depending on your insurance, you may be on the hook for copays each visit as well.
Maintenance costs should always be part of your initial budget. In the case of Invisalign, most patients will be required to wear a retainer after the initial treatment, and you can expect each retainer to cost between $200 and $500. And as with traditional braces, you should plan to see your orthodontist regularly — every six to eight weeks — during the course of your treatment.
Since many orthodontists make all of a patient’s Invisalign trays at once, you can expect to pay a higher deposit in the first thirty days of treatment. Some practices require as much as 50% upfront.
However, it may be worth budgeting for Invisalign, which has an over 96% patient satisfaction rate, provided you’re a good candidate for the treatment. Make the most out of your investment by taking good care of your trays and storing them safely when you’re not wearing them. Generally, you can expect to wear your trays around 22 hours a day for the best results.
The Bottom Line
Both Invisalign and more traditional braces are a considerable investment, so make sure your budget can handle the extra weight, both upfront and over time in the form of maintenance costs. After all, only 35% of adults have well-aligned front teeth, so this is not at all an uncommon budget item. If an investment like this is something that’s important to you, it’s worth making some short-term sacrifices to make it happen.
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