Your orthodontist has stated that you or your child needs braces. Now what? You know that quality orthodontic care is essential to the body’s overall health. Aesthetically, protruding or crooked teeth can take a toll on a child or adult’s self-esteem. Beyond aesthetics, crooked or severely crowded teeth can prevent proper brushing or flossing, making the mouth more vulnerable to tooth and gum decay. Misaligned jaws or incorrect bites can lead to jaw strain or worn-down teeth over time. Poor dental health can lead to larger health problems, as well. You want to prioritize you or your child’s health, but what about the financial cost?
What are the options for paying for braces?
The price of braces varies depending on a variety of factors like the type of braces, the length of treatment, and the complexity of the treatment plan. Treatment plan prices can also vary depending on where you live, with rural areas often charging less than urban areas.
The average total falls between $3,000-$7,000.
The cost of each type of braces is shown below:
For some, those numbers are staggering and seem out of reach. They are the reason why many parents feel dread at the mere mention of braces in their child’s future, or that adults continue to put off treatment for themselves. Keep in mind that the cost of braces is not generally up-front but is spread out over the entirety of the treatment plan, which may be months or even years. This factor alone may make the price tag of braces seem a bit more accessible to families who are worried about the cost. Beyond this, there are ways to make the price of braces seem more manageable.
Insurance is an excellent tool to help cover the expense of braces, but it is important to check with your health or dental insurance provider to understand exactly what your insurance covers. Historically, orthodontic benefits are an additional coverage under your dental plan. Today, it is much more common for employers to elect to cover dependents, spouses and the employee. If your insurance plan will not fully cover the cost of braces, it is possible to purchase supplemental dental insurance to pay for braces. However, before purchasing a supplemental plan, you will want to read the fine print of the policy carefully to see what the real benefits will be in helping with the cost of braces.
Once you have started orthodontic treatment, you should contact your orthodontic provider if you plan to change jobs or make any changes to your orthodontic coverage. Why? Many insurance companies will only cover orthodontic care that is started on the plan. However, the team at Jungle Roots are experts at navigating the financial planning, and we can guide you through the decision-making process so that you can maximize your money to pay for orthodontic treatment.
Regardless of your insurance company, it is important to know how much your insurance plan will cover, and the lifetime maximum coverage amount. The average percent covered is often as much as 50%, but once you use the lifetime maximum benefit, it does not renew like your yearly dental coverage. Insurance plan coverage varies greatly in both percentage and lifetime maximum coverage, so it is important to look into the exact terms of your policy. This all may seem overwhelming, but the team at Jungle Roots is happy to perform a complimentary benefits check to help you discover the answer to every insurance question that you may have, and continue to help you understand your financial options throughout the length of treatment.
If your insurance plan does not completely cover treatment, the amount you pay for braces is tax deductible. Luckily, braces fall under the category of “medically necessary” dental treatment, while treatments like whitening or veneers do not. Like most deductions, the out-of-pocket cost must exceed a particular amount per year before you begin deducting. That amount will vary depending on your adjusted gross income. The cost of cleanings and co-pays can add up quickly, so it is important to keep track of your expenses to deduct at year-end.
You can also put pre-tax dollars to work through HSA/FSA/HRA/MSA accounts. Flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, health reimbursement accounts, or medical savings accounts all provide options for saving money to go toward medical expenses. FSA accounts, if offered by your employer, allow for you to put a certain percentage of each paycheck into a non-taxed account. You can use this money to pay for costs not covered by insurance like co-pays, deductibles, or the braces themselves. In order to fully utilize this benefit, make sure you are diverting the maximum percentage allowed by your employer.
Many orthodontists offer payment plans or financing options to offset the immediate costs of such a large expense. This allows many patients to afford braces by paying over a longer timeline. Additionally, orthodontist offices often accept Care Credit. Care Credit is a company that specifically works to cover medical expenses, with many financing options that include no interest within the promotional period. Alternatively, if you have good credit, you may be able to save even more money if you utilize credit cards that offer points or cash back for purchases.
Another way to help mitigate the financial cost of braces is to bring your child in for an early orthodontic check-up. By bringing your child in for an orthodontic check-up by the recommended age of 7, your child’s orthodontist can help determine what their orthodontic needs will be in the future. This will help you anticipate what may be coming which may help you budget in advance for this important financial decision. Another benefit is that early treatment often minimizes the amount of treatment needed to correct the problem, and shortens the length of treatment, ultimately helping you save money.
With any major financial decision, it is always more complicated than merely pinning down a price tag. Along with the cost, it is important to look at the benefits of braces for you or your child. Improved oral health, function, and appearance are all important reasons to consider braces. Paying for braces earlier in you or your child’s life may help prevent or minimize further orthodontic, dental, and medical costs in the future, saving you money in the long term. In most cases, if recommended by your orthodontist, the benefits of braces far outweigh the cost.
At Jungle Roots, we know that orthodontic care can mean financial challenges. We also believe that each of our patients deserves the best treatment available. Before you begin treatment, we offer a complimentary orthodontic consultation. We also provide a complimentary benefit’s check before you even come in for your consult. This benefits check prepares us to help you navigate any and every insurance question that may come up. We participate in the following dental networks: Cigna DPPO, MetLife PDP PLUS, Delta Dental, Aetna, Guardian, Sun Life, Humana, Careington, Dentamax and Maverist, including insurance companies under the Careington, Dentamax, and Maverist Umbrella. We also accept any PPO insurance provider.
Our team is prepared to customize payment options and walk with you through financial planning so that you or your child can start orthodontic treatment. We will work with any insurance company that will assign benefits to Jungle Roots as your provider, and we accept Care Credit to help offer the maximum amount of flexible payment options available. Additionally, our extensive financial planning expertise will help you maximize your FSA and HSA benefits. Let us help you plan for financially sustainable orthodontic health!
At Jungle Roots Children’s Dentistry & Orthodontics, we strive to provide the highest comprehensive pediatric and orthodontic dental care in a unique, fun-filled environment staffed by a team of caring, energetic professionals. We believe the establishment of a “dental home” at an early age is the key to a lifetime of positive visits to the dentist.