For most families, paying for braces can be a significant investment. That investment can become even larger when multiple family members need braces. Additionally, some types of orthodontics can be more expensive than other types. Understanding the various options for paying for braces can help to remove some of the financial stress.
Insurance is one of the most common methods for paying for braces. It is important to understand that not all dental plans offer coverage for braces, but the right plan can help to defray a significant portion of the cost for braces. In choosing a dental insurance package, it is important to focus on finding a package that specifically covers orthodontists. The precise coverage provided will vary among plans, but many dental insurance plans will help to shave approximately 50 percent of the total cost of braces. In shopping for a dental plan, it should be understood that most plans will not provide coverage if the patient already has braces. Also, some plans require a waiting period, so it is important that you do not wait until treatment is necessary. Otherwise, you may find that treatment is not covered or that you need to delay treatment until the waiting period has passed.
If you do not have dental insurance, some orthodontists will allow you to set up a payment plan. A payment plan works similar to installment plans for any other purchase and can help to make the cost of braces more affordable for many families. Depending upon the orthodontist’s requirements, you may need to pay a down payment and then make payments over the duration of treatment. In most instances, treatment lasts about two years. In other instances, you may also be able to save on the total cost if you pay in cash up front. For instance, some orthodontists will offer a discount if you are able to pay in full up front. This could help you to save several hundred dollars on the cost of braces.
Discount Dental Groups
Another great way to save on the cost of braces is to take advantage of a dental discount program. Such programs are available around the country and offer customers access to literally thousands of dentists and orthodontists. The cost for such plans may vary, but you should typically expect to pay about $20 per month. A dental discount package will often save you 20 percent off the cost of braces. One such group is Western Dental. This group offers a wide variety of different treatments and has numerous locations. Due to the fact that several orthodontists and dentists often practice at the same location, you may not always receive treatment from the same physician. Given the possible discounts, many families find this to be an acceptable tradeoff.
Government Programs or State Plans
In some instances, a government or state plan could also help you to finance the costs of braces. These programs are usually limited to low-income families. One prime example is the Medicaid program. If your child qualifies for Medicaid, be sure to speak to the state office or your caseworker to obtain details. Although Medicaid does not typically cover cosmetic treatment, if it is determined that braces are medically necessary for your child, he or she may qualify to have them covered under Medicaid.
Low-income families can also sometimes qualify for help through dental charities. The amount that you may be required to pay will depend upon your financial situation and the charity’s guidelines. Accepted patients are often able to get orthodontic treatment at a low cost or even for free, in some cases. Two well-known dental charities are Smiles Change Lives and Smiles For A Lifetime Foundation.
If there is a dental school near where you live, this could also be a good way to save on the cost of braces. Some dental schools will provide braces at a discounted cost. It is important to understand that care is performed by orthodontists who are still in training. The work will be supervised by experienced orthodontists, however. If you are interested in this option, contact the American Association of Orthodontists to find an accredited dental school near your area.
While braces can be a significant investment, understanding the various payment options available can help families to finance orthodontic treatment while looking forward to a bright future with a beautiful smile.