Braces are an already expensive procedure even with insurance. So how can a low-income family afford to have their children visit the orthodontist? Well, there are a few different ways to pay for low-income braces for children. Braces can not only give a child a more beautiful smile but can also help to improve his or her self-esteem now and in the future. Unfortunately, not all families are able to afford braces let alone even visit the orthodontist. Low-income families, or those who fall below the poverty line, may feel as though they have no options open to them when their children need braces. It is important to understand that avenues are available to assist low-income families in paying for braces.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, families who earn $45,000 or less per year are considered low-income. The Census Bureau further reports that 48 percent of people, approximately 146 million people, are now defined as low-income. While orthodontics may seem out of reach for low-income families, there are resources that can help.
Orthodontic and Dental Insurance Programs
In some states, it may be possible for your child’s braces to be covered by the Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment program. Orthodontic procedures may also be covered in some states if braces are deemed necessary for medical purposes. If your child receives Medicaid, be sure to speak with your caseworker to determine whether your plan may cover braces.
Dental schools can also often serve as a resource to pay for your child’s braces. For instance, the University of Colorado dental school offers orthodontic treatments and procedures to children of low-income families at reduced prices. All dental students performing procedures have completed a minimum amount of specialty training and are supervised by a certified orthodontist.
Smiles Change Lives
Another organization that often assists children of low-income families is Smiles Change Lives. The organization is located in Kansas City but accepts applications from around the country. Since 1997, Smiles Change Lives has assisted more than 1,200 children. In order to qualify for the program, applicants must be between the ages of 11 and 18 and must be a member of a family with an income that is at least 200 percent below the poverty line. In addition, applicants must have severely crooked teeth or misaligned jaws. Applicants who are accepted into the program are only required to pay a one-time fee of between $250 and $500.
State and County Assistance
Low-income families seeking assistance in paying for their children’s orthodontists may find that assistance could also be available from their local county or even state. In some instances, your own dentist may also be willing to work with you on the cost or may be able to recommend orthodontists in your local area who offer discounted prices. You may also be able to qualify for assistance from groups in your local community. Possible options include various organizations, clubs and places of worship.
Straight teeth are much more than just a beautiful smile. Teeth that are straighter can give a child increased self-confidence and will also hold up better throughout the test of life while reducing potential future dental health issues. If the cost of braces is prohibitive, it can certainly be worth it search out available resources.