How much do braces cost for adults? This is probably the most common question orthodontists get when it comes to braces treatment or if anyone is required to get braces. Well, it just makes sense, since people know most orthodontic treatment comes with a hefty price tag. What they need to realize however is that, while there is a rough guideline for the average cost of braces nationwide, there are also many factors that can affect the total cost for the whole treatment. Moreover, there are a few variations of traditional metal braces, and each type of treatment has a different treatment cost. Here is everything you need to know about the cost of braces for adults.
Traditional metal braces are corrective orthodontic devices used to straighten teeth and fix bites. They were often prescribed to youths when the young jaw is still growing. In the past couple of decades, however, more and more adults are getting this orthodontic treatment. Dr. Sunil Wadhwa, DDS, Ph.D., from Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, said that in the 90s, only 1% of his clients were adults. Today, more than 50% of his patients are adults. Data actually shows 20 to 25% of people who see orthodontists for treatment are adults.
Indeed, braces are tested and proven to correct a wide range of dental problems. However, they’ve traditionally been expensive too. What is even more frustrating is that, while they cover some or the entire cost for children, most dental and health insurance companies doesn’t cover braces for adults.
Cost of braces for adults
If you are looking to get your teeth straightened up and your bite fixed with adult braces, you can expect to pay at least $3,000. The price, of course, varies depending on the severity of your malocclusion, the length of time needed for the treatment, your location, the rate of your orthodontist, and the type of braces you choose or advised for you. This could reach up to a whopping $10,000.
Here is the average cost of different types of braces today so you know how much to pay if you need braces.
Traditional metal braces – $3,000 – $7,000
This method uses metal brackets and wires attached to the front of the teeth to move them slowly in to the right places.
Ceramic braces – $4,000 – 8,000
Similar to traditional metal braces, this method uses clear and transparent ceramic instead of metal.
Lingual braces – $8,000 – 12,000
This method attaches the metal brackets and wires to the back side of the teeth, hiding and making them unnoticeable.
Self-ligating braces – around $5,500
This is a gentle method that uses a slide mechanism made up of elastics to connect archwires. This method is said to be faster, with fewer adjustments.
Invisalign: $4,000 – 7,400
Invisible aligners like Invisalign uses custom-fit clear aligners that fits over the teeth like a mouth guard. They are removable and easy to clean and maintain.
But why are braces for adults expensive?
First, braces are highly specialized instruments. They aren’t mass-produced, one-size-sits-all tools that are cheaply sold. Rather, they are custom-made and custom-fit, based on the physiognomy of the mouth and jaw of the patient and his/her specific orthodontic problem that needs to be addressed. Each and every unique dental feature of the patient is considered in making braces, making the treatment a complex, tedious, and sophisticated process.
Secondly, it takes a skilled professional to make braces. Only licensed orthodontists can put them in place safely and effectively. While this is particularly obvious, it is one of the factors that contribute (and justify) to the cost of the treatment. Putting and adjusting braces takes precision, as well as the removal of the braces.
Third, it takes time to safely move teeth into the right places. Braces work by putting pressure to slowly force teeth to move in the right direction to straighten the teeth and fix the bite. This is why you see people wearing braces for months, or even years. This means multiple visits to the orthodontist for readjustments.
Lastly, adult braces take longer than it does for children. This is because adults have fully developed jaws, making it harder for the braces to move the teeth.
How well you take care of your braces can also impact the overall cost. Your braces may be made of metal, but they can be easily damaged if you aren’t careful with what you eat or how you clean your teeth and braces. Food particles can easily get trapped between the brackets and wires, and brushing with braces is quite different than brushing without them. If they get damaged, then you will have to run straight to your dentist for emergency repair, which could add up to the cost of the treatment.
While braces treatment may be expensive, the results last a lifetime. There are also various financing options to cover the cost of this treatment. Make sure to look into your dental insurance or insurance plans to see if this type of dental procedure is covered, especially if your dentist has determined you must wear braces. You can also inquire within your orthodontic clinic as some would be keen to offer a flexible spending account that you can use to pay for braces.
What are your other options?
While braces are considered the gold standard for treating malocclusions, it is not the only option available. Thanks to the advancement of dental technology, people now have a wide range of different treatment options for various kinds of orthodontic problems, many of which are cheaper than traditional metal braces.
Also, there are times when braces aren’t the best option. Orthodontist may advise against traditional braces if you have:
• Mild malocclusions
• Minor teeth crowding
• Minor teeth spacing problems
• Minimal bite alignment problem
• Braces may be cost-prohibitive
• You don’t like the look of brackets and wires attached in your teeth
In these cases, orthodontist may advise on using clear aligners.
Clear aligners like Invisalign, are specifically designed to be a discreet, removable, and cheaper option to traditional braces, making them a popular alternative to braces for adults. Invisible aligners can fix mild to moderate malocclusions such as overbite, underbite, overjet, and even some serious orthodontic problems.
When you opt for this treatment, you will get a series of custom-made, clear plastic aligners made specifically from the mold of your mouth. These aligners have different increments that put pressure on your teeth and gradually move them in the right direction and right spots. Meaning, you have to replace your aligner trays at regular intervals (around two weeks) to help shift your teeth to their proper positions. Patients are required to wear the aligners for at least 20 hours a day, before moving to the next.
The good thing about clear aligners is that, since they are removable, you can take them off while eating or playing sports. They are also pretty easy to clean and maintain.
The entire clear alignment treatment can up to nine months or longer, depending on the type of alignment needed to fix your teeth.
Here is a quick breakdown of the best clear aligners available in the market today.
Invisalign – $3,400 to $7,100
As said earlier, this is the most popular brand of clear aligner today, and for good reason – it has the best value for your money. The product itself is backed by over 20 years of technology and real-world results.
- Your orthodontist will oversee the whole treatment
- Orthodontic provider for this treatment are required to complete the brand’s own trainin
- The treatment can fix wide range of alignment and bite problem
- Can fix malocclusions in children (as young as 6 – 10 years old)
- Treatment time is usually longer than estimate
- Probably the most expensive among the cheaper alternatives in this list (depends on your orthodontic provider
- Not suitable for people with round, short, or sharp teeth
- May not correct severe malocclusions or alignment problems
It is important to note that, the price estimate excludes the cost for the retainers. Patients are advised to wear special retainers after the whole Invisalign treatment to keep the teeth from moving back to their initial places. Some may be required to wear the retainers for years. The upside of the treatment, of course, is you get professional and personalized attention as needed.
AlignerCo – $895 for daytime aligners, $1,095 for nighttime aligners
If your budget is limited, then your best option is AlignerCo. They have the cheapest invisible braces in the market today.
- Affordable pricing
- Flexible payment plans
- With discounts and special deals available regularly
- With night-time aligner option
- No personal assessment with your orthodontists
- Some complain about their results
- A few complains on their customer service
AlignerCo doesn’t only have the cheapest clear aligners, they also offer monthly installment plans, making it more flexible for patients to pay for their treatments.
You will have to choose between daytime or nighttime aligners. You will have to change aligners every 10 days for the next six months. You can choose between daytime-only or nighttime-only aligners. Obviously, expect longer treatment for the latter, since you will only be wearing it at night.
Also, this clear aligner brand addresses only a few orthodontic issues, such as crowded teeth, gapped teeth, overbite, and underbite problems.
Byte – Starts at $1,895, whole treatment can cost up to only $2,763.
Byte claims to have the fastest average treatment, which is as fast as two months (provided you follow the instructions to the dot, of course).
- Fast treatment tim
- Affordable treatmen
- Thousands of positive reviews from company website
- With night-time only option for people who don’t feel comfortable wearing aligners during daytime
- You may have to change aligners every week
- Some complain about poor customer service
Like most brands in this list, Byte is suitable for mild to moderate malocclusions. However, they claim to give significant results in as fast as two to four months, provided you follow all their instructions and guidelines. If you don’t mind waiting a little bit, you can opt for the nighttime aligners, which would take five to six months.
As with other treatments, Byte treatment plan starts with a DIY impression kit for around $95. The good thing is, if they deem you ineligible for the treatment, they will refund your cost for the impression kit.
Candid Co – $2,400
This aligner company has one of the higher quality care in the market, for a reasonable price
- Orthodontist and dentists oversees the treatment
- 14-day patient check-in
- Remote monitoring technology
- Flexible payment plan
- Only 30 SmileStudios across the US
- Some complain about poor results
Candid Co sets itself apart from other DIY clear aligners, as its treatment plan is overseen by licensed orthodontists. This means patients are monitored every 14 days, throughout their treatment.
As with other clear aligners, the treatment starts with an impression kit, which is at $95. But if you live near one of their SmileStudios, you can schedule a free scan for your impressions.
ClearCorrect- $2,000 to $5,000
This clear aligner company allows you to get your own orthodontist/dentist on board with your teeth straightening journey for at-home or in-office treatment. They also have lots of pricing options.
- Your own dentist can oversee the treatment
- Aligners can cover the gumline to minimize the need for attachments
- Flexible pricing options
- No estimate for average treatment time
- Complains on discomfort and rough edges
- Mixed reviews
Since the treatment is closely monitored by your preferred orthodontist or dentist, you can say that ClearCorrect treatment is as close as the Invisalign, which is considered the best (and most expensive) clear aligner brand today.
While traditional braces are indeed effective, there is no denying that they are expensive. Moreover, they are delicate, and damages to the braces require immediate repair, which definitely adds up to the entire cost of the treatment. Fortunately, there are lots of options available right now, such as clear aligners.
You may also look into your dental insurance plan if clear aligners and if you can use it to pay for braces for adults. Some cases of braces will be covered by insuranace especially if the procedure is deemed medically necessary.