Maybe your kid needs braces, or maybe you’ve decided you want to improve your own smile. Either way, you’re going to need an orthodontist, a dentist who specializes in braces or other treatments that straighten the teeth.
But where do you start? What should you even look for in an orthodontist? How much can you expect to pay for braces, and how do you find the best deals?
Kinds of braces
Braces come in a wide range of materials and prices, from traditional metal braces to invisible plastic devices like Invisalign. If you’re interested in a particular kind of braces, make sure your orthodontist offers it.
Look for ratings and reviews of orthodontists you’re considering. Reviews can give you a sense of their skills and personality.
It seems like a little thing, but a convenient location can make a big difference if you’re juggling appointments with work or school.
Find out how your orthodontist’s office handles late cancellations or missed appointments, especially if your schedule is busy.
Ask where your orthodontist went to school, and whether she or he has any special certifications or professional interests.
Involvement in professional organizations or activities shows that your orthodontist is committed to keeping her or his skills up to date.
Finally, find out what payments your orthodontist accepts, as this can make a big difference in how much you ultimately pay.
Payment considerations are especially important with expensive treatments like braces—they can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. Dental insurance can reduce your out-of-pocket costs, but other payment options can actually save you more.
Any way you slice it, braces are expensive. Traditional metal braces start around $3,000. Less visible kinds of braces that adults tend to prefer can cost $7,000-10,000.
Many dental insurance plans don’t cover braces at all (if you’re shopping for insurance and think you might need braces, be sure to read the fine print). Some plans cover braces only for patients under age 18, or may limit your choice of braces.
No insurance plan is going to cover the full cost. Plans that offer orthodontics coverage cap payments at a certain percentage or dollar amount. Dental plans put notoriously low caps on what they’ll pay for any dental care, usually just $1,000-2,000 per year.
You can save by finding an orthodontist who accepts DentalSave and offers members 25 percent discounts on all kinds of braces.
Think of DentalSave like a warehouse club. You pay an annual membership fee ($99 for an individual, $199 for a family of three or more) that entitles you to significant discounts on top-quality dental care.
It’s a different model than insurance, one that can be especially valuable when paying for expensive treatments like braces. See these comparisons of DentalSave versus traditional insurance:
|Comprehensive adult orthodontic treatment||$4,348 (after $1,000 benefit cap)||$4,011 (with 25 percent discount)|
|Removal of braces||$475||$261.50|
|Comprehensive adult orthodontic treatment||$475||$3,913.50 (with 25 percent discount)|
|Removal of braces||$475||$261.50|
Keep in mind that DentalSave also offers discounts on preventive exams, cleanings, and any other dental care you need—membership often pays for itself in just one routine visit to the dentist. Some dentists accept both DentalSave and traditional insurance, potentially cutting costs even further.
DentalSave also offers discounts on vision care, hearing care, and prescription drugs at no additional costs. Anyone can join, and the savings start immediately.
Many people find an orthodontist by word of mouth, getting recommendations from family, friends, or the general dentist we see a couple of times each year. Or we search the web hoping to locate a specialist practicing nearby.
We can make the search easy. Use DentalSave’s handy orthodontist search tool to find the practitioner who’s right for you. We list state certified, fully insured dentists who are some of the best in the business.