The type of braces chosen and the experience of the dentist will significantly impact the overall price. While the economic commitment may seem daunting, the long-term benefits of improved oral health and creation of the perfect smile often justify the investment.
This article comprehensively explores the various facets of brace-related expenses so that you can be fully informed as you embark on this exciting journey.
Key Takeaways About Cost of Braces
- The costs of braces vary in price, with metal braces being the most affordable and lingual braces being the most expensive.
- Eligibility for receiving dental braces on the NHS is determined by specific health requirements and the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) score.
- The cost of orthodontic treatment can be influenced by factors such as the orthodontist’s experience and reputation, geographical location, complexity of care, availability of financing options, and extent of insurance coverage.
- Various payment options are available for braces, including dental insurance, payment plans offered by orthodontists, lower-cost options like traditional braces or dental school clinics.
How Much do Different Types of Braces Cost?
The consideration of types of dental braces is integral in estimating the cost of braces. Metal braces are known for their durability and efficiency in moving natural teeth around the mouth. They are composed of stainless steel components, are often the most affordable choice.
Ceramic braces, with their tooth-coloured brackets, wires, and ligatures, offer a more discreet solution but are equally effective at moving natural teeth. However, they typically come with a higher price tag due to the material.
Lingual braces, attached to the back surfaces of the teeth, provide an even more concealed treatment option but they are typically the most expensive due to their complex application and adjustment procedures.
Self-ligating braces use a built-in system to hold the archwire thereby reducing the need for adjustments and potentially lowering overall costs.
|Average London Price
|London Dental Specialists Price
|£4,500 to £5,500.
|£4,500 to £6,000.
|Invisalign Clear Aligners
|£3,500 to £5,500.
|£2,000 to £7,000.
|Fixed Brace + Orthognathic Surgery
Are Dental Braces Available on the NHS?
The NHS provides orthodontic treatment, which includes dental braces, under certain criteria. The following key points are essential to note:
- The NHS generally offers this treatment to individuals under the age of 18 who require it for health reasons. The NHS service only provides treatment for health reasons and is not a cosmetic dentistry service.
- Adults are usually ineligible for NHS treatment. In very rare circumstances, NHS treatment may be possible for adults as long as very specific health requirements are met and not the desire for cosmetic treatment.
- To determine eligibility, the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) is used. If your IOTN score does not meet the required threshold i.e. the treatment mainly falls within the remit of cosmetic dentistry, you will need to seek private treatment.
NHS treatment is available for grade 4 and grade 5 cases. Grade 3 cases are usually judged on an individual basis. NHS treatment may also be available if the appearance of your teeth, jaw or face is of concern.
What Factors affect the Cost of Orthodontic Treatment?
These factors include the experience and reputation of the orthodontist, geographical location, complexity of care required and any associated adjunctive dental procedures required.
Specialist orthodontists tend to charge more than general dentists providing orthodontic treatment and higher fees are often indicative of superior quality treatment. Geographical location also plays a role, with orthodontic offices in larger cities typically commanding higher prices.
The complexity of care required directly impacts the costs too. More complex orthodontic issues necessitate longer treatment duration and consequently, higher costs.
Availability of financing options also influences the overall costs. Many orthodontists offer flexible payment plans, with some even providing 0% interest financing. This makes orthodontic treatment more accessible. You may also get a discount for paying for the treatment upfront.
How can I pay for braces?
Payment options usually include:
- Dental Insurance: Most dental insurance plans partially cover the costs of braces. The total amount covered is subject to a maximum benefit, which varies by provider. It’s crucial to check with your insurance company to determine your coverage ceiling.
- Payment Plans: Many orthodontists offer payment plans, allowing you to spread the costs of braces over the treatment duration. These plans often do not require upfront payment and can be interest-free.
- Low-Cost Options and Dental School Clinics: Opting for traditional braces, the least expensive type, can reduce costs. Another option is to seek treatment at a dental school clinic. These clinics offer services at a significantly reduced rate as the work is performed by students under the supervision of experienced professionals.
Invisalign vs. SmileDirectClub: Which Clear Aligner Works Best?
Invisalign and SmileDirectClub both offer clear aligners for teeth straightening, each with distinct advantages. Invisalign clear aligners are supervised by registered dentists and specialist orthodontists. Invisalign can therefore treat a wider range of misalignments, including bite issues. However, these benefits come with a higher price tag.
On the other hand, SmileDirectClub offers a more affordable option for clear aligners. Their treatment is not supervised by a named dentist. However, it’s designed for minor to moderate misalignments and focuses more on teeth alignment than bite issues. Because it is not supervised by a named dentist, a full diagnosis on the causes of the malocclusion will not be made by a qualified person i.e. you as the patient are making the decision that you are able to diagnose yourself.
When choosing between Invisalign and SmileDirectClub, it’s essential to consider your personal needs and circumstances. Is quality of the outcome more important (choose invisalign) or is price more important (choose SmileDirectClub) and accept the consequences if things go wrong.
Costs of Adjunctive Dental Services to Orthodontics.
Adjunctive dental services, which tend to carry additional costs, can range from simple procedures such as teeth cleaning and fluoride treatments to more complex ones like tooth removal (to create space), periodontal surgery or composite bonding. These services are typically designed to address specific oral health issues that may impact the success of orthodontic treatment.
You are more likely to have a reduction in price (without reducing quality) if you have orthodontic treatment in a practice that can also carry out frequently required adjunctive services like composite bonding. Compared with orthodontics-only practices, multidisciplinary dental practices (that carry out adjunctive treatment) are also safer because they are more likely to understand who the orthodontic treatment affects other parts of your mouth because they work in multidisciplinary teams.
Here are three primary types of additional treatments often recommended alongside orthodontics:
- Preventive Services: These include regular cleanings and check-ups to maintain oral hygiene and prevent dental issues that could complicate orthodontic treatment.
- Restorative Services: These involve treatments like fillings, crowns, or root canals that repair damaged teeth and prepare them for orthodontic appliances.
- Surgical Services: These include procedures like extractions or gum surgery that may be necessary to create a healthy environment for orthodontic treatment.
Costs of Orthodontic Maintenance & Accessories.
The most common additional cost is for orthodontic wax. It alleviates the discomfort of wires or brackets rubbing against the inner mouth, enhancing the patient’s experience with braces. Similarly, ‘chewies’, small cylindrical cushions, are used with clear aligners to ensure a snug fit, facilitating effective orthodontic care. Orthodontics elastics are also necessary in optimising the outcome and the costs of these accessories are often overlooked. It is important to check that our orthodontic practice covers these costs (which can mount up) like we do at London Dental Specialists.
Special toothbrushes and floss, designed to navigate around braces, allow for thorough cleaning, mitigating the risk of plaque build-up and gum disease. These tools are integral to maintaining oral hygiene during treatment, contributing to the longevity of the results achieved.
Cost of Alternatives to Dental Braces.
Cosmetic dentists provide alternatives to dental braces for the management of crooked teeth. These alternatives are completed over much shorter time periods but create problems in the long-term.
- The most popular alternative to braces for straightening misaligned teeth are porcelain veneers. Although they are more expensive than Invisalign (£8,000-£16,000 per jaw) they require more maintenance because of the drilling of tooth structure required.
- Porcelain Crowns have the same pricing structure as veneers but they are even more destructive than porcelain veneers. It is therefore very likely that you will need root canal treatments at additional costs.
- Composite Bonding is the cheapest alternative for misaligned teeth. However, composite bonding requires even more maintenance than the two options above and the costs will add up over time.
To lighten the financial burden, financing options are available, such as monthly payment plans or dental insurance. It’s crucial to discuss these options with your orthodontist to determine the most suitable treatment and payment plan for your needs.
Long-term costs associated with orthodontic treatment.
Post-orthodontic treatment costs are the repair and replacement of fixed retainers and the ongoing cost of removable retainers.
Fixed retainers are often necessary after braces are removed to maintain the teeth’s new positions and will need repair or replacement over time. These costs can add up, particularly if the retainer is damaged frequently due to wear and tear or improper care.
Moreover, the cost of removable retainers, which are typically replaced every few years, also contributes to the overall expense of orthodontic treatment.