The big question – How much do braces cost?
One of the first questions that people think of when being referred to their Orthodontist for braces is – what do braces cost? There are a number of different options and variables, and this should be used as a guide only – all final pricing will be finalised by your Orthodontist who will provide you a schedule of fees at your initial consultation. Many Orthodontists will allow an interest-free payment plan option to pay for your braces and most Health Insurance providers will provide a rebate on the cost of braces which should cover most of the initial outlay (please consult your provider for more information as these vary greatly by policy). In some cases, varying types of braces can have better rebates and therefore what initially may seem like the cheapest option may not be the cheapest long-term. Discussing all of these options with your Orthodontist and Health Insurance provider will help you to accurately determine your exact out of pocket cost will be over the lifetime of your braces.
Firstly, there are a couple of different options for braces depending on lifestyle choices – Traditional Metal braces, Ceramic braces, Lingual braces, and Invisalign. Each of these options works toward straightening the teeth but uses a different technology to do so, resulting in different costs and time of wear.
Traditional braces are the old style metal braces that many of us remember from our childhood, however these days they are much smaller and flatter while being stronger – to maximise effect and minimise time of wear. Traditional Metal braces are made from high quality stainless steel and they use metal brackets to straighten the teeth and jaw. Being the cheapest option, the cost of Traditional Metal braces is approximately $5000 (your final price will be determined by your Orthodontist, please discuss on your initial consultation to confirm your pricing). Wearers also have the option to add coloured elastics at an added cost however traditional metal braces are the most reliable type of braces and should not require additional expense apart from regular Orthodontist check-ups during wear.
Ceramic (White) Braces
Ceramic braces, also known as “White braces,” are similar in style to traditional metal braces, however they are made of a ceramic material and therefore give them the white colour – and make them less visible for the wearer. While they are more discreet in colour, ceramic braces are not as strong as metal braces and are larger in size which can decrease comfort – however many people are happy to exchange the slight change in comfort for a less obvious option. One downside of ceramic braces is that they can be easily stained and require more attention to oral hygiene than metal braces as the maintenance to keep them white is obviously higher. Ceramic braces cost around $6000 for the set (your final price will be determined by your Orthodontist, please discuss pricing on your initial consultation to confirm your pricing). You will also need to add on the cost of follow up Orthodontist appointments once the braces are fitted.
Lingual braces are made of either metal or ceramic materials and are hidden behind the teeth on the tongue side, so that they are not visible on the outside of the teeth. Many patients, particularly adults, request braces that cannot be seen and Lingual braces have this as an advantage. Lingual braces require more technology to fit them to the mouth and therefore have a higher cost, and can be anywhere from $6000 – $11,000 for a full set (your final price will be determined by your Orthodontist, please discuss pricing on your initial consultation to confirm your pricing). Lingual braces can provide an additional discomfort for the wearer as they can crowd on the inside of the mouth against the tongue, and sometimes patients can develop a slight speech impediment with wear as they adjust their tongue movement to the crowding and fitting of the braces inside the mouth. Lingual braces do not fit every mouth type and patients with a smaller jaw may not be suitable for this type of braces.
Invisalign is a newer alignment technology, and while it has been a popular and emerging choice for wearers, it is becoming more and more mainstream as the most popular choice given the flexibility for wearers. Invisalign is a virtually invisible treatment consisting of a set of almost clear plastic aligners which are replaced with a new set every 2 weeks. This is so that the aligners (moulds) can be made specifically to your own set of teeth and are designed to move your teeth little by little – so each set being slightly “tighter” than the last. Invisalign can be used for virtually any teeth correction and provides the wearer with the flexibility to remove the aligners to brush and floss teeth as normal, while also giving the freedom to remove for eating, drinking, special occasions and any time when you do not want to be wearing “braces”.
You are, however, required to have the aligners in place for a minimum amount of time each day (usually 22 of 24 hours) for the teeth to effectively be moved during the 2 week course. The Invisalign treatment, along with being virtually invisible, is also much more comfortable than traditional braces and do not cause the same mouth irritations that other braces types can, although discomfort can be experienced at the start and for the first few days that the aligners are changed. The wear time for Invisalign is about 12-15 months, so depending on the individual circumstance, can be more or less than if traditional braces were applied. The cost for Invisalign cay vary per patient, but in Australia the cost can be anywhere from $6000 to $10,000+, however if there is only a small correction to be made, costs can start around $4500 (www.invisalign.com.au). Each Orthodontist will determine their own final pricing based on the individual wearers needs, please discuss pricing with your Orthodontist on your initial consultation.
Once your braces have been removed, you may be required to have a plate or night-time mouthguard fitted which may also be at an additional cost. Sometimes wearers will need an additional amount of time or need another set of braces or repairs, and these costs have not been factored into the above approximations. Again, your Orthodontist will confirm your exact pricing at your initial consultation. Orthodontic pricing can vary between each practice and it pays to shop around to find out who will provide the best treatment within your budget. Braces are an investment and each Orthodontic practice may offer different services for their price, so undertaking research on providers and the braces cost (including appointments during the braces course) can be of great benefit before your braces are fitted.