Some Basic Questions About Paying for Braces - Our Story

This morning I have braces on the brain. We have a consultation for our 13 year old daughter on Friday. Having been through them once already with our oldest daughter I have no questions or concerns but I remember having to go through the process the first time with our oldest and at the time I was asking all the Moms I knew about 'how it works'. Oh, not the braces... I know how they work to straighten teeth. My concern was... money. Process. Costs.

Knowing that some of my readers may have the same concerns I decided this mornings article would be about braces and some of the questions I had before our oldest daughter got them.

1) Insurance

We had orthodontics on our dental coverage which was fine, but it didn't save us as much as you would think. First you'll need to meet your deductible and then the plan will only pay out a specific amount. Our plan paid $1500 total over the lifetime of the braces. When braces cost $4300 - $6000 (depending on where you live) it's just a drop in the bucket. As a matter of fact the second year of our daughter's braces we opted out of ortho coverage. By this time we were on a monthly payment schedule and insurance had already paid their $1500 total they would ever pay. Paying for Ortho every month was a waste of money.

2) Payment for Braces

Typically your Orthodontist will want a payment up front the day of your first official visit. Previous to that the consultations are usually free, including check ups. The day the molds are made they usually want $500 - $1000 up front and then if you can't pay for the entire amount, will set up a payment schedule for you that lasts over the life of the braces. This is typically 18 months to 3-4 years depending on how long your child must wear braces. Our payments were about $85 a month with the first Orthodontist and after we moved to a new city and state in the middle of treatment the second Orthodontist's fee's were $133 a month.

3) Retainers

After the braces come off your child will probably still have a retainer to wear. If lost, the Orthodontist will usually replace it once without cost but a second time will run about $310. (Ours was thrown away by housekeeping at a hotel...).

So although braces are expensive and a large investment, the cost is made affordable by the monthly payments. Work with your own doctor to find a payment plan that fits your budget - even $50 a month over 3-4 years is well worth the investment when you see the finished product of your childs smile!
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