A smile is universally recognized in every language. A dental-brace bracketed smile is also universally recognized for what it is – a dental support system for crooked teeth. There is no shame in having crooked teeth. The only shame is that getting crooked teeth braces is very expensive. It can cost as much as $10,000, or more, to get dental braces in extreme cases.
And unfortunately, it takes a long time for dental braces to do their job.
There are some affordable options for dental braces. Depending on your financial status, or access to government-sponsored insurance, you may even qualify for free dental braces.
Options are available. However, getting dental braces is almost like a financial investment for dental aesthetics.
It’s so expensive that people are overwhelmed by the big picture instead of looking for helpful, smaller, cost-effective details.
Being fitted for dental braces is a customized procedure. No two dental brace fittings are alike.
It takes a long time to get the aesthetic results you want from dental braces.
Why does it take a long time for dental braces to do their job?
Dental braces are applied by an advanced dental specialist called an orthodontist. Orthodontists specialize in correcting misaligned jawbones and crooked teeth to improve smile aesthetics.
Dental braces gradually reposition and move crooked teeth into straightened positions. That process must be done slowly over multiple visits.
It takes years.
So, let’s examine some options.
First, we’ll explore what causes crooked teeth and the exorbitant cost of crooked teeth braces.
Then, I show you some affordable alternatives if you need dental braces.
What Causes the Need for Crooked Teeth Braces?
Crooked teeth may be caused by a genetic condition that you have no control over.
Usually, the need for crooked teeth braces is caused by poor oral hygiene and unwitting bad habits.
There are too many reasons why crooked and misaligned teeth occur. These include:
- Excessive teeth crowding by unremoved wisdom teeth
- Open mouth breathing while asleep or resting head (causing pressure imbalances)
- Naturally misaligned jawbones
- Not brushing teeth or flossing
- Poor diet causing dental decay
- Facial and dental injury
There are many reasons why you may have crooked teeth. Unfortunately, there aren’t many non-expensive options to solve them.
How much you pay for dental braces depends on the severity of your dental issues and the type of braces you use.
These are a system of metal wires and brackets that are attached to the teeth. They are not aesthetically pleasant, but they get the job done.
An orthodontist gradually adjusts the wire and brackets as needed as your teeth straighten during regular checkups. Metal braces generally cost $3,000 to $7,000.
These are the ceramic version of metal braces.
Ceramic braces can be tooth-colored or transparent, making them less noticeable. They cost around $4,000 to $8,000.
Invisalign Braces (Invisible Braces)
Invisalign braces are like two custom-made mouthguards for the bottom and top row of your teeth. They are essentially invisible braces.
Unlike metal or ceramic braces, you can eat and drink a lot more easily.
You must get new Invisalign braces every week as crooked teeth are incrementally adjusted. They cost around $4,000 to $7,400.
Lingual braces can also be called invisible braces. They are just metal braces that are attached to the back of your teeth. No one will know you have them.
However, these specialized braces require more work for management and readjustment. You are going to pay $8,000 to $10,000 for Lingual braces.
These prices are just basic estimates. Depending on your circumstances, the cost of crooked teeth braces could be a lot more expensive.
You have options for affordable and even free dental braces. But there are exacting qualifications and conditions.
Ask For a Discount
It doesn’t hurt to ask.
Your orthodontist may offer a discount or may be able to offer you information on how to secure one.
Visit a Dental College
Many dental colleges offer free and discounted procedures for the sake of training and improving skills.
Call ahead and ask. Don’t assume they will be happy to offer free dental care.
Also, all dental students work under the supervision of a licensed and practicing dentist.
You may have to travel out of your way to reach a local dental college, but it may be worth the trek.
You can find a directory for local dental schools here.
Free Dental Braces
If you qualify for Medicaid, Medicare, or CHIP, you or your child may qualify for free crooked teeth braces.
Qualifications vary from state to state and are strict, so contact your program representative for more information.
Smiles Change Lives
If you are between the ages of 7 and 21 and live near the poverty line financially, you may be able to get dental braces for $700!
Smiles Change Lives is a humanitarian organization that helps financially disadvantaged people and families secure quality dental care.
Qualifying guidelines vary from state to state. You must have good oral hygiene and not currently be wearing braces.
Take Care of Your Teeth
If you need crooked teeth braces, you will be wearing them for a long time.
It also takes a long time to pay them off.
Take care of your teeth. Brush them and floss every day.
Be conscious of unwitting bad habits which might cause crooked teeth.
The best way to protect your finances from the cost of dental braces in the future is to take care of your teeth now.
Allen Francis was an academic advisor, librarian, and college adjunct for many years with no money, no financial literacy, and no responsibility when he had money. To him, the phrase “personal finance,” contains the power that anyone has to grow their own wealth. Allen is an advocate of best personal financial practices including focusing on your needs instead of your wants, asking for help when you need it, saving and investing in your own small business.