The Average Cost of Braces Without Insurance

Braces can help patients get a beautiful smile.

Braces can help patients get a beautiful smile.

Dental braces are a significant investment of thousands of dollars, but the benefits are appreciated for a lifetime. Quite a few factors affect price if you're looking at paying the full bill for dental braces without dental insurance. Although braces are rarely cheap, there are some ways to save money on them.

The Size of Your City Can Affect Price

An orthodontist in a small town charges less for braces than one in a major metropolitan area does. This is partly because she pays less for malpractice insurance. In a small town braces typically cost $3,000, according to a Costhelper report. In cities the average is $5,000, and the price can be as much as $10,000 depending upon the dentist and how much work is needed.

Extra Charges Add Up

Some orthodontists charge extra for removal, X-rays and retainers. These charges can drive up a price very quickly. Make sure you know what is included in your upfront fee and how much additional work will cost. Aesthetic preferences can have a big effect too; clear or tooth-colored braces typically cost more than undisguised metal.

The national average without insurance for standard metal braces is $4,937. Sometimes more work is needed unexpectedly, as every mouth is different. An orthodontist quotes rates based on only an educated guess. Additional work will result in a higher cost.

Invisalign Costs a Comparable Amount

The cost of Invisalign is not much different from that of metal braces. Invisalign is considered more attractive during treatment, because it uses transparent trays. This proprietary method costs $3,500 to $8,000, with a national average of $5,000. Invisalign can address many of the same problems as metal braces, but it's less capable of turning teeth that are pivoted in the wrong direction.

Dental Schools Offer Big Discounts

If you are looking for a full set of traditional metal braces but are worried about the cost, there is another option: dental schools.

Dental schools offer discounts on braces, and a savvy consumer can take advantage of this at nominal risk. Their students work under the direct supervision of licensed specialists. Prices vary widely from school to school, but they are always less than you would pay an orthodontist.

Good Hygiene Can Prevent Additional Costs

Good dental hygiene during treatment is essential. Neglecting to brush teeth that have braces can cause disastrous, expensive results. Food stuck in teeth can cause decay and rot that could require fillings, crowns or even complete removal.

At worst, bad oral hygiene can lead to gum disease and very serious health problems. If you are investing in your smile, make sure to take good care of it.

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About the Author

Meredith Berg received her B.F.A. in directing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Now living in Los Angeles, she works as a film and television writer, comic-book editor and director of plays and films. In addition, she loves tackling paleo recipes, workout routines and DIY projects.

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