Do Braces Count as an Itemized Deduction on Taxes?

The cost of your, your spouse's and your dependent's braces may be eligible itemized deduction expenses.
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Wearing braces to resolve orthodontic issues can be painful, but here’s something that may alleviate the pain in your pocketbook -- your expense for braces is an eligible IRS medical expense. Medical expenses are itemized deductions, and depending on your adjusted gross income, you may be able to deduct a significant portion of your cost. Your itemized deductions reduce your taxable income, and that’s really something to smile about.

Orthodontic Services

Expenses you pay for dental consultations, adjustments of your braces and routine follow-up care are all examples of deductible costs for your orthodontic treatment. Also included are other services you may have performed during your office visits, such as X-rays, cleanings and the placement of your braces.

Orthodontic Supplies

Supplies you use to maintain and care for your braces are also generally included as eligible medical expenses. Common supplies for the care of your braces include rubber bands, dental wax, brace floss and oral irrigators. Your dentist may recommend or prescribe other supplies or medications, and the cost of your doctor’s prescriptions and recommended supplies are also deductible.

Dental Insurance

You can deduct the cost of dental insurance premiums you pay that are not part of an employee-sponsored health plan, or pre-tax payroll deduction you authorize. However, if you pay for insurance costs out of pocket, the cost is 100 percent deductible. You may also deduct any co-pays for office visits and prescriptions associated with your orthodontic treatment.

Adjusted Gross Income Limitation

All medical expenses you’re eligible to claim are subject to IRS adjusted gross limitation rules. Tax laws as of 2011 ballow you to claim medical expenses that exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. It’s hard to determine the true deductible amount of your expense for braces before you prepare your tax return because of this limitation, but you’ll want to save all your receipts and proofs of payment for services, supplies and insurance just in case.

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