Brace yourself, your kid needs braces

On August 21, 2017 in Family Life & HealthMedical

Brace yourself, your kid needs braces

Young girl with braces smiling

A visit to the dentist isn’t always the most pleasant of experiences for a patient of any age. But for parents taking their children in for checkups, what starts as an expected and reasonable expense can quickly turn into something far more costly.

Yes, the dentist has just uttered the dreaded words, “I would like to refer you to an orthodontist. Your child needs braces.”

It’s not uncommon, that’s for sure. The Bargain Hunter reports that 45 percent of kids need braces to fix obvious problems and up to 75 percent need orthodontic care of some sort. The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children have their first orthodontic exam by the age of seven, since early treatment may prevent or lessen the severity of problems later in life.

Be prepared, braces can add up

A lot of parents are shocked to find that traditional metal braces and the associated orthodontic care average anywhere from $3,000 to $7,350. Cost Helper Health says they can range from as little as $1,500 to correct relatively minor flaws in teeth alignment to more than $10,000 for severe cases.

Options that can help you save money on braces

If you’ve gotten the bad news and you’re wondering how this is going to play out financially, be comforted in knowing that there are viable options for managing this expense.

  • This is not a life-and-death medical decision, so you can delay having the procedure done until you’ve saved enough to pay the bills.
  • In some cases you may be perfectly fine electing to skip braces altogether. Some kids might be unhappy with this decision while others might be ecstatic.
  • Shopping around is advisable, as orthodontists across the street from one another can have significantly different prices. When getting prices from different practices, make certain that whatever total they give you is all-inclusive from initial consultation, through all appointments and procedures.
  • If you’re willing to consider orthodontics in other communities, you might find major price differences. Cost Helper reports that small-town orthodontists typically charge about $3,000 for the same care for which you would pay $5,000 to $10,000 in a larger city.
  • Check to see if there is a dental school in your area that offers orthodontics. The price can be dramatically lower as you are being a guinea pig of sorts, but don’t worry. Students may be performing the procedure, but it is with direct supervision and instruction from a licensed orthodontist. Typically those performing orthodontics are senior-level students who are advanced in their degree studies and are well-prepared for the task at hand.

Other considerations

Many kids will eschew braces because they don’t want to be teased by their friends or to be tagged with charming nicknames such as “Metal Mouth” or “Jaws.” Now the stigma of metal braces can be eliminated with transparent products that are barely noticeable. These braces may cost slightly more but are just as effective, so if you’ve got the money but your kid is hesitant because their social life hangs in the balance, transparent braces might be the answer.

Need help paying the orthodontist for your kid’s braces? LightStream can help!