By: Dr. Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS
As we close out one year and welcome in another, maybe you're facing 2017 with some orthodontic uncertainty. If you've been told that you or your child could benefit from braces, you probably have many questions and concerns, not the least of which is: just how much do braces cost?
Unfortunately, there's no one-price-fits-all answer to that question. Here at Saddle Creek Orthodontics (and most other orthodontic offices), treatment will generally range from about $2500 to $7500 depending on the case complexity and several other factors. It's understandable that you might be experiencing a little sticker shock at the thought of shelling out that kind of cash on teeth. But consider how often we spend our money on items without actually investing in anything long-lasting, and how we rarely think twice about it. Yet a straight, healthy smile is a priceless and beautiful asset that will last a lifetime! Several studies have shown that a perfect smile produces surprising returns on investment, not only when it comes to personal relationships and overall self-confidence, but also financially.
So, let's take a look at what goes into orthodontic treatment, payment options, and how the investment in braces is undeniably worthwhile!
When patients decide to give braces the go-ahead, they'll need to undergo an initial diagnosis and orthodontic consultation. These consultations typically include initial x-rays, photographs, and an evaluation by the doctor, and can cost up to $350. However, Saddle Creek Orthodontics offers a free consultation to anyone interested in braces for themselves or their child.
As we've mentioned, the price of braces will differ depending on several factors. One of the most important factors is the type of braces that will be worn. Saddle Creek Orthodontics offers traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, Invisalign, WildSmiles braces, and lingual braces. Each of these options will come with their own unique price range.
Other factors to consider are the severity of the malocclusion (that's orthodontic jargon for misalignment of the teeth and jaws), its complexity, and the expected length of treatment. The particulars of any given case may increase the overall cost of treatment. Difficult cases, such as patients for whom jaw surgery is required, will naturally involve higher costs. Some mouths are just more straightforward (or complicated) than others!
The first step for you
When preparing for any orthodontic treatment, your first step should be checking in with your insurance provider. Children under the age of 18 will usually benefit from orthodontic treatment coverage, or at least partial coverage. However, many dental health insurance plans won't cover the costs of braces for adults over the age of 18.
If your provider does cover the cost of braces, you'll want to plan to stick with the same dental insurance plan throughout the orthodontic treatment, from start to finish. Your insurance benefit does not pay their benefit amount up front but pays incrementally throughout treatment. If braces have already been applied or treatments have commenced before the effective date of your dental policy, these costs may not be covered by your insurance, however many plans do cover pre-existing orthodontic treatment as a "work in progress" and will prorate your benefit for the treatment that you have remaining.
Even if your health insurance will cover the cost of orthodontic treatment, inquire about the percentage they will agree to cover and whether or not there's a lifetime maximum to take into consideration. It is common for dental insurance plans to cover approximately 50% of costs with a lifetime maximum limited to $1,500 per individual.
A quick note about tax deductions
It's important to keep in mind that dental health costs are deductible when they're deemed to be medically necessary. As opposed to elective treatments, like teeth whitening or veneers, wearing braces can be considered medically necessary. As such, braces can be eligible for tax deductions. However, these costs must exceed a specific amount before they may be deducted, so be sure to keep track of every expense related to you or your child's orthodontic treatment! For more specific information on tax deductible orthodontic treatments, you can browse this IRS webpage. Fair warning. It's dense, so don't blame us if you fall asleep while reading.
FSAs and HSAs
If you don't have dental insurance that covers some of the cost of braces, there are other options. You can choose to apply your Flexible Spending Account or your Health Savings Account towards orthodontic treatment. Through your FSA or HSA, you may set up a predetermined amount in pre-tax dollars to cover treatment. You can also apply for reimbursement through these two programs.
Insurance and Financing with Saddle Creek Orthodontics
Here at SCO, we offer 0% financing and low initial down payments, so that treatment is affordable for everyone. Our goal is to provide outstanding value for reasonable fees. After evaluating your case, I'll be able to determine a treatment fee that fits your specific orthodontic needs.
From there, we offer flexible payment plans and automatic bank drafts through OrthoFi. Our dedicated and experienced team are also happy to check with your insurance company for any orthodontic benefits covered under your plan. Our goal is to make sure that our patients' dental problems never turn into financial problems.
SCO works with the following insurance plans on a regular basis:
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
Delta Dental of Tennessee (and many other states)
If your current insurance provider isn't listed above, don't hesitate to contact us at 901.726.3878. Rest assured that we'll do everything we can to accommodate you!
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. A bad bite can cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing or speaking, and excessive stress on the supporting bone and gum tissue. There is also research that links chronic oral problems to bigger health problems like obesity, malnutrition, diabetes, and heart disease. These are serious conditions that can affect your quality-of-life, and without orthodontic treatment, many problems become worse and can require additional dental or medical care later in life.
In addition, your smile is one of the very first things people notice about you. Crooked teeth or a bad bite can lead to a real crisis of self-confidence, particularly among children and teens. There's a lot to be said about being able to look in the mirror and see a healthy, bright, straight smile staring back at you.
Ultimately, orthodontic treatment will pay for itself in no time by improving oral health and increasing self-esteem!
Don't let orthodontics overwhelm you
Saddle Creek Orthodontics is here to help you on your way to a straighter smile! With a friendly, experienced team and the latest in orthodontic treatment and braces technology, SCO is committed to making you feel comfortable from the moment you walk through our door. We have two convenient locations in Memphis, one office in Germantown and one in Collierville, and we offer flexible appointment scheduling, flexible treatment options, and flexible payment options.
If you're just beginning your braces journey, contact us today for information on a free consultation, or come by either location for a tour of the office. We want no smile left behind!
Have a very Happy 2017!
Kyle Fagala, DDS, MDS