How Much Do Braces Cost?

Updated on April 9, 2024

At a Glance

  • Braces cost varies: metal braces ($3,000-$6,000), ceramic braces ($4,000-$8,000), Invisalign ($3,000-$8,000), and lingual braces ($8,000-$10,000).
  • Factors like treatment duration, patient age, and location impact the overall cost of braces.
  • Financing options include low-cost alternatives, dental school clinics, payment plans, and Medicaid coverage under specific circumstances.

Orthodontic treatment is quite expensive. The exact cost depends on many different factors, many of which are in your control. Read on to learn more about the average cost of braces.

Average Cost of Braces in the U.S. by Type

Several different orthodontic treatments can be used to correct the alignment of your teeth.

Standard Metal Braces

Metal braces are the oldest type of braces. Due to the age of metal braces technology, essentially every orthodontist offers metal braces. However, many patients dislike the fact that the wires and brackets that constitute metal braces are easily visible. Metal braces tend to cost between $3,000 and $6,000.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are a newer technology that reduces the visibility of the orthodontic device. The brackets are colored to match your tooth color and reduce their visibility. However, ceramic brackets are more susceptible to cracking and staining if you do not take care of them properly. Ceramic braces usually cost between $4,000 and $8,000.

Invisalign

Invisalign braces are a newer technology that uses medical-grade plastic molds that fit over your teeth. Instead of a single device like traditional braces, you wear a set of molds, each slightly different in shape, one after the other over time.

Since this technology is not physically attached to your teeth, you can remove and replace the molds yourself. However, Invisalign works more slowly than traditional braces and may not be an option in the case of severe misalignment. Invisalign treatment costs $3,000 to $8,000.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces are the most expensive option. By placing the brackets and wires on the backs of your teeth, lingual braces combine the speed of metal braces with the low visibility of Invisalign. The difficulty of installing lingual braces is what makes them more expensive. They cost between $8,000 and $10,000.

Factors that Could Impact the Cost of Braces

The major factors that affect the average cost of braces are the type of technology you pick, how much re-alignment is needed, and what area you live in, among others.

A few other factors that affect the average cost of braces are outlined below.

How Long Braces are Needed

Most braces require you to wear them for 2 years on average. The longer the treatment period, the more expensive your braces will be in general.

You cannot control the initial alignment of your teeth, but you can prevent setbacks in your treatment by taking good care of your braces and keeping them clean.

Follow your orthodontist’s advice and avoid foods that may damage your braces. For removable devices like Invisalign, make sure you wear it for the length of time you have been instructed to, or it will take longer to correct your tooth alignment.

The cost of medical consultation is a significant portion of the average cost of braces. The more extra appointments you need to repair a damaged orthodontic device, the more expensive your treatment will be.

Age of the Person Getting Braces

The average cost of braces for adults is generally higher than the average cost of braces for children. However, this difference is less than 4%. In general, you can expect to pay about $150 to $200 more for adult braces than the equivalent treatment for a child.

Where the Braces Will Be Located

Metal and ceramic braces, which are placed on the front of your teeth, are less expensive than lingual braces. Lingual braces are more challenging to install in your mouth because it is difficult to correctly place the brackets and wires on the backs of your teeth.

How to Pay for Braces

There are several options you can explore to pay for braces. Some of these are outlined below.

Low-Cost Option

Ask your orthodontist about options that require fewer visits or use less expensive materials (e.g. ceramic is more expensive than metal). The low-cost, proven option is metal braces. Also, make sure that you follow your orthodontist’s advice and take good care of your braces.

Dental School Clinic

A lower-cost alternative to reduce the cost of orthodontic appointments is to visit a dental school clinic instead of an established orthodontic practice. Orthodontic students are required to perform supervised treatments as part of their education, so these programs offer reduced fees.

Payment Plan

Many orthodontic clinics allow you to set up a payment plan if you do not have dental insurance. Some practitioners also offer financing through third-party lenders that cost less than conventional loans.

Flexible Spending Account

If you have a dental plan, but it does not cover orthodontics, check if your employer offers a flexible savings account (FSA) or a health savings account (HSA). The money in this kind of account is untaxed and can be used to cover medical expenses that are not covered by your insurance.

Dental Assistance Programs

Many state governments offer dental assistance programs which help low-income families afford dental treatment. There are also not-for-profit organizations that offer free treatment by qualified volunteers or grants to assist with the cost of orthodontics.

Financing With a Personal Loan

You can also get a personal loan for the cost of getting braces. The interest is higher than many other types of loans, and some lenders charge other fees on top of this.

Your orthodontist may also offer financing options that you can compare with traditional lenders.

Cost of Braces FAQ

The questions below often come up when discussing the average cost of braces.

Does Medicaid cover braces?

Yes, under certain circumstances. The exact details of what Medicaid covers vary between states, but there are minimum standards set by the federal government.

With regards to braces, minimum coverage includes:

  • treatment for dental pain and infections
  • tooth restoration
  • orthodontic treatments, including braces if medically necessary.

In some states, orthodontic treatment is also available to adults, but only to treat a medical condition. Check the Medicaid website for details to see what kind of coverage applies to you.

What affects the average cost of braces for children?

Children often don’t need to wear their braces for as long as adults, so the same orthodontic treatment generally costs less for a child than an adult.

What affects the average cost of adult braces?

As an adult, your jaw is fully formed, so it takes longer to adjust the alignment of your teeth.

Read More

Final Thoughts

The average cost of braces varies widely between $3,000 and $10,000, depending on which technology you select. Other factors include your age, the area you live in, the initial misalignment of your teeth, and others. If you do not have dental insurance, there are other options you can explore to pay for braces. Medicaid in every state offers braces for children in every state if medically required. In some states, adults also have this benefit.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.

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