Braces for adults: a cost comparison guide.

Medically Reviewed by
Dr. Todd Ehrler

DDS, MS

Table of Contents

  1. Average Cost
  2. Oral Health & Price
  3. Keep Costs Down
  4. Innovative Options
  5. References

Straightening misaligned teeth isn’t just for kids. Braces for adults come with big benefits, including better oral health and a more compelling smile.

Braces for adults can also come with a hefty price tag, especially if your oral health issues are significant and you need to wear the devices for a long time.

What's the average cost of braces?

It's reasonable for consumers to ask for price estimates before they commit to a purchase. Unfortunately, it can be difficult for you to find out just how much your enhanced smile might cost.

On average, the American Dental Association says, braces for adults cost $5,100 to $7,045. A huge range like this makes budgeting tough. Should you set aside a few hundred dollars each month? Or will you need to save thousands to pay for care? It's difficult to know.

The provider you choose could add to the confusion. Experts say some orthodontists tack on extra fees for certain services, such as:

  • Initial visits ($100 to $200).
  • Dental x-rays ($10 to $250).
  • Retainers ($200 to $1,000 for the originals and $100 to $500 for replacements).

Visit an orthodontist for a consultation, and you're likely to leave with a ballpark idea of what your new smile will cost. But since few doctors publish finite charts with costs clearly defined, it's tough for consumers to compare one doctor to another.

You'd need multiple visits to different doctors to get a clear picture of costs. This process can be incredibly time-consuming and just not realistic for most people.

Your oral health and your price.

Orthodontists say that costs are deeply dependent on the correction severity your smile requires. Minor corrections might cost just $2,000, but major issues could cost $9,000 or more.

Severe dental issues include:

  • Significant crowding, which is often caused by a narrow jaw.
  • Impacted teeth.
  • large overbite or underbite.
  • Asymmetrical teeth.

If your mouth is touched by problems like this, you might see them when you look in the mirror. You might also find that it's hard for you to brush or floss your teeth without a significant time investment. And you may find that your teeth are sore or hurt.

More significant challenges mean longer treatment times. Your team may need to tackle your issues in stages, moving some teeth so others can take their place. Your team may also need more time to make all of the shifts required to give you the smile you want. All of that added work comes with a higher price.

The team at Value Penguin performed an adult braces cost comparison, and the results are eye-opening:

  • Braces worn for one year: $2,546
  • Braces worn for three years: $7,637
  • Braces worn for four years: $10,183

Look closely, and you'll notice that the costs are somewhat exponential. You'll pay more than triple the price if your braces need to stay on for three years rather than just one.

Keep your costs low by making smart shopping decisions, and with the right technology, you could get the smile you want at a significantly reduced price.

How can you keep braces costs down?

You can't amend how much help your teeth need. If you could, braces wouldn't be required at all! But there are some choices you make when you sign up for braces that could add to or subtract from your bottom line.

Your orthodontist may offer a variety of different types of braces, and some are significantly more expensive than others. Experts say these types of braces come with these price tags:

  • Standard metal braces: $2,500 to $6,500
  • Gold braces: $2,800 to $7,000
  • Ceramic braces: $2,800 to $7,000
  • Lingual braces: $7,000 to $11,000

These braces look very different. Metal and gold braces are shiny, and they're almost impossible to ignore. They sit right on the surface of your teeth, and each time you pull your lips back to smile or talk, they catch the light.

Ceramic braces are the same color as your teeth, so they are slightly harder to see. The metal wire that connects each bracket can shimmer in the sun, but few people may notice the brackets themselves unless they are quite close to you.

Lingual braces also use brackets, but those are glued to the back of your teeth. No one may see these devices at all, but they may notice a difference in the way you talk. You may also have some initial difficulty swallowing with lingual braces.

Choosing the least expensive braces option is one way to cut costs. The less your team spends on raw materials, the smaller the number you will see on your bill each month.

Experts say you can also cut costs by taking good care of your braces. That means:

Following Instructions
Your doctor will tell you how to care for your teeth during treatment. Follow each step carefully.
Keeping Your Teeth Clean
It's hard to brush and floss while wearing braces. But the more you polish your teeth, the better you'll feel.
Handling Your Brackets With Care
Eat abrasive or sticky foods, and your brackets can break or come off. You may have to pay for replacements, and the delay could impact your treatment time.
These may seem like small steps, but they can help you to control how much your braces cost.

Innovative options lower the prices.

Braces are expensive. Even if you take care of the devices carefully, you can expect to pay thousands to get the smile you want. But braces aren't your only choice. You can pick a different type of smile correction and get the results you want while saving money.

Clear aligners sit on the teeth like braces do, but they come off for easy cleaning. As your teeth move, you apply new trays to keep the process going. And companies like Byte use vibrations to speed up bone regrowth, so your adjustments happen even faster.

Aligners are sophisticated, but they come from relatively simple raw materials. That means your team can pass cost savings to you and reduce how much you must pay for the smile you want.

Aligner companies can also use telemedicine techniques to cut the cost even more. The whole process is still overseen by a doctor, but you won’t have in-office visits. Instead, you’ll handle the entire process from home. When your doctor doesn't need to invest in an office, your price is reduced dramatically.

These aligners don’t work for everyone who wants them. If you have severe smile issues, you may need traditional braces. Aligner companies will have you take molds of your teeth to determine if they can help you achieve the smile you want. Aligners work for most people who need mild to moderate corrections.

Some versions of doctor-supervised, at-home aligners can straighten teeth for about $2,000. That's a significant savings over braces, and this could be just the good news you were hoping for.

References.

How to Save on Braces. (September 2019). U.S. News and World Report.

How Much Do Braces Cost? CostHelper.

The Average Cost of Braces. (December 2019). Value Penguin.

Cost of Braces—Find the One That Suits You. (December 2018). Southern Smiles.

How Much Do Braces for Adults Cost? Brier Creek Orthodontics.

How Much Do Braces Cost? (December 2018). Westwood Dental.


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