Planning for the cost of braces

What is the greatest benefit of braces?  Straighter teeth?  An improved smile?  Although these are among the benefits of braces, the greatest benefit is a healthier mouth.  When teeth are straight, they work better.  This is not surprising, really.  Imagine a mouth with one or more of the following issues: crooked teeth, crowding, overbite, crossbite, spacing.  When problems like these are present, it can be more difficult for teeth to work together and function properly.  It can also be more difficult to keep teeth clean.

Clearly, braces do far more than deliver a beautiful smile.  Braces are an investment for a lifetime of improved oral and dental health.  They are an investment of time for the wearer and an investment of funds for the person paying the bill.  In all cases, the investment is worthwhile.  If you will be paying the bills associated with braces, you may be relieved to know that you can plan ahead to some extent.

Treatment costs vary and it is not possible to truly guarantee the exact cost of treatment prior to an initial examination.  The reason for that is simple: each person is different, so each person’s needs are different.  Some cases are simple and straightforward, while others are more complex and require more extensive work.

If you will be paying for braces for a child, it is important to remember that the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist for an initial evaluation no later than age seven.  This is important because it provides you with valuable insight into the condition of your child’s teeth.  However, in the context of paying for braces, it also enables you to begin preparing financially.

If you have dental insurance, you may be counting on that to fund the cost of braces; however, this is a great time to learn more about your policy.  You may find that a certain portion is covered, while the balance is left to you.  Take a look at your policy now so you can begin thinking about filling any gaps; be sure to read the fine print so you will not be taken by surprise about your coverage.  Begin by checking how much of the cost associated with braces will be covered by insurance.  Look into other issues, such as your deductible and whether any follow-up care is also covered.

A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or other discretionary fund for health-related expenses can also be extremely useful in this situation.  If you have an FSA, do you understand how it works?  If not, this would be an excellent time to learn more about it.  If you do not have one, you could talk with your health insurance provider to find out whether you are eligible for one and determine if it would be a worthwhile option for you.

There are other options, as well.  Orthobanc is a service that deducts your payments, on a monthly basis, from your checking or savings account or your credit card.  This option is interest free, which makes it especially appealing for many people.  In addition, CareCredit is a financing option; it is important to note that prior approval is required if you choose to go this route.

At Owl Orthodontics, we understand that paying for braces can be challenging.  That’s why we do our best to help you sort through it to maximize your benefits and put your coverage to the best possible use.

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