Last Updated on January 4, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

If you or your child needs braces, one of the first questions that comes to mind is likely – how much do braces cost? The prices of this orthodontic treatment can vary based on the type of braces you choose, your insurance coverage, treatment length, and other factors.

In this guide, we’ll break down the most important considerations that impact the cost of braces so you can budget and plan for this important investment in your smile.

We’ll provide average braces prices with and without insurance, look at cost differences for types like traditional metal, ceramic, lingual, and Invisalign, and give tips for saving money. Read on for the full scoop on braces costs.

Key Takeaways

  • The price of braces often ranges from $3,000-$7,000 on average.
  • Metal braces are the most affordable while clear ceramic, lingual, or Invisalign cost more.
  • Braces insurance lowers out-of-pocket costs but doesn’t cover the cost in full.
  • Shop orthodontists for quotes and use payment plans to spread payments.
  • Moving teeth faster with Damon braces may reduce total treatment time.
  • Adults and complex cases cost more for treatment.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

The average cost of braces in the U.S. ranges from $3,000 to $7,000 depending on your specific orthodontics needs. According to the American Dental Association, the average cost of braces is around $5,000. Here are some quick braces pricing facts:

  • Metal braces – The most common type, costs $3,000-$6,000 on average
  • Ceramic braces – More discreet but costs more, $4,000-$8,000 on average
  • Lingual braces – Placed behind teeth, averages $8,000-$10,000
  • Invisalign – Clear aligners, averages $4,000-$7,500

Keep in mind that your total braces cost depends on the treatment length needed, which is determined by your specific case. The more complex the required tooth movements, the longer the treatment takes. Additional factors that impact braces pricing are covered next.

Reported Prices for Braces

Source Metal Braces Ceramic Braces Lingual Braces Invisalign
GoodRx $3,000-$7,000 $4,000-$8,000 $5,000-$13,000 N/A
Healthline $3,000-$7,500 $4,000-$8,500 N/A $4,000-$7,400
Oral-B $3,000-$7,000 $4,000-$8,000 $8,000-$10,000 N/A
ValuePenguin $2,750-$7,000 $3,000-$6,500 $6,500-$11,500 $3,250-$8,250
BraceSetters $3,000 – $7,000 $4,000 – $8,500 N/A $4,000 – $8,000

Factors That Influence the Cost of Braces

Many variables affect what you’ll pay for braces depending on your needs and orthodontist. The main factors that influence the price include:

  • Type of braces – Metal is the most affordable. Ceramic, lingual, and Invisalign cost more.
  • How much straightening is required – Minor tooth adjustment is cheaper than full realignment.
  • Treatment length – More time in braces equals a higher total cost. The average is 18-24 months.
  • Type of orthodontist – Specialists charge more than general dentists offering braces.
  • Age of patient – Adult and teen braces tend to cost more than child braces.
  • Location – Braces cost more in metro areas than in rural areas.
  • Insurance coverage – Out-of-pocket costs are higher if you lack orthodontic insurance.

The typical cost of braces ranges from $3,000 on the low end for a quick, simple case, up to $10,000 or more for very involved adult braces cases requiring specialized orthodontists. Getting multiple cost estimates is recommended.

Average Traditional Metal Braces Cost With Insurance

Traditional braces made of metal are the most common and affordable treatment option. With dental insurance coverage, your out-of-pocket cost for metal braces averages $1,500-$3,000 based on these estimates:

  • Total treatment cost – $5,000 – $6,000 on average
  • Insurance coverage – 50% to 70% of costs on average
  • Your copay – $1,500 to $3,000 total

Many dental insurance plans cover 50% to 70% of orthodontic treatment up to an annual maximum benefit, but this depends on your insurance provider. For example, if braces cost $5,000 total and your plan covers $3,500 (70%) of ortho cost annually, you would pay about $1,500 out-of-pocket.

Average Cost of Metal Braces Without Insurance

If you don’t have orthodontic insurance, the cost of metal braces averages $3,500 to $8,000 out-of-pocket. Here are typical price ranges:

  • Mild to moderate treatment – $3,000 to $4,000
  • Comprehensive treatment – $5,000 to $6,000
  • Complex adult cases – $6,000 to $8,000

Since metal braces are already the most economical type, going without insurance doesn’t add hugely to the cost in many cases. But any insurance coverage still saves you money.

You might also like our articles about the cost of braces removal, crown lengthening, or fixing a teeth gap.

Do Dental Insurance Plans Cover Braces?

Many dental insurance plans include orthodontic coverage, but the benefits vary greatly. Here are some common braces coverage details:

  • May only cover children up to age 19
  • Lifetime maximum benefits of $1,000-$3,500
  • 50% to 70% coinsurance of ortho cost
  • Requires 12+ month waiting period
  • Requires treatment be “medically necessary”

Always call your insurer and read your benefits’ fine print details before budgeting for braces. Some plans offer minimal or no ortho coverage for adults.

Ceramic Braces Cost

Ceramic braces are a more discrete braces option that blend in better with natural tooth color but come at a higher price. Typical costs:

  • Ceramic braces without insurance – $4,000 to $8,000
  • Ceramic braces with insurance – $2,500 to $5,000 out-of-pocket

The nearly invisible brackets make ceramic a popular choice despite the added cost. Clear elastic ties can also make metals braces much less noticeable for those on a budget.

Lingual Braces Cost

Lingual braces attach to the backs of teeth so they are hidden from view. They are a prime choice for appearance-conscious adults but are hard to get used to and require expert skill to install. Usual costs are:

  • Lingual braces without insurance – $8,000 to $10,000
  • Lingual braces with insurance – $4,000 to $6,000 out-of-pocket

Only a small percentage of orthodontists offer lingual braces due to the added difficulty and training required. The price reflects the level of expertise and customization needed.

Invisalign Cost

Invisalign consists of clear plastic aligners that straighten teeth more discreetly. Invisalign pricing includes:

  • Invisalign without insurance – $4,000 to $7,500
  • Invisalign with insurance – $2,500 to $5,000 out-of-pocket

Keep in mind that Invisalign treatment often takes a bit longer than braces. Additional aligner trays, attachments, elastics, and ongoing adjustments can increase the total investment over time, especially for complex cases.

Does Orthodontic Insurance Cover the Full Cost of Braces?

Colored BracesOrthodontic insurance plans can cover a significant portion of braces costs, but few (if any) offer 100% coverage. Here’s why:

  • Lifetime limits – Most orthodontic insurance caps benefits at $1,000-$3,500 total.
  • Yearly limits – Benefits are restricted to a percentage of the cost per year, requiring care over multiple years.
  • Copays – Insurance covers an average of 50%-70% of the total fees. You pay the remainder.
  • Limits on adults – Many plans only offer child ortho benefits up to age 19.

Any amount of ortho insurance protection helps reduce your cost. Be sure to closely assess coverage and restrictions when selecting a plan.

Braces Payment Plan Options

If you need to pay for braces out-of-pocket, many orthodontists offer in-house payment plans at little to no interest. Typical options include:

  • Apply any insurance payments to the balance
  • Pay a larger down payment upfront to reduce monthly installments
  • 0% APR payment plans with fixed monthly payments as low as $100-$300 depending on your balance
  • Financing through dental lending partners like Springstone, LendingClub, and CareCredit
  • Using tax-free savings plans like FSAs or HSAs to cover some costs
  • Applying for credit cards with12-18 month 0% intro APR offers
  • Obtaining personal loans or lines of credit at your bank

Payment plans lasting 12-24 months allow you to spread the braces expense over time interest-free in many cases.

Cost Saving Tips for Braces

Here are some creative ways to keep your orthodontic treatment more affordable:

  • Seek free consultations and second opinions to find the best total value.
  • Ask about any discounts for paying the total upfront.
  • Inquire about discounts for multiple family members receiving treatment.
  • Have treatment now versus delaying as prices continue to rise 5% or more annually.
  • Consider dental schools that offer braces at discounted rates.
  • Move appointments later in the day or week when orthodontists are less busy.
  • Take good care of your braces to avoid repair costs for broken wires and brackets.
  • Invest in dental insurance for your child early on since ortho coverage often ends at age 19.

With smart shopping and timing, you can keep your braces price as low as possible while achieving a healthier, straighter, more confident smile!

Final Words

While not inexpensive, braces provide a lifetime of benefits. And you have many options to keep the cost manageable. Consults with orthodontists help detail the exact investment required for your or your child’s smile.

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