How Much Do Children’s Braces Cost?

Last Updated on April 15, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Getting braces is an important investment in a child’s dental health, smile aesthetics, and self-confidence. But orthodontic treatment also represents a significant cost that families must plan for. On average, parents can expect to spend $3,000 to $7,000 or more on braces for their child, depending on the extent of correction needed and the type of braces selected.

This comprehensive guide covers the common children’s braces options and associated pricing, key cost factors, initial consultation and exam fees, insurance and financing options to offset expenses, tips for keeping treatment affordable, long-term retainer maintenance, and why quality orthodontic care is a priority, even at a premium.

How Much Do Children’s Braces Cost?

There are several main types of orthodontic braces for children, each coming in at different average price points:

  • Metal braces – The most common and affordable option, with stainless steel brackets bonded to teeth. Total treatment costs typically range from $3,000 to $5,000.
  • Ceramic braces – More discreet tooth-colored or clear ceramic brackets that blend in more than metal. Total treatment runs $4,000 to $8,000.
  • Lingual braces – The brackets are bonded to the backs of teeth making them virtually invisible but can impact speech. $8,000 to $10,000 total.
  • Clear aligners – Custom formed plastic trays like Invisalign that gradually shift teeth. Limitations apply for children. $4,000 to $7,400 total.
  • Gold-plated braces – Offering cosmetic metal upgrades for added style. Around $6,000 to $10,000 total.
  • Self-ligating braces – Advanced brackets that slide to guide wires with less friction. $4,000 to $8,000 total.

More specialized orthodontic approaches also exist for particular situations.

According to Children’s Dental FunZone, the average cost of braces for kids is between $3,000 and $7,000. However, the cost can be higher or lower depending on the type of braces chosen. For example, standard metal braces are generally the most affordable option, while ceramic braces, lingual braces, and Invisalign Teen can cost significantly more.

Infinity Smiles provides a breakdown of the cost of different types of braces for children in the UK, with metal braces costing approximately £1,200-£3,000, ceramic braces costing £2,000-£5,500, lingual braces costing £2,000-£8,000, and Invisalign costing £2,500-£5,000.

Pezoldt Orthodontics notes that the average cost of braces for kids is lower than the average cost for adults, and getting braces for children now can save money in the long run. They also mention that some children may be good candidates for clear braces, which can be slightly more affordable than metal braces.

Diamond Braces provides a detailed breakdown of the cost of braces for children and adults, with the average cost for children being between $4,685 to $6,500. They also note that adult braces tend to cost more due to the difficulty of moving adult teeth, and that less visible orthodontic treatment options tend to be more expensive.

What Factors Influence Braces Pricing?

Several elements significantly sway the total price:

  • The extent of correction needed – Simple alignment fixes or spacing closure cases cost less than complex multi-year treatment plans to correct severe misalignments.
  • Type of braces – Premium ceramic, gold, or lingual braces add cost over basic metal. Self-ligating brackets fall in the middle.
  • Estimated treatment length – Additional time under care in braces increases costs through more adjustment visits, supplies, and extended office fees.
  • Orthodontist skill level – Board-certified orthodontists and specialists often justifiably charge 20-30% more than general dentists due to advanced expertise.
  • Geographic location – Braces costs in major metropolitan areas are typically more expensive given higher rents and labor costs.
  • Retainers – Critical for holding correction progress, but at added cost of $150 to $300 per retainer set. Replacement retainers add up over time.

Initial Orthodontic Appointment Costs

Braces for KidsThe first orthodontic consultation often costs around $100 to $250 out-of-pocket and involves:

  • Thorough clinical examination of the teeth, jaw alignment, and bite function by the orthodontist.
  • Review of pertinent medical history, dental records, and family predispositions that may impact treatment.
  • Intraoral photographs and digital scans or x-rays to clearly visualize the internal alignment needs from all angles.
  • Discussion of braces options and expected treatment length, along with costs based on customized diagnosis.

This appointment provides the essential data the orthodontist requires to architect a tailored treatment plan addressing the child’s specific orthodontic needs.

Dental Insurance and Braces Financing Options

Dental insurance can offset some costs but often has limited or no orthodontic coverage depending on the plan terms. Still expect significant out-of-pocket expenses even with insurance.

Payment plans offered through orthodontic offices allow financing braces costs over 12 to 24 months. Zero interest is common if paying on schedule.

Medical credit cards like CareCredit provide 6 to 24 month zero APR financing for larger healthcare expenses like braces if approved. Useful when uninsured.

Specialized savings plans through dental insurers allow pre-tax money to be set aside monthly in dedicated accounts to pay for future procedures like braces.

Tips for Keeping Braces Costs Affordable

To make braces more economically accessible for families, consider these money-saving options:

  • Dental school orthodontic clinics often offer braces and aligners at a discount in exchange for providing student training experiences.
  • Ask about cash payment or multi-child discounts at orthodontic offices. Avoiding financing often earns 10%+ discounts.
  • Check if offices offer sliding-scale adjustments or extended payment plans to spread costs over time.
  • Prioritize basic metal braces over more costly ceramic or hidden lingual braces whenever feasible.
  • Consult your family dentist first as braces through general dentists often cost noticeably less than seeing a dedicated orthodontic specialist.

You might also like our articles about the cost of braces removal, adult braces, or retainers.

Retainers and Post-Braces Care

Retainers are essential for maintaining straight teeth and bite alignment results after braces are removed. Replacement retainers, repair costs, and ongoing orthodontic checkups to monitor progress ensure teeth stay in ideal position for years to come. Skipping this phase risks teeth gradually shifting back towards original misalignments.

Final Words

While the average cost of children’s braces ranges from $3,000 to $7,000, the long-term benefits of a healthier, properly aligned, and aesthetically appealing smile outweighs the investment over time.

Seek professional guidance on the best early intervention or correction approach tailored for your child’s situation. With insurance coverage, financing plans, smart shopping, and diligent oral hygiene habits, braces can positively shape your child’s smile, dental health, and self-image for life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best age to get braces for a child?

The ideal age for braces is between 8 to 14 years old while permanent teeth are still developing and facial growth is ongoing. Early intervention prevents more invasive correction later.

Around ages 10-12 tends to be the prime time for braces as most permanent teeth have erupted. However, consulting an orthodontist as early as age 7 helps detect any emerging alignment or jaw growth issues in time for effective braces treatment. Adult braces are also an option but take longer.

Is 15 too late for braces?

Getting braces at age 15 is not too late, though earlier is ideal. Around ages 10-13 tends to be prime time for braces as it allows orthodontists to guide the alignment and spacing of permanent teeth as they come in.

However, provided a child has mostly all permanent teeth by 15, braces can successfully improve alignment, appearance, and bite function. Later braces may just involve slightly longer treatment with good compliance. Adults even in their 60s can benefit from braces. Regular orthodontic care remains important into the late teens.

Is having braces for 5 years bad?

Requiring braces for 5 years does not negatively impact dental health. In some complex misalignment cases, teeth and jaws simply require extensive gradual adjustment over several years to properly realign everything.

As long as good oral hygiene is maintained with diligent brushing and flossing around braces, extended treatment should not harm teeth or gums. Patience is key as the orthodontist incrementally adjusts things into optimal position. The long-term results are worth the time commitment.

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