Dental Braces: Types, Treatment Plan, Costs & Care
What are Dental Braces?
Braces are orthodontic devices that straighten crooked and misaligned teeth with a system of metal brackets and wires.
When people think of orthodontics, braces are typically the first thing to come to mind. Dental braces are used for aesthetic and functional reasons, not only to correct a patient’s smile but also to realign their jaw.
Braces are available for people of all ages, although children between 10 and 14 are the most common age group to undergo treatment.
Types of Braces
There are many different types and over a hundred brands of braces to choose from.
For adults, there are more aesthetic options available for those who don’t want visible metal braces. For example, clear ceramic braces mirror the size and shape of metal braces but are actually made of porcelain.
Common types of dental braces include:
Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are the most effective and affordable orthodontic treatment option.
They fix overcrowding, align the teeth, and reposition the jaw. An orthodontist easily moves the teeth in small increments during routine check-ups. For children and teens, traditional braces are the most popular option. Options for adults are also available if they do not mind visible metal brackets.
Traditional metal braces may cost between $3,000 and $6,000.
Clear braces, also called ceramic or invisible braces, are the same size and shape as traditional braces and serve the same purpose.
The main difference between the two types is that ceramic braces have tooth-colored brackets, which means they blend in with natural teeth and are less noticeable. The rubber bands and elastic components of clear braces are also see-through or white. Invisible braces are ideal for teens and adults.
You can expect to pay a little more for clear or ceramic braces. They may cost between $3,000 and $6,000.
Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are another popular “invisible” orthodontic treatment option. They are minimally invasive and removable.
Patients must wear each custom aligner for up to two weeks.
With clear aligners, teeth move a fraction of a millimeter at a time and require fewer in-office visits. Aligners are a popular option for teens and adults, especially if their teeth alignment issues are less severe.
Clear aligners vary widely in cost depending on the brand and the amount of tooth movement necessary. The cost of the aligners ranges between $3,000 to $6,000.
Average Costs and Insurance Coverage
The following are general price ranges for the options we’ve discussed in this article:
Traditional metal braces — $3,000 - $6,000
Ceramic braces — $6,000 - $6,000
Clear aligners — $3,000 to $6,000
Some Dental insurance companies have orthodontic benefits that may reduce the average cost of braces. Dental insurance for braces is required for children in some states. For adults, however, insurance might not cover much of the cost.
Policies vary between individuals and insurers, so check with your provider to be sure how much coverage you’re offered.