Whether you’re buying braces for you or your child, chances are you’ve found that braces can be very expensive. If you need braces, there are ways to save money. In fact, your child may even be able to get braces for free. Let’s take a closer look at how to save money on braces.
Get Early Treatment
You want to get treatment for your children as soon as possible. The earlier you address the problem, the easier it will be to fix. In other words, your child will need fewer adjustments and will need to wear the braces for a shorter length of time (which sometimes means a lower price). If you’re doing the tray-style braces (like Invisalign), earlier treatment may reduce the number of trays needed.
Most dentists allow for free orthodontic consultations, so it doesn't hurt to make an appointment early to see what they say if you suspect your child will need braces. We started with consultations when my boys were young and just kept an eye on their progress. My younger son ended up getting braces, while my older son managed to escape without getting them.
Believe it or not, one dentist may be a lot cheaper than another dentist across town. Also, don’t be afraid to travel to a larger city where there are more options. The more options you have, the better price you can get. You also want to compare the prices between different types of braces.
Be sure to get references from your friends too. In the long run, the more expensive option from the orthodontic specialist may end up cheaper than the cheaper option if they don't do the job correctly the first time. We had friends who ended up leaving their initial orthodontist due to shoddy service and had to repay for treatments with another dentist.
You can also look into treatment alternatives such as Smile Direct Club which markets itself as a cheaper option than traditional braces and Invisalign.
Ask About Payment Plans
Some dental offices offer payment plans. This can make it more affordable to get braces. Many dental offices will recommend that you get a Care Credit account, which allows you to make payments with zero interest for a certain number of months. Be sure to read the fine print on all credit offers to make sure you’re not paying unnecessary fees or interest.
Get a Payment Discount
If you pay upfront, you may be able to score a discount. A number of dental offices that offer payment plans may give an incentive to save a percentage off your bill by paying at the time of service. This can save 10-20% off your bill, which is a great deal.
Sometimes you can also get a discount for paying up front with cash instead of a debit card. If you plan on paying with your HSA or FSA funds, you might want to look into paying cash up front and then getting reimbursed by the HSA if you can save a significant amount of money.
Also, if you do end up paying with your HSA or FSA, you'll save money on the cost of the income taxes that you would have paid on that money. If you're in the highest tax bracket, that's a savings of 37% (and around 22-24% savings for the average American).
See If Free Braces Are an Option
If you have Medicaid for your children, your children may qualify for free braces. Check with your provider to see what’s available.
Some regular dental insurance plans may also cover braces (or a portion of braces) for children when it is deemed a medical necessity. Our dental insurances has negotiated rates with the orthodontist and pays $2,000 per child for braces over their lifetime.
Consider Getting Braces at a Dental School
Last, but not least, another way to save on braces is to get the work done at a dental school. These students need the experience and you’ll save a lot of money. Don’t worry. The work is supervised by medical professionals. Some have paid as little as 25% of what a regular dentist would charge.
Braces can be very expensive, but there are ways to save money. Whether you visit a dental school or get a discount for paying at the time of treatment, you can save money. Your kids may even be able to get braces for free. Check with your medical insurance and dental insurance provider to see what’s covered.