spend the time and money to straighten your teeth, here are
some things you should know.
you don't already have an orthodontist, get
recommendations from friends or your regular dentist.
at least two opinions, if possible, as a "sanity
check." Orthodontists can vary in their treatment
approach. If you don't like what one ortho says, get
more opinions until you reach a consensus of opinion --
especially if extractions or jaw surgery may be
involved. Consultations are usually free.
much do braces cost? Typically, around $5,000 (US dollars)
for braces on upper and lower teeth for two years of
treatment. This cost may be slightly lower or higher,
depending on where you live.
you can't afford braces from a private orthodontist,
search the dental schools in your area. Many times, they
provide low-cost orthodontic care. The orthodontists in
training are under the watchful eye of their experienced
professors, who are often orthodontists in private
Sometimes dental chains
offer lower prices for orthodontic work, but you will be
limited to their list of dentists.
Some discount dental plans
offer lower prices on orthodontic work (it cannot be in
progress; usually only new work is covered). One example
of such a plan is DentalPlans.com, whose link is on the
righthand side of this page. You are usually limited to
their list of dentists.
your health plan (or your spouse's) to see if any of the
treatment will be covered. Note that once you begin
orthodontic treatment, many plans will not cover
you! They only cover treatment that is not already
in progress! So get your insurance straightened out before
you begin! If you need any type of jaw surgery, this
is usually covered under your medical insurance, not
your dental insurance.
realistic about your own expectations, and the impact of
braces in your daily life. Are you ready to have them in
your mouth and deal with them 24/7?
to Ask the Orthodontist
Invisalign or other "invisible" braces work for me? If
I have ceramic braces? On just uppers, or both uppers and
Do you treat with Damon brackets?
(Often these are a good alternative if extractions might
be necessary. Sometimes by using Damon-type brackets,
extractions can be avoided).
(If you're interested in
braces behind the teeth) Do you do lingual brackets ("iBraces")?
I need metal braces? On the uppers, lowers, or both?
I need to use rubber bands to correct my bite?
I need headgear or other appliances? If so, how long will
I need to wear it, and how many hours per day? When, in
the treatment process, would the headgear be introduced?
any teeth need to be extracted?
the treatment change my facial profile in any way? If so,
I need jaw surgery? If so, when (before or after?) Where
would the surgery be done?
braces only straighten my teeth, or will they also improve
long (how many months/years) will the total treatment
often will I need to come to your office for adjustments?
What do the adjustments entail?
If I had a poking wire, could
I just call and then drop in to get it clipped, or do I need
to make an appointment for that?
is the total cost? Do you accept insurance? How is the
cost broken down? What is your payment plan?
much pain and discomfort will I be in?
Does the cost of my braces
also include my retainers after treatment is finished? What
type of retainers do you typically give your patients --
Hawley, Essix, or bonded?