Being told your child could benefit from braces can be an overwhelming experience. Suddenly you’re faced with an unknown orthodontic journey, one that you’re likely to have many questions and concerns about. Of those, one of the most common we hear as orthodontists is: exactly how much will these brace stacks of 100 dollar bills in a piles end up costing?

Unfortunately, that’s not a question we can give you a definitive answer for, since there’s no one-size-fits-all price for treatment. In general, traditional braces treatment will range from around $2500 to $7500, depending on how complex the case is along with several other factors. Here at Dillehay Orthodontics, we recognize that seeing those kinds of numbers in black and white can cause a little bit of panic to set in, and in an effort to relieve some of that anxiety, we’ve put together this guide to what goes into orthodontic treatment, what your payment options are, and how braces are an undeniably worthwhile investment!

What to factor in from the beginning

Patients in need of braces will undergo an initial diagnosis and orthodontic consultation. These consultations will typically include things like initial x-rays, photographs, and an evaluation by your orthodontist. This evaluation will focus on one of the most important factors in pricing orthodontic treatment – the type of braces that will be worn by the patient. Dillehay Orthodontics offers traditional metal braces, self-ligating braces, ceramic braces, lingual braces, and Invisalign aligners. Each of these options will have their own price point, determined by the particulars of the patient’s case.

Some of the other factors to consider when pricing orthodontic treatment are the severity of misalignment, the complexity of the case, and the expected length of treatment. Some mouths are simply more straightforward than others!

Where to start

young girl with braces and glasses smiling, making a heart with her hands

Before making any appointments for orthodontic treatment, your first step should be checking in with your insurance provider. In general, children under 18 will be eligible for coverage for braces and other orthodontic treatments, or sometimes partial coverage. Sadly, many dental plans don’t cover the cost of braces for anyone over 18, so if you have a child close to that threshold, it’s worth being aware that the coverage clock could be ticking.

If your provider does cover the cost of braces, it’s pretty imperative to try and stick with the same dental insurance plan throughout the course of treatment. Insurance companies will normally pay their amount incrementally as treatment progresses, rather than a set amount up front. If braces have already been applied or treatment has already begun before the effective date of your policy, you may find that these costs aren’t covered. However, many plans will also offer prorated benefits for any remaining treatment if you or your child do have pre-existing orthodontic work.

Even if your health insurance does cover the cost of orthodontic treatment, be sure and inquire about the percentage they’re agreeing to cover, and whether or not there will be a lifetime maximum to consider. Some dental insurance plans, for example, will only cover a certain percentage and will have a lifetime maximum limit that’s less than the total cost you’re looking at. If you have a similar plan, you may need to make arrangements for the amount you’ll owe out of pocket before moving forward with any actual treatment.

Tax deductions, FSAs, and HSAs – how to make them work for you

Something not many people realize is that dental healthcare costs are tax deductible as long as they’ve been deemed as medically necessary. While elective treatments such as cosmetic teeth whitening or veneers wouldn’t apply to this, braces treatment actually can be. Misaligned teeth or jaws go beyond appearance and may cause lasting dental issues if not treated. As such, this treatment can be eligible for tax deductions. Make a note, however, that these costs will need to exceed a specific amount before they can be deducted, so be sure you’re keeping track of every expense related to you or your child’s orthodontic treatment!

More specific information on tax deductible orthodontic treatments can be found on this IRS webpage.

Moving past taxes and dental insurance, there are other options such as a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account. Through either your FSA or HSA, you can enter a predetermined amount of pre-tax dollars to cover any orthodontic treatment you’re considering. Reimbursement may also be applied for through these two programs.

Financing braces with Dillehay Orthodontics

As mentioned above, the cost of orthodontic treatment will vary depending on the individual needs and treatment plan of each patient. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will always discuss with you the cost of your specific treatment and each available payment plan option for it, so that you have all the information you need to make the best possible choice for you and your family.

We don’t want anyone to miss out on the smile of their dreams, and we’ll work with you to create a payment plan that fits your budget, so you’ll know what to expect before treatment even begins. And because we want it to be as easy as possible for you to have access to the best orthodontic care Wichita has to offer, we also accept most major credit cards and insurance plans.

Why it’s worth it

close up detail of an Invisalign tray

It’s understandable to experience a little bit of sticker shock when you’re budgeting for braces. However, it’s an investment that will last a lifetime. Studies have shown that a healthy, straight smile increases self-confidence, improves oral health overall, and also leads to greater success with personal relationships and even finances!

Without orthodontic treatment, many dental problems can worsen, leading to more intensive dental or medical care down the line. Crooked and crowded teeth can be difficult to clean and care for. A “bad bite” can cause issues like abnormal wearing of the surfaces of the teeth, difficulty chewing or speaking, and excessive stress on the surrounding bone and gum tissue. These issues can affect your quality of life.

Health concerns aside, research consistently shows that your smile is one of the very first things people notice about you. Crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw can lead to a real crisis of self-confidence, particularly among children and teens. Don’t underestimate the power a beautiful, bright smile has when it’s staring back at you from the mirror!

At the end of the day, orthodontic treatment will pay for itself ten times over in terms of improved oral health, an increase in self-esteem, and a smile you’re proud to show off in any crowd.

Orthodontics don’t have to be overwhelming

Dr. J.K. Dillehay

Our team here at Dillehay Orthodontics is dedicated to helping you on your journey towards a straighter smile by providing the latest in orthodontic treatment and state-of-the-art techniques. We offer individualized treatment plans and aim to make you feel like family from the moment you step through our doors. With three offices in East and West Wichita and Derby, as well as two satellite offices in Arkansas City and Newton, we’re more than prepared to provide a world-class orthodontic experience!

If you’re in the Wichita or the surrounding area, and looking for information about braces treatment you can trust, give us a call today and set up an appointment for a consultation. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have, and take great pride in setting your mind at ease if you’re worrying about any aspect of orthodontic treatment for you or your child. We look forward to seeing your smile!