Millions of American children and adults have braces applied to correct crooked teeth, unsightly spaces, misalignment issues and other dental problems that adversely affect oral health, providing them with a healthy and attractive smile. One of the first questions that people ask when considering braces is how much do they cost? Although the cost of braces can vary considerably between local orthodontists and from city to city, or whether offices are located in cities or rural areas, there is a national average on prices that can be considered.
The bulky and unsightly metal braces that used to be the norm are the image usually conjured up when people think of metal braces. These are the braces that earned wearers the name “metal mouth” a few decades ago, which were uncomfortable to wear, often led to cut lips and were terribly unattractive.
However, orthodontic technology has come a long way and the materials used are much less noticeable, more comfortable and safer for the mouth. Today, metal braces are easier to apply and smaller than their traditional counterparts. Although metal braces are still more noticeable than other types of braces and continue to utilize stainless steel metal wires and rubber bands to apply pressure to teeth, they are the least expensive option at $3,000 to $7,000 on average.
If you are looking for a less noticeable option, ceramic braces are a good choice. Either white metal or clear elastic bindings are used to blend ceramic braces in with the natural color of the teeth.
However, ceramic braces are more time consuming to install, require more maintenance, and are more fragile making them susceptible to chipping and cracking than metal braces. They are also more expensive, having an average cost of between $4,000 and $8,000.
The name of this type of brace comes from it being placed on the tongue, or lingual, side of the teeth. Because lingual braces are bonded to the backside of teeth, they are nearly invisible. This option is not recommended for people who have small teeth because they interfere with the movement of the tongue, causing problems with speech. They also require installation by a more skilled orthodontist which increases the price over the previous two options. Expect to pay an average of between $8,000 and $10,000 for lingual braces.
People with minor teeth alignment problems can choose to have invisible braces applied with the main brand being Invisalign manufactured by the company Align Technology. Invisible braces use plastic covers formed to your teeth which can be easily removed to eat, brush and floss. Dentist visits are also less required with this option. The average cost of invisible braces falls between $4,000 and $8,000.