A common concern for parents is how much braces cost. Many parents at some point have to come to terms with the cost of straightening and aligning their children’s teeth. However, braces are no longer just for children. Around in million people in the United States who wear braces are over the age of 18. Some adults choose braces because their own parents could not afford them. Whatever the reason, these alignment issues, if left untreated, can result in more serious problems including gum disease, tooth decay, and earache.
Braces are used to straighten, align, and correct the positioning of teeth by applying a steady amount of pressure over an extended period of time. This period of time is typically from one to three years, depending on the extent of the problems being addressed. Braces are usually made of wires, bands, and brackets that are bonded to the teeth. Some milder tooth alignment problems can be addresses with a removable retainer.
The sight of a teenager with braces is fairly common. Not so when it comes to adults, however. Many adults forego the idea of braces because they think it just doesn’t look right. Or, they think braces are for kids. In fact, there are many products now that are made specifically for adults. Braces cost for adults is higher than for children because adults tend to ask for braces that are not as visible. Typical metal braces cost thousands of dollars more than the usual types of braces chosen by adults. These choices include concealed, clear ceramic, and invisible braces.
One thing that adult braces have in common is that they are smaller and less noticeable. Adults prefer these because of the general conception that braces give an adult an immature appearance. Lingual or concealed braces use brackets that attached behind the teeth to conceal them from view. Clear ceramic braces are used on the front of the teeth, but they are the same color as the teeth, making them much more difficult to notice. Although they might look appealing, they have a higher tendency to break than metal braces. Invisible braces are actually customized clear removable aligners. Because they are removable, they do not trap food particles and plaque as do metal braces. They are worn for about fourteen days, except when they are removed for brushing, flossing, and eating. For adults with only mild spacing problems, this can be an attractive alternative.
Dental insurance usually pays up to a set amount for braces, and usually only cover patients who are 18 years and younger. This coverage is also usually only once per patient. Braces cost with insurance is about $2500 on average, which is the remainder of the cost after the insurance company contribution of roughly $2000. For adults, dental insurance usually does not cover braces, although they might cover office visits and X-rays.
Some employers offer an alternative health plan called a flexible spending account. These accounts allow employees to set aside some of their paycheck to pay for certain medical expenses. The employee submits a receipt for a qualifying medical expense to the account for reimbursement. Orthodontic procedures like braces are usually covered by these accounts.
Braces cost a lot of money. Making this investment in your smile should be done wisely. Straight and healthy teeth have unexpected health benefits. Reducing instances of gum disease and tooth decay is beneficial to the body’s overall health. Teeth malformations and bite problems can also cause persistent ear aches and headaches. Braces might not be for everyone, but they are not just for children. More adults are investing in their own smiles with surprisingly positive results.