Why do Braces Cost so Much? What to Know for Your First Purchase

Why do Braces Cost so Much, What to Know for Your First Purchase

Why do Braces Cost so Much? What to Know for Your First Purchase

  • Published Date: 09 Oct 2021
  • Updated Date: 09 Oct 2021
  • Reading Time: 11 min

Over two-thirds of Australians would like to find a way to get straight teeth. Although more people are considering braces, not all are seeking treatment. So, what holds people back from getting braces?

There are many reasons people want to straighten their teeth, from cosmetic reasons to jaw issues. However, there are some barriers to getting braces, including how much braces cost. Many people wonder why braces cost so much.

So, how much are braces? If you are wondering about the price of braces and if there are any alternatives, you are in the right place. Read on to learn everything about why braces cost so much and the alternative options you have to get straight teeth in Australia.

What Are Braces?

Braces help reposition teeth to achieve straight teeth and an aligned bite. Adults and teenagers can get braces. Sometimes people even repeat the treatment later in life if they do not follow care instructions or develop another problem.

Some conditions braces treat include:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Gaps in teeth
  • Underbite
  • Overbite
  • Crooked teeth

They work differently dependable on brace type, but all put pressure on each tooth to move them to the correct positions. You wear them for a specific time and have to follow care instructions to achieve the best results.

Types of Braces Available in Australia

Braces have come a long way since the Egyptians used catgut, and the Romans used fine gold wire to achieve straight teeth. Now there are several different types of traditional braces available in Australia. You may be recommended a specific option or get to choose.

Fixed Metal Braces

When you picture braces, you probably picture traditional metal braces. A dentist will glue metal brackets to each tooth. A wire is connected to each bracket with elastics.

The dentist adjusts metal braces and replaces elastic bands at each appointment to keep your teeth moving into the correct position.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces work similarly to metal braces. However, they are usually less noticeable as they are clear or tooth-coloured. It can take longer to get straight teeth with ceramic braces, and they are less durable.

Lingual Braces

Lingual braces go behind your teeth. These are a good incognito option to get straight teeth. They can take longer than traditional braces and cause more discomfort.

How Much Do Braces Cost in Australia?

The cost of braces in Australia can vary due to several factors. For example, it may take longer if you have a complex case, such as gum disease. It also depends on the duration of your treatment, your dentist, and the types of braces you choose.

Metal braces cost between $6000 to $9000 in Australia. Ceramic braces cost a similar amount, averaging at $6,500 to $9,500. Lingual braces average at $9,500 to $15,000.

There are also additional costs to consider, such as consultation fees, x-rays, and other materials to support your brace care. For example, you may need lingual braces or a retainer after your fixed brace treatment.

Why Do Braces Cost So Much?

Now you can answer the question, how much are braces? So the next question is, why do braces cost so much?

You are not alone if you are surprised at the expense. However, several factors impact braces cost.

Dentist Experience

Specific braces, such as fixed metal braces, are usually fixed by an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a specialised dentist who also has graduate-level training for jaw and teeth alignment.

The same goes for the reputation of your dentist’s surgery. If it is an extensive surgery with an excellent reputation, prices are likely to be higher to reflect the large payroll and demand. It can be tricky to find the balance between finding an experienced dentist and reasonable prices.

However, it is also essential to pick a dentist with a good reputation if you choose to invest in braces. Any mistake could negatively impact your treatment plan and extend it. If you do not need a detailed treatment plan for your case, your braces price may be lower with a cosmetic dentist.

Dentist Location

Another factor that impacts how much braces cost includes the location of your dentist. Rent is higher in cities such as Sydney, so dental prices can also be higher. However, if you go to a dentist in a smaller area or on the city’s outskirts, you may notice a lower braces cost.

Braces Care

It also takes a lot of work to care for braces. There will be added expense if you break a bracket or wire from eating the wrong food or not cleaning correctly. Not caring for your braces can also extend treatment time too.

Length of Treatment

Braces also cost a lot of money because it takes time to straighten your teeth, and you usually need to attend dental appointments to tighten the braces. Research has found that fixed brace treatment lasts on average 19.9 months (Moresca, 2018). If you have a complex case, it will take longer to complete treatment for straight teeth.

Every time you tighten your brace, you pay for the labour and the materials to straighten your teeth. Teeth movement does not happen overnight, and even if you have a mild case, it will take several months of appointments before treatment is complete.

Specialized Treatment

You are also getting specialised treatment with custom-made braces. There is no one size fits all! Your dentist provides a treatment plan and is constantly reassessing it to meet your needs.

Additional Requirements

The cost of braces can also add up because of the extra requirements needed to fulfil treatment. For example, you might have to get multiple x-rays or pay for specific care treatment, such as cleaning materials. Also, you might need to pay for treatments such as tooth removal or fillings before you can get braces.

Brace Materials

There are lots of parts to braces. Traditional braces require frequent adjustment and new materials, such as new rubber bands or wires. These quality materials cost money too, which is factored into why braces cost so much money.

Can You Reduce the Braces Price?

Various factors contribute to braces costing so much money. The top contributing factors to the final costs of braces include:

  • Multiple dental appointments
  • Refitting procedures
  • Additional care devices

You might be wondering if there are ways to reduce your braces price. However, if you choose traditional braces, it is hard to avoid these factors.

It would be best if you had the refitting procedures to ensure your braces continue to move correctly. And you have to see the dentist for these treatments.

If you avoid the additional care devices, such as cleaning devices or retainers, you could be putting your treatment plan and hard work at risk. Your teeth could move again or become damaged from lack of care. You do not want to have to pay the braces cost twice.

Can You Get Braces for Free?

If you are from a low-income family, your child may qualify for ‘Give a Smile.’ This is an organisation where a registered orthodontist on the scheme invites one or more patients a year to receive free braces. There are also some other criteria to be eligible, such as that you are a Health Care or Pension Cardholder.

Does Insurance Cover Braces?

Medicare does not cover orthodontic treatment such as braces. However, if you have an existing health condition such as a cleft palate or it impacts your eating, you can enquire if there is any room for negotiation. Medi

If you have private insurance, you can check your existing policy details. Some plans offer rebates for braces and other orthodontic work. Or they may cover a certain percentage of brace treatment.

Other policies may include it for children under 18 or particular requirements, such as existing medical conditions. Although policies vary and you have to check your coverage, most health insurances let you purchase orthodontics as extra coverage.

Along with checking your policy, check what specific treatments are covered and if they will cover the dentist you choose. Your dentist will be able to confirm whether the treatment they recommend meets your insurance benefits plan.

Often insurance plans will only cover specific brace treatment options, and they may have a yearly or lifetime cap. So be careful not to exceed limits. Track all your payments and keep all documentation for your insurance company.

Save Money While Getting Braces

So, how can you save money while getting braces? Whether you have insurance or not, there are other ways to save. There are several techniques you can try to reduce your braces cost.

Negotiate a Payment Plan

It is worth enquiring whether the orthodontist or dentist has a payment plan to make braces more affordable for you. Standard payment methods dentists use include:

  • In-house payment schedule
  • Open-ended payment
  • Full payment

An in-house payment is when you get a quote for the entire treatment and payment plan. Dividing the amount into instalments can make it much more affordable. And you do not have to worry about added interest.

An open-ended payment is when you know the price for each appointment. It can cause more pressure on the dentist and patient. But for others, it does work if they do not need many appointments, such as for college students who return in the summer for a refit.

Full payment is not a payment plan, but it can get you a discount on the entire treatment if you pay upfront. Be wary of third-party plans as often it can involve a lot of interest, which adds up fast.

Shop Around

Compare the braces costs at different dental providers. You can get quotes and check what is included in each treatment plan. You may be surprised at how much prices vary, especially if you go to a dentist outside of the city centre.

Get a Second Opinion

Do you have any friends who have paid for braces or know orthodontists? It can be helpful to get a second opinion to confirm the brace treatment and plan is a fair price. It can also help to highlight any unnecessary procedures you could cut out.

Use a Dental School

You can also check whether any orthodontic programs near you offer discounted services by students who are still training. Often prices will be significantly lower. However, you also have to accept that they are training, and there may be some mistakes as they learn, which might mean your treatment takes longer.

Ask For a Discount

A discount might also be possible if you are using the dentist you go-to for all your treatments. It is worth asking if they will do a package deal or offer a discount. Sometimes dentists offer treatment discounts for new patients too.

Act Now

The longer you leave braces, the more complex your treatment could be. It is best to take action and begin to look for options before more problems arise. Some dentists offer free consultations to get you started.

Care For Your Braces

Save the nachos, peanut butter, chewing gum, and other foods for when your braces come off. It will be worth the wait.

If you do not take proper care of your braces, it is easy for them to break. It can also cause delays to treatment, as teeth will not move as they are supposed to, and they can even move into worse positions.

Also, focus on your oral hygiene. Braces can increase the chance of plaque build-up and tooth decay, especially if patients do not follow oral care instructions (Ireland et al., 2013).

Affordable Alternative to Braces

While there are techniques to save money when getting braces, savings may not be significant. Payment plans break up the cost, but the price remains the same in the long run. However, the good news is that there is an affordable alternative to braces that you can consider.

Clear aligners offer a way to straighten teeth at a fraction of the traditional braces cost. Sometimes they are called invisible aligners, invisible braces, or orthodontic aligners. Depending on your needs, there are different clear aligners, such as NightOnly clear aligners that you just wear at night to get straight teeth.

How Clear Aligners Work

Clear aligners also put pressure on your teeth to move them into place. They are also customised to fit your teeth. Clear aligners fit over your teeth and are removable.

One of the most affordable ways to get clear aligners is to order from a specialised company like SmilePath. There are three steps to getting the braces.

First, you order an impressions kit to take your dental impression from the comfort of your own home. Then you send your impression to a team of expert orthodontics who create your treatment plan. Then, you will receive your aligners!

You will have to change your sets of aligners every ten days. These will be provided for you.

You have to remove aligners when you eat and drink. However, you should wear aligners the rest of the day for an average of 20-22 hours to keep to your treatment plan.

How Much Do Clear Aligners Cost?

Traditional braces cost a lot more than clear aligners. Clear aligner pricing depends on the treatment plan and payment plan you pick. For example, if you order a plan from SmilePath, you have several options:

SmileAdvantage

SmileAdvantage is a one-time payment plan of currently $1499. It includes the impression kit, aligners, and a set of retainers. It also currently consists of a free teeth whitening kit.

SmileFlex

SmileFlex offers 18 monthly instalments of $84 a month. It is a great option to save money while getting clear aligners.

SmileFlex Easy

SmileFlex Easy is also a monthly instalment plan. It costs $117 a month for 12 months, including down payment of $295. The total price for this treatment option is $1699.

How Much Do Night Clear Aligners Cost? 

Alternatively, you can use the NightOnly clear aligners for easy maintenance and less daily wear time. The current options for NightOnly clear aligners are:

NightAdvantage

NightAdvantage is a one-off payment of $1599, including the impression kit, night clear aligners, retainers, and teeth whitening kit.

NightFlex

NightFlex is an 18-month instalment plan of $89 a month currently.

NightFlex Easy

NightFlex Easy is a 12-month plan of $142 a month, with a total cost of $1995. It also involves a down payment of $299.

FAQ About Clear Braces Cost

The braces price difference mainly is due to the shorter time frame. On average, a patient needs clear aligners from four to six months. However, in more severe cases, you might need braces for around a year.

After your treatment is complete, you switch to wearing the clear retainers during the day and then at night after six months. It helps prevent your teeth from moving again.

Clear aligners are also cheaper because you have more treatment options. For example, if you opt for a home direct delivery service, you do not need to pay for frequent dental trips. And you make significant savings on travel costs, as everything is done from the comfort of your home.

Research has found that clear aligners are an effective treatment option (Ke et al., 2019). And they have a shorter treatment time. In some instances, a fixed brace may be more appropriate, but clear aligners are an excellent fit for most people who want straight teeth.

For peace of mind, providers often order a re-evaluation of results if a patient is not happy. However, you need to follow the treatment plan correctly also to ensure success. You also still have access to support even when using a home clear aligner service.

Certain providers such as SmilePath offer treatment plans and other discount offers. For example, you can refer a friend. Also, you can become an affiliate.

If you are unsure about clear aligners, you could also start by ordering the impression kit. This costs $55, and if you are not a suitable candidate, you will receive a refund.

You will receive a 3D Smile Projection treatment plan to help you choose whether to proceed with treatment. However, even if you just want the upper or lower teeth straightened, the price for the aligners is the same.

If you choose a service such as SmilePath, most forms of payment are accepted, depending on your plan. You can also pay off payment plans early.

One additional cost could be the length of treatment if you do not wear your clear aligners for the recommended time frame each day. You may also need to consult with your dentist about any other treatments you need first, such as if you have wisdom teeth or have just had a dental implant.

You may also need to purchase additional items dependable on your plans, such as retainers or backup retainers. You might want to buy other tools to retain your hard work and straight teeth when you finish treatment. For example, you might want to purchase a teeth whitening kit.

Get Straight Teeth for a Lower Cost

There are many reasons why braces cost so much money. While there are some cases when braces are the best option for patients, such as those with complex dental (Tamer et al. 2019) or medical issues, there are cheaper alternatives.

Price gaps between traditional braces continue to close but stay expensive as technology develops. However, new brace technology also means cheaper but efficient alternatives. Clear aligners help you achieve straight teeth and protect your hard-earned money.

If you are interested in clear aligners, contact us at SmilePath. We are here to help. Complete our free assessment to get started.

Moresca R. (2018). Orthodontic treatment time: can it be shortened?. Dental press journal of orthodontics23(6), 90–105.

Ireland, A. J., et al., (2014) The effects of different orthodontic appliances upon microbial communities Orthod Craniofac Res, 17: 115– 123.

Ke, Y., et al. (2019) A comparison of treatment effectiveness between clear aligner and fixed appliance therapies. BMC Oral Health 1924

Tamer, İ., et al. (2019). Orthodontic Treatment with Clear Aligners and The Scientific Reality Behind Their Marketing: A Literature Review. Turkish journal of orthodontics32(4), 241–246.

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