Watching your child grow before your eyes is a heartwarming experience, but noticing crooked or overcrowded teeth in the mouth can trigger a lot of stress instead as you imagine the cost of braces. If you're worried about finding thousands of dollars to finance visits to the orthodontists, try cutting the costs by planning a treatment strategy as early as possible. These five tips will help you whittle down the total price for braces and the adjustments needed to straighten out the crooked teeth.
Find Pro Bono Work
Start your search for less expensive braces by seeing if your income levels qualify you for one of the many dental charities and foundations. For example, the Smiles Change Lives group maintains a list of orthodontists willing to offer free or discounted services and connects them with families that need help getting straighter teeth. All of these charities have long waiting lists, so make sure to sign up for as many programs as possible at least a full year before your child will need to start alignment treatments.
Shop Around More Than Usual
Don't qualify for low income programs, but still not sure how you'll find an extra few thousand dollars? Trim down your costs by spending more time on the phone to get quotes from as many orthodontists as possible. Look outside your local area for at least the initial installation, which usually costs the most. Even if you have to travel three or four hours to save $300 or more on the biggest fee of orthodontic treatment, those kinds of savings are worth the extra effort. You can always transfer to a closer orthodontist for the adjustments and maintenance visits. If you're unsure where to start looking or orthodontic services, check out a clinic like Reed Orthodontics.
Try an Orthodontist's College
Dental colleges are a great place to get cavities filled and cleanings done for less, but they're also a good source for low cost braces if you live near an educational center with an orthodontist's training program. In exchange for helping licensed dentists complete their two years of additional training to become orthodontists, you'll gain access to reduced treatment fees. Keep in mind that getting treatment through a graduate training program may involve
Join a Discount Plan
In most cases, even the best dental insurance plans will pay for only half of the cost of braces or offer a few hundred dollars towards the costs per calendar year. If your current insurance falls short of the total estimate provided by the orthodontist, look into non-insurance discount plans. These plans leverage the negotiating power of a buying group to encourage orthodontists to trim a certain percentage off every service. Even though these plans come with monthly or quarterly fees, you're likely to still save a substantial amount with even a 10% group discount due to the high prices of braces and related extractions or jaw surgeries.
Improve Oral Habits
Finally, keeping a close eye on your child's oral health and habits after they get the braces put on can yield substantial savings over the length of treatment. For example, many parents end up spending hundreds of dollars on unexpected repairs to the braces. Make sure your child is taking good care of their teeth and following all of the advice given by the orthodontist to avoid damage to the braces, such as sticking to a recommended diet free from sticky, crunchy, hard, and chewy foods that loosen or break brackets and wires.
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