Cost of Orthodontics*
Costs for orthodontics vary depending on the case and other factors, but typically cost from $4,000 - $6,000. These fees are averages only. Fees do not include anesthesia, dental clinic facilities or other related expenses. Please make sure that you ask your dentist for all fees relating to your procedure or treatment.
Most dental clinics offer flexible financing and payment options, some of which allow staggered payments or loans from VARIOUS FINANCING COMPANIES.
If you are considering having orthodontic treatment, but want to explore more about the financing options available before you make your decision, PLEASE CLICK HERE. You can discuss your financial options with your dentist, and find out if there are any loans of flexi-payment plans that will allow you to achieve the smile you desire.
Am I a candidate for Orthodontics?
You may be a good candidate for orthodontics if you have crowded teeth, extra teeth, missing teeth, prominent teeth or jaws that are out of alignment and want to improve them for cosmetic or health reasons. Your orthodontist will be able to advise you on whether or not you are a good candidate for orthodontics.
An orthodontic problem is called a malocclusion, meaning "bad bite." Reasons that malocclusion can occur include crowded teeth, extra teeth, missing teeth, prominent teeth or jaws that are out of alignment. Orthodontic treatment will straighten the teeth or move them into a better position to improve their cosmetic appearance and also the “bite”.
What is an Orthodontics Procedure?
It is estimated that more than half of the US population has misaligned or irregular teeth and jaws. When the teeth do not meet correctly, this causes strain on the jaw muscles and joints and can cause headaches and other jaw problems. Most malocclusions, or tooth problems, are inherited, though some are acquired. Acquired malocclusions can be caused by accidents, early or late loss of baby teeth, tooth decay, or sucking of the thumb or fingers over a long period of time.
Orthodontic treatment straightens or moves the teeth to improve the appearance and function. Orthodontics can also help to improve the long term health of the teeth and gums by making them easier to clean and by spreading the biting pressure evenly all over the teeth.
Orthodontics can help to improve the teeth for both health and cosmetic reasons. Misaligned teeth and jaws can cause chewing and speech problems. Severely misaligned teeth and jaws can cause snoring, sleep apnea and other breathing problems.
Orthodontic treatment usually yields the best results in children because their teeth and jaws are still growing, but adults can have orthodontic treatment too. It is recommended that every child has an orthodontic evaluation by age seven. Early intervention can make future corrections work more smoothly and quickly. Orthodontic treatment takes longer to have the desired effect in adults.
Orthodontic irregularities are corrected using corrective appliances called braces and retainers. These appliances are made from wires and springs attached to small metal plates or a plastic mould. The brace applies gentle pressure to the teeth which encourages them to align differently.
When you visit your orthodontist, they will thoroughly examine your teeth and then take x-rays and plaster moulds of your teeth. The orthodontist will assess the teeth that need to be aligned and will discuss the best course of treatment with you. This will be planned with two specific phases – the use of braces to correct the alignment and bite, known as the active phase, and the retention phase, where a retainer is used to hold the teeth in their new position for effective long term results.
The orthodontist will create either a fixed or removable brace from the mould of your teeth, which can be adjusted during the course of the orthodontic treatment as the teeth move. Fixed braces are permanent for the course of the orthodontic treatment and are removed when the desired result is achieved. Removable braces have delicate wires and springs attached to a plate, which move the teeth using gentle pressure. Removable braces can be taken out for eating and cleaning but should be worn at all other times to get the best results.
The orthodontist will determine whether you have enough room for all your permanent teeth and it may be necessary to remove some permanent teeth to make space, though alternative treatments may be possible. In severe cases, the orthodontist may have to break the jaw bones and wire the jaw shut so that as it heals it becomes better aligned. Your orthodontist will be able to advise you on the best course of treatment for you.
How are Orthodontics Done?
When you first go to see your orthodontist, they will take a complete medical and dental history, conduct a clinical examination, take plaster models of your teeth, photograph your face and teeth and take x-rays of your mouth and head. The orthodontist will then discuss your treatment plan.
Orthodontic treatment can be done using many types of appliances, or braces. Examples of appliances available include:
- Removable appliances – this simple treatment uses a plate with tiny wires and springs attached which puts gentle pressure on the teeth to move the teeth into alignment. The plate can be removed for eating and cleaning.
- Fixed appliances – these are used when teeth need to be aligned more accurately than with a removable plate. These are made from brackets and bands which are temporarily stuck to the teeth. A flexible wire joins all the brackets to re-align the teeth. It may be necessary to attach tiny elastic bands to a fixed brace to help to move the teeth. Fixed braces can be made of metal, plastic or ceramic.
- Orthodontic appliances can also change the alignment of the jaws. These appliances use the power of your jaw muscles to help with certain types of jaw problems.
There are different types of braces on the market which are far less cosmetically obvious than the “train tracks” of old. These include:
- Invisalign braces – these are clear plastic aligner’s custom molded to your teeth which help to reposition your teeth over time. Invisalign braces can be removed for eating and cleaning and are virtually invisible to others.
- Lingual braces - these are made of metal brackets and wires but are placed onto the back of the teeth so that they are undetectable when you smile.
- Inman aligners – this brace is removable and typically achieves the desired results in only six to eight weeks. It is generally only suitable for simple cases where only the front teeth need to be re-aligned.
- Damon braces – these friction-free braces provide a faster and more comfortable alternative to conventional fixed orthodontic braces but are only suitable for adults who have all their permanent teeth.
During the active phase, your dental appliance will be adjusted at intervals by your orthodontist to ensure that the teeth are aligned correctly. This readjustment normally needs to be carried out around every four to six weeks. You may feel some discomfort when your appliance is first fitted, and each time it is adjusted. This normally settles quite quickly. Once this phase of treatment is complete and your teeth have moved into the correct position, you will need to wear a retainer for the retention phase. This ensures that your teeth will remain in their newly aligned positions. It is important to attend your orthodontic appointments regularly and carry out any instructions given to you by your orthodontist.
Questions to Ask a Dentist about Orthodontics
Here is an essential check list of questions you may want to ask your perfectyourself.com dental professional:
- Am I a good candidate for orthodontics?
- Are my described expectations realistic?
- How long will the procedure take?
- What kind of anesthesia or pain relief is used?
- What is your experience in performing orthodontics?
- Can I see your qualifications?
- Ask to see any orthodontic before and after photographs of recent procedures?
- What percentages of your orthodontic patients have had significant post-treatment complications?
- How much will my orthodontics cost?
- Do you offer patient financing? (Flexible payment schemes for your surgery)
- Will you repeat/correct procedures if the agreed goals are not met? If this is the case, will I be charged again?
- Ask to observe the exact procedure you are considering before you decided to have surgery if you are unsure (this could be on videotape or in real life).
- What is the recovery and healing period for orthodontics? When can I resume full normal activity?
- Have you ever had your malpractice insurance coverage denied, revoked, suspended
- Ask for and follow up on patient references (these can be invaluable to finding out what your surgeon is really like and the level of customer satisfaction he/she has received in the past)