This is a question that we get asked frequently. We may even get this question more often this time of year because although families are spending money on gifts for the holidays, they often are also thinking ahead to next year’s dental and orthodontic benefits.
In addition to asking this question – which is a fair one – it’s also a good idea to ask how much you value your confidence and self-esteem. How do you put a price tag on your child’s willingness to smile broadly and to live life “outside the shell?”
These are important questions. Orthodontic treatment provides myriad oral health benefits that help prevent costly dental treatments down the road. It’s easier to assign a dollar value to money saved when you don’t have to fill cavities formed between crowded teeth, or tooth extractions you avoid thanks to orthodontic treatment creating enough room in your mouth for all of your adult teeth. But self-confidence and self-esteem also are important. How much are they worth to you? For many, these attributes are priceless.
There are lots of reasons why orthodontic treatment costs what it does, as well as why the price varies among practices. Here are a few.
- Expertise and Training
You wouldn’t go to a dermatologist if you had a heart problem, right? You would go to a cardiologist, who has completed years of education in that specialized area of medicine. That is the argument the American Association of Orthodontists makes for why you should choose an orthodontist to guide you through orthodontic treatment.
All orthodontists are dentists, but only 6 percent of dentists are orthodontists. Orthodontists go on to complete an additional two to three years of education after they graduate from dental school. During this time, they gain in-depth knowledge of craniofacial growth and development, biomechanics, biomaterials, and biomedical and clinical sciences. They also learn how to apply this knowledge to a range of orthodontic techniques and treatment situations.
This additional training means orthodontists are expertly and uniquely qualified to address the often complex issues behind malocclusion.
Orthodontists understand how to align the jaws and straighten the teeth. They know how to engage and guide a child’s natural orofacial and dental growth to achieve ideal outcomes. They possess advanced knowledge of new technologies, and are able to select the appropriate treatment method that will best address each individual patient’s oral health needs.
- Board Certification
There is a small group of orthodontists in the world who go on to achieve certification through the American Board of Orthodontists, and I was proud to become the youngest orthodontist in Miami to successfully pass the clinical orthodontic board exam among that group.
This voluntary process is something orthodontists can complete to show that we want to perform treatment to the highest standard. Many of us who have completed this process agree that doing so has made us better orthodontists as a result.
Patients who undergo treatment from a board certified orthodontist can feel confident that they’re receiving treatment from the most confident, updated orthodontist.
Board certified orthodontists must renew their certification every 10 years to demonstrate their continuous commitment to excellence.
- Types of Appliances Used
Orthodontic treatment varies in cost according to the appliances required to achieve the necessary movements to align the teeth and correct bite discrepancies. Treatment may involve functional appliances such as rapid palatal expanders and Herbst appliances, or it could only require conventional brackets and arch wires.
Costs for braces vary when the arch wires are robotically bent, such as with the Harmony system, or when they are bent manually, which is the case with conventional braces.
- It Takes a Team
You’ve likely heard the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Our spin on that proverb is “It takes a team to provide optimum treatment.” From our friendly staff who greet you when you arrive and our behind-the-scenes personnel who file insurance paperwork on your behalf, to our chairside orthodontic assistants, it takes a team of experts to provide your treatment and to make sure you are seen on time.
We must see a large number of patients per day because everyone in treatment requires recheck appointments for monitoring and adjustments every four to eight weeks. It takes staff to see all of those patients, and paying salaries is a cost of doing business.
Now that you understand what goes into determining treatment costs, let’s other important questions that parents and patients often ask:
What is included in the cost?
- Diagnostic records including X-rays, photographs, study models and a personalized growth study work-up.
- Orthodontic appliances such as dentofacial orthopedic appliances for Phase I patients and braces or Invisalign for comprehensive orthodontic treatment.
- Every routine office visit.
- Any emergency visits to repair or replace a bent or broken appliance.
- All procedures performed in the office.
- One set of final retainers.
- All retention visits for one year.
How do I pay for treatment?
We do all that we can to make orthodontic treatment achievable for everyone who desires it. Our office accepts all PPO dental insurance plans, and we file all necessary paperwork to help you get the most out of your benefits.
Our office accepts major credit cards, cash and checks, and we offer automatic draft from credit cards and checking accounts. We also offer interest-free financing that features a low down payment and manageable monthly payments.
Is it Worth it?
Look at a patient’s before and after photos to find your answer. We have lost count of how many patients begin treatment refusing to show their teeth in photographs, and end treatment eager to show off their toothy grins because they are so happy with the final result.
We believe anything that can improve self-esteem and increase self-confidence while also improving oral health for a lifetime absolutely is worth it.
Need more convincing? Take a moment to read some of our patient testimonials.
Already convinced? Please call our office to schedule an appointment and learn how you can improve your smile and your oral health.