Braces for Teens! How much does it cost?


The thought of a beautiful smile with perfectly aligned teeth can be enticing. However, there are several factors to consider before getting braces that can help perfect your smile. One of the important factors is cost. Know how much does it cost to create braces for teens.

The American Association of Orthodontics (AAO) suggests that children receive their first dental screening at the age of seven. However, that’s too early an age for getting braces. Braces that are fitted at a very young age can cost more, and the treatment may take longer than the standard time of 1-2 years.

Consequently, teenage is the best time for kids to be fitted with braces. It’s the time when all the baby teeth are gone and the molars have all erupted. What remains now is the question, ‘How Much Will Braces Cost?’

Here’s an in-depth look at the typical expenses:

How much do braces cost for teens?

As per the Consumer Guide for Dentistry, the cost of braces can range anywhere between $3,000 to $7,000 on average. Traditional metal braces can add the costs to an average of $4,937 without insurance. With insurance, however, the expenditure can total to approximately $3,407 out of your pocket with the insurance covering between $1,000 to $2,000 in expenses.

The exact cost of the braces treatment depends on three chief pointers – the teen’s dental condition, the treatment duration, and the type of braces availed. At the same time, the fact that you have an insurance or not can also impact your costs.

That said, your location can also influence the final sum. In that, orthodontist treatments in rural areas tend to be less costly than dental procedures in big cities. Therefore, the cost varies as per your State as well as how close you are located to the dentist.

Braces costs depending on the type of braces

There are four standard braces types that teens can avail. Typically, traditional braces tend to be the least expensive option. Here are the four types of braces for teens and their costs:

  1. Metal braces: $3,000 to $7,000

Metal braces hold teeth together with metal brackets and wires. Present-day metal braces differ from the traditional ones that used to include large metal brackets. Metal braces have evolved to become less obvious.

  1. Ceramic braces: $4,000 to $8,000

Ceramic brackets are tooth-colored or clear. These cost slightly less than the traditional metal braces. The costs add up mainly due to the long treatment duration and their fragile nature. Owing to their fragility, ceramic brackets are prone to breakage, which elongates the treatment time and increases the money that goes into repairs.

  1. Invisalign: $4,000 to $7,400

Invisalign also goes by the name of invisible braces. This dental process is suitable for cases that require mild teeth alignment and consists of 30 custom-made aligners. These are worn over the teeth and need to be changed after every few weeks. The teen will need to wear these for 1-3 years after which a retainer will be needed to keep the newly aligned teeth in their new place.

  1. Lingual braces: $5,000 to $10,000

Lingual braces are traditional braces. However, these are attached to the teeth’s back instead of taking the front positioning. Consequently, these are less obvious to a casual onlooker. Moreover, lingual braces can be harder than the other kinds of braces as they come with soreness and challenges while eating and talking. The treatment period isn’t a short one either.

How can insurance help reduce the cost?

Whether your insurance will help lessen the expenses burden or not depends on your insurance provider. Most dental or health insurance plans don’t take the payment share for orthodontic treatment for people aged 18 or above.

However, they do partially cover the orthodontic costs for teens or children under 18 years of age. You have the option to get supplemental orthodontic insurance as well if your dental or health plan does not take some costs on itself.

Most orthodontic insurances do not cover braces costs if they are already in a teen’s mouth when the effective insurance date commences. For any insurance plan that you avail, be sure to ask about the lifetime maximum and the percentage that it will cover. The amount varies from one insurance provider to another. However, a common figure is 50% coverage and $1,500 lifetime maximum for a child.

In general, CostHelper points out that dental insurance can typically cover $1,000 to $2,000 for teen patients in case they get traditional metal braces. In the instance of ceramic braces, people with dental insurance pay an out-of-pocket amount of $1,550-$5,080. Without insurance, this cost can range between $4,000 to $8,000.

Associated costs

Braces come with other linked costs that are part and parcel of the treatment. A breakdown of these is presented below:

  • An initial consultation fee of $100-$200 that some orthodontists charge
  • Separate charges for X-rays that are for $25-$250
  • Charges for removable retainers in most cases costing between $150-$1,000

Bottom line

Several factors determine the costs that will total at your end. If you plan on getting braces for your teenager though, then it is best to get an insurance that helps by sharing the expenses and cutting the overall cost.