Tips for making braces affordable

We are at that stage of parenthood where two of our kids need braces and I am sure the other two won’t be far behind. We have been looking into options to make them fit within our budget. Ha! Those words don’t seem to go together! I will share with you, though, what I discovered in my research.

  • First of all, start with your dental insurance. Our kids are currently on the state plan, so we went to a doctor that is covered by our plan to see if we would qualify. Unfortunately, my son’s case was not deemed “necessary” or bad enough by insurance to be covered. That means we would have to pay privately with none covered by insurance. For state plans, you have to go to an in-network orthodontist to get an evaluation. For private plans, they should be able to tell you up front what they will cover.
  • Smile for a Lifetime – This is a charitable, nonprofit organization that matches kids in need of orthodontic treatment with dental professionals eager to provide pro bono care. There is an income requirement, though, and applicants need letters of recommendation and may be required to do 20 hours of volunteer work. Families do have to pay an application fee and investment fee.
  • Smiles Change Lives – This is a national program that matches qualified children, who need orthodontic treatment, with caring orthodontists willing to provide such treatment. There is an income requirement for this program as well. Families do have to pay an application and program fee.
  • Private pay – If you find out that your insurance will not or does not cover the cost of braces and you do not qualify for the above programs, it is time to talk to individual orthodontists. Total cost for braces may vary by doctor and they may also offer different payment plans and discounts for paying in one lump sum. Some even will let you extend your payment plan beyond the time frame of the braces appointments.

I would love to hear your experiences with paying for braces and any tips you may have for our readers! Please share in the Comments section below!

8 thoughts on “Tips for making braces affordable

Add yours

  1. We have a friend w/4 children. My friend had a suspicion (which proved to be correct) that all 4 would eventually need braces. After she negotiated a fair price w/the orthodontist for the first child she had him commit to keeping the price the same for the other 3 if and when they would need braces. (Which came in especially handy for child #4 who needed braces 12 years later when prices would’ve naturally been more inflated.)

    When we needed braces for our son, the price was $5000, none of which was covered by insurance. We were told that if we paid upfront there would be a 10% discount. So even though giving them $4500 was a LOT of money, we did it to save $500, which is also a lot of money.

  2. One thing that helped us was to take kids quite young to the orthodontist. Sometimes they can correct something early with a cheaper treatment than having to get full braces later on. We’ve had this happen with a few kids.
    Also, try to avoid letting the kids suck their thumbs for too long!

  3. Hi Rachel,

    Great post. We strategized by utilizing dental insurance which did cover a portion and possible negotiating with the orthodontist.

    One way we were able to save with what were obligated to pay was taking advantage of putting aside that amount in a company HSA account which saves on pre-tax dollars (~30%). We were able to pay the full amount of what was being set aside, even if it wasn’t all collected yet. For example, if we set aside $2,500 into our company HSA to be taken out of each biweekly paycheck throughout the year, the full $2,500 was available on Jan 1. So the ortho gave us a discount for paying upfront.

    If the total bill was $5k, we did 2,500 one year and 2,500 the next year to get the HSA pre-tax savings.

    Definitely working with an orthodontist on how much to pay overall will help.

    On Sun, Feb 14, 2021, 12:35 PM Surviving on a tight budget wrote:

    > rmk104 posted: ” We are at that stage of parenthood where two of our kids > need braces and I am sure the other two won’t be far behind. We have been > looking into options to make them fit within our budget. Ha! Those words > don’t seem to go together! I will share with you, ” >

Leave a Reply to Chana E. Stern Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: