3 Tips To Help You Afford Straighter Teeth

Posted on: 29 April 2015

Straight teeth are more than just a cosmetic concern. When you go to your dentist with jaw pain or pain or difficulty when chewing, your dentist may inform you that your crooked teeth are causing the problem and refer you to an orthodontist for braces. However, orthodontic care is expensive, and dental insurance, if you have it, often doesn't cover braces. Even if you do have insurance and it does cover braces, you may find it doesn't help much with the cost. The average cost of traditional metal braces is $4937, and insured patients still find themselves paying an average of $3407 out of pocket. What can you do if that isn't in your budget? Here are a few tips that can help you afford the cost of straighter teeth.

Dental Schools

Not everyone will have access to a local dental school – there are only 65 dental schools in 36 states in the U.S. But if you are lucky enough to live near one of them, it could be the solution to affording your braces. Dental students need patients to practice on, and as a result, patients who are willing to let students do the work can often receive needed dental care – including orthodontic work – at a deep discount.

The work on your teeth will be done by students who are training to go into orthodontics, and it will be supervised by experienced orthodontists. Students who are working on real patients are close to graduation and are well equipped to provide quality dental care. You'll still pay for the braces or straightening devices as well as some other costs, but you'll save a lot over using the services of an established dentist.

Mail Order Braces

It may sound crazy, but mail order braces are a new option on the horizon for patients looking to save money. The repeated office visits are a large part of what makes orthodontic work so expensive, and mail order services cut out this major expense.

Of course, this won't work if you want traditional metal braces – those would be awfully hard to apply yourself at home. Instead, mail order companies specialize in plastic, removable tooth straightening devices that are specifically tailored to your mouth. Every few weeks, you get a new device, and they slowly strengthen your teeth.

 Companies that provide these straighteners through the mail ask you to first send in a do-it-yourself mold of your teeth and possibly some pictures as well. The molds and pictures are reviewed by dentists who will either prescribe a straightening device or, in certain situations, recommend that you see a local dentist first – for example, if you show signs of gum disease. If straightening devices are prescribed, you'll begin receiving them through the mail and receive guidance from trained customer service representatives, eliminating the cost of ongoing orthodontic visits.

Charitable Organizations

Dental care, and specifically orthodontic care, is out of reach for many people thanks to high prices, limited insurance programs, and spotty government funding. As a result, there are a number of charitable organizations that have stepped in to try to fill in some of the gaps for patients who need help paying for dental care. A few even focus specifically on providing braces and other orthodontic care for the needy.

If you're low-income, you may qualify for funding or pro bono work from a dental charity. Don't be shy about asking your dentist or orthodontist for leads on charity orthodontic work in your local area. These dental professionals will likely have the most updated information on dental charities – they may even participate in providing services. In some cases, you may need your dentist to refer or recommend you for services. Also, consider seeing an orthodontics professional first. Your teeth might not be as bad as you think.

Don't give up on straightening your teeth just because the cost looks out of reach at first. Be willing to look outside of the box and you'll be able to find the solution to getting the orthodontic work that you need.