While braces were once something that kids were embarrassed to have, something has happened in recent years to make them cool. Rather than try to figure it out, let's celebrate the fact that we don't have to convince teens to wear them, even if we're figuring out how to pay for braces.
Thankfully there are some clever solutions to help pay for braces.
Here are five ways you can pay for braces, even if they feel out of reach.
Believe it or not, you're not alone in struggling to pay for braces. In fact, there are several national non-profits that exist just for the sake of helping families with low incomes to afford to buy braces for their children.
Depending on how much you make, how many people live in your home, and the region where you're located, you might qualify. Look at organizations like Smile for a Lifetime and Smiles Change Lives and see if they operate in your region. If you're accepted into the program, you'll get full or partial grants for orthodontic care.
You may be asked to pay a portion and have to go to a specific orthodontist, but it could be worth it.
Be aware that some of the programs have application fees and age requirements. They'll have to have a definite need for braces and strong oral hygiene. If you really care for your child's teeth, this is a great program where you will get the help that you need.
There might be a waitlist or a longer wait for applications to be processed, so contact the program ahead of time to see if you qualify. They'll let you know where the nearest participating orthodontist is located and how long you'll have to wait if you're approved.
Beyond the non-profit avenue, there are other programs to help kids get braces. These programs are run by national dental and orthodontic associations.
If you live in some regions of Canada or the U.S., you have access to a great program. The American Association of Orthodontists runs a special program for kids without insurance coverage or who can't get other financial help.
Their Donated Orthodontic Services program has helped thousands of kids get the smile they deserve. If you don't qualify for this program, contact the Association to ask about what other programs might be available in your area. They have resources that are free to use to research for help to pay for braces.
There's also the Dental Lifeline Network. They have a vast network of dentists who donate free car to elderly people, people with disabilities, and people who have serious medical issues.
Along with their other services, they include orthodontic care and basic dental care. You can get free comprehensive care from this network if you're eligible. Contact them to apply and see if you qualify for that high-quality care network.
Whether you realize it or not, your insurance might cover a portion of dental care. If you're getting dental coverage through your employer, you might be signed up for the lowest tier of care. For just a slightly smaller added amount each month, you could be supplementing that basic plan with a higher-grade one.
Look into the policy that you currently have and see what they cover. Many insurers will pay 25% of your child's orthodontic care. Some don't cover it at all.
In some cases, you can get half of the cost of your child's orthodontic care covered if you upgrade your plan. If you get to unlock hundreds of dollars in care for your child by paying a little more per month, don't sleep on this smart investment.
Just like how salon schools offer inexpensive and stylish cuts at an affordable price so that their students can learn, dental schools do something similar. If you're in a bad financial position, there could be a good dental school near you where, in order for students to pass, they need to install braces. Bring your child in and you'll get a massive deal while getting the work done by someone who might be at peak performance.
Dental schools could save you 30-50% off the regular price of orthodontic care. These students will have freshly accomplished dental training that's extensive and they've been working at for years.
Contact the American Association of Orthodontics for a list of schools. You'll be in touch with accredited programs located in Canada and the U.S.
While some of the rates for orthodontic services are going to have a fixed price to cover their costs, some things can be changed if the conditions call for it. If you have financial issues, talk to your referring dentist and they'll link you up with someone who might be sympathetic. They could be far more flexible than you would expect.
You can get on a financial payment plan with the orthodontists who aren't as flexible. While this isn't the ideal solution, it can help you get the care you need now without having to sacrifice getting the quality of care your child needs. Make sure the plan is in writing upfront sot hat everyone is clear on what is expected of them.
Shop around to different orthodontists and see if some will offer cash discounts. You could save 10% just by paying with cash. Don't pounce on the first good price but comparison shop as you would anything that costs as much as braces do.
When you're struggling with how to pay for braces for your child, it can be a headache-inducing task. Finding the right avenue can seem like a dead end until you suddenly see a light. At the end of it, your child is smiling brightly and the work to find the right place will be all worthwhile.
If you're thinking about getting some care for yourself while your kids are getting their teeth straightened, check out our guide to getting Invisalign.