Zack Chambers

Can you afford braces?

As a writer here, I have a lot of different interests. Because of that, it can be hard to select topics sometimes to write on. However, one of my primary interests is personal finance, and this is something that is always in vogue. Because of this, it seemed prudent to write on a topic that is critical to parents – their children’s health.

With the kids having spent the last few weeks back in school, no doubt they are already busy comparing themselves to their friends and seeing who can come out the most popular. One odd way that this comes out in grade school is with braces. Kids see these as a great way to express their individuality and show off to their friends. Of course, their parents are more concerned with maintaining their dental health and making sure that their teeth are aligned properly as they go forward in life.

But braces aren’t free. In fact, this is a major financial commitment for most families that needs to be carefully considered. The question on so many different parents’ minds is simple. “Can we afford braces?” Or, if they’ve heard from a dentist or orthodontist that their child needs braces before, perhaps the question ought to be framed as “How can we afford braces?”

The actual cost of braces

It is good to know what the actual cost of your child’s braces will be before we go into how to finance them. Of course, as with anything, the answer is that it varies. One orthodontist gives a good breakdown on their website, showing the prices of braces ranging from $1500 to $6000. These prices depend upon the level of treatment needed, with the lower prices including treatment of crowding and bite issues. It can include braces on the front teeth and expanders and space maintainers. The most comprehensive – and therefore expensive – treatment can involve braces on the top and bottom teeth in addition to a complete straightening of every tooth.

While these prices can seem high for families that are already struggling to maintain themselves, just imagine how expensive it will be to treat these issues later in life when the teeth have fully settles into their positions and years of wear and tear have occurred from misplacements.

Financing your teeth

If you are committed to providing braces to your child, then it is simply a matter of financing this decision. There are certain ways that you can make braces cheaper. For instance, going with traditional metal braces is often the cheapest option.

Beyond this, Colgate lists a number of different options for financing braces on their website. Most dentists and orthodontists will offer some kind of financing option on whatever work they do for you. This is similar to any other financing option in that you pay a set amount per month. Oftentimes, these professionals won’t actually charge you any interest on this. They simply want to earn your business and make it possible for you to receive dental care.

Another good option is dental assistance programs. These are often provided by non profit organizations, state governments, or the dental or orthodontic office itself. These provide low cost or sometimes even free care to those that qualify. The HHS lists a number of these kinds of programs on their site.

Of course, if you don’t qualify for something like this, you can always finance something like this with traditional methods. While it is often not a good idea to put something like this on your credit card, it could make sense to speak to a bank and see what sort of credit options they have for you. Going to a credit union can give you access to the money you need at even lower rates sometimes.

Whatever your situation, there is some option for you to finance your child’s smile. After all, this is something that isn’t really optional. Sure, you can go without buying them braces, but at some point your child is going to have dental health issues if this is left neglected. These issues will often cost you even more than what the initial braces would have cost.

Either way, your child’s health is worth anything. If you explore all your options, you are sure to find the best way to pay for this necessary expense. One final thought before we leave you to your research – speak to multiple health professionals. Even if you have a dentist or orthodontist that you have worked with before and trust, it is worth exploring all your options. Sometimes calling around can find you a cheaper option. The potential to save thousands of dollars is worth an extra hour or two on the phone. Wherever you decide to go and however you decide to finance it, your child will thank you later!

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