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A Great Smile is Priceless !



This is like asking someone  “ How much does a car cost ? ”  It depends on a lot of different factors.  The Orthodontist  cannot tell over the phone the extent of your problem. Costs therefore can vary a great deal.

If you are looking for Invisalign, these fees may often be a little higher due to the expenses of the actual appliances.  Ceramic or clear Braces also often cost slightly more.

The good news is that most Orthodontists offer an initial evaluation for no charge  (can’t beat that!)  Take them up on their offer !




The cost of braces will vary with each patient and the extent of their orthodontic problem.  Most Orthodontists do not charge for an initial evaluation and this is the best way to find out how much your Braces or Invisalign Appliances will cost.  You may decide to visit more than one Orthodontist for the initial evaluation and cost estimate.  It is helpful if you can bring a Panorex (a large rectangular X-ray) from your family dentist to these appointments.  This will allow the Orthodontist to give a more accurate estimate of the cost of the braces.   

Dental insurance plans sometimes have coverage for a portion of the cost of Braces.  There can be age restrictions on the orthodontic insurance coverage, so be sure Doctor's Office Staff checks to see if the insurance covers Braces for adults and children.   Most orthodontic offices offer payment plans to break the cost of the braces into monthly payments.  Each office may vary in their payment options for Braces, but usually the orthodontic office can tell you about their payment options during your initial consultation.


The cost of Invisalign is usually higher than with traditional metal Braces.  Invisalign clear aligners require special computerized technology to custom make the set of aligners for each individual patient.  Just as a tailored suit costs more than a suit off the rack, the Invisalign is more costly because of the individual custom made aligners. 


Many doctors look at insurance fee reimbursement schedules, or use other commercially available fee guides based on surveys made by data collection companies, to research their orthodontic fees. Fees may vary regionally and nationally based on overhead expenses for the office and  staff. Obviously an office in Manhattan will likely charge higher fees than an office in Machias, Maine.


In 2008, the fee for full upper and lower Braces for a patient with all adult teeth ( generally most Teenagers and all Adults ) seems to range from four to six thousand or more dollars. Orthodontists  may adjust a specific treatment fee depending on the  degree of complexity, length of treatment, their location and overhead cost of providing professional services, etc. In other words, there are no standard fees, and fees can vary widely.

Just like for BracesInvisalign Fees seem to vary greatly.



1.      New Patient: Since the initial consult is usually no charge, you should go ahead and get more than one  opinion.  The approach to treatment may vary between Orthodontists (extraction vs. non-extraction) and the cost may vary as well. You can let the Orthodontist know that you are comparing costs, but I would recommend keeping the actual figure from the other offices confidential.  You do not want the second office to be unduly influenced by the previous initial consultation information or fee quotation.  It is also important to make sure the fee quotation includes all charges, including records and retainers.  Are there extra charges for clear brackets or clear aligners ? Are there fees for broken appliances or emergency visits ?

2.      Panorex X-ray: If your family dentist has done a recent Panorex (a long rectangular X-ray) bring it with you to the orthodontic consult.  This will provide additional information to the orthodontist for perhaps a more accurate fee quotation, plus he/she won’t have to repeat the X-ray and  possibly charge you.

3.      Insurance: Check your insurance for orthodontic benefits.  Specifically ask about any Age Restrictions or Waiting Periods.  Also check if there is any difference in benefits for in-network vs. out-of-network providers.  In some cases, the insurance pays a percentage up to a lifetime maximum, example 50% up to $1500 lifetime maximum for both in and out of network Orthodontists so it can sound like there is no difference.  The catch is that the in-network provider may be bound to a fee schedule, so that the maximum they can charge is limited.  This does not necessarily mean the out-of-network Orthodontist charges more, so it may be to your benefit to visit both and compare.  Just be sure to ask the insurance if they have a fee schedule.  If the in-network orthodontist is very far away (say 40 miles), some insurance companies will make allowances for equivalent benefits out of network.  You can ask about the mileage requirements.  Also make sure they are providing you with names of orthodontists in-network, not family dentists.       

4.      Flex Plan: Don’t forget your Flex plan.  If you have a pre-tax medical flex plan at work, the money can be used towards orthodontics.  Sometimes the timing is critical, in that the money is “use it or lose it” by a certain date each year.   

5.      Payment Plan Discounts:  Does the Orthodontist offer a discount for payment in full at the start of treatment?   What about discounts for more than one family member in treatment ?  

6.      Board Certification:  Are you a potential “ Board Case ”?  In order to become a fully Board Certified Orthodontist, an Orthodontist must present before and after photos, Xrays, models, etc. of successfully treated cases which meet specific criteria in terms of bite and orthodontic problems as set forth by the American Board of Orthodontics.  Sometimes finding such cases is a matter of luck.  If you happen to meet the criteria of a Board Case, you can offer to become the model patient, always showing up for appointments and taking extra good care of your dental hygiene in return for a consideration in the cost of treatment.  A recent graduate or a dental school with a residency training program may be a good place to check.  

7.      Dental Assisting Career: Last but not least, you can learn a career and also receive free Braces!  In many states, you can train to become a dental assistant on the job, no prior schooling required.  Most Orthodontists provide free orthodontics to their staff as a benefit of employment.  How do you get hired without experience?  A letter of enthusiastic interest personally delivered to the office with your resume may be all that is required.  If the job market is tight, you may have to invest in an X-ray safety certification course.  These vary state by state, but in Virginia it is a one day course given at local community colleges.  Be sure to attach a copy of your X-ray certification to your resume to stand out.   Hope these suggestions help you achieve your best smile!