Fact Checked

Why Are Braces So Expensive?

Written by Fernanda Elizalde

December 27, 2022

Medically Reviewed

By Dr. James Younan, DDS

For many people, investing in orthodontic treatments for straight teeth is worthwhile, especially if it enables them to avoid future problems. 

But why do braces cost so much? Because tooth movement is a gradual and sluggish process. It's a time-consuming dental procedure requiring several follow-up sessions spanning months or years.

Most individuals get a check-up at dental offices every few weeks or monthly to make changes and ensure everything is going as planned.

why are braces so expensive


The brace industry provides a diverse variety of therapeutic alternatives. Each form of braces has its own set of costs. Traditional braces and more modern versions come in a variety of styles.


Ceramic braces are a form of traditional braces in which ceramic brackets are placed on the front of the teeth. The ceramic brackets are then connected with a guiding archwire, which pushes the teeth into better alignment.

Ceramic braces are less visible than standard metal braces, which employ metal brackets. Dentists adapt the ceramic hue to the natural color of the enamel.

Ceramic braces are frequently more expensive than traditional braces. However, they are more aesthetically pleasing. The material is also susceptible to discoloration, necessitating strict dietary restrictions.


Lingual braces, like regular metal braces, employ brackets, wires, and attachments. Unlike traditional braces, dentists place lingual braces on the back of the teeth. The benefit of these braces is that no one will notice them.

Some individuals find the interaction of their tongue and braces to be bothersome. This specific form of braces costs more. Lingual braces are among the most costly forms of braces available.


Traditional Metal braces have been around for a long time. Traditional metal braces are less clumsy than in the past.

An orthodontist places brackets on the front teeth made of titanium or stainless steel. After that, an archwire is threaded through each bracket.

The archwire pushes teeth into aesthetically attractive positions when the dentist tightens the wire. Plastic bands are commonly used to secure the wire.


Self-ligating braces are a kind of conventional braces that employ clips rather than bands to keep the archwire in place. Self-ligating braces are simpler to clean and care for. In addition, they cost more than regular braces, but only by a little.


There are several clear aligner makers. For each brand, however, the principle is the same. Transparent aligners are custom-made, clear trays that fit over teeth.

The trays are designed to fit snugly over one or both arches. When the trays are cleaned regularly, they are virtually unnoticeable.

Clear braces make direct contact with teeth, unlike regular braces, which employ wires to pull teeth. They gradually move teeth into better alignment.

why are braces so expensive


Individual demands tend to determine pricing, although orthodontic treatment typically ranges from $3,000 to $10,000. Traditional metal braces range in price from $3,000 to $7,000. While they are the cheapest braces, they are also the most visible.

Invisalign braces cost more and range in price from $3,000 to $8,000. Others may need to see the transparent aligner trays. They're also detachable, so they don't obstruct your ability to eat. Ceramic braces are tooth-colored, making them highly discreet. The unusual structure does come at a higher cost. Ceramic braces are also not as stain-resistant as typical metal braces. They range in price from $4,000 to $8,000.

Finally, lingual braces are implanted behind your teeth, making them nearly unnoticeable. These are some of the highest amount braces cost available, with prices ranging from $8,000 to $10,000. They're the best option if you want to keep your braces as hidden as possible.


Braces are costly. Several variables contribute to the treatment cost.

But before you dismiss braces entirely, consider where your money is going.

Here are some of the factors that influence the cost of braces:


Orthodontic treatments are costly if you do not have insurance.

You will still have to pay for the insurance and the treatment once you have it, but at least you can help avert a dental emergency.

The issue with braces is that most insurance companies do not cover them.

Some dental policies will pay some but not all of the costs.

Finding a dental plan covering the total cost of braces is practically challenging.

Sometimes an orthodontist's office will provide insurance plans to help pay for orthodontics, but you must decide whether the payment plans are right for you.

Braces are expensive, but so is the cost of insurance plus the cost of the braces themselves.

We can hope that as time goes on, braces will be covered by more insurance coverage, but for the time being, they are not.

Braces are sometimes thought to be only aesthetic, and cosmetic dentistry is rarely covered by insurance.

There are situations when straight teeth are required for medical reasons, but most of the time, it is purely ornamental.

As a result, insurance companies consider the braces to be unnecessary.

Our best advice if you think your children may need braces in the future is to start saving money early so that when your children require braces, it won't be as painful on the wallet.

LED Electric Toothbrush


The most significant expenditures spent by many firms are for their employees. People and personnel are expensive.

The rationale for the rise in office workers in dental offices that provide braces is that you will require more than one office staff member to make this complete procedure function.

Orthodontist offices require an orthodontist, an x-ray technician, front-office personnel, an accountant, back-office personnel, cleaning personnel, and other services.

When you look around an orthodontic office and consider how many employees need to make a functioning office, you can see why the prices are so high.

This is not to argue that the jobs of those who work in orthodontic offices are optional.

In reality, each occupation is critical to the process's success.

The orthodontist may as well resign if there is no appointment setting staff after all.

There is no use in business if the accountant does not charge the clients and ensure that all payments are received.

As you can see, each piece of the puzzle is required, but it does add to the cost of the braces.

Employees at an orthodontic practice will undoubtedly have their own insurance, and there will be taxes and other expenses involved with employee recruiting as well.

Overall, a lot of what you pay for braces will pay the office employees.

Many believe that orthodontists make a lot of money and that braces are expensive.

When you break down the costs of doing company, you may see why they charge what they do.

Although orthodontists are financially secure, they spend a significant amount of money on each set of braces they place, most of which are in labor.


There are several reasons time is a factor in the cost of braces, including the following:

  • Braces are also quite pricey because teeth move slowly.
  • Teeth do not move quickly, and while some claim to have techniques to speed things up, the effectiveness of those practices could be better.
  • Moving teeth to the correct position and keeping them there for years must be gradual.
  • Unfortunately, braces are subject to a great deal of tweaking.
  • You have to visit orthodontists to adjust braces around once a month.
  • Braces are typically worn for two to three years by the average person.

When you consider going in once a month for a twenty to forty-minute session, this is a significant amount of time invested in your teeth.

The significant frequency of sessions, along with the sluggish progress, significantly raises the expense of braces.

While braces are available in various styles, they all appear to take roughly the same time to reposition the teeth.

This is important to consider while deciding on the braces you desire.

You may prefer less visible braces, but because all braces take around the same time, you won't notice any significant differences between them.


There are also several cost factors involved in furnishing an office with the proper equipment. Dental tools are costly and wear quickly. Some factors include:

  • The braces themselves are typically inexpensive to construct.
  • Brackets might be pricey, but only a few are required to finish the braces.
  • The most expensive equipment is the X-ray machine and other instruments that dentists use in the office.
  • They will need to ensure that this equipment is up-to-date and of the highest quality.
  • Patients who consult an orthodontist who uses obsolete technology will not receive the best care possible and may seek treatment elsewhere.
  • Having cutting-edge brace fitting and removal equipment allows patients to have a more enjoyable experience with their braces.
  • Most orthodontists require office furniture and other materials.

These additional costs of conducting business must be reflected in the price of braces.

After all, an orthodontist cannot expect to break even after the number of times they will take care of your teeth during two- to three years.

You'll almost certainly know each other by the conclusion of the ortho process, and you'll probably see a lot of the equipment updated and enhanced during the time you are visiting the office.

Many people outside of the dentistry field misjudge the expense of the machines and tools required.

New equipment might cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the technology.


Another reason braces are costly is that they are frequently sold on a contract basis.

Most of the time, the orthodontist will estimate how much the braces will cost.

This fee will cover the first x-rays, follow-ups, removal, and any further procedures that appear to be required.

When signing a braces contract, you should be extremely clear about what you are paying for and what you may still need to pay for during the procedure.

When you check the complete package pricing for braces, it appears rather expensive.

However, you can see how the cost adds up when you divide it by monthly and yearly visits.

A three-year arrangement that will need significant attention to things like future equipment and inflation needs to be considered.


The average braces cost is between $4,200 and $6,600, according to the American Dental Association Survey of Dental Fees 2020. In severe circumstances, they might cost $10,000 or more.

The overall cost is determined by the type of braces used and the length of time they must be worn. If you have orthodontic benefits, your dental insurance may pay some of the expenses.

The five most prevalent types of braces are as follows:

  • Traditional braces range in price from $3,000 to $7,000.
  • Clear braces range in price from $4,000 to $8,000.
  • Lingual braces range in price from $8,000 to $10,000.
  • Invisalign costs between $3,000 and $8,000.
  • At-home aligners range in price from $1,700 to $5,500.


Yes, in many circumstances. Dental savings programs offer members discounts on various dental operations, including numerous aesthetic procedures, such as braces, that are not covered by dental insurance.

Members can save anywhere from 10% to 60%. Patients who already wear braces and have no health constraints can frequently obtain savings. This can help you save money on upkeep and removal.


If braces are too expensive and you are trying to figure out how to pay for this procedure, you have options available to you. Payment options are available from many dentists and orthodontists.

Discount dental plans are also available for folks who do not have regular dental insurance coverage.

In certain circumstances, alternative therapies, including as clear aligners, might correct your alignment for less than the expense of braces.

Remember: If you're exploring alternative therapy, be sure the overall cost is less than the full braces cost.

Some people utilize credit to finance braces. Healthcare credit from third-party credit firms allows you to spread payments over time, but you must pay interest.

Before choosing this option, ensure you understand the terms of a healthcare line of credit.


With all of the discussion about how costly braces are, you may wonder if they are worthwhile.

It's difficult to determine what is worthwhile for one individual rather than for another.

The main thing to remember here is that your teeth are a vital aspect of your life.

They are utilized for eating, speaking, and maintaining your general appearance.

This is vital to consider while evaluating if braces are worthwhile.

When children are smaller, they may adjust their teeth into a good position from the start of their lives, making braces the ideal option.

When a person is young, braces appear to be less invasive in their lives.

The braces might concern grownups who attend business meetings and lead big groups of people.

There are choices for braces that are less noticeable, but they may still be seen most of the time.

Bottom line: braces are worthwhile, but they require some financial foresight.


You may lower the expense of conventional braces in various ways.


You likely utilize a dentist or orthodontist. It would help if you still phoned local offices to compare prices. Even within a city, expenses might vary.


Ceramic braces may be more beautiful, but any type can improve appearance. Metal braces for under $5,000 are available.


Dental schools require patients. An accredited dentist will oversee. The fees are generally cheaper than private practices.


Dental insurance won't cover everything, but it may be worthwhile. Most dental insurance costs $40 per month, depending on the kind of coverage.

Dental insurance may cover a part of treatment or initial assessments.


A motivational objective (such as a lovely smile) can help you save money. With $50 a month in savings, that can make a substantial down payment on braces.

Tax-free savings plans

A health savings account is tax-free for medical costs. This can assist with a high deductible. If the dental operation is medical, you can take money out tax-free.

Medically required braces may be tax-deductible. Keep track of medical braces expenditures.


Dental schools let students conduct treatments under faculty supervision. Dental schools provide students with experience. Patients profit from affordable therapy.


Private dentists often offer promotions. Social media and the dentist's website may have offered. Local dentists' websites may provide discounts.


Dentists know only some have limited funds and request payment plans. ALIGNERCO provides 11 or 12 simple monthly payments.


The Health Resources and Services Administration manages dental clinics. Income determines fees. HRSA.gov has further details.


Several government programs may cover braces. State Medicaid budgets differ. The program helps low-income people.

Medicare helps those over 65 financially. CHIP subsidizes children's medical expenses.

CHIP is in most states. It covers kids up to 19 years old.


Braces maintenance can save money. Broken brackets and cables raise expenses.

Remember dental hygiene. Cavities that arise while wearing braces may require expensive repairs.

Avoid sweet or hard meals with metal braces. Floss frequently. Water flossers eliminate plaque.

Easy-to-clean clear aligners. Brush and floss twice a day with clear braces removed. Using a toothbrush and warm water, carefully brush your clear aligners.


We hope this tutorial has explained the many factors in the cost of braces including materials, staff and equipment as to why braces are so pricey.

Orthodontic businesses have many moving components and must be lucrative to survive.

However, despite the cost, you wind up with straight, attractive teeth.



Although braces may appear costly, the benefits greatly exceed the costs. Straight teeth could quickly become one of the most rewarding investments for oral health and self-esteem. So, are braces worth the treatment cost? Usually, the answer is yes.


The cost of braces can vary significantly for each type. Metal braces or traditional braces can be $3,000 - 7,000, Ceramic braces are between $4,000 - 8,000, Lingual braces can cost up to $8,000 - 10,000, and Invisalign ranges from $4,000 - 7,400. A proper dental plan can significantly help with the costs.


Retainers are typically very affordable for dental care of crooked teeth, ranging between $100 and $750 per set. These, however, are only used in minor cases. Home kits are less expensive than metal braces or Invisalign. You can expect to pay between one and two thousand dollars for a home kit. If you are lucky, there may be a community program or charity to help with free braces or help with the cost by a few dollars.


The intricate details of the brackets, combined with the dental care of the orthodontist's expertise, allow the teeth to move at the appropriate rate. Higher-quality orthodontic materials raise the cost, and the quality of appliances used significantly impacts the outcome of your treatment. However, a quality dental plan can greatly help with how much your straighter teeth ultimately cost money.


Snow Whitening Mouthwash