Frequently Asked Questions: Parents Of Orthodontic Patients (tm) Part 1

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Questions About The Cost Of Orthodontic Care

  1. How Much Does Orthodontic Treatment Cost?

    It matters where you live and how complex your child's case is. If you live in a rural area, where rents are low and malpractice attorneys rare, orthodontic treatment can be found for under $3,000. On the other hand, if you live in an expensive city with lots of malpractice lawyers, the fee for orthodontic treatment could be $7,000, more for a complex case.

    Click here to find the cost of dental care in your hometown

  2. Why is orthodontic treatment so costly?

    Actually, orthodontic treatment is not so expensive when compared with other personal services. During the course of a normal orthodontic treatment, your child will visit the orthodontist about 100 times. If the treatment costs $3000-$7000, then the cost works out to be $30-$70 per visit. That is a little more than the cost of going to a beauty parlor, but less than the cost of going to a car repair shop. A visit to a lawyer costs much more than a visit to the orthodontist.

    Orthodontics only seems expensive because the Orthodontist tells you what the lifetime costs of straightening your children's teeth will be. The total bill is less than the total amount you have to pay for the lifetime maintenance and repairs on your car. Aren't your children's teeth as important as your car?

  3. Can I negotiate lower fees with my orthodontist?

    Generally, orthodontists will not cut their fees to individuals. Orthodontists need to pay for a lot of fancy equipment and to pay their staff and their rent. The Orthodontists need to pay for all of their materials and the operation of their sterilizers. Then there is the cost of malpractice insurance. Most of an orthodontist's fee goes to paying his fixed cost. Occasionally an orthodontist will consider lowering his fees for patients who truly cannot afford to pay. However, those fee reductions are rare.

    Suprisingly, many orthodontists are starting to offer lower fees to dental buying clubs. Click here to find out about them

  4. Orthodontic treatment is still costly, is it worth the cost?

    Yes! Think about the cost of not getting braces. It is hard to see into the future, to tell how the lack of orthodontic treatment will affect your child. Certainly, a child who needs orthodontic treatment and does not get the treatment will have problems with their teeth for years to come; so much so that many adult patients are now going back for orthodontic treatment.

    The health issues, go well beyond good oral hygiene. One of our employees did not undergo an orthodontic procedure called palatal expansion when he was young. Now it is too late. The roof of his mouth has moved up to partially block the air passages in his nose. The result is a breathing problem which cannot be corrected without major surgery.

    Also stomach problems are very common in people who skip needed orthodontic treatment. If your child cannot chew their food right, it irritates their stomach, and produces a lifetime problem.

    There also is some initial data (unverified) that orthodontic treatment can lower your childrens chance of cardiovascular disease. Click here to read it

    We cannot predict whether your child will develop a breathing problem or a stomach problem if they do not undergo orthodontic treatment. However, lifetime orthodontic treatment costs no more than the lifetime maintenance on a car. Isn't it worth investing as much time in maintaining your children's teeth as you invest in maintaining your car?

  5. Can I pay for my children's orthodontic treatment in installments?

    You need to talk to your orthodontist to be sure, but most orthodontists allow you to pay for your children's treatment in installments. Usually the orthodontist will ask you to make a substantial initial payment, to cover the costs of starting up your case. Then the orthodontist will usually let you make monthly payments for the balance. The orthodontist cannot finance the entire treatment, because the orthodontist incurs considerable costs when he or she first starts a new patient and he needs to recover those initial costs. However, once you pay for those initial costs, the orthodontist will usually let you pay for the rest of the treatment in installments.

  6. Can I get Insurance To Help Pay For Orthodontic Treatment?

    Yes. Click here for more information

  7. My child needs orthodontic treatment but I absolutely cannot afford it. Are there any alternatives?

    If you are on medicaid, the EPSDT program might pay for treatment. By law, every low income child is required to be provided with dental services under the EPSDT program. Some states (AK, CT, GA, IA, IL, MA, MO, VA) include orthodontics when medically necessary. If you cannot afford orthodontics, please check with your state's health department to see if orthodontics are covered in your state.

    If not contact your not try a dental school or children's hospital. When orthodontic students are being trained, the student orthodontists need to practice on real patients. Often a student orthodontist will do your child's case for a nominal fee. The care will not be quite as good as with an experienced orthodontist. Still, having orthodontic treatment done by a orthodontic student is better than no orthodontic treatment at all.

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