How Much Are Braces? Factors That Impact the Price of Braces
Clinical content featured by Byte is reviewed and fact-checked by a licensed dentist or orthodontist to help ensure clinical accuracy.
We follow strict sourcing guidelines and each page contains a full list of sources for complete transparency.
Table of Contents
- Types of Braces
- Financial Options
Braces come with big benefits, including better oral health and a more compelling smile.
Braces can also come with a hefty price tag, especially if your oral health issues are significant and you need to wear the devices for a long time.
How much can you expect to pay? Let's break down the costs.
|Tooth-straightening method||Average national cost|
Types of Braces & Your Bill
Braces once came in one basic shape (rough) and one standard color (silver). A lot has changed.
As more adults are choosing to wear braces, and as social media sites encourage all of us to share our smiles with the world, customers demand more control. Companies have responded by creating a plethora of braces options.
These are glued onto your teeth and connected with thin, metal wires. These traditional braces typically cost between $3,000 and $7,000.
Your final bill could be bigger if your provider tacks on extra fees for services such as:
- Initial visits: $100–$200
- Dental x-rays: $10–$250
- Retainers: $200–$1,000 for the originals and $100–$500 for replacements
These are also glued onto your teeth, but they're made of a white substance that blends into your natural tooth color. They're not quite so eye-catching, and for some people, that's critical.
Ceramic braces are more aesthetically pleasing and also often cost more — between $4,000 and $8,000.
Doctor-Monitored At-Home Aligners
What Financial Options Can You Try?
If you're planning to spend money to improve your smile, you're not alone. Researchers say spending on dental procedures rose 4.6 percent in 2018.
Even if your insurance company can't help you, there are plenty of options to try. Some providers offer financial assistance programs for people who can demonstrate financial need.
Cover your braces bill, even without insurance, with one of these options:
Your Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
If you have a health plan through your employer, they may also offer an FSA. This is an account you can put money in to pay for out-of-pocket medical expenses, which can often include orthodontic treatment, on a tax-free basis. Employers may also contribute to your FSA, depending on your company and their arrangement.
To use your FSA, you will submit a claim to it through your employer, proving the medical expense, as well as a statement that your insurance plan does not cover it. You can then be reimbursed for your costs.
These accounts are limited to $3,050 per year per employer, as of 2023. In most cases, the funds must be used within the same calendar year.
You can also take out a personal loan to cover the cost of braces. Orthodontists often offer a discount if you can pay for the entire treatment upfront. You can use a loan to do this and then pay the loan back, with a small interest fee, through affordable monthly payments.
Some loans are specifically for dental procedures. Many different financial institutions offer this option.
Dental Discount Plans
Even if your dental insurance does not offer braces and orthodontic treatment coverage, there are many different dental discount plans that can provide a lower rate or a discount on braces. These plans may offer a certain percentage off when you use specific providers within their set network.
Generally, these plans have a low-cost monthly fee that you will pay as well.
Lessons From Telemedicine for Teledentistry and Tele-Orthodontics. (July 2020). UCLA Health.
Transparent Aligners: An Invisible Approach to Correct Mild Skeletal Class III Malocclusion. (April 2015). Journal of Pharmacy and BioAllied Sciences.
National Health Expenditures 2018 Highlights. (December 2019). Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Using a Flexible Spending Account (FSA). Healthcare.gov.