Braces for Adults: A Cost Comparison Guide.

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Table of Contents

  1. Baseline Cost
  2. Special Braces
  3. Cut Costs
  4. Can Dental Insurance Cut Costs?

Straightening misaligned teeth isn’t just for kids. Braces for adults come with big benefits, including better oral health and a more compelling smile.

Braces for adults 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 costs. The costs we’ll outline below are fees you can expect to pay without insurance.

Tooth Straightening Method

Average Cost Without Insurance

Metal braces

$3,000 to $7,000

Lingual braces

$5,000 to $13,000

Ceramic braces

$4,000 to $8,500


$3,400 and up


$1,100 to $3,000

Source: ConsumerAffairs

What is the Average Cost of Braces for Adults

What's the Baseline Cost of Braces?

On average, braces for adults cost $4,500. Your final bill could be bigger if your provider tacks on extra fees for services such as these:

  • Initial visits ($100 to $200)

  • Dental x-rays ($10 to $250)

  • Retainers ($200 to $1,000 for the originals and $100 to $500 for replacements)

Your price could also be higher due to your oral health. Severe dental issues include the following:

  • Significant crowding, which is often caused by a narrow jaw

  • Impacted teeth

  • Large overbite or underbite

  • Asymmetrical teeth

More significant challenges mean longer treatment times. Your team may need to tackle your issues in stages, moving some teeth so others can take their place.

Your team may also need more time to make all of the shifts required to give you the smile you want. All of that added work comes with a higher price.

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What About Special Braces?

Your orthodontist may offer a variety of different types of braces. Expect to pay more to customize the way your mouth looks during tooth straightening. 

Here’s what to know about the cost of different types of braces. This chart explains the pros and cons at a glance:





Self-ligating braces


·   Added color

·   Your choice won’t lengthen your time frame

·   Easier to clean

·   Not appropriate for all types of dental issues

·   Potential costs associated with lost or broken bands

Ceramic braces


·   Your choice won’t lengthen your time frame

·   Easy for your dentist to adjust during your appointment

·   Higher cost due to bracket materials

·   Higher repair costs if you break a bracket

·   Potential for multiple broken brackets, as the materials are fragile

Lingual braces


·   Very difficult for outsiders to see

·   More durable than other types of brackets

·   Higher cost due to longer treatment time frames and enhanced skill to put them on

·   Potential for increased oral injuries and mouth pain

Self-ligating braces: $3,000-$7,000

Self-ligating braces are very similar to their traditional metal counterparts, so the price isn’t very different. These braces can be held closed with bright rubber bands, so they can be much more colorful and customizable.

Ceramic braces: $4,000-$8,500

Ceramic braces are the same color as your teeth, making them slightly harder to see. The metal wire that connects each bracket can shimmer in the sun, but few people may notice the brackets themselves unless they are quite close to you.

Lingual braces: $5,000-$13,000

Lingual braces also use brackets, but those are glued to the back of your teeth. No one may see these devices at all, but they may notice a difference in how you talk. You may also have some initial difficulty swallowing with lingual braces.

Choosing the least expensive braces option is one way to cut costs. The less your team spends on raw materials, the smaller the number you will see on your bill each month.

Keep your costs low by making smart shopping decisions, and with the right technology, you could get the smile you want at a significantly reduced price.

Can dental insurance cut costs?

Some types of dental insurance plans provide coverage for orthodontic care, including braces and aligners. Understanding the details is important.

A typical full-coverage dental insurance plan covers 50% of your orthodontic treatment costs. A plan like this could cut your final bill in half, as long as you pay your monthly premiums and meet the other requirements of your policy.

For example, your dental plan might require you to meet a deductible (an amount you pay before you can use your benefits). Your plan might also include a limit (a cap on the amount you can spend on braces in a year). Your dental professional should help you understand your financial responsibilities before treatment begins.

Cut Costs in 3 Steps

You can't change how much help your teeth need. If you could, braces wouldn't be required at all. But your braces choices can add to or subtract from your bottom line.

tips to keep braces costs down

1. Shop smart

Keep your costs low by making smart shopping decisions. If your dental professional recommends braces, ask about the cost of each option. As we’ve mentioned, choosing ceramic braces or lingual braces can mean adding to your bill. Ensure that you’re not paying too much for the oral care you need.

Visit several dental professionals and ask each one for an estimate of your total costs. Ask the team if they’re willing to provide a discount if you pay your bill in advance and ensure that they’ll accept your dental insurance plan.

2. Protect your investment

The less time you spend in treatment, the lower your price. Consider this adult braces cost comparison:

  • Braces worn for 1 year: $2,546

  • Braces worn for 3 years: $7,637

  • Braces worn for 4 years: $10,183

Skipping appointments, refusing to wear your headgear, or refusing to fix broken brackets could extend your treatment time frames. Follow all of your doctor’s instructions carefully to ensure you don’t spend more time in treatment than you need to.

Chipping and breaking your brackets could increase your final bill too. You could be charged for the new versions, as well as your doctor’s time to place them. Don’t eat hard or sticky foods, and follow all other instructions to keep your brackets safe.

3. Take good care of your teeth

Experts say you can also cut costs by practicing good home care.

  • Follow instructions. Your doctor will tell you how to care for your teeth during treatment. Follow each step carefully.

  • Keep your teeth clean. It's hard to brush and floss while wearing braces, but the more you polish your teeth, the better you'll feel.

  • Handle your brackets with care. Eat abrasive or sticky foods, and your brackets can break or come off. You may have to pay for replacements, and the delay could impact your treatment time.

Disclaimer: This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to serve as dental or other professional health advice and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any condition or symptom. You should consult a dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.
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