Are you saving up to buy braces or Invisalign? Did the Invisalign cost give you major sticker shock? (Gulp!) Take a few deep breaths, and keep reading. Today we're sharing tips and tricks that will help you budget for that next orthodontist visit and find braces deals!
There's no way to sugarcoat it: braces, Invisalign, and dental work, in general, ain't cheap! So, if you're stressing out about how to afford it, know that you're not alone. Freebs just like you have asked us hundreds (if not thousands) of questions about braces deals over the years.
So today, we're breaking it all down and sharing some tips and tricks that we hope will help! Learn how to budget for pricey dental work, find Invisalign deals, braces deals, and more. We did ALL the research, so you don't have to, mama. Here we go!
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN BRACES AND INVISALIGN?
Alright, first things first–let's talk about the difference between braces and Invisalign. If your teeth need straightening, you might be wondering which option is your best bet! Before we share what we've learned, a quick disclaimer: we are not medical or dental professionals, so you should always consult with your dentist or orthodontist before making a decision. That being said, here's what we know.
Braces use metal and wire to straighten your teeth, while Invisalign uses a series of clear, practically invisible trays to gradually straighten your teeth over time. Both are very effective, though metal braces typically work more quickly. So, if you're looking for a quick fix, traditional metal braces might be your best bet. If you're looking for a more comfortable, removable option, and you've got more time to wait, then you might prefer Invisalign.
Not every patient is a candidate for Invisalign, but if the option interests you, definitely ask your dentist for their opinion! If budget is a concern, then you'll want to keep reading. We're going to break down the costs for each and then share a few tips and tricks for finding Invisalign discounts and braces deals!
HOW MUCH DO BRACES COST?
If you've read this far, then we bet you're looking for ways to save a little cash or get your budget in order before you take the plunge to invest in braces. That's smart! Every financial situation is different, but if you are in debt (except for a reasonable mortgage) or don't have substantial savings built up (six months to live on is a good start), we recommend being patient and waiting to get braces. Now, let's talk about pricing!
The truth is, prices may vary depending on where you live, how much treatment you need, and who your orthodontist is. We're going to share some averages, but keep in mind that many factors can impact the costs of dental work. Here is the 4-1-1:
- Average Cost of Braces in the United States – Braces can cost anywhere from $3,000- $6,000, depending on the amount of work needed. In larger cities, those costs are even higher. An adult in Manhattan can expect to spend $10,000 or more on braces.
- Insurance Coverage – While most dental insurance will cover at least part of the costs of braces for children and teens, insurance will rarely pay for adults who need braces. If you have good dental insurance, you can expect to save as much as 50% if you're getting braces for the kiddos.
- Maintenance Costs – Plan to make a trip to the orthodontist every 4-6 weeks for adjustments. Depending on your insurance, you may need to budget for copays at each of those appointments.
One more thing to consider! Because metal braces make teeth cleaning and brushing a bit more tricky, many patients need professional whitening treatments after all the metal comes off. You may also need to wear a retainer after treatment, so ask for those costs upfront, too. Wondering how the Invisalign cost compares to braces? Let's talk about it!
HOW MUCH DOES INVISALIGN COST?
Again, Invisalign costs will vary based on your age, location, and individual situation. But, in general, Invisalign tends to cost a bit more than traditional braces. Here are some figures to use as a guide:
- Cost of Invisalign in the United States – Plan to spend between $3,000 and $7,000 on Invisalign. While the numbers look similar to traditional braces, Invisalign trays are easy to lose, and replacement parts aren't free.
- Insurance Coverage – Does your insurance cover the costs of getting Invisalign? That depends! Many providers will cover a portion of the charges, while others don't pitch in for corrective cosmetic services for adults.
- Maintenance Costs – Most Invisalign patients will need to wear retainers after the initial treatment. Expect each retainer to cost anywhere from $200- $500. And during your treatment, plan to see your orthodontist every 6-8 weeks. Again, depending on your insurance, you may need to plan for copays.
Because most orthodontists make all your Invisalign trays at one time, expect to pay a higher deposit in the first 30 days of treatment. Many practices require 50% upfront! Make the most out of your investment in Invisalign by following the instructions and taking good care of your trays. When you're not wearing them, store them in a safe place to avoid accidents. And just because they're removable doesn't mean you should skip wearing them all the time. Plan to keep your trays on for 22 hours each day to get the best results.
HOW TO FIND DEALS ON BRACES OR INVISALIGN
Alrighty, now that you know about how much you'll need to spend on orthodontic work, we bet you're looking for some ways to save! If you want to cut down on the Invisalign cost or shrink that braces budget, these tips are priceless! Here are a few practical ways to help your budget go further:
- Earn Referral Discounts – Ask your doctor if they offer a referral program. If you send other patients their way, they'll likely make adjustments to your braces fees or Invisalign cost.
- Get Treatment at a Dental School – Here's a great option if you don't have any dental insurance! Find a local college or university with a dental school. In some cases, you can get free care, and in most cases, you can score a deep discount. Just plan to budget more time for your exams and visits, as you'll be seeing a dental student who's being graded for their work.
- Pay in Full Upfront – While many dentists and orthodontists offer monthly payment plans, most offices will provide a discount of up to 15 or 20% if you pay for everything upfront. That's a big chunk of change on such a hefty bill and another reason why we recommend saving up for braces before you make the plunge.
- Cut Down on the Invisalign Cost with SmileDirectClub – If your straightening needs are minor, you might be a prime candidate for virtual dental work. For about $3 per day and in as little as 4 months, you can straighten your teeth with Invisalign without ever stepping foot in an office. Check out SmileDirectClub to learn how the process works and how they can save you thousands of dollars on that perfect smile.
- Use FSA/HSA Funds – If you have a Flexible Spending Account or Health Savings Account, use those pre-tax dollars to fund your braces!
Even with a discount, you'll still need to budget for braces, so let's talk about some creative ways to do that!
CREATIVE WAYS TO BUDGET FOR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT
No matter your current financial situation, you can do this! Here are a few ways to brace your budget for braces or Invisalign:
- Use Your Tax Return – Expecting a refund from Uncle Sam? Set aside that money for a braces fund!
- Cut the Cord – Want to know a quick way to set aside $50 or so each month? Cancel your cable subscription! Be honest: how much do you watch it anyway? And if you're worried about missing out on live sports, check out these free sports streaming sites.
- Use a Rewards Credit Card – We don't condone taking on extra debt, but in some cases, a rewards credit card can pay! If you pay down your balance each month and rack up rewards, you can use the bonus cash to cover big expenses like braces.
- Save Money on Your Grocery Bills – If you're overspending on groceries, we can help you save an extra $100 or more each month! That adds up fast. Before you know it, you'll have a downpayment to cover the Invisalign cost. Score!
- Ask About Financing – Find out if your orthodontist offers financing plans (most do) and don't be afraid to negotiate the interest rates. If you have good credit, you can probably work out 0% interest for 12 months.
- Do a Spending Freeze – Need enough money to pay the deposit for your Invisalign trays? Try a spending freeze!
And if you need help finding more ways to save up some extra cash, definitely read up on our 3-month rule! It works, you guys. Promise!
Okay, maybe we sound like a broken record by now, but braces and orthodontic work are an investment. The Invisalign cost? A tough pill to swallow, TBH. But with a bit of thriftiness, creativity, and planning, you can save up for it. If it's important to you, it's worth making the sacrifices to make it happen!
Have you been saving up for braces? Something else pricey? Please drop your best tips or words of encouragement in the comments below!
Need some extra help along the way? Our Budget Bootcamp can whip your wallet into shape, so you'll have the extra money you need in no time!
Looking for more free budgeting advice?
- Grab our free debt tracker and start paying down those bills!
- Learn how to shop semi-annual sales like a pro and save your family a TON of money in the process.
- Read all about our 70% rule (aka how to budget, save, and invest on ANY income).
Brace Faces Unite!!