If you are preparing to get braces, you have probably already received an estimate of your total cost. If you are like many people, you do not have this type of money simply laying around uncommitted. Fortunately, there are ways to make this process a little bit more affordable. It will just take a little bit of pre-planning on your part. Read on to find out how to make getting braces a little more affordable.
Choose The Right Product
When you care choosing the braces that will be used to straighten your teeth, you will be presented with several different options. Some of these options will include:
- Lingual braces
- Tooth-colored ceramic braces
- 24K gold plated braces
- Silver metal braces
Some of these products look better than others. For example, the Invisalign are totally clear, and you are not even able to see the lingual braces because they are put on the backs of your teeth. Even the tooth-colored ceramic braces will blend in better than the traditional silver metal braces. Unfortunately, these upgrades come with a much higher price tag. Of course, these costs can greatly vary by where you live, as well as the dentist that performs your work.
The average costs of braces are as follows.
- Traditional metal braces are approximately $3,000 - $7,000
- Ceramic braces average $4,000 - $8,000
- Invisalign average $4,000 - $7,400
- Lingual braces average $8,000 - $10,000
By simply choosing traditional braces over Invisalign or lingual braces, you may be able to save more than half off your dental bill.
Invest In A Second Dental Insurance
If you are lucky enough to have a dental plan in place that covers orthodontic treatment, they will only pay a percentage of what your total bill will be, and there will still probably be a maximum amount they will pay up to. Consider investing in a second dental insurance. Most dentists will allow you to file more than one plan.
One plan will be your primary plan and will pay first, and the second plan will be your secondary plan and pay second. Although the two plans will still probably not pay 100% of your needed coverage, they will get you much closer to covering what you need.
To ensure that this saves you money, look for a secondary plan with affordable out of pocket premiums that does not have an extended waiting period prior to them paying for orthodontic treatments. You can find stand alone dental plans outside of your employer. Make sure to look for plans through various groups and organizations that you may belong to.
Be aware that some plans will not pay for orthodontics at all for the first one to two years that you have the plan in place. This will not benefit you, as the costs of your premium for this period of time will often cost you more than you will save.
Flex Your Dental Costs
One of the best benefits many large employers offer is a flexible spending account (FSA). This is a special tax plan that allows you to create an account using pre-tax dollars to pay for certain out-of-pocket medical expenses. Unfortunately, these accounts often go underutilized simply because people do not understand how they work.
During your annual enrollment period, you choose the amount you are going to put into your account the following year. You can choose any amount up to $2,550 per year. The amount you choose is then divided by the number of annual pay periods you have during the plan year and that amount is deducted from your paycheck in pre-tax dollars.
Although the money is taken out each pay period, you do not have to wait for the money to hit your account each week or month. The total annual amount you choose to place in your plan is available to you on January 1 of your plan year. This means that if you choose to flex or save the entire $2,550 that you are eligible to save, this is money that you can pay directly to your dentist on that day.
Because you don't have to pay taxes on this money, you are automatically saving whatever percentage of money that corresponds with your tax bracket. For example, if you are in a 25% tax bracket, by flexing this amount of your dental costs, you will save over $635 ($2,550 x .25 = $637.50).
If you are going to owe your dentist more than this, ask your dentist if he will allow you to pay over the course of two or more years. This is usually not a problem, as most other payment plans will be at least that long.
Speak with your dentist about utilizing these options, or any other options that they may offer through their office to make your braces more affordable. Your gorgeous teeth in the end will be worth every penny and more. For more information, contact an orthodontist like Reed Orthodontics.