Orthodontics is a commonly used oral treatment, perfect for those facing dental issues like crooked or misaligned teeth. If you’re hesitant to flash a smile because of your teeth, dental braces could be a game-changer.
With nearly four million Americans wearing braces, this treatment is clearly prevalent. In fact, around one-third of people worldwide have worn braces, including stars like Zac Efron, Katy Perry, and Anna Kendrick.
The braces treatment has evolved over time, with Invisalign—a clear retainer that gradually aligns your teeth—becoming increasingly popular. They’re a more discreet and comfortable alternative to traditional metal braces, offering an elegant solution to your dental problems.
We’ll explain how braces work, their benefits, who should consider them, and the average cost in the US to help if you’re considering choosing braces for yourself or your child.
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Average costs of braces
Braces treatment can vary from state to state and patient to patient. Your orthodontist is better suited to give you a correct estimate. Moreover, they are also able to advise whether clear retainers are an option for you or not. However, be aware that Invisalign is considerably more expensive than traditional metal braces for several reasons.
Editor’s Note: I got my braces off in 2022 (at the age of 30 and after wearing them for about a year to correct a minor overbite). I paid approximately $7,000 for ceramic braces in Michigan.
Type of Braces
Average Cost in the US ($)
3,000 – 7,000
4,000 – 8,000
8,000 – 10,000
4,000 – 8,000
3,000 – 7,500
Please note that the average cost of braces can vary greatly depending on the complexity of the treatment, the duration, the orthodontist’s experience, and the geographical location.
Some dental insurance plans may cover a portion of these costs, so it’s worthwhile to check with your provider. In addition, many orthodontists offer payment plans, which can make these treatments more affordable over time.
Ideal candidates for braces treatment
Traditional dental braces are an excellent solution for patients who have crowded, misaligned, unevenly spaced, or protruding teeth. Essentially, braces can address a wide range of dental growth issues. Beyond the medical benefits of having well-aligned teeth, a significant boost in confidence comes with a straighter smile.
This enhanced self-esteem makes individuals feel more comfortable and content with their appearance.
The benefits of dental braces
Although there is no maximum age for wearing braces, it is best for children to start wearing them as early as they can, particularly when they have crooked teeth or jaw misalignment issues. Here’s why:
Braces can work much faster during youth
Up until the age of about 18, your jaws are extremely malleable. As a result, bones are significantly softer. As a person ages, bones and teeth become much stiffer, so more pressure is needed to get them back into shape. Therefore, adult orthodontic treatment typically takes longer than that for teens.
Early orthodontic intervention effectively prevents the emergence of dental issues. It might save you from needing pricey orthodontic treatment later in life when issues are more complicated and expensive to correct.
Additionally, it can prevent long-term injury to your teeth and gums as you age. This doesn’t mean there is only a certain age bracket where you can get braces treatment. It just means that getting it done during your youth is more favorable.
It allows the oral cavity to develop properly
Starting orthodontic treatment early can greatly enhance a child’s growth into adulthood. Devices like braces can support healthy jaw and facial development. Correcting alignment issues early can lead to significant changes in a child’s appearance, as an improperly aligned jaw can cause an uneven facial structure.
Orthodontic treatment can also help with breathing problems such as sleep apnea. This condition is a serious concern in the medical community, as it can affect physical and mental functioning and behavior. Therefore, starting orthodontic treatment early is highly beneficial.
Facilitates speech therapy
The primary factor influencing each of our individual speaking styles is how our tongue and lips are positioned during vocal cord movement. If your teeth are not properly aligned, your entire oral cavity is at risk of not being in the optimum position for correct pronunciation. Poor speaking habits can be easily unlearned by younger people who have their jaw and teeth corrected but it is much more difficult as you age.
How do braces work?
Traditional braces work by applying consistent pressure to your teeth over time, encouraging them to gradually move into the correct position. This is achieved using a combination of metal brackets and archwires that your dentist progressively tightens. They anchor these elements to your molars and adjust them regularly throughout your treatment.
After the main phase of treatment, you’ll need to wear retainers for six to eight months to maintain the new positions of your teeth.
Clear retainers, like Invisalign, operate similarly. However, they don’t require tightening. Instead, you periodically switch out these retainers for new pre-molded sets, which continue to guide your teeth into position.
The teeth are surrounded by a soft connective tissue known as the periodontal ligament. When a tooth moves, these supporting tissues stretch or compress accordingly. For example, if a tooth is moved to the right using braces, the ligament on the left side gets compressed, forming new bone to fill the gap on the left.
Braces are effective at moving teeth, relieving overcrowding, and correcting overbites. They can level and align your teeth, resolve bite issues, and modify other oral structures to improve your smile. While braces serve important functional purposes, many choose them for aesthetic reasons.
Braces may be an expensive orthodontic treatment but are mandatory for many individuals. And once again, it’s not just about the health benefits but also the personality changes that straightening teeth can bring.
Many kids and even adults that have crooked teeth can face ridicule which leads to a lack of confidence in life. A simple procedure has the ability to change a life, but obviously, that comes at a cost.