Getting braces for children is an important consideration for both the child and the parents. Unfortunately the cost of braces for children can be a hindering factor for some families. Whilst the total average cost of orthodontic treatment for kids ranges between $1,900 and $3,200 there are various factors which can alter the total figure considerably. Important influences include the age at which the child starts treatment and the type of remedy that’s required. This article considers the various options for correcting children’s teeth and bite and the associated costs concerned. Whilst it may be preferable to start treatment early for the child’s self-esteem and in in terms of saving cost, this is not always the most viable option.
Cost of Braces for Children with Overbite
Overbite occurs where the top dental arch or the top teeth protrude further than the bottom jaw. In dental terms it is referred to as a class 2 malocclusion and is commonly known as ‘buck teeth’. If a child has an overbite, it would be easier to have this problem repaired whilst their bones and jaws are still developing rather than getting jaw surgery at a later age.
The average cost of treating overbite for children with braces is approximately $3,500. However, dentists advise against starting too early for this type of condition. This is because premature treatment is more likely to cost more in terms of money and the number of visits that are required to repair the jaw. For the most part, there is no benefit getting braces too early for children with overbite as the costs can dramatically increase.
Cost of Braces for Children with Underbite
An underbite occurs where the lower jaw is too large and extends beyond the upper jaw. This condition can also arise where the upper jaw is too small, rather than the lower arch being out of proportion. With this type of treatment, orthodontists warn that there is only a small window of opportunity to change the underbite using the child’s normal bone growth and development. Once this chance passes, jaw surgery will be required in order to correct the problem.
It is more feasible to start treatment early for this type of malocclusion. Getting orthodontic treatment for underbite must be done by the age of 10 and ideally treatment for children should start as early as age 7. Underbite is a class 3 malocclusion and costs around $3,500 to $4,000 to correct.
Cost of Braces for Children with Crowded or Crooked Teeth
Having teeth which are either crowded, crooked and/or protrude is a class 1 malocclusion. Treatment for crooked teeth is the most common orthodontic procedure sought after by adults for aesthetic purposes later in life. However, starting teeth straightening too early for children will add additional costs because in most circumstances two phases of braces will be required.
If braces are applied at an early age, the child will be required to undertake phase 1 (which will take 2 years). After this stage the braces are removed and the patient takes a pause, the length of which depends on the orthodontist’s advice. The second phase of two year braces will commence once the orthodontist sees that it’s necessary.
If a child receives braces early then the treatment time in effect is doubled, since the average period for child braces is two years (as opposed to the four years that would be required if braces are installed too early). For this reason, orthodontists recommend that braces for crooked teeth start at a later stage in order to reduce costs and avoid that second phase of treatment. However if the child is experiencing harassment or psychological problems as a result of their unattractive teeth, then orthodontic care and the associated increased cost may be warranted at an earlier age.
The cost of straightening teeth for children with the two phase stage is approximately $4,000 to $6,000 depending the on the degree of the malocclusion. If the process is done at a later stage, for example when the child reaches the age of 10, then stage two may not be required, therefore reducing the cost to around $3,500. However, the extent of treatment and the total cost payable for braces can only be assessed on a case by case basis. You should seek your orthodontist’s advice before budgeting for your child’s orthodontic care. In any event your child should be assessed before age seven as to what type of correction is needed and when it should commence.
Cost of Having Children Screened for Braces Treatment
Orthodontists strongly recommend that you should have your children checked and screened for required orthodontic treatment no later than the age of seven. The assessment should be performed by a qualified children’s orthodontist to assess at what age treatment should commence for the child in order to save costs later in life and also to reduce the treatment time. This is because children’s teeth and gums are still growing at that age and it may be cheaper and more effective to have treatment performed earlier than later, once again depending on the type of problem or malocclusion that your child has. The cost of the screening should be minimal and in most cases will be under $200. However, some orthodontists perform children’s screening for free as an initial consultation.
The cost of braces for children entails many components which need to be considered. The best way of getting orthodontic care for your boy or girl is to have them screened at an early age. By doing so, you can save costs for your kids in the long run. Often when a price is quoted for orthodontic treatment for your child, the figure will not increase even if the treatment takes longer than initially anticipated. However, you should ask your dentist about any extra fees and charges if a second phase is required if your child’s teeth begin to grow into malocclusion again after the initial treatment.
Avoiding the Cost of Braces for Children
Orthodontic care for children is not just about getting braces. If your orthodontist diagnoses bad habits early on, then bite problems and overcrowding may even be prevented. In some instances bad oral habits such as breathing through the mouth and swallowing incorrectly can be a major cause of misaligned teeth and incorrectly developing jaws. Where the jaws and teeth are not yet developed, orthodontists may be able to provide preventative treatment options. If diagnosed in time the less invasive orthodontic treatments may even eliminate the need for braces altogether. Preventive care is much less costly than having braces but unfortunately full orthodontics cannot be avoided in all situations.
Is the Early Cost of Braces for Children Worthwhile?
Many children these days request that they have braces earlier on in order to escape being teased or bullied at a later stage when they reach middle school or high school. Younger children are less exposed to bullying and many are less affected by their self-image than adolescents and teenagers. For this many parents are now considering buying braces for their children earlier. However, you need to consider that the cost of braces for your child may be more in these circumstances.
If you are having trouble affording braces for your child and are in a low income family, you may consider getting braces under a charity or pro bono scheme. For more information, see our cost of braces without insurance page. When considering purchasing braces for your children, also think about their self-esteem later in life and how much braces can cost them down the track. For example, once your child reaches adulthood, the cost of orthodontic care will have risen and your child may not be able to afford orthodontic treatment on their own.
Another consideration is that the common type of braces for children is the cheapest metal brackets which can be unsightly. In adulthood, these cheaper braces may not be the appropriate type of braces and having the cost of invisible braces such as Invisalign or braces that are placed on the back of teeth nearly double in cost. You may wish to purchase braces whilst your children are still young in order to avoid your child paying high costs for braces later on in life or the possibility of them not getting braces at all.