It’s finally that time. Your teenager has outgrown their baby teeth, and now, their fully grown adult teeth are wreaking havoc in their mouth. It is time to talk with a board-certified orthodontist about the investment and rite of passage colloquially known as getting braces.
But how much do braces cost, and what options are there for your teenager to achieve straighter teeth? Whether your budget and orthodontic insurance allow for lingual braces or metal braces, continue reading to learn about teen braces and which treatment plan may best fit your teenager’s precious teeth!
Table of Contents
What’s the Right Age for a Teenager to Start Their Orthodontic Treatment?
How much do braces improve your smile when used as a teenager versus as an adult? The right time to wear braces depends on your circumstances; however, it is often recommended to begin treatment in the early teenage years because of several developmental changes during these years that favor orthodontic treatments. Such changes include:
- The adolescent growth spurt
- Transition to adult dentition
- Growth of the skeletal jaws
It is for these reasons that braces are faster and most efficient between the ages of 12-15. However, some orthodontic problems, such as severe underbites, may make it more difficult for teenagers to succeed with metal braces. In such situations, it may be best to monitor rather than immediately intervene until their early 20s, when they stop growing.
What Orthodontic Treatment Types are Available for Teenagers?
How much does braces’ effectiveness change depending on the patient’s age? As it is easier to reposition a teen’s teeth and jaws while growing, the teenage years are perfect to begin wearing braces. Once facial growth is complete, it becomes much more difficult to straighten permanent teeth, causing the average cost of braces to increase.
Metal braces are the most common and well-known orthodontic treatment available for teenagers. However, there are several different types of brace options, such as:
- Traditional metal braces
- Ceramic braces
- Lingual braces
- Self-ligating braces
Each option has varying pros and cons depending on each patient’s situation.
#1: Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces, or conventional braces, are a tried and true option. Used for over a century, dental braces have proven themselves as an excellent way to straighten teeth and perfect your smile. Modern braces have become very discreet and can still correct a wide array of dental issues such as tooth and jaw alignment.
Orthodontists can also add temporary anchorage devices to metal braces in order to achieve quicker tooth movement or as an alternative to headgear. Furthermore, metal braces have the added benefit of being the least expensive teeth braces.
#2: Ceramic Braces
Ceramic braces are very similar to traditional braces, but with one major difference: instead of metal brackets, ceramic braces use ceramic brackets to mimic the natural tooth color. This gives them an added sense of invisibility with the same beloved features of metal braces. However, ceramic braces require a little extra care and good oral hygiene as they can become stained by eating certain foods.
#3: Lingual Braces
While they function similarly to standard metal braces, lingual braces attach to the backside of your teeth rather than the front side, allowing them to become invisible or hidden braces. Unfortunately, the added bonus of invisibility comes with an increased cost as lingual braces cost the most of all other brace options.
#4: Self-ligating Braces
Self-ligating braces look like traditional ones, but they include a built-in system that secures the archwire directly to the brackets. This means that, unlike standard metal braces, there are no tiny elastic bands or metal ties. Instead, self-ligating braces are applied to the brackets to hold the archwire in place, allowing for shorter orthodontist visits, easier cleaning, and slightly less discomfort.
#5: Invisalign Clear Aligners
Probably the most discreet teeth straightening option, Invisalign are virtually invisible braces. By using 3D images of your teeth, orthodontists create a custom-fit tray that slowly moves your teeth into their proper alignment and position. These removable plastic braces are often used by those who play sports, are in a band, or may not want to give up their favorite, sticky foods.
The Benefits of Starting Your Orthodontic Treatment Early
There are several benefits to getting your dental braces as a teen rather than waiting until adulthood. Not only will your smile improve faster and easier, but teenagers often do not require other dental needs besides regular cleanings and exams. As such, it is generally less expensive for teenagers to receive treatment.
#1: An Improvement in Your Social Life
While wearing braces can sometimes be an embarrassment in and of itself, future crooked teeth are often even more embarrassing. For some reason or another, straighter teeth have become integral to American beauty standards. By getting dental braces early on, your teenager may experience improvement in their social and personal life. There can be great self-esteem benefits to exhibiting a smile with straight teeth and having confidence in your appearance.
#2: Correcting Dental Alignment Issues
Braces are not just for cosmetics; they also improve your overall dental health! By correcting dental alignment issues, braces can help save you from future jaw or tooth complications since a misaligned jaw can cause uneven wear on your teeth and force your jaw to overwork when chewing. By maintaining good dental hygiene during and after the treatment, braces can make your teeth look and work better for years to come.
#3: Fewer Chewing Issues
Braces help make chewing food easier by improving a misaligned bite. If your bite is improperly aligned, it can become painful or difficult to chew food. An orthodontic treatment plan can help make sure your bite remains strong and healthy. Furthermore, by increasing jaw mobility, orthodontics for your teenager can help prevent a lifetime of pain and headaches caused by a misaligned bite.
#4: Superior Oral Health
Straighter teeth are also less prone to developing tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral injuries. Such future injuries can put a massive dent in your pocket and create long-lasting discomfort.
#5: Improved Tooth Protection
Teenagers with an irregular bite pattern often suffer from uneven stress or impact on certain teeth, causing them to wear out rapidly. Braces straighten the bite pattern and make the impact even across all of your teeth. Thus, certain teeth do not wear out faster than others through overuse. This process improves tooth protection and allows your teeth to last longer without unnecessary complications.
What’s the Average Cost of Braces for a Teenager?
So, what is the cost of braces, and are they worth the investment? The cost of braces for a teenager varies based on your location, the material of the braces, your dental or orthodontic insurance, and the severity of the treatment. Considering such variables, the average cost of braces is between $3,000 and $10,000.
With a dental insurance plan, you can expect to pay on average $3,407 out of pocket for traditional braces and subsequent braces costs.
The most expensive variety of braces, lingual or invisible ones, fall between $5,000 and $13,000, depending on whether your dental insurance can cover orthodontic treatment. Some dental insurances completely cover braces for all ages, while some only cover braces for teenagers.
While some braces cost the same as a healthy investment, other options include:
- Dental insurance
- A flexible spending account
- A health savings account
- Dental discount plans
- Personal loans
- Orthodontist-offered payment plans to help parents afford their teenager’s oral treatment
Most dental insurance plans help offset some of the braces cost, particularly for teenagers. Of course, it is up to each family’s discretion and the inclusion of any extenuating dental problems to decide if the price is worth the dental outcome of straighter teeth and an aligned bite.
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Contact Loudoun Orthodontics if you are ready to learn more about braces and how they can help you or your teenager achieve your best smile. Whether you want to learn more about the benefits of using metal braces compared to other treatment options or simply have questions about the process, use our live chat or call (703) 858-0303 or send us a message through our Contact Us page to connect with our friendly staff today to book a free consultation! Our office, located at 19465 Deerfield Ave, Suite 304, Leesburg, VA 20176, proudly serves not just Loudoun County but also the Greater Washington DC area. So, if you’re residing in Ashburn, Lansdowne, or Sterling, and are looking for one of the best orthodontists in Virginia, don’t hesitate to visit our office! We also invite you to keep up with our blog to get answers to many of the frequently asked questions about maintaining sparkling oral health as well as follow us on social media to become a part of our smiling community!
- Yetman, Daniel. “Average Cost of Braces: Age, Type, Insurance, Other Factors.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 1 Apr. 2021, www.healthline.com/health/average-cost-of-braces#cost-with-insurance. Accessed 17 Aug. 2022.