Orthodontic treatment is a valuable investment that’s likely to enhance the health and appearance of your teeth, but it can also be a substantial financial drain. Finding an affordable orthodontist is essential if you want to receive high-quality care without breaking the bank. However, you shouldn’t compromise professional treatment at the altar of affordability and plastic manufacturers. Getting the right orthodontist is the first challenge. The second is getting one you can afford. A perfect balance of the two is what you should be looking for.
Below are various options for finding affordable orthodontists, including alternatives to traditional metal braces. Also included are tips for finding the right orthodontist besides other options you’ll want to consider.
What Is Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontic treatment is a dental care procedure that uses braces, retainers, and other devices to correct misaligned teeth and jaws. It can improve the appearance of your teeth and treat functional issues, such as difficulty speaking or chewing. This treatment is commonly sought by teens, although adults can also benefit from it.
Alternatives to Traditional Metal Braces
Granted, metal braces are a popular and effective treatment option for misaligned teeth, which makes steel fabrication a critical part of dental health. However, they are not the only ones. For a more discreet solution to your teeth problem, you consider clear or ‘invisible’ braces, such as Invisalign aligners, which are made of clear plastic. And the great thing is that they custom-fit your teeth. You can barely notice them besides the fact that you can easily remove them to eat, brush, or undertake other teeth activities. The thing to keep in mind is that not every orthodontist offers Invisalign, notwithstanding the fact they’re pricier than traditional braces.
If you’re looking for alternatives to traditional metal braces, you can choose from ceramic braces that are made of clear or tooth-colored materials and are less visible. The other option is lingual braces, which are placed behind the teeth, completely hiding them from view. While these options are likely to be more pricey than metal braces, they are a somewhat better aesthetic treatment alternative.
Finding an Affordable Orthodontist
If you want to find affordable orthodontists, you need to be patient and diligent. This is because it’s rare to find affordable orthodontists by accident. You have to be purposeful and selective until you find one that’s just right for you. Below is a guide on how to find affordable orthodontists near you.
Ask for Recommendations
Asking for recommendations from friends and family and your general dentist is a great way to find affordable orthodontists. The other is searching for websites and online directories that list dental clinics and orthodontists in your locality. By the time you contact an orthodontist, you need to have found out what their fees are, and the financing or payment plans they provide.
Visit a Dental School Clinic
Another ingenious way to find affordable orthodontists is to visit the dental school clinic. In these clinics, orthodontic treatment is usually carried out by dental students but under the experienced supervision of faculty. Some dental school clinics provide discounted treatment rates. There’s a list of dental schools in your state. All you have to do is search the American Dental Association website.
If you’re blessed with dental insurance, check with your insurance provider to find out if they cover orthodontic treatments, and which ones are covered. Some plans only cover part of the cost of braces or certain orthodontic devices.
Look for Dental Savings Plans
Besides, there are several other options you may want to consider when looking for affordable orthodontic treatment. One is dental savings plans. Although these are somewhat similar to insurance, they generally have a lower monthly fee. They also cover a wide range of dental procedures. If you’re looking for discounts on orthodontic treatment, among other types of dental care, check out these plans.
You should also consider other financing options. These include a loan or payment plan from a third-party lender or through the dental clinic. With these options at your disposal, you can spread out the treatment cost over an extended period, which makes it extremely manageable.
You may also want to consider negotiating fees with the dental clinic or orthodontist. Although the treatment cost is predetermined, it doesn’t hurt to inquire about available special offers or discounts.
Work With a Specialized Broker
It helps to work with a broker with a specialization in dental practice. Such brokers can assist you to find affordable orthodontists who meet your needs and are within your budget. One thing to keep in mind is that a broker attracts extra fees, so remember to provide for this expense in your budget.
While the temptation to settle on the first orthodontist near you may be too strong to ignore, consider a couple of other nearby ones before making a decision. You can do this by visiting several of them for consultation. They will look at your teeth to determine the best treatment approach and how much it will cost you. While you might at first be attracted to a “cheap” orthodontist, circumstances could change in the course of your treatment, making it difficult to guarantee prices. The best approach is to get several estimates and choose the most affordable. In some cases, the lowest quote may not always be the best. To find affordable orthodontists in your area, compare not only their prices but their expertise as well.
Check Your FSA or HSA
Whether or not an employer provides medical insurance, FSAs and HSAs are some of the benefits common among employers. HSA stands for “health savings account”, which is somewhat similar to an FSA, also known as a “flexible spending account”. Both accounts receive tax-free income from your salary. However, the FSA has more options, which explains why the term “flexible” is used to describe it. Nonetheless, you can use either account to settle medical expenses, including paying for braces. The key is to understand the stipulations for each account to leverage their benefits.
Look for Assistance Programs
You’ll be surprised at how many organizations are keen to help you keep smiling and maintain your dental health. For instance, there are special circumstances that may qualify you for low-cost dental care from Texas. The facility is available to young people aged 20 or less. However, in some cases, these facilities may not cover orthodontic treatment. So, make sure you understand their limitations before seeking help. There are other non-profit organizations that assist patients with paying for braces. Each of these has a specific application and qualification process. Do your research beforehand to establish if you qualify.
Tips for Choosing the Right Orthodontist
Make Sure They Have the Right Certifications and Memberships
Choosing an orthodontist is not as easy as some people assume. Among the attributes to consider before you settle on one include experience, training, and education. To be on the safe side, find affordable orthodontists who are on the roll of the American Association of Orthodontists. They should also have specialized orthodontics training.
Establish Their Treatment Approach
It’s also a great idea to inquire about how the orthodontist approaches treatment. Also, ask about the devices they use and the type of braces they recommend. In some cases, an orthodontist may recommend advanced procedures such as clear aligners or self-ligating braces. Others may choose a traditional approach to dental treatment.
Quality of Care
Besides training and education, a critical thing to consider is the overall quality of care while at the orthodontist’s office. Choose a dental clinic with a reputation for high-quality customer and dental care service. While at it, how about reading online reviews or asking for references to get a feel of what others’ experience with the clinic has been like?
Visit the Dental Clinic
It’s also a genius idea to pay the dental clinic a visit in person. This way, you’ll get to interact with the staff and the environment the clinic operates in. Nothing puts one at ease more than a welcoming, clean office.
It’s difficult, actually impossible, to receive answers to questions you haven’t asked. Don’t shy away from asking questions or voicing your concerns about dental treatment. A great orthodontist is always happy to respond to your questions and address your concerns. Find affordable orthodontists who are not bothered by your questions.
Look for a Dental Clinic Offering a Wide Range of Services
There are several other affordable orthodontic treatment options you may want to consider. One is to look for a dental clinic offering a range of services, which must include cosmetic dentistry, orthodontic treatment, and restorative dentistry. By bundling multiple treatments into one treatment plan, your overall cost of care is likely to go down.
Hunt for Discounts
Another great approach is to search for corporate or group discounts, which are usually pushed by dental clinics seeking to expand their business. Some of these clinics offer discounts to employees from particular organizations or companies or members from specific associations or groups.
Become a Dental Tourist
You may also want to consider dental tourism. This involves visiting other countries in search of dental care. Among the most popular destinations for dental tourism are Mexico, Costa Rica, and Thailand. In some cases, treatment costs can be substantially lower in these destinations than in the United States. However, before seeking dental treatment abroad, carefully research the reputation and quality of care of a particular dental clinic.
Seek Discount Plans
One more thing you may want to consider is a dental discount plan. This is a great alternative to traditional dental insurance. These types of plans provide discounts on several varieties of dental procedures, such as orthodontic treatment. If you don’t have insurance, or perhaps your insurance has limited coverage, these are great options you are advised to consider.
Get the Right Type of Aligners or Braces for Your Teeth
Finding an affordable orthodontist is not all there is. There are several other factors you should think about when seeking orthodontic treatment. One of these factors has to do with the appropriate type of aligners or braces for your teeth. The most affordable is the traditional metal braces. However, they are not always the most aesthetically pleasing, which explains why both teens and adults shun them. The more expensive clear or invisible aligners, such as Invisalign, are more discreet and, therefore, highly popular among patients.
Consider the Treatment Duration
The duration of treatment is another factor to consider. Given that most orthodontic treatments usually take months, and even years, to complete, you’ll need to be adequately prepared to live with them for as long as it takes, which usually depends on how severely misaligned your teeth are. A good budget for orthodontic care must, therefore, factor in the time and commitment required to complete treatment.
Brace for the Unexpected
Another thing. There are likely to be additional complications or costs in the course of the treatment. Although a majority of orthodontic treatments are carried out without a hitch, it’s not uncommon for unexpected issues to crop up, such as lost aligners or broken brackets. To play safe, ask your orthodontist what their policies are for handling such unexpected situations, including pain management. You may also want to find out if they charge additional fees.
Orthodontic treatment is a valuable investment for those seeking to improve the appearance and health of their teeth. Get a treatment option you can afford, which should include alternatives to traditional metal braces. Searching for recommendations and taking time to look for the right orthodontist could get you high-quality care on a budget.
Other great options to consider include financing, working with brokers who specialize in dental practices, dental savings plans, negotiating fees, and looking for a dental clinic that offers a wide array of services. Other incentives to take advantage of include corporate or group discounts, dental tourism, and dental discount plans. While the quality of care should be the overriding consideration, with just a bit of planning and research, you can find an affordable orthodontist that meets your needs.
Also, remember to choose the right braces, porcelain crowns, or aligners and consider the length of treatment and the potential for complications besides the prohibitive costs. To get the right orthodontic treatment at a price you can afford, planning and taking the right approach are all you need.
Whether you’re a teen or an adult, it takes quite some effort and research to find an affordable orthodontist. However, the effort is more than compensated for. You’ll receive high-quality care to improve the appearance and health of your teeth. All you have to do is to review the various options before you and then take the time to look for an orthodontist who’s just right for you, one that you can afford.
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