If your dentist has told your son or daughter he or she needs braces, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to know that even the metal ones are lighter, smaller and more comfortable than those of the past.
Thanks to technology, people of all ages have more choices than ever when deciding which braces will work the fastest and best at re-aligning your teeth for a better smile and easier chewing.
Orthodontists recommend that parents bring kids in for evaluation when they are 7 years old, according to the American Association of Orthodontists. The earlier your child has his teeth examined, the more time you have to plan ahead for dental insurance, health savings accounts and other methods to cover the costs.
Braces can run from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on whether you select traditional, metal braces or go with lingual braces, which are hidden on the insides of teeth.
American Association of Orthodontists members say that the average length of orthodontic treatment is 22 months.
Signature Smiles has Dr. Kevin Yeh on staff, who specializes in braces, including Invisalign treatment. A native of Arlington, Texas, he earned his DDS degree at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. He joined the United States Navy and was stationed at the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island, Washington, and on the USS Carl Vinson, which is famous for being the ship that disposed of terrorist Osama Bin Laden’s body in 2011.
Not only does Yeh have extra orthodontic experience, he has a good sense of humor when working with his patients, especially children.
Children can have fun choosing from 24 colors for the bands, customizing his smile, according to Dr. Renee Roland of Roland Orthodontics in Penfield, New York. The colors include purple, pink, red, yellow, blue and even black.
Although Invisalign has enjoyed popularity with many adults, more than 2 million of whom have used it, the method isn’t recommended for kids because of the temptation to remove the trays and forget to put them back in. Even adults may be tempted to leave them out and thus prolong treatment, which may also increase costs.
Keep in mind, though, that many health or dental insurance plans won’t cover costs for adults, while partially covering children under the age of 18, according to the Oral B brand website.
For any plan, be sure to ask about the percentage the company covers and the lifetime maximum per child. While coverage varies widely, it averages 50 percent, with a $1,500 lifetime maximum.
Experts also recommend that you keep the same insurance plan during your entire orthodontic treatment. Most orthodontic plans won’t cover braces if they have already been applied before the policy went into effect. In other words, the company considers that a pre-existing condition that would have to be paid by the patient.
If braces are considered medically necessary, the costs may be tax deductible. Be sure to keep all dental and medical bills, even small co-payment invoices, for tax time.