Considering getting braces but not sure whether you can afford them? Read this.
Many Australians want straighter teeth but are concerned about the cost of this treatment. Having a straight and healthy smile is an investment in your future, so we are going to tell you the real cost of orthodontic treatment so you can make an informed decision about if braces or clear aligners are right for you or your family.
Without an initial consultation, it’s near impossible to determine the full cost of braces. This is because the cost of orthodontics depends on several factors including the duration and complexity of treatment and the type of treatment you choose. That said, here is a guide for what you can expect to pay for a full course of orthodontic treatment in Australia:
- Metal braces (traditional braces): $6,000 – $9,000
- Ceramic braces: $6,500 – $9,500
- Lingual braces: $9,500 – $15,000
- Clear aligners: $6,500 – $9,500
* Note these prices are typically for a 15 to 18 month treatment period that not only straightens teeth, but helps to correctly align the jaw as well, and includes the cost of regular consultations to monitor the progress of your treatment.
Limited treatment (a cosmetic version that only alters the appearance of the front teeth and does not correct any bite irregularities) may be offered by some orthodontic providers, with a treatment period of roughly 6 months and costs ranging from $3,500 – $6,000. This type of treatment can help improve the look of your smile in the short term, but without addressing the underlying irregularities of the jaw and bite, may lead to ongoing discomfort, complications or relapse.
Orthodontics Australia recommends you always consult a specialist orthodontist before undergoing any type of treatment including clear aligners, to better understand if your preferred option or limited treatment will be suitable and safe for your smile in the long term.
Of course, fees may differ if other appliances are needed in conjunction with braces, such as expansion plates, anchorage implants or bite correcting springs.
There are many ways you can pay for braces to lighten the financial burden and make a full course of treatment more affordable.
Some ways you can pay for your treatment include:
- Paying for your treatment up front (often with a discount)
- Using a payment plan to make your repayments over time, spreading out the overall cost of treatment
Orthodontics is not covered under Medicare, however, you might be covered under private health insurance, depending on the details of your policy.
If you have extras cover on your health insurance, you may be entitled to claim a portion of the cost of braces back from your health fund.
If you don’t currently have any cover, you’ll need to weigh up your options to determine whether it will be more cost-effective to commence with or without health insurance. Keep in mind, most private health funds require a 12-month waiting period for this treatment.
There are no specific government programs in Australia that subsidise the cost of getting braces. The Australian government’s Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) offers assistance for two-17 year-olds to access a range of dental services and procedures for free. However, benefits for orthodontic treatment such as braces aren’t covered under the CDBS.
Since braces are a significant financial investment, many orthodontists are happy to help you arrange a payment plan to make braces more affordable. This takes some of the pressure and stress out of your orthodontic bills and ensures you’re able to get the best treatment for you or your child.
While cheap braces from a less qualified general practitioner might seem appealing, it is important that you always see a registered specialist for all your orthodontic needs and prioritise the health and safety of your teeth over the cost. In fact, orthodontic treatment delivered by a less qualified general dentist can end up costing more than the same treatment provided by a specialist orthodontist.
Limited orthodontic treatment, which focuses on a single tooth or single group of teeth, is an option for those who have a limited budget or are unwilling to commit to comprehensive treatment, however, is it generally not recommended. This is because if only one arch is treated, the biting relationship between top and bottom teeth can’t be controlled properly and could result in an uneven and uncomfortable bite.
As the saying goes, if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well.
As with any investment, it’s important to do some research beforehand. Prices can vary depending on the work being done, the treatment option you have chosen and where you live in Australia. As each orthodontist is free to set their own fees, there will inevitably be some variation in the amounts each practice charges for their services.
The best way to check you’ve been quoted a decent price is to obtain an all-inclusive quote from a couple of local orthodontists. Obtaining an all-inclusive financial quote in writing and a comprehensive diagnostic report from your orthodontist is the easiest way to avoid confusion and unexpected costs. In order to compare quotes for cost-effectiveness, you should have a clear idea of what it includes.
Use our Finder tool to find a registered orthodontist near you.
You should ask your orthodontist whether the quote includes the following:
- Consultations, pre-treatment reviews and orthodontic record taking
- Orthodontic appliances
- Retainers (including replacement retainers)
- Post-treatment reviews
The cost of orthodontics is an overwhelmingly positive investment in you or your child’s future health and happiness. A confident smile has the potential to be your best and most memorable asset – one you will surely be grateful for down the track!
For more information about the cost of braces visit our Cost Hub, which will tell you everything you need to know about this treatment in Australia.