How much do braces cost?
What is the cost of braces in Australia?
Without an initial consultation, it’s near impossible to determine the cost of braces treatment. Each case differs from one to the next and there’s no ‘one size fits all’ price. It would be a little like calling a builder and asking how much it’s going to cost to renovate your home – the cost is absolutely dependent on the individual situation and the type of work needed!
That said, when it comes to traditional metal braces (the most common course of orthodontic treatment for adolescents), anywhere between $5,000 and $9,000 for a standard 18 month plan can be expected.
Of course, the cost of braces in Australia will vary depending on the type and duration of the treatment, as well as the individual orthodontist. Fees might also be higher if any other appliances are needed in conjunction with braces (such as expansion plates, anchorage implants or bite correcting springs).
Lingual braces are custom-made to fit snugly along the inside of your teeth. As a result, they tend to be more expensive than other options and can cost upwards of $9,000 for a full 18-month plan.
In some cases, smile correction via a series of clear aligners such as Invisalign® may be a suitable option. While clear aligners can cost between $3,500 to $9,000 for a full course of treatment, their success is dependent on the particulars of your case and wearing the aligners consistently.
How do I know I’ve been quoted the right price by my orthodontist?
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 in Australia you live. 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.
You should ask whether the fee includes all of the following:
- Consultation, pre-treatment reviews and orthodontic record taking– this is your child’s first step towards achieving a beautiful smile. Each orthodontic practice varies in how they conduct their consultations, but they generally take between 30-60 minutes and include taking x-rays, photographs and digital scans (or plaster moulds) of your child’s teeth, followed by an assessment by the orthodontist to determine the best course of action.
- Orthodontic appliances– this includes the appliance itself, such as braces or clear aligners, as well as any fitting that’s required. For braces this will include bonding the braces onto your teeth and recommendations on how to best look after them and ensure the best results. For clear aligners, it will also cover any additional work that needs to be done to support your treatment, such as bonding discreet attachments, as well as guidance on how to wear and care for your aligners. In both cases, it’s common for your orthodontist to include regular check-up appointments throughout treatment as part of the overall package, to make sure your smile is progressing as expected.
- Post-treatment reviews– most orthodontists will include follow-up treatment, such as retainers, and a number of reviews to ensure you maintain your beautiful new smile. These follow-up appointments are important to make sure your teeth stay in the correct position, so it’s important to be clear from the start whether or not your orthodontic fee includes this post-treatment care.
How can I pay for braces?
Is the orthodontic treatment cost covered under Medicare?
In a word, no. Orthodontic treatment is not covered under Medicare, however you might be covered under private health insurance, depending on the details of your policy.
Are braces covered by my health insurance?
If you have health insurance you may be entitled to claim a portion of the cost of braces back from your health fund, but because every case is different, it’s important to check with your fund prior to starting treatment.
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.
How do orthodontic limits and waiting periods apply to my policy?
It’s important to be aware that orthodontic benefits and limits do vary from fund to fund and you may need to serve a 12 month waiting period before you will be eligible to claim a benefit.
Keeping braces affordable
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.
What is the long term benefit of investing in orthodontic treatment?
The cost of orthodontic treatment 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!
As discussed, fees differ significantly depending on each individual and the only way for prospective patients to know how much orthodontic treatment will cost is to have a personal consultation with an orthodontist.
When it comes to treatment options and payment plans, your orthodontist will happily talk you through your options, answer any questions and do all they can to ensure you’re comfortable moving forward. If you’re unsure of where to find a registered orthodontist near you, check out the Find An Orthodontist tool.
For more information about the cost of braces and the orthodontic treatment options for children and adolescents, take a look at our Kids and Orthodontics eBook.
Orthodontics Australia strongly urges consumers to be wary of the safety risks of DIY or “Direct to Consumer” orthodontic products now being offered in Australia. These clear aligner products are sold direct to consumers online via mail order kits or inside shopping mall retail outlets. There is no face-to-face consultation by a specialist orthodontist (or general dentist) and no X-rays of the teeth and jaws taken before treatment commences.
Although lower cost and apparent greater convenience may seem appealing compared to traditional orthodontic treatment with an actual Orthodontist, with DIY healthcare you can expect to get what you pay for. Consumers also need to be aware that while many of these services claim to utilise the expertise of a trained “dental professional” this is generally not the case and you are essentially on your own when things go wrong (which is common).
Aside from someone simply “approving” your case, there is zero ongoing supervision or follow up with any dentist or orthodontist. Furthermore, the person allocated to approve your treatment may be located overseas and not licensed to practice in Australia.
For more information about the risks of direct-to-consumer orthodontic products, please read our consumer alert here.