Orthodontic treatment is an important investment in the health and well-being of your child. Early orthodontic treatment can help address issues with your child's teeth and jaws while they are still growing, making it easier to correct the problem and preventing more significant issues from developing later on. While the benefits of early orthodontic treatment are clear, we understand that many patients want to understand what factors affect the cost of braces when planning for your child's treatment. In this article, we will provide an overview of the cost of braces for kids, and discuss some of the main factors that can impact the overall cost of treatment.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Braces for Kids
Complexity of the orthodontic problem
The complexity of your child's orthodontic problem will play a significant role in the cost of braces. More complex issues may require more extensive treatment, which can increase the overall cost. However, early intervention can often help reduce the need for more extensive treatment later on.
There is an old saying that ‘a stitch in time saves nine’. This is often very relevant to orthodontic treatment for children. Did you know that simple early interventions can sometimes alleviate or reduce the need for braces?
For this reason, the Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends that parents and guardians take their child to their first orthodontic assessment at around age 7. It is unlikely that treatment will be indicated at this age, but for the small percentage that can benefit - the advantages of early intervention are significant.
For those who don’t yet need treatment - but will at a later stage - a visit from around age 7 can provide a useful baseline for the orthodontist to commence regular checkups. These checkups are short, quick appointments at which the orthodontist monitors for the best time to commence treatment to ensure the best outcome with the shortest, easiest path to success. At Fine Orthodontics these checkups are free of charge, as it is better for all involved if treatment is started at the most ideal time.
In summary, taking your child to a first visit to the orthodontist from about age 7, followed by regular checkups as needed, can often help to ensure they do not end up with a complex orthodontic problem at a later stage. In this way, being proactive can be cost-effective, and may in fact reduce the cost of braces later down the track.
Type of braces chosen
The type of braces chosen will also affect the cost. Traditional metal braces are usually the most affordable option, while clear or ceramic braces, or clear aligners (e.g. Invisalign®) may be more expensive. This is not always the case however, as some combinations of orthodontic problems are more easily addressed by specific treatment modes, and this will be taken into account when providing the respective quotes. After reviewing your case, Fine Orthodontics will present you with multiple options and personalised quotes. This allows you to consider not only the cost, but also lifestyle and other factors when deciding between different treatment types.
In many cases, the price difference is usually minor enough that a strong inclination towards a particular appliance will outweigh price differences. For some children, braces are the better choice where parents suspect their child will not wear aligners as instructed. For others, because orthodontic treatment involves an investment of time as well as money, the convenience of clear aligners will be attractive, with faster appointments at less frequent intervals often an important factor in their decision.
The length of treatment will impact the cost of braces. More severe orthodontic problems may require longer treatment times, which can increase the cost. Whilst treatment duration is usually closely linked to case complexity, this is not always the case. Sometimes treatment is extended or additional treatment is indicated due to poor patient cooperation. This can sometimes impact the overall price of orthodontic treatment. Examples include loss of appliances (e.g., retainers or repeated loss of clear aligners), or repeated damage and breakage to braces.
Additional procedures or appliances required
Additional procedures or appliances, such as a bite jumper appliance, may be indicated for certain orthodontic problems. These can increase the overall cost of treatment, however are recommended as options to ensure the best overall result. At Fine Orthodontics we can discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using additional appliances at your consultation appointment.
On-site technology and expertise versus need to outsource
Fine Orthodontics is deeply passionate about both orthodontics and technology. Our practice operates an on-site lab, enabling us to achieve enhanced efficiency and effectiveness while minimising external lab involvement. Furthermore, Dr. Fine has developed his own system of clear aligners called FineLine. By reducing our dependence on external providers, Fine Orthodontics has successfully streamlined numerous processes and systems, tailoring them to meet the specific needs of our practice and patients. Our unwavering commitment to delivering exceptional service and treatment has resulted in increased overall efficiency. We take great pride in passing along these cost savings to our patients.
At Fine Orthodontics, our own FineLine system can be offered at a cost substantially less than other clear aligner systems. In addition, as the aligners can be made as treatment progresses (rather than all ordered upfront from an outside company), we can usually alleviate the need for a large upfront deposit, allowing patients to commence their treatment without delay.
Types and Cost of Braces for Kids Offered
by Fine Orthodontics
Cost of metal braces
Metal braces are the most commonly used braces for children. They consist of metal brackets and wires that are attached to the teeth to straighten them over time. Thanks to recent technological advancements, braces have become smaller and more comfortable than ever before.
At Fine Orthodontics, we offer rhodium-coated self-ligating (self-closing) braces that are the most comfortable metal braces available. The rhodium coating ensures that the braces never become dull or lose their shiny look, keeping your child's smile sparkling throughout the treatment process.
The total cost of metal braces at Fine Orthodontics ranges from about $8,500 to $10,000 depending on the complexity of the case. Despite this typical cost guide, in some cases treatment will be much less - or occasionally greater - depending on your child’s unique needs.
Cost of Clear braces
For kids who prefer a more discreet look, clear braces for the upper teeth are a great choice. These braces feature clear brackets instead of metal, significantly reducing their visibility. At Fine Orthodontics, we offer translucent Damon® braces as an option for the upper teeth, ensuring a less noticeable appearance while still achieving effective results.
The cost of clear braces at Fine Orthodontics is typically slightly more than the fee for metal braces.
Cost of SureSmile® braces
SureSmile® braces are a revolutionary treatment option that uses advanced digital technology to customise your child's treatment. In traditional orthodontic treatment, an orthodontist would manually bend archwires using pliers. However, with Suresmile, we can plan your treatment ahead of time using a 3D scan of your teeth. Once your child’s smile has been designed and the required movements are known, wires are bent using a precise robotic system.
This technology allows for faster treatment times and more precise results than ever before. As this technology reduces clinic time, we are able to offer SureSmile technology at no additional charge, so the cost of SureSmile® braces at Fine Orthodontics ranges from around $8,500 to $10,000, with an additional fee for clear braces in the upper arch if desired.
Payment and Financing Options for Braces for Kids at Fine Orthodontics
At Fine Orthodontics, we understand that orthodontic treatment is a significant investment, and strive to provide our patients with a range of affordable payment options. Our staff are approachable, proactive and solutions-focused, and always open to discussing the best way to structure a payment plan to suit your needs. Our Treatment Coordinator’s priority is to make treatment as easy and accessible as possible.
Tailoring plans to suit
We offer various options to our patients to make the cost of orthodontic treatment more affordable. One of our Orthodontic Treatment Coordinators will discuss these options with you during your initial consultation, and listen to your requirements and preferences in an effort to find the best payment structure for you and your family.
As each family is unique, and each orthodontic treatment case is unique, we use a flexible approach to establishing a suitable payment plan. Where required, we can stretch out the cost of braces with an easy payment plan facility, allowing you to spread your payments across the duration of your treatment.
If you have a private health fund, depending on your circumstances and level of cover, you may be entitled to a rebate that will help reduce your out-of-pocket expenses. We will provide a relevant item number on all quotations and receipts, so that you may forward these along to your health fund for claiming purposes.
Our experienced team will be more than happy to discuss your individual financial needs and tailor a payment plan that suits your budget. We are committed to making orthodontic treatment affordable and accessible for everyone. Contact us today to book an assessment with our orthodontist and discuss our payment and financing options.
Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment for Kids
Early orthodontic treatment can provide numerous benefits for children. These benefits can reduce the need for more invasive treatments further down the track, reduce the likelihood of complications, and often lead to faster, simpler treatments which cost less. Despite starting earlier, early orthodontic treatment for kids will usually mean that both you and your child will spend less time at both the orthodontist and other dental offices. Some of the advantages include:
Reducing the need for future permanent tooth extractions or surgical tooth exposure
Addressing orthodontic issues early on can help prevent more severe problems developing at a later stage, such as severe overcrowding. Severe overcrowding that develops later may need permanent tooth extraction for correction. In other cases severe crowding can cause impacted teeth (teeth that are blocked from growing into the mouth and may need to be surgically exposed or removed).
In addition to overcrowding, other issues can result in permanent teeth needing extraction or exposure. A low-radiation x-ray taken and analysed by your orthodontist is useful for identifying permanent teeth that are significantly off-course as a result of other reasons, such as baby teeth failing to resorb on time, cysts or even extra teeth under the gum causing deflection of adult teeth. In many cases, early detection followed by simple orthodontic treatments (or even just removing a baby tooth early and holding the space) can make treatment much easier in the long run, and reduce the need for permanent tooth extractions at a later stage.
Avoidance of other dental problems
Addressing orthodontic problems as soon as possible reduces the risk of decay, enamel wear and trauma in the long term. Treating orthodontic problems in children ensures that traumatic bites and ‘food traps’ in irregularly aligned teeth are eliminated. Some types of traumatic bites can cause significant wear, or vulnerability to chipping or fracture. When biting together correctly, teeth interlock similarly to a set of gears. If teeth are out of alignment, pressure is uneven, and teeth are not ‘guided’ to function in an ideal manner, thereby exposing relatively delicate areas of the dentition to powerful biting and grinding forces.
It should be noted that the same irregular forces and functions that necessitate restorations often diminish their longevity, causing them to be worn down or knocked off repeatedly, until the underlying bite issue is corrected via orthodontic treatment. Early correction can improve the longevity of your child’s teeth down the track, reduce wear and tear, and save them the issue of maintaining any necessary restorations
In addition to incorrect bites, some children have very protrusive front teeth, which may be accident prone. Unfortunately it is quite common for children to knock their front teeth, often when riding bikes and skateboards. Another common example is swimming pool bumps, where kids knock their teeth on pool edging while splashing around with their mates, or bump the bottom of the pool when diving in. If teeth are sticking out excessively, damage is more likely, and repairs may be needed, ranging from relatively minor corrections for chipped teeth, or more serious treatment for lost teeth, or traumatised teeth with nerve damage. Once again, without correction of the underlying orthodontic issues, these types of restorations may prove difficult to maintain if they are vulnerable to being knocked again in the future, leading to repeated dental or endodontist (dental nerve specialist) visits.
Reduced need for dental implants
By working with growth and development, we can alleviate the need for some patients to require dental implants. Sometimes permanent teeth are missing, are severely decayed, or have enamel abnormalities that mean they have a poor long-term prognosis.
You may not know your child is missing a permanent tooth, or has another similar issue until a low-radiation x-ray is taken of their teeth and jaws. In many cases, with early detection, suitable analysis and treatment planning, it is often relatively easy to manage a missing tooth with a great outcome, and no need for replacement. In other cases, if done at the right developmental stage, teeth can even be transplanted (if your child is severely crowded in one area but missing a tooth in another, this may be a great option).
If left until later, space closure may be an unrealistic option, and dental implants may need to be considered instead to manage missing teeth.
Improved facial symmetry
By guiding the growth of the jaw and teeth at a younger age, orthodontic treatment can help improve facial symmetry and aesthetics. An example of this is where a child’s upper jaw is too narrow for the lower jaw. In such a case, the child will often shift their jaw slightly to one side every time they bite together, in order to have better contact for functioning (known as a ‘functional shift’).
Left untreated, children with a functional shift often begin to grow in a slightly asymmetrical manner. X-rays have shown that these asymmetries affect not just the jaw, but also the base of the skull as the body tries to compensate and adjust to the functional shift. While the bite issue may be able to be addressed later with tooth movement, the skeletal asymmetries will generally remain unless surgery is undertaken.
Early orthodontic treatment can alleviate this type of asymmetrical growth. In the case of a functional shift due to a narrow upper jaw, an orthodontist can use an upper jaw expander for easy correction.
By working with growth and development, correction is often more stable. In some cases this is due to the fact that we achieve skeletal change, rather than just moving teeth within the jaw. An example of this is the use of an upper jaw expander, that takes advantage of the fact that the bone underlying the upper palate is in two pieces, with the middle not yet fused (which happens later, usually in early adolescence).
Working with growth and development in this way is also beneficial for gum health. This is because widening (or expanding) the dental arches later, via tooth movement alone, tends to push teeth more towards ‘the sides’ of the jaw, giving them less support. The earlier expansion is done, the more we are moving the bones with the teeth inside, rather than pushing teeth.
We can also use size differences between adult and baby teeth, as well as the tendency for teeth to naturally ‘drift’ during certain times of development to facilitate more stable crowding correction than would otherwise be possible.
Correcting dental issues early can help improve a child's self-esteem and confidence, which can have long-term benefits.
In addition to the benefits for the child's dental health, early orthodontic treatment can also result in cost savings in the long run. By addressing orthodontic issues early on, more severe problems can be prevented, which can save money on more extensive treatments later.
At Fine Orthodontics, we recognise that a preventative approach makes treatment faster and easier for everyone. For this reason, we offer free* initial consultations, and will monitor your child at regular intervals for no further charge. Once your child has reached their ideal developmental stage to commence treatment, we offer flexible affordable payment plans to help make early orthodontic treatment as accessible as possible. We endeavour to work with you to find a payment plan that suits you best and meets your child's orthodontic needs.
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Contact Information and Consultation
Each child's orthodontic needs are unique and require a personalised treatment plan. That's why we encourage parents to reach out to us for a first visit anytime from about age 7. While most children won’t need any treatment at that first visit, we simply don’t know until we have seen them for a clinical examination.
We also find that an early visit is a great way to establish a positive relationship, and we find that most kids enjoy their first visit, especially seeing close up photographs of their teeth and smile. Regular orthodontic visits ensure that kids are more likely to be comfortable and relaxed when it is time to start active treatment.
To ensure no opportunities for preventative orthodontic treatment are missed, we encourage you to get in touch. Our team at Fine Orthodontics is dedicated to making orthodontic treatment accessible and affordable for as many patients as possible.
We have two locations, Bondi Junction and Maroubra, and our staff is always available to answer any questions you may have about our services or payment options. Don't hesitate to contact us to schedule a consultation or learn more about our orthodontic treatments for kids.