paying for treatment

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

The fee for orthodontic treatment is determined by a variety of factors, including the severity of the problem to be corrected as well as how long the treatment is expected to last. Fees may be different from orthodontist to orthodontist, and from one region to another. The type of device (braces, aligners, etc.) that is used in treatment may also affect the fee.

What does the orthodontist’s fee cover?

Some orthodontists’ fees are all-inclusive, and some are not. Talk to your orthodontist and ask what his/her fee covers, and if there is anything the fee does not cover.

Do orthodontists offer payment plans?

Yes, most orthodontists offer a variety of payment plans to make orthodontic care fit your budget. Plans offered can vary from orthodontist to orthodontist.

Here are some examples of payment plans that may be offered:

  • A discount may be offered if the entire fee is paid up front.
  • Interest-free, in-office financing for up to 24 months may be offered. Often a down payment is made, and the remaining balance is paid over a period of months.
  • Third-party finance companies. While these companies do charge interest, they may make it possible to begin treatment without a down payment, and may be able to make monthly payments smaller by spreading them over a longer period of time.

Do I have to make a down payment?

A down payment may or may not be required. Speak with your orthodontist or their team members about payment plans that are offered.

Can I use my flexible spending account or health savings account funds for orthodontic treatment?

Yes, funds from flexible spending accounts and health savings accounts can be used to pay for orthodontic treatment. Talk to your orthodontist about how to make the best use of your benefits.

Does insurance cover orthodontic treatment?

Many people have dental insurance that includes orthodontic benefits, usually provided by their employer. Such insurance covers a portion of the fee for orthodontic treatment. Sometimes insurance covers a percentage of the fee, but it is more common that coverage is capped at a specific dollar amount (“lifetime cap”).

If your dental insurance is through your employer, your human resources department may be able to provide coverage details. The information can also be obtained directly from the insurance company.

With your permission, the orthodontist may be able to confirm your insurance benefits for you, such as:

  • The amount (“lifetime cap”) of coverage or the percentage of the fee covered
  • Who is covered
  • If coverage is limited by age
  • Whether you are required to choose from the insurance company’s providers

Not all providers used by insurance companies to provide orthodontic treatment are orthodontists. To be sure any provider you are interested in using is an orthodontist, check the Find an Orthodontist service, where you will find members of the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO). The AAO only admits orthodontists, who have training in the orthodontic specialty, as members.

I do not have employer-provided insurance for orthodontic treatment. Can I buy insurance myself?

Yes, you can purchase orthodontic insurance, but expect a 12-month waiting period before coverage becomes effective.

Do I have to have insurance for orthodontic treatment?

No. Insurance is not required to have orthodontic treatment.

How much does insurance cover?

Insurance for orthodontic treatment is intended to cover a portion of the fee, not the entire fee.

Check with your employer or your insurance company to determine your specific benefits.

How do I find an orthodontist who takes my insurance?

To find an orthodontist who takes your insurance you can:

  • Call AAO orthodontists to ask if they accept your insurance
  • Contact your insurance company and request a list of their providers

Just because an insurance company lists someone as a provider of orthodontic treatment, it does not guarantee that the doctor is an orthodontist. To be sure any provider truly is an orthodontist, use the American Association of Orthodontists’ (AAO) Find an Orthodontist service. The AAO only admits orthodontists, who have training in the orthodontic specialty, as members. Selecting an AAO orthodontist for orthodontic care is your assurance that the doctor is an orthodontist.

Do orthodontists take credit cards?

Many orthodontists accept major credit cards. Check with your orthodontist’s office about whether credit cards are accepted as payment, and if so, which ones.

Do I have to sign a contract?

Typically, a contact is signed when you decide to move forward with your child’s (or your own) orthodontic treatment.

What if a problem comes up and I can’t make my payment?

If you are unable to make your payment(s) for orthodontic treatment, communicate that to your orthodontist immediately. The orthodontist needs to be aware of this change in your circumstances.

Do not stop taking your child to his/her appointments.

My spouse and I are divorcing – who pays for our child’s treatment?

You and your spouse will need to determine the financial responsibility for your child’s orthodontic treatment. Generally, one party is responsible for making payments.