top of page
  • Danielle Godley

How to Save Money on Orthodontic Treatment

Updated: May 27

Orthodontic treatments, such as braces or clear aligners, can be a high cost investment, but are often essential to achieving a straight, healthy smile. Some of the factors associated with cost of orthodontic treatment include the severity of the dental problem, length of treatment needed, expertise and experience of the orthodontist, and post-treatment care with retainers. Treatment involves continuous monitoring and adjustments by the orthodontist, which requires regular appointments. Cost can also be influenced by location, with prices generally higher in urban areas, and whether additional procedures or treatments are required, such as tooth extractions, anchorage devices, or surgery.

It's important to remember that while the upfront cost of braces may seem high, the benefits of a healthy, confident smile and bite are priceless. Fortunately, there are ways to save money on orthodontics without compromising the quality of care you receive. Below are some ways of saving money when it comes to the cost of braces and cost of aligner orthodontic treatment.

1. Compare Treatment Options

By comparing the costs of your orthodontic treatment options, you can identify opportunities to reduce your overall expenses. Certain treatment plans may come at a higher fee due to their longer duration. Different orthodontic systems, such as braces and aligners, may vary in cost. Consider asking about the fees for metal braces, transparent braces, clear aligners, and custom braces. Some orthodontic practices may charge more for specialized treatments like lingual braces or custom braces, while others may have higher fees for clear braces or aligners. However, some offices offer treatments at uniform costs. When choosing among orthodontic options, it is essential to consider your needs, goals, and budget.

2. Explore Financing Options

There are various financing options that can be utilized for orthodontic treatment, including:

  • Dental Insurance: Some dental insurance policies cover a portion of orthodontic treatment.

  • In-Office Payment Plans: Many orthodontic clinics offer payment plans, making it easier for patients to manage the cost of their treatment by allowing payment over time rather than as a lump sum. Some offices even offer this option with zero interest.

  • Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts: These are tax-advantaged methods to pay for qualified medical expenses, including orthodontics.

  • Healthcare Credit Cards: These are specifically designed for medical expenses. They often provide interest-free periods, which can be beneficial if the balance is paid within the specified timeframe.

  • Personal Loans: Personal loans typically have lower interest rates than credit cards and can be used for anything.

Remember, if you do pursue a financing option, it is crucial to understand the terms and conditions to avoid potential pitfalls such as high interest rates or penalties for late payments.

3. Choose an In-Network Provider

If you have dental insurance, check to see if there are orthodontists within your insurance network. Selecting an orthodontist who is part of your network can lead to significant overall savings for you. Orthodontists who are in-network can provide orthodontic treatments at a discounted rate, making it even more affordable for you. It is important to note that while some orthodontists may accept your dental insurance benefits, they may not be "in-network" with your insurance company. Therefore, choosing an in-network orthodontist not only ensures financial benefits but also tends to streamline your billing and payment process.

4. Consider Treatment at a Dental School

Considering orthodontic treatment at a dental school can be a great option. Dental schools often offer care at a fraction of the cost compared to private orthodontist practices. Although the treatment is performed by students, they are supervised by experienced orthodontists. This provides a learning opportunity for the students and affordable care for you. Downsides include longer and potentially more appointments. In addition, availability can be limited due to the academic calendar. However, if you're looking for a budget-friendly way to achieve a perfect smile, getting your braces or clear aligners at a dental school might be the right choice for you.

5. Ask the Orthodontist about Special Offers and Discounts

It's always a smart idea to inquire about any special offers or discounts that may be available when you're considering orthodontic treatment. Some orthodontists provide certain financial courtesies to make the treatment more affordable. These could include discounts for pay-in-full or upfront payments, family discounts, and referral programs. Some may even provide reduced rates for military personnel, teachers, firefighters, and law enforcement officers. It's always worth asking about these during your consultation.


Additional Tips to Save Money on Orthodontics

Understand your dental insurance policy before starting treatment

Make sure that your dental insurance policy offers orthodontic coverage. Many policies with orthodontic coverage will provide a benefit for orthodontic treatment costs. The extent of the orthodontic coverage varies based on the insurance plan. Some plans cover a percentage of the total cost, while others may offer a dollar amount.

When it comes to dental insurance policies, it is important to review factors such as the percentage of treatment cost covered, the maximum lifetime benefit, waiting periods, and any restrictions on the types of orthodontic treatments covered. Additionally, remember to verify whether the plan covers adults in addition to children, as some plans do not provide orthodontic benefits over a certain age. Insurance policies may have co-pays, limitations, or exclusions, such as age restrictions or a waiting period before coverage begins. It is recommended to review your insurance policy or consult with your insurance provider to gain understanding of the terms before you begin orthodontic treatment.

Explore health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs)

Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) are both tools that can help you manage your healthcare expenses. They're like personal savings accounts, but the money you put in them is used only for health-related expenses. The great thing about these accounts is that the money you contribute is tax-free, which can lead to significant savings. HSAs are typically paired with high-deductible health plans, and the money in your HSA rolls over year after year. FSAs, on the other hand, are often use-it-or-lose-it, meaning you need to use the money within the plan year. Both options can be a smart way to handle healthcare costs, depending on your individual needs and circumstances.

Research low-cost orthodontic clinics or programs

There are numerous resources available to assist in making orthodontic care affordable. Organizations such as Smiles Change Lives, Smile for a Lifetime, and the Gifted Smiles program from the American Association of Orthodontists provide low-cost or free orthodontic treatment to those who qualify. Always make sure to double-check the credentials and experience of the dentist orthodontist before proceeding with treatment.


Key Takeaways

Orthodontic treatment, while it may seem costly upfront, can actually lead to significant long-term savings. By investing in orthodontics, you're essentially investing in the health and longevity of your teeth. Proper alignment can prevent a multitude of dental issues, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss, all of which can be expensive to treat. And the confidence boost that comes with a beautiful, healthy smile? That's priceless! It's not just about looking good, it's about feeling good too. While orthodontic treatment might require a bit of budgeting now, it can save you from more costly dental procedures in the future.

Comparing your treatment options, exploring financing tools, choosing an in-network provider if you have dental insurance, considering treatment at a dental school, and asking your orthodontist about discounts can all be great ways of saving money on orthodontic treatment.



Dr. Danielle N. Godley is an ABO Board Certified Orthodontist who practices in Indiana. Her Zionsville office, Godley Family Orthodontics, provides care for north Indianapolis communities such as Carmel, Zionsville, Indy, Westfield, Lebanon, and Whitestown. She enjoys treating both adults and children with braces and Invisalign® clear aligners.

Godley Family Orthodontics

12036 N Michigan Rd, Suite 110, Zionsville, IN 46077


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page