The Cost of Braces Today vs. the Past

Cost-of-Braces

Getting braces is often a rite of passage for adolescents, and today more adults than ever before are in orthodontic treatment, as well. While many patients and families budget to allow orthodontic treatment to fit into their budgets, how does the cost of braces today compare to the costs of the past?

“When we go back and look at the cost of braces, say in 1960, it’s actually a bit of a surprise,” says Dr. Stosich, a Chicago orthodontist. “Patients assume braces must have been incredibly cheap then, but in reality, the cost of braces has not increased as much as one might think. In 1960, the average cost for a set of braces cost $2,000. When adjusted for inflation, that equals more than $16,000!”

Today, the average patient pays about $5,000-6,000 for standard braces. Take into account that many patients also have dental insurance that covers a portion of the cost, and today’s patients can pay the same or even less than patients in the 1960s paid.

But not only are today’s braces a bargain in relation to braces of yesterday, they are also much more advanced. Until the 1970s, the term metal mouth had special meaning because the metal had to actually be wrapped around each tooth. While metal braces are still the most commonly used braces today, the brackets are sleeker and more comfortable than ever.

Braces Today
Orthodontic treatment is highly specialized, because each patient receives custom care, dependant on his or her malocclusion. And, there are a host of braces options that weren’t available in the 1960s. Let’s break down the average cost of braces based on the type of braces available.

  • Metal braces – $5,000-$10,000
  • Ceramic braces – $5,000-$10,000
  • Lingual braces – $7,000-$10,000
  • Invisalign – $5,000-$10,000

In addition to the type of braces chosen, the cost is also dependant on a few other factors. Your location in the country, the age you are when the braces are placed, and the length of time you spend in braces will all contribute to your final cost. Adults will pay slightly higher prices than children will for braces, often because adult cases tend to be a bit more difficult than children. An adult who lives in Manhattan will pay approximately $8,700 for braces, while the same malocclusion on an adult in Lincoln, Nebraska will cost $4,554.

“The amount of time you spend in braces will also contribute to the cost,” says Dr. Stosich. “Several factors can impact your time in braces. The type of malocclusion and its severity, along with your age and the type of treatment you choose, can have an impact on the length of your treatment. But another important factor is the orthodontist you choose.”

Orthodontists today are dedicated to ensuring every patient receives personalized care – orthodontics cannot be one sized fits all, because every patient and every malocclusion is different. Treatment plans are backed up by careful and precise scientific planning that ensures beautifully straight smiles and properly functioning bites when treatment has completed.

Considering how far orthodontics has come since the 1960s, orthodontic treatment today is a steal. With 3d computer imaging, intraoral scanning, and so many technological advances that include invisible and almost invisible tooth straightening options, it’s no wonder that more people are turning to orthodontics for the smiles of their dreams.

AUTHOR: Michael Stosich

Michael S. Stosich, DMD, MS, MS, is a specialist orthodontist for children and adults with subspecialty expertise in robotically assisted orthodontics. Dr. Stosich serves as the orthodontic director at the University of Chicago's cleft lip and palate clinic and craniofacial anomalies clinic, which treats complex pediatric craniofacial anomalies.