Dental braces have evolved to offer a range of options when it come to fixing misaligned teeth.
For example, ceramic braces and lingual braces provide an alternative to metal braces, while plastic aligners have revolutionized how teeth straightening can be achieved.
Dental veneers are another alternative to braces, and accelerated orthodontics, with minor surgery, can correct crooked teeth faster than braces alone.
Here we’ll look at the pros and cons of the various ways to straighten teeth and how they compare price-wise.
Braces aren’t cheap. Metal braces are likely to set you back upwards of $6,000, with ceramic braces and lingual braces costing even more.
Advances in orthodontics have resulted in less conspicuous alternatives to braces. The most popular of these are clear plastic aligners. These have many advantages over traditional braces but are generally more expensive.
This is why many people turn to home teeth straightening, with aligners delivered to your door that cost thousands less than in-office clear aligner treatments, or getting metal/ceramic braces.
If you need to get braces on a limited budget, bear in mind that metal braces cost less than ceramic braces or lingual braces, and are effective in rectifying many orthodontic issues. On the downside, metal braces are more noticeable.
There are other ways adults can cut the cost of getting braces. You could try:
Today, the cheapest and safest way to straighten your teeth is to get at-home invisible aligners. Start by having an impression kit sent to you in the mail, from which customised clear aligners can be made for you and delivered to your home.
You can make the cost of braces for your child more manageable by planning in advance for their orthodontic treatment, so you’re financially prepared for the expenditure when the time comes – or at least have some of the cost covered.
If you have dental insurance, look into the possibility of increasing orthodontic options. Health insurance benefits through work will also cover some of the cost.
It’s advisable to shop around for orthodontic treatment for your child – fees for braces vary from clinic-to-clinic because there are no provincial fee guides for orthodontics, and again, ask whether you can pay in monthly instalments.
If your child is under 14 and you simply cannot afford orthodontic care for them, there may still be a solution. Under a national scheme, local orthodontists can provide treatment for $500 to cover admin costs. Applications are assessed on financial eligibility, based on federal government low-income criteria.
Universal health care in Canada doesn’t include any type of orthodontic treatment, including Invisalign, but – as the Canadian Association of Orthodontists (CAO) points out – some dental insurance plans do cover teeth straightening, which can halve the cost.
Many dental insurance plans cover Invisalign as well as conventional braces. Your insurance provider may pay a set dollar amount or a percentage of the cost of treatment, but there’s often a lifetime cap on these payments.
The first step in getting your insurance to pay for Invisalign is to contact the provider to confirm they specifically cover Invisalign treatment. If they do, you’ll probably find they don’t pay the dentist directly, so you’ll have to pay upfront and then submit a claim for reimbursement.
When looking for alternatives to metal braces, you may want to consider ceramic braces or lingual braces.
Ceramic braces are similar in shape and size to their metal counterparts but have clear or tooth-colored brackets that blend in with teeth. Tooth-coloured wires can also be used to make them even less conspicuous. Ceramic braces move teeth faster than plastic aligners but cost more than metal braces. If you don’t take good care of them, they can easily become stained.
Lingual (tongue side) braces are one of the most expensive types of braces. Like ceramic braces, they’re similar to metal braces – but instead of going onto the front of teeth, they’re attached to the back, which keeps them hidden from view. On the downside, lingual braces are hard to keep clean and routine adjustments are difficult, which means lengthy appointments.
Although less discreet than ceramic braces and lingual braces, metal braces remain the most effective option to treat severe teeth overcrowding.
The cosmetic dental procedure of choice for Hollywood celebrities, porcelain veneers are tooth-coloured, ultra-thin casings fixed onto the front of teeth to conceal problems such as crowded or gapped teeth, slightly misaligned teeth, or stains and chipping.
Accelerated orthodontics speeds up teeth straightening with the help of minor surgery. Before your braces are fitted, gum and bone tissue are trimmed and restructured so teeth can be moved into their correct position more easily.
A generally cheaper alternative to Invisalign, ClearCorrect plastic aligners offer similar benefits you can’t get with braces, including:
Disadvantages of ClearCorrect:
Braces and aligners move teeth into their correct position by exerting mild, constant pressure that causes jaw bone to soften and reconstruct.
Instead of straightening your teeth, DIY attempts at orthodontics can permanently damage them and cause infection, so don’t be tempted to try braces “hacks” you may come across online. Trying to manually push teeth into place or using elastic bands or string as makeshift orthodontic appliances can seriously jeopardise your oral health.
The only way to safely and effectively straighten your teeth at home is with the help of a reputable home teeth straightening provider, that has passed country-specific health certifications such as Health Canada or the FDA.
With professional home teeth straightening – supervised and monitored by dental experts – you get a series of custom-fit invisible aligners delivered to your door. They’re made from a mould of your mouth for a perfect fit.
A key benefit of this system is the greatly reduced cost. For instance, clear plastic aligners from NewSmile® cost about 75 percent less than braces and will save you thousands of dollars compared with in-office aligner treatment.
You’ll also receive:
While regular aligners need to be worn for 22 hours a day for the best results, night aligners are available to straighten your teeth while you sleep, and worn for 10 continuous hours a day.
Teeth straightening at home with NewSmile® – including a monitoring app to help you keep your treatment on track, with the average treatment time taking just four to six months.
This compares with an average treatment time of two years for braces, and 12 to 18 months with other in-office invisible aligner treatments. Moreover, there are no time-consuming, expensive repeat trips to the dentist or orthodontist.
Home aligners shouldn’t be confused with DIY orthodontics without professional dental supervision, which can be extremely dangerous.
In the hands of professionals, straightening your teeth at home is perfectly safe, with dental experts monitoring your treatment and are also available to answer any questions you may have.
If you have concerns about the type of aligners you may get, check that they’re approved by Health Canada.
Home teeth straightening with aligners can correct mild to moderate cases of crooked, gapped or crowded teeth. This makes it an ideal option for individuals looking to straighten their teeth for aesthetic reasons – a fast, convenient and affordable way to get a dream smile. If you have a more serious orthodontic issue, regular braces are likely to be more effective.
A good home teeth straightening company has dental professionals on hand to evaluate your specific case, and will generally offer a free smile assessment to help you make an informed decision on whether at-home teeth straightening is your best alternative to braces.