Unfortunately, not all of us are born with a perfectly aligned set of teeth. Nature, and sometimes misuse or lack of dental care, can result in a number of abnormalities in our teeth.
A vast majority of those situations need professional intervention to correct - If left unchecked, the issues can cause other serious health challenges.
Dental braces are one way to fix misaligned teeth (although they are very visible which many patients do not like the idea of) and a newer treatment method which is become very popular is called Invisalign (which are almost invisible braces).
Lets take a look at braces and Invisalign costs in Australia, along with what you can expect in having these procedures done.
What are Dental Braces?
Dental braces are devices that orthodontists prescribe for dealing with situations requiring straightening or re-aligning of teeth.
The objective of dental braces is therefore not only to help align teeth in relation to a patient’s “bite”, but to also address issues related to improved oral care.
Common types of braces include:
These are the most commonly used braces, usually constructed of high-grade stainless steel, and fitted to the front of the teeth
Clear Ceramic Braces
Made of clear ceramic material, these braces too are worn in the front of the teeth. However, they are less visible since they blend with the teeth. They are more delicate than steel braces, and can get damaged or break more easily
Lingual (concealed) Braces
Similar to their traditional metal cousins, these braces are fitted behind the teeth. That's why they are often referred to as "incognito" braces
These braces are built as a series of removable, customised clear "trays", called aligners, that help address spacing problems
The most common usage of dental braces are to rectify conditions such as Malocclusion (misalignment between the teeth), or Deep bites, Under bites and Over bites (as a result of misalignment between the lower/upper jaws).
In conjunction with other potential treatments, orthodontists may use appliances (such as dental braces) to widen jaws or the palate to help shape teeth and jaws.
When Would You Need Dental Braces?
Dental braces are a common remedy, both in children and adults, to either correct or prevent certain dental conditions.
While the above list in representative of the main reasons why dental braces might be prescribed by an orthodontist or dentist, ignoring treatment (or the use of braces) could lead to other health issues such as gum diseases, tooth decay, ear aches and headaches.
To avoid many of these problems, dental care professionals advise the use of braces (or other orthodontic treatments) earlier on in life. While braces are common at the age of 5, some treatments may require the use of braces for children at the tender age of 2.
The use of braces in adults may start at any age, but the rule of thumb is to commence their use as soon as an issue is detected. Generally speaking, the earlier the need for braces is determined (and commenced), the shorter and less costly the treatment can be.
What is Invisalign?
Unlike other forms of braces, which use wires and sets of brackets to realign or how much does invisalign coststraighten teeth, Invisalign treatments do not rely on highly visible braces.
It involves the use of specially manufactured clear sets of removable aligners for the teeth, created to the unique fit of each patient, and replaced frequently (often weekly). As each set of braces is removed, and new set is fitted in its place.
Gradually, over the course of treatment (often spanning many months, depending on the severity of problem being addressed), the teeth are re-aligned to meet the desired recommendation of the orthodontist.
Why Use Invisalign?
For patients who have a difficulty with oral hygiene (regular brushing and flossing), traditional braces might pose a challenge. That’s because metal braces hamper their ability to gain access to the full gum and tooth area. In such cases, Invisalign offers a relatively low-maintenance option to addressing dental issues requiring the use of braces because patients are able to floss and brush as normal.
Some patients may have extra sensitive palates that cannot withstand contact with metallic objects like steel braces or brackets used in traditional braces. In some instances, gum irritation/pain may also be a factor against choosing traditional braces.
Additionally, because they are constructed of clear material, they blend in with the surrounding teeth, and are almost unnoticeable to the casual observer. This means users of Invisalign aligners can continue their treatment in complete anonymity.
Although there are many other options, the Invisalign treatment provides the best way to transform your smile without interfering with your day-to-day.
How Much Do Braces & Invisalign Cost In Australia?
Just as the need for having braces can vary, so too can the costs for dental braces vary depending on several factors.
More or less costly?
Type - Costs vary based on the type of braces, from Metal, Ceramic, Lingual to Invisalign
The more clearer the braces, the more costly they tend to be. Metal braces are the least expensive where Invisalign are the most expensive
Issue being addressed - The complexity of the issue to be addressed
More costly: Severely malformed teeth, or (usually) defects that have not been treated early on
Geographic location - Costs are also influenced by the location where braces are acquired (within Australia)
More costly: Typically, treatment in metropolitan areas like inner Sydney may cost more due to the higher cost of doing business there
Health Care Funding - Having Health Care Plans can reduce the cost of dental braces. Costs vary based on several factors
Less costly: Long-time Health Care plan members
Practitioners experience and reputation - The reputation and experience of a dental practice can be a contributing factor to the cost of braces
Less costly: Relatively small dental practices, or those that are competing to establish themselves within a community
The following table provides rough estimates for various costs associated with braces treatments:
1) Initial consultation (for an accurate estimate)
2) Limited duration (15 minutes) evaluation visit may be an alternate to a formal initial consultation. The estimate provided will be very cursory
3)Traditional (Metal) Braces for upper and lower braces
$4,500 to $8,000
4) Ceramic Braces for upper and lower braces
$5,000 to $8,500
5) Lingual Braces (Single arch)
6) Lingual Braces (Full treatment)
Up to $12,500
7) Invisalign: Minor treatments Full treatment
Minor treatments Start at $4,500. Full treatment costs between $6,000 to $9,000
These fee estimates usually include the entire range of services covered by the treatment, including:
- Retention visits and observation
Most dental practices do not include the cost of pre-fitting consultation, record maintenance and preparatory work required prior to the fitting.
While the above is a list of typical factors that might impact the overall cost of acquiring dental braces, other factors may also influence the cost. For instance, individuals may have comprehensive insurance plans via a Health Care Fund (dental insurance) that covers all or most of the cost of such procedures.
Certain dental treatments might also be eligible for tax rebates under Medical Expenses Offsets in the Australian Tax Return, and that too will reduce the cost individuals pay out of pocket.
Before moving forward with a treatment option, it is advisable that patients consult with the prescribing dentist or orthodontist about the options available. Costs for dental braces will vary depending on the specific treatment option that is recommended, which is often determined by the type of issue being addressed.
Bracing For Healthier Smiles
Individuals that are plagued by dental issues, especially as they relate to misaligned or crooked teeth, will find dental braces a good way of dealing with the challenges.
Braces are not just highly effective when it comes to teeth issues that make dental hygiene difficult, but they can also add layers of confidence in ones social relationships. All in all, by bracing yourself for a healthier smile, you’ll also brace yourself for overall health and happiness.