More and more adults are turning to orthodontics to help them achieve a more attractive smile. Braces used to be almost exclusively limited to teenagers, but the number of adults with braces has increased rapidly in the past few years. Part of the increase is likely due to the many new alternatives for invisible or less visible braces.
Invisible aligners such as Invisalign can correct moderately misaligned teeth in adults without unsightly metal bands and wires. There are other less visible options including tooth colored braces and accelerated six month braces, an orthodontics system that gets the job done in about six months by focusing on straightening just the front teeth.
All these options give adults a lot of flexibility when it comes to adult braces, but paying for them continues to pose a challenge for many patients. Cost varies depending on the patient’s needs and the type of braces, but expect to pay between $3,000 and $7,500 for a complete course of orthodontic treatment.
Unfortunately, most dental insurance plans don’t cover adult braces. There are a few that cover it so if you have dental insurance, check your policy. Even if you are lucky enough to have a dental insurance policy that covers adult braces, it will probably only cover about half the cost. If you are among the majority without dental care insurance or whose insurance does not cover adult braces, consider using your flexible spending account (FSA) to pay for the braces.
Braces are an allowable expense for flexible spending accounts and by paying for your braces from your flexible spending account, you can reduce the cost by amount of your marginal tax rate. If you are in the 20% tax bracket, that’s a 20% savings on your braces.
Most dentists accept payments during the course of treatment and most treatment plans take two or three years. Consider contributing enough to your FSA each year to cover that year’s costs. By spreading out the payments and paying through your FSA, the cost will be less of a burden and you can enjoy your straight new smile!
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