Don't try this at home..
Patients can save a fortune buying braces online, but most, if not all, doctors warn it's unlikely patients will be smiling afterwards and it could end up costing them a lot more in the long run.
Although the cost and convenience of buying orthodontic aligners online are obviously appealing, anyone buying them should first consider the risks.
Direct to consumer products are increasing in popularity in Australia. They're easy to get and often appear like the most affordable option. But, teeth straightening is a complex dental procedure. It requires proper pre-treatment assessment and ongoing supervision, just like any other healthcare procedure.
What are the risks of using DIY braces and aligners? The dangers of using DIY braces can include tooth loss and permanent damage to the teeth, gums, jaw joints or jaws.
Improperly applied orthodontic treatment can cause damage to teeth, jaws and gums, leading to potentially costly remedial treatment and, in the worst-case scenario, corrective surgery; patients often require further curative treatment following on from a DIY product, most predominantly due to an unstable bite.
One common reason DIY braces and aligners can cause major dental problems is that users have existing, untreated dental health problems.
People often don't realise if they have underlying oral health issues, and corrective treatment can cause more damage if they aren't addressed first. It's not uncommon to see potential orthodontic patients who haven't had professional dental care for some time. Orthodontic treatment should only be considered in patients who have had all restorative work like fillings completed, whose gum condition is optimal and whose oral hygiene is of a high standard.
How much do braces and aligners from an orthodontist cost?
Many patients are attracted to the idea of buying online braces and aligners overseeing an orthodontist because the cost and pricing is transparent and heavily promoted through social media.
It's "near impossible" for a doctor to give a complete cost estimate for braces without consultation; the following figures are a guide to what you can expect to pay for an entire course of orthodontic treatment in Australia.
Metal braces (traditional braces) $6,000 – $9,000
Ceramic braces $6,500 – $9,500
Lingual braces $9,500 – $15,000
Clear aligners $6,500 – $9,500
These prices are typically for a 15 to 18 month treatment period that not only straightens teeth but also helps to correctly align the jaw and includes the cost of regular consultations to monitor the progress of treatment.
How can I pay for braces and aligners?
Rustling up a cool ten grand for dental treatment might feel daunting for most of us; most doctors will help patients manage the cost through payment plans, and some might even offer a discount if you pay all fees upfront.
Most commonly, the doctor will divide the overall cost of treatment into regular instalments across more prolonged periods. Many payment plans are timed to sync with your appointments, generally every 6 to 8 weeks. Others may be monthly or fortnightly.
Whatever the schedule, doctors will also provide a comprehensive and all-inclusive quote upfront, (i.e. including all appointments, appliances, and complications which may introduce further fees) so that you know what you're up for.
Opting for a payment plan means that your patients can get started with their braces or clear aligner treatment now and address the bill a bit later on. It's a great way to help patients manage their cash flow while still getting the support they need.
You may also consider facilitating consumer credit via a provider like Humm or PracticePay. You'll provide an invoice for your treatment, and they'll apply for the finance online. Most consumer credit companies provide approval within the hour and pay you directly!
Should patients get health insurance for braces?
Usually, premium extras policies are the best for orthodontic cover, although it's always a great idea to research or use a comparison site to see if it's really worth it.
Orthodontic cover usually has a 12-month waiting period, but if you need to start treatment sooner, consumer watchdog CHOICE recommends negotiating when you pay your orthodontist.
ClearCorrect, the affordable and doctor-friendly clear aligner company.
With ClearCorrect you can submit cases for free, with no obligation and you can choose your pricing option when you approve the 3D treatment setup. After that, you can choose your treatment option. Unlimited, One, or Flex
Unlimited - If you want the safest, most predictable option, you can't go wrong with Unlimited. Your costs will be covered for the next five years, no matter what happens.
One - Many clear aligner treatments can wrap up in a year or less, and we’ve got just the thing for that. One treatment option is perfect for moderate cases. One covers up to 24 sets of aligners, including one revision with up to 24 sets of aligners, and one set of retainers within one year of the original case submission.
Flex -If you want the most affordable upfront cost, that's going to be Flex for all but the longest dual-arch cases. Flex is also a good option if you and your patient are prepared to deal with any additional costs that may come up during treatment. Flex lets you pay per aligner for the exact amount of treatment you need—no more, nor less—without squeezing into arbitrary pre-sized bundles. Flex beats the other guys' pricing at every single point, in some cases by as much as 70%.
Osseo Group is the service and support provider for ClearCorrect in Australia and New Zealand. Our account reps are ready to help you get started and support you with your cases from start to finish!