Being a parent is an expensive endeavor. From food and clothes to school and medical bills, the cost really adds up over the years, but the one thing that parents and kids both dread is braces. Parents hear braces and think of the money just draining out of their bank account. Kids think of years of shiny metal torture and the mockery of their peers. While there’s no way for kids to lessen the burden of braces, parents can be relieved that there are some money-saving options available.
Check Out the Dental Schools
You’re probably picturing that time you went to the beauty school to get a new ‘do and save a few bucks. You’re also probably remembering the curling iron burn and terrible dye job you walked out with. But don’t panic! Students in a dental school may not have as many years of experience as your local Orthodontist, but they do receive a lot of extensive training before they’re allowed to do the big stuff. They’re also very closely monitored by professionals, so there isn’t much room for error. You’ll be doing a good deed by helping further someone’s education, and you’ll be getting those braces at up to 1/3 the cost. That’s a win/win.
Consult Your Family Dentist
Fortunately for you, there are plenty of dental health providers that cater to families of any income bracket. These dentists usually offer flexible payment plans, take all forms of insurance, and genuinely care about their patients. Some dentists may not offer in-house Orthodonic care, but they will be able to direct you to other Doctors and facilities that are equally as considerate when it comes to costs. Ask your dentist how much of the work they can do, or who they recommend. Let them know before hand about any cost concerns so they can help make the best decision for you. Taking the time to shop around, and compare prices might take a bit more time, but it could save you a lot in the long run
Get a Breakdown of the Charges
When Doctors and Dentists start talking about all the different procedures and costs, it can get very confusing. At some point it just starts to sound the same, and you just nod and say yes to everything. Ask your Dentist to walk you through all of the procedures and the cost for each one. While they’re going through the specifics, ask what the purpose of each procedure is, and why it is necessary. If you feel like something is a frivolous expense, like fun colors or shapes for your kids braces, ask your dentist to leave it off the list.
Haggle and Ask For Discounts
Not all Orthodontists are willing to negotiate with you, but it’s worth a shot. If they’re not willing to be flexible on the price, they might be open to negotiating about time. If you’re in a rough financial situation, ask your Orthdontist if you can set up scheduled payments. Make sure you’re comfortable with the scheduling, and able to meet the minimum payments before you agree to anything.
Some facilities are also willing to offer discounts for those who can pay in cash. This may not be the most convenient option, but it’s worth a shot to check out.
Check With Your Insurance
If you have dental insurance, check your policy and see if braces are covered on your plan. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the entire bill will be covered. You’ll probably only get 1/4 to 1/2 covered, but hey, something is better than nothing. If your dental insurance won’t cover any of the costs, there are sites like insure.com that can provide you with discounts at participating Othodontists. If you opt for a short term insurance plan like this though, be sure you know all the rules and regulations before you commit. Also, be sure it is a plan accepted by your Orthodontist. The goal is to save money, not waste it. If you’re looking for another option, you can contact a place like Kool Smiles for alternate payment methods.
Treat Issues Early On
Taking your child to the Orthodontist at a young age is a great way to catch issues early on. There are some preventive measures you can take to avoid more costly issues down the road. There’s no perfect time to take your child to the Orthodontist, so ask your dentist for their opinion. Let them know you’d like to avoid braces at all costs, so if they see any issue they should let you know right away.
Getting braces for your kids doesn’t have to break the bank. With some preventive care, and a few of these clever money-saving tips, you’ll have money to spare.
Image via Flickr by dbgg1979