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Adult Braces: I Think I’m Going Down That Road

September 27, 2013
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If I can be honest, I have fumbled over the thought of getting braces for the last few years. From the onset, I’ve always been concerned about the price of orthodontic treatment, especially at the adult level. My teeth, while not horrible can use a few cosmetic updated. A few months ago, I went to see my dentist for my regular cleaning, and he inquired about me getting braces. I told him I have always thought about it, and he referred me to his friend, an orthodontist in the downtown Chicago area. A few weeks later, I had a consultation with the orthodontist, and he essentially explained all the work that my mouth would need. To me, I didn’t need much done, but to the orthodontist plainly said my mouth needed severe work. In short: I have severe crowding of teeth in the back of my mouth, a snag tooth that comes forward in the right side of my mouth, and on top of all of this, my orthodontist says my jaw has shifted to the right. When I look at the work that needs to get down, I know it will be extremely beneficial to do so for the health of my mouth, cosmetics be damned. I really appreciated how straight forward he seemed. He didn’t try to sell me to the Invisalign (a more costly) treatment. In fact, I asked because I always thought of Invisalign to be the easy way out of adult bracehood, and he said as plain as day: “You are in no way eligible for  Invisalign braces. Your mouth needs extreme work and you can only choose between clear or metal braces.” While most adults opt for  Invisalign, due to the clear nature of the braces, my teeth require the structure traditional braces provide. There were no bells and whistles. While my heart sank at the thought of being a mid 20 year old working adult with braces, I shrugged it off and now feel time is NOT on my side, and that I should get this done as quickly as possible.

Thankfully, I am now at the point where I can financially afford braces (on a payment plan), yet I still feel a twinge at the thought of spending anywhere between $4000 and $7000. Essentially, it boils down to this: are my teeth worth it?

The cost breakdown:
After consulting the orthodontist and my older sister (who is a Pediatric Dentist, btw), I’ve decided to go with the braces. I selected the payment option for my braces, rather than saving for a year and then paying everything up front. I think I’m extremely lucky in that the payment plan is from my dentist, which is interest free. I want this done ASAP, as it will benefit me in so many ways to have my teeth corrected as soon as possible. Plus, the 0% interest and monthly payments spread over 2ish years makes it more manageable for me and my savings goals. I don’t like the idea of going into debt, but I’m looking at it as a wise investment in my health.

I decided to go with the clear braces, which cost $6000. I am eligible to receive a $1,000 deduction from my dental coverage, so I will owe the $5,000. I have to make an up-front payment of $600 on the day of my appointment. After that, I will have monthly payments of $250. Meaning, every bi-weekly pay check I will need to save approximately $125. For a grand total cost of $5,000 over roughly 18 months. The orthodontist quoted a treatment period of 24-30 months, but I much rather pay it off as quickly as possible, all while remaining able to attain my various monthly financial goals.

The longer I wait, the older I’ll be. I have an appointment next week to get two teeth extracted and four cavities filled (seriously, how old am I?!). After that, I will wait two weeks to get my braces installed. I’m looking at mid-October.

Have any of you invested large sums of money into your health? Or, are you currently wearing adult braces? All tips are welcome. 

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