How much do braces cost?

The cost of braces is a very important factor when you are considering orthodontic treatment for your child. In fact, some of the most common questions I get when I recommend orthodontics for my patients are: “How much do braces cost?”, “how much will my insurance cover for orthodontics?” or  “How long will it take?”

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Since every patient has a slightly different situation, treatment plan or issue that requires orthodontic care. In this article I will offer some general pricing guidelines, how your orthodontic insurance works and the typical payment plans that orthodontists offer.

The cost of orthodontics or braces depends on these major factors:

The cost of braces and orthodontics can range anywhere from $1500 - $6000.

But what really determines how much braces will cost is the duration of the treatment, the nature of the orthodontic treatment and materials that are required.


Much like coffee is more expensive at the fancy, convenient Starbucks in the new shopping center next to your house. As compared, to the old run down one in the rough neighborhood down the freeway. Orthodontic care differs a bit from neighborhood to neighborhood.

This is mostly because higher end neighborhoods have a higher overhead that has to be passed down to the consumer. If one office is way cheaper than others in the same area, that may be a red flag. And you may want to investigate a bit before you sign your child up for orthodontic care there.


The cost of a short limited orthodontic treatment will be reflected in that it will be on the lower side of the price range mentioned above. Whereas, if it is a comprehensive orthodontic treatment. That will take many appointments, require multiple devices and more of the orthodontist’ time. That's a factor that will increase how much the braces will cost accordingly.


Since every child’s mouth is unique, how much braces will cost can vary drastically from one patient to the next. There is also the type of braces, whether you choose metal braces, clarity (clear) braces or Invisalign. Another factor to consider is the age of the patient. That also plays a real part in the final cost for braces. Even from one orthodontic practice to another. 

How much do braces cost with dental insurance?

For those with dental insurance a common question is, “how much will my insurance cover for my child’s orthodontic treatment?” First thing to consider is, does your dental insurance plan have orthodontic coverage or not. If you do (which most insurance plans in the Scripps Ranch and Mira Mesa area do provide) then the typical amount would range from $1000 - $2000. And about 90% of those plans would fall in the middle. With having $1500 of a lifetime maximum allowable amount and then paid at 50% of the Orthodontist’ fee. Which means that if the Orthodontist’ fee is $2000, the insurance company will only pay $1000 and the patient is responsible for the other $1000. 

Another thing to note is the “lifetime” maximum, that means you can only use it once in your lifetime (with that insurance plan/group). That is where orthodontic insurance coverage differs from dental insurance coverage, which resets or renews every year. Your orthodontic maximum will not.

picture of a girl with clarity braces

Are there payment plans to help with the cost of braces?

With that in mind, a lot of orthodontic offices in the area have some great options to make braces affordable and doable for families. Some of those options include, in-house or third party financing options, such as CareCredit, and most of the time these offers are interest-free.

In general, most orthodontic practices will have zero percent financing with affordable monthly payments of between $100-$200 a month. These payments can last for the duration of the child’s orthodontic treatment, which can range from 1-3 years or so. 

We understand this can sound confusing or be overwhelming. That’s why you have us to help you navigate the murky waters of orthodontic insurance and help you maximize your orthodontic insurance benefits to make the cost of braces easy and affordable. 

If you have questions or would like to schedule a free orthodontic consultation at our orthodontic office, Brush n Brace, call us: (858) 800-2000. You can also visit their website: Brush n Brace to find out more. Dr J opened this additional practice to meet the growing needs of our teens and children in braces.

J. Shahangian


Dr. J is a board certified pediatric dentist and owner of Scripps Pediatric Dentistry & Brush n Brace, pediatric dental offices located in San Diego, CA. He is not only a Diplomat with the board but now also has Fellow status with the AAPD. He is a proud father of 3 beautiful girls, a San Diego native, loves soccer and is passionate about pediatric oral health. His mission is battling the number 1 disease that he has seen take over our beloved children. #AskDrJ provides answers and solutions to parents questions & concerns regarding their children's oral health. Click here for a full list of articles from #AskDrJ 

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