Like many parents, you might have cringed when your family dentist suggested taking your child for a consultation with an orthodontist. Everyone knows that braces aren't cheap, and you don't have a lot of money put aside for teeth-straightening. Before you panic, you might be able to figure out a way to afford your child's braces. Take a look at these suggestions on paying for orthodontic care.
Know the ins and outs of your dental insurance
At first glance, you might discover that braces are not covered by your dental insurance. This is common, but it does not mean that every parent is responsible for the full cost of every orthodontic treatment.
First, ask your family dentist if some of the impressions, X-rays and other prep-work could be done in their office. In some cases, dental insurance will cover certain procedures when done by a general dentist. These diagnostic results can be sent to the orthodontist, lowering your overall orthodontic bill.
Second, find out whether the need for braces is purely cosmetic. Sometimes, a dental malocclusion can cause issues such as pain or a reduction in range of motion later. In these cases, the orthodontic care might be medically necessary and could be covered by your medical insurance.
Ask about payment plans
Most orthodontists offer some type of payment plan. If your child will need to have orthodontic treatment for 18 months or two years, you may be able to spread out your payments over this period of time. In addition, you could ask about whether there is a discount for paying all of it upfront or for using cash instead of a credit card. Knowing all of the options can allow you to decide whether it's best to simply charge the whole amount in the beginning and pay it off each month through your credit card or to ask for a payment plan through the office itself.
Another increasingly popular option is to apply for a credit card that is meant specifically for medical expenses. These cards generally have promotional periods with low or no interest, making them a good choice if you are able to pay off the balance in six months, a year or whatever the promotional period is. Talk to your orthodontist to see which companies he or she participates with, as not every dentist accepts every medical credit card.
Let the orthodontist know you're on a budget
The absolute best treatment plan may also be the most expensive. Sometimes, an orthodontist will be willing to use a less expensive type of retainer or to concentrate only on certain orthodontic issues while leaving a minor or strictly cosmetic issue alone for the time being. The dentist might not offer these options if you don't ask first, so be sure to speak up and find out whether every procedure and material is necessary or if something can be cut out of the treatment plan.
Keep up with all of your appointments
It might seem like a good idea to skip appointments if you're having trouble paying for them, but this can actually prolong the treatment time and end up costing you more money in the long run. If the braces are not adjusted as often as they should be, your child's teeth could begin shifting back into misalignment, making your investment turn out to be worthless.
In addition, be particularly vigilant of your child's oral hygiene regimen. It can be difficult to clean well around the braces, but if food is allowed to sit between the brackets and your child's teeth, you may be in for a hefty dental bill later when all of those cavities need to be filled!
Orthodontic care is expensive, but it's doable for many families. Be honest with your orthodontist about your financial situation and look into all programs and credit companies carefully before making a decision as to how you will pay for your child's orthodontic care.
Visit a site like http://www.cresthillfamilydental.com for more information on orthodontic procedures.