Your parents may have forced you into braces as a teen to set those pearly whites right, and this may have ruined that perfect prom picture, but in retrospect, we’re pretty sure you’re thankful for the perfect, dazzling smile your braces allowed you to carry into adulthood!
While some folks are “nirvana” enough to love themselves as is, crooked teeth and all, most of us can get frustrated with the crooked teeth that seem to be our lot in life. And it would seem that teenagers and pre-teens are not the only groups longing for straight teeth—in the last two decades, the number of adults getting braces increased by a whopping 58%.
So, while it may seem that many people are born with naturally dazzling smiles, the truth of the matter is that more and more people are getting their teeth straightened and that smile may not be so natural, after all! Teeth straightening has substantially increased in popularity, whether it’s for cosmetic or medical reasons.
Earlier, the cost of teeth straightening put many people off, but today, multiple affordable options exist for those who want to get their teeth straightened. If you’re one of those folks who’s been putting off getting that perfect smile because you’re worried about the expenses, worry no more. Braces, surgery, aligners, and brands such as Byte and StraightMyTeeth—here’s a list to help you find the cheapest way to straighten teeth!
Teeth Straightening Options and Costs
When talk of teeth straightening comes up, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that 99% of people would immediately associate braces with the process. The oldest, most traditional and most common way to straighten teeth, braces have been around since the beginning of the 20th century, evolving through the years to reach their current version.
Braces are generally of 3 types:
- Metal Braces: Metal braces are typically the cheapest way to straighten teeth. Metal brackets are fixed on the teeth, and a wire threaded through them, with small elastic bands to hold the wire in place. This design pulls the teeth into position over a period of time—a year or longer, depending on how crooked the teeth are. The whole setup is adjusted periodically. If you get self-ligating braces, you won’t need elastic bands or frequent adjustments, as these braces auto-adjust. Despite being the cheapest, metal braces require quite a bit of care and cleaning and are also quite noticeable. Metal braces will cost you anywhere between $3,000 and $7,000, obviously working out cheaper if you have dental insurance.
- Ceramic Braces: Ceramic braces are the less-visible alternative to metal braces. Brackets, that are either clear or match the colour of your teeth, are fixed to your teeth. Apart from the brackets, ceramic braces work the same way as metal braces. Ceramic braces, in addition to being less noticeable, also work faster than metal braces, but are quite expensive—the treatment will cost you anywhere between $4,000 and $8,000. Additionally, staining is a very real threat.
- Lingual Braces: Lingual braces are a kind of invisible brace, with metal brackets attached behind the teeth instead—this has rightly earned them the name ‘hidden braces’! This, naturally, makes them almost invisible—they also don’t need to be removed during the treatment period and therefore, require lesser visits to the clinic. Lingual braces take around 12 to 24 months to work their magic, but this magic will cost you a neat $8,000 to $10,000!
Teeth-straightening surgery is quickly gaining in popularity as the results are almost immediate, and there’s often no need to wear braces at all. A minor surgical procedure may help quickly correct your alignment by repositioning the gums and bones that are holding your teeth in their place.
In more serious cases, your orthodontist might recommend a jaw realignment surgery or orthognathic surgery. This is a common treatment in patients where the alignment of the teeth affects the ability to chew or speak clearly.
The costs for surgery will vary depending on the type of surgery, your health insurance and where you get it done, but the average cost of teeth alignment surgery ranges between $20,000 and $40,000.
Also known as invisible braces, aligners, like the famous brand Invisalign, are extremely popular because they get the job done efficiently and are invisible—win-win! This is an excellent idea for those worried about the aesthetic implications of having braces, especially younger children concerned about bullying.
Invisible braces are most effective for mild or moderate alignment correction and work very fast in these cases. Clear plastic aligners are custom made to perfectly sit in your mouth over each tooth, like a mouthguard.
Invisible braces will cost you between $4,000 and $7,400. Some brands, like Invisalign, allow tax-free health-savings account dollars on purchases or offer monthly payment plans.
StraightMyTeeth is a brand that offers a kit with everything necessary to align your teeth, negating the need to visit the dentist and get your braces frequently adjusted. The process of getting a kit starts with a 30-second assessment to assess whether you really need the treatment. If you do, you can order the company’s impression kit (lets you take up to 5 impressions), create your own impressions and send it back to StraightMyTeeth, who will then create your customised aligner. Once you start wearing your aligner, the treatment will take between 6 and 14 months (provided you wear it regularly!).
StraightMyTeeth offers a monthly payment option as well as a one-time payment option. The former starts at around $86 while the latter will cost you around $1,000. The one-time payment will also fetch you a set of retainers and a free teeth-whitening kit, along with the invisible aligners and impression kit.
Byte is another brand that offers invisible aligners, with a process similar to StraightMyTeeth—you take impressions at home, you send the impressions to the company where licensed orthodontists create your aligner and send it back to you. The added bonus, though, is that the company offers remote monitoring, with an orthodontist on call, just for you, throughout the process.
Byte offers all-day and all-night aligners—the former requires 22 hours of wear time and will give you results in 3 months, whereas the latter requires at least 10 hours of wear time and will provide you with results in 5-6 months.
Byte, like StraightMyTeeth, offers both monthly and one-time payment options—the one-time payment will cost you $1895, whereas the monthly payment works out to $83 a month (for 29 months with a $349 deposit). The company also accepts insurance.
The last candidate on our list of the cheapest way to straighten teeth, AlignerCo offers invisible aligners for both day and night usage. The company offers three payment plans, priced at $95, $110 and $1,145 for one-time payments. As it is with other aligner companies on the list, you can create your own impressions with the company’s $39.99 dental kit and send it back to the company for your customised retainer.
The Final Word
As you can see, teeth straightening need not be an expensive affair—there are many ways to get your teeth straightened for very reasonable prices. With our list, you’re sure to find the cheapest way to straighten teeth—so don’t put off getting that perfect smile any longer!