Outrageous Cost of Kids Braces


My 12 year old son needs to get braces. I don't have private health and apparently my ex-husband cannot help me pay $7,400 for braces. It's a lot for one parent! In my state, we only have two orthodontists but I'm sure there might be dentists that can possibly take care of this. I don't qualify for a health care card, unfortunately. I would like to hear from other parents who have had to get their kids braces without private health. Were you able to reduce the cost somehow? The dental benefits scheme doesn't cover orthodontics.



        • +2

          He means you’re, not your. People who use medical tourism don’t know the difference.

  • +1

    Slightly off topic, more of a general question…but why do so many kids needs braces these days? What did previous generations do? Did they not have crooked teeth? Or just not care about having crooked teeth?

    • +3

      Crooked teeth are a relatively new phenomenon.Rather than being a standalone problem, they are a sign of an underdeveloped face and jaws. Beyond the problem of crooked teeth, this is associated with narrower airways and serious health consequences.Prior to the industrial revolution a few hundred years ago, human skulls and jaws were more well developed and larger in size. Crooked teeth were virtually non-existent.

      Now getting braces to straighten teeth is a rite of passage for many teens. In addition, many are developing impacted wisdom teeth due to shrinking jaw sizes. Small jaws are contributing to narrowing airways, and snoring and sleep apnoea are occurring in epidemic proportions.Experts agree that the span of time this change has occurred in is too short to be purely genetic, or a result of direct changes in the DNA sequence of our genes.Instead, it is best considered as epigenetic, or the result of changes the way our genes are expressed due to modern environmental influences.


      • Thanks for posting, very interesting to read.

      • Just get to the point, what Is the proportional ratio of people employed with nice straight teeth.

        If you don't know then fine.

        You don't see a mathematician applying for teeth straighteners while being the leader in their field looking at straighten teeth

        • +2

          People with straight teeth are generally considered more attractive. The only exception that I know of is Japan where malocclusion is perceived to be cute. Many studies have concluded that attractive people benefit from workplace discrimination in their favor:

          Holding constant demographic and labor-market characteristics, plain people earn less than people of average looks, who earn less than the good-looking. The penalty for plainness is 5 to 10 percent, slightly larger than the premium for beauty. The effects are slightly larger for men than women; but unattractive women are less likely than others to participate in the labor force and are more likely to be married to men with unexpectedly low human capital.

          Make what you will of that.

          As for mathematicians, my wife is one and she has perfect teeth. I've met most of her colleagues (some are mathematicians but most are programmers ) and there was not a single crooked tooth in sight. At least, none so bad that they caught my attention.

          My sister-in-law is in event management and she felt her slightly crooked smile was holding her back from getting promoted and got adult braces at the age of 24. She paid $8000 over a period of 18 months and is very happy with the result. The only downside was the number of selfies she was posting after she had those braces removed.

      • My googling skills need improvement. My search was "why do kids need braces what did previous generations do?"

        • It helps narrow things down if you already know the answer to the question :) My wife's uncle is a biological anthropologist and an archaeologist.

          The museum I work in has thousands of ancient skulls from all over the world. Most of the skulls from the last few hundred years are a dentist’s nightmare: they are filled with cavities and infections, the teeth are crowded into the jaw, and about one-quarter of them have impacted teeth. The skulls of preindustrial farmers are also riddled with cavities and painful-looking abscesses, but less than 5 percent of them have impacted wisdom teeth. In contrast, most of the hunter-gatherers had nearly perfect dental health, with roomy, perfect arches of well aligned teeth, with no impacted wisdom teeth —a movie star’s dream smile, 15,000 years before the movies!

          • +1

            @DisabledUser102420: Female mathematicians that you speak about were from the womb to have reasonable teeth, and it's less a factor for male mathematicians.

            As ironic as it is, food science is the reason why periodontal disease is rampant.

    • There are no straight answers for this.
      A few reasons that have been suggested to me are:
      - Softer and more processed food —> there are suggestions that our food has become softer and less fibrous over many generations, meaning that it takes less effort to chew, hence underdeveloped jaw.
      - cross-marriage, which means that there are people who have dad's big teeth and mom' small jaw
      - poor diet, leading to unhealthy growth of jaws and teeth etc.

      While the fact might be a combination of the above (plus others), there is no magical solution to this. There are idiots out there who might argue for "the natural solution" using the past as an example, but our dental hygiene has developed so much, especially in the last 100 years that many people these days have much less cavities. It might be a simple evolution of humans, aided by many modern conveniences and advancements.

      On whether ortho is the solution for crooked teeth, you need to take into account the opinion from the dentist and othodontist (they are the pro) and make your own judgement. They should also take into account other problems that may arise.

      Another thing that people need to be aware of is trends within the dentists. Ortho got trendy probably about 30 years ago, whilst the last trend I am aware of is around TMJ. Some may argue that this puts the dentist or orthodontist into a biased position, but as with any other professionals they are humans and most of them do their best for the good of the patient.

  • +1

    Does he actually require braces though? Or is this just a vanity project and his teeth are sitting just nicely, but you want piano key straight? There's a difference.

    I have a 12 year old son also.

    • Yes he does. My son has an overcrowding issue.

      • I think what Bamboozle means is "what would happen without the braces?" If he doesnt have braces and just have overcrowded teeth, how bad could it get?

        Note that depending on the severity, he could still just leave them as is.

  • I have messed up teeth, it ain't so bad and I've never needed a filling! :P

  • Does your child 'need' it (for major health reasons) and not for aesthetic? If you aren't in a financial situation to afford it I would put it on hold. Is there anyway for you to be eligible for a health care card? (I have heard they may make exceptions depending on your situation and if you contact them)

    I wanted them when I was younger, but parents couldn't financially afford it. They were eligible for health care cards, and had my brother and I on a waiting list. After a few years of waiting, my brother was assessed and was eligible for very cheap braces, as his teeth were /orthodontic bad/ and could have caused further problems. Some years later apparently they contacted me too, but at that I managed to save up for them through part time work and went through it privately. I did manage to have teeth pulled out due to the waiting list though and my health care card, which I was really thankful for.

    So personally, if it can wait and you cannot financially comfortably pay for it - PUT IT ON HOLD. Your child can wait a bit longer. Just make sure they take care of their teeth (which is just as important!)

  • Does he need them? I had just one canine tooth that was out of line and dentists recommended me braces. I never got them. My smile looks fine. Later dentists also recommended I extract all four of my wisdom teeth as they had only partially emerged. I didn't extract them, over 10 years later now, no problems. I know as long as I brush and floss thoroughly there will be no problem, but dentists say things that scare you into thinking you will face dental doom if you don't comply with their costly recommendations.

    • Depending on the position of the wisdom teeth, it may be best to remove the wisdom teeth. Just get an xray and ask for another opinion (or more) on what risks you may carry into the future.
      Not having immediate issues doesn't mean that everything is okay. These are things that your dentist will look at and advise (and it is really up to you to decide).

      • +1

        I mentioned that over 10 years has gone by with no issues. I had three dentists advise me to remove my wisdom teeth in my late teens. I'm now 29 years old and have not had a single dental issue, procedure or cavity etc.

        I understand that not everyone's teeth are the same, I am simply relating what I experienced. I do however take very good care of my teeth, if I were sloppy I would easily run into problems due to the recessed nature of my wisdom teeth.

  • You could possibly consider Vietnam.

    Not all dentists or orthodontists are the same in Vietnam (as in other countries). Some have a good reputation with foreigners and are relatively expensive (by domestic standards) but still cheap by western standards.

    For those who think it is risky, putting a lot of research into finding the right practitioner takes a lot of the risk out of it.

    Another option (depending on urgency), get private health then get the braces in 12 months. Another option may be not to get them at all, depending on the specifics of the case.

    • I second the opinion of not getting them at all. We were made imperfect or perfect depends on who you ask. Love yourself for who you are is more important than caring about what ungrateful others are thinking about you.

      However if there is a medical reason then OK.

  • +1

    Vote for a party that supports adding dental to medicare. I believe the Greens had it on their platform last time around.

    • +1

      Orthodontic treatment will never be included on Medicare. I dare say it was just general dental services like cleaning and fluoride treatment that they wanted to include on Medicare.

    • Yes the tooth fairy party. Sounds more plausible than your comment lol

  • +3

    I guess the cost would relate to how much work is required on the specific smile.

    Think yourself lucky. I'm in Canberra, and 4 of my 5 kids have needed braces, with number 5 likely as well.

    $10K a pop.

    I offered to sort the problems out at home with a pair of pliers, but nobody else in the family saw the sense in that suggestion.

  • My teeth look amazing after 4 extractions, sensitive teeth after frequent adjustments, lost plenty of weight (honestly if your kid is fat get them braces), got teased "train tracks" but at least not "fat (profanity)".

    Had to wear denture like plates for a couple years to stop shifting.

    Decade later Dentists still picking off old glue during a scale and clean.

    Broke off many brackets, swallowed many bands, bent the wire plenty.

    Almost lost a couple teeth during sport which almost davistated my mother. Had to get custom made mouth guards.

    Wisdom teeth caused some shift and had to wear retainers for ages, those need to be remade frequently.

    Scar tissue on the inner gum, some days looked like juju lips like Angelina.

    The bill doesnt stop at $8k it can be ongoing. For me I'd say double the original cost.

  • +2

    i use a rubber mallet and some balls of cotton for the bleeding when i straighten my kids teeth.

  • The proliferation of braces is something which as only happened in the last 10 yrs(??) or so.

    Prior to that it was done for structural reasons, these days it seems to be to fit the 'perfect teeth" alignment model look. In line with the Insta/facebook/selfie generation ?

    As someone once said "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"

  • My wife wanted to get her teeth fixed when we were in my home country but everyone suggested to get braces instead of extraction and replacement tooth.

    We decided to get Damon self-ligating braces installed by a orthodontist overseas for $1k. When we came back to Sydney, most of the orthodontists wanted to remove them completely and put them back again even though there was nothing wrong with them and charge $7k-9k for full treatment.

    We were going to move away to Melbourne soon so we up with a highly experienced local dentist(not orthodontist) who has done this kind of work before.
    He does the regular adjustments for $165 per visit. If any bracket breaks then it is $125.

  • +1

    Something worth researching might be MYO braces or a DNA appliance (epigenetic orthodontics). These allow for the treatment of how the tongue sits in the mouth and the general jaw formation. Most dentists recommend this treatment while the jaw is still growing, but the dentist I went to treats adults as well
    Its considerably cheaper than traditional braces, but depends on each individual case if its applicable. I paid around $2.5k (including the device, which is about $700, followed by 6 weekly visits).
    Prior to this I had done the Invisalign treatment, which showed minimal improvement.

    • Thank you, I'll look into this option.

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