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How Much Do Braces Cost?

How Much Do Braces Cost?

Dr. Michael Layton
April 20, 2015

Misaligned teeth is the most common cause for needing orthodontic braces. The technical term malocclusion is classified as the difference between the maxilla (upper jaw) and the (mandible) lower jaw not aligning properly. A person with a correct bite has the points of the molars fitting the grooves of the opposite molars. The layman’s term for malocclusion is crooked teeth or a bad bite.

Malocclusion is divided into 3 main categories:

  • Class I. Normal bite but the upper teeth overlap the lower teeth.
  • Class II. The technical term is called retrognathism or overbite. This happens when the upper jaw and teeth overlap the bottom jaw and teeth significantly.
  • Class III. The technical term is called prognathism or underbite. This happens with the lower jaw protrudes forward. The lower jaw and teeth overlap the upper jaw and teeth.

The most common signs of malocclusion are the following:

  1. Excess gaps between the teeth
  2. Missing teeth
  3. Extra teeth or overcrowding

Forms of malocclusion include cleft palates and a non-symmetrical facial bone structure. Crooked or misaligned teeth commonly occur from accidents, playing full contact sports or the local bar fight that inevitably arise at places where people imbibe alcohol in excess. Any form of malocclusion should be treated immediately before it leads to more serious conditions.

Tooth decay, gum disease and the loss of individual teeth is a foregone conclusion for people who don’t get treated. A missing tooth can put extra pressure on the remaining teeth causing them to shift position in a persons mouth. Bone and gum tissue are also placed under unnecessary stress leading to jaw bone problems later on in life. Hygiene is a major issue for people with missing teeth.

Periodontal Disease Progression from Mild to Serious

  • Plaque. The first stage of gum disease. Plaque is a transparent and sticky substance that forms on your teeth daily it can be found where your teeth and gums meet. It is essential that people brush and floss on a daily basis to prevent plaque forming into tartar. The dental term for plaque is calculus.
  • Tartar. The second stage of gum disease is a mineral buildup that can be seen above the gumline. It often manifests as a yellow or brown colour on the teeth or gums. Tartar should only be removed by a dental professional.
  • Gingivitis. When plaque and tartar are not removed from the oral cavity gingivitis ends up forming. People with gingivitis suffer from bleeding gum tissue that appears red and swollen.
  • Periodontitis. Advanced untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis resulting in gum tissue pulling away from the teeth. Small spaces called pockets in the oral cavity are breeding grounds for bacteria, if left untreated they end up compromising the body’s immune system. Toxins released from infections can break down the jaw bone leading to tooth loss.

Other Factors Leading to Braces

This is an easy one, smoking has been proven to increase the risk of gum disease. Smoking compromises the immune system and contributes to gum disease which can lead to needing orthodontic braces.

Periodontal disease is further complicated by people suffering from diabetes. Many studies have been conducted showing that diabetic patients are twice as likely as non diabetic subjects to suffer from oral health issues. Check out “The Relationship Between Diabetes and Periodontal Disease” for more info on why people with diabetes are more prone to dental problems.

Types of Orthodontic Braces

Depending on what your dental problem is there are numerous options in the medical marketplace to fit every budget and treatment procedure. People can benefit from orthodontic treatment at any age. Straight teeth are easy to clean and aesthetically people often prefer a perfectly aligned smile. Being fitted with braces by an accredited dental professional puts gentle pressure on your teeth allowing them to shift into proper position. Depending on the severity of your malocclusion treatment time will vary from person to person. A qualified dentist will best be able to make a recommendation for the correct orthodontic appliance based on the individual.

To ensure that your orthodontic treatment is successful you must adhere to the instructions from your dentist. If your orthodontic appliance should be worn 24 hours per day this guideline should be strictly followed to prevent relapsing of the teeth back to their former positions.

Metal Braces

The most popular dental appliance used for correcting teeth misalignments. Modern versions of metal braces are less conspicuous than earlier models. Today’s metal braces have heat activated archwires that use your body’s heat to realign the teeth quicker than in the past. The cost of braces is determined by 3 factors:

1) Amount of tooth movement required

2) Estimated treatment time, and

3) Materials and training of the practitioner.

As always, you typically get what you pay for. Full metal braces can range from $5000 to even 3-4x that amount for the most severe cases.

Ceramic Braces

Another great option for people who don’t like the look of metal braces. Ceramic braces are similar to metal braces except for the ceramic material they are made from and their higher cost. Expect to pay a minimum of $6000-7000 as increased friction results in longer treatment times associated with ceramic braces.

Fashionable Braces

These fashionable braces are all the rage in Asia. DIY kits can be found at flea markets and ordered online. Fashionable braces are approximately $100. Not recommended by dentists or orthodontists. Wearers of these braces put their teeth at risk for misalignment. Fashion braces are not recommended by dental care professionals.


Worn after regular orthodontic treatment is finished and the braces are removed. The primary purpose of retainers is to maintain the alignment of the teeth. Gaps between the teeth require a longer retention period. Retainers can be fixed or removable dental appliances. Removable retainers range in cost from $150 - $300. Non-removable bonded retainers that are glued to the back of the teeth cost $500 - $1000 for both upper and lower teeth. Offer times the cost of the initial retainers are included in the total treatment cost of orthodontics.

Lingual Braces

A good choice for people who don’t like the traditional appearance of metal braces. Lingual braces are placed behind the teeth, expect to pay double the cost of traditional buccal (front side) braces. The price point is higher because lingual braces must be custom made for the individual.

Clear Overlay Retainers

This is great for individuals who have mild malocclusions or who have had braces in the past and their teeth have relapsed. Dentists take a 3D digital image of your teeth before fabricating the aligners. Your dentist will than show you a digital representation of how your teeth will adjust through each stage of your dental progression. Treatment time varies from 1 year and up depending on the severity of the malocclusion.

One of the companies that provides this treatment is Invisalign. These clear custom aligners are changed every 2 weeks and are supposed to be worn up to 22 hours per day. Invisalign cannot be used for all orthodontic tooth movements but is a great option for people who don’t like the look or feel of metal braces. Invisalign costs can be up to twice as much for traditional orthodontics. But you’re paying for an option that is nearly transparent and quite effective. So the costs of Invisalign can be justified there. Consulting with a dentist who is familiar with all types of orthodontic options, is the best way to find out what is right for you.

Insurance and Payment Plans

Offsetting the cost of braces is best done if you have a good dental plan. Keep in mind depending on your income level your dental clinic may have pre-existing payment plans for ongoing treatments. We, at Peace Arch Dental Centre offer payment plans for all procedures including braces.

Dr. Layton completed a two year post graduate training program in Orthodontics through Progressive Orthodontics and offer all types of orthodontic options. For more information about customizable braces. Visit We look forward to seeing you!

Set up a complimentary appointment with us at Peace Arch Dental Centre in South Surrey/White Rock today!

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