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Breaking Down the Costs: Affordable Orthodontic Options for Families

Written by Dr. Chaw Su Kyi on January 9, 2024

As a parent, there are so many things you need to consider regarding your child’s health. While you probably take your child for routine dental checkups, examining the position of their teeth is also essential. 

While you may associate orthodontic treatments with teenagers, we treat younger patients as well as adults. In fact, as we’ll see in a moment, early orthodontics is often an easier and more cost-effective treatment route than waiting until adulthood for treatment. 

Whether you want to straighten your own teeth or improve the position of your children’s smiles, we can help at West London Orthodontics. 

One obvious consideration families have when exploring orthodontic options is the cost of treatment. You may wonder how much an orthodontic treatment will cost and which option is cheapest. 

This article will explore and break down these costs and discuss the affordable orthodontic options available for families. 

Why Is Orthodontic Treatment Important for Children?

Orthodontic assessment and treatment are valuable for people for people of all ages. However, teeth straightening at a younger age has additional benefits.

Children’s smiles change rapidly. How a child’s teeth and jaws develop during their early years directly impacts their oral health as an adult. With early orthodontic intervention, we can often realign a child’s teeth and prevent complex dental issues from developing. This is typically easier and quicker the earlier in life it is done.

Protruding teeth, bite alignment issues, crowding, and gaps are all types of malocclusion that can cause problems. Often, misaligned teeth are more prone to developing cavities. The position of your child’s teeth causes speech problems or makes it difficult to chew. Your child could develop chronic pain in their jaw, which could impact their neck, shoulders, back, face, and head. Teeth may also break easily or become worn. 

We recommend that children receive their first orthodontic assessment at around the age of eight. 

What Causes Orthodontic Issues In Children?

Several factors contribute to orthodontic issues in children. Genetics plays an important role in developing a child’s jaw and teeth. Sometimes, a child’s jaw is too small or large to accommodate their teeth, causing crowding or gaps. 

Habits from early childhood like thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or using a dummy or baby bottle too late can all impact the shape of the jaw and the angle of the teeth. These habits can cause protruding teeth or complex bite alignment issues. 

Other potential causes could include illness and injury. 

What Factors Affect the Cost of Orthodontic Treatment?

When budgeting for orthodontic treatment, you may see prices listed as being “from” a certain amount. This may seem confusing. Why are orthodontic treatment prices not fixed? The answer is that treatments are typically different. 

Because patients have unique treatment needs, we must create customised plans to address these concerns. Two significant factors impact orthodontic costs: the type of appliance and treatment length.

Type of Orthodontic Appliance

Because each type of orthodontic treatment uses a different appliance, naturally, costs vary. For example, clear aligners require multiple steps. Each step means a new aligner is produced. Fixed braces may only require one appliance, but they must be adjusted throughout the process.

Duration of the Treatment Plan

The duration of treatment will vary depending on the complexity or severity of the malocclusion. Milder cases may take as few as six months to treat, while some patients require treatments which take up to two years. 

A longer treatment duration impacts costs because it means more adjustments are needed for fixed braces or more aligners are needed for Invisalign. 

What Are the Different Options for Orthodontic Treatments for Children?

There are several highly effective orthodontic treatment options available for families. Each offers its benefits. While benefits like convenience or discreet appearance may influence which option you choose, a complete orthodontic examination is essential before making any decision, as specific treatments will be more effective in some cases. 

Invisalign First

Invisalign is a popular clear orthodontic system that uses aligners to move the teeth gently into the correct position. Although Invisalign is often used when treating teenagers and adults, we also offer Invisalign First, which is tailored to children from seven to ten years of age. 

The Invisalign aligner is tailor-made to fit your child’s mouth using precise digital information gathered during the initial assessment phase. During the treatment, your child must wear their removable aligner for 20-22 hours daily. 

Unlike conventional braces, the comfortable plastic aligner can be removed at mealtimes or when your child brushes their teeth. It is easy to clean and will not impact sleep when worn at night. Because Invisalign is tailored to your child’s teeth and has no metal elements, it will not cause discomfort and is less likely to cause your child to speak with a lisp. 

Every week, we will provide you with a new aligner. Although they may look the same, each aligner is slightly different, and the small steps will add up throughout the treatment.

The benefits of Invisalign First include:

  • Subtle, almost invisible appearance
  • Made from a comfortable material
  • Easy to remove at mealtimes and for cleaning

Invisalign Teen

Invisalign Teen is a tailored version of the popular transparent aligner system. The aligner’s translucency allows teens to straighten their teeth without feeling self-conscious about wearing traditional metal braces. Removability makes it easier to eat, drink, and maintain a high standard of oral hygiene during treatment.

While Invisalign offers versatility in treating various types of malocclusion, it only works on mild to moderate cases. For more advanced malocclusions, Invisalign is occasionally used following an initial treatment with a fixed brace. 

Aligners must be worn for 22 hours a day. When choosing this treatment option, children and teenagers must remember to replace their aligners after meals or brushing. 

One of the key benefits of Invisalign is its predictability. During the initial assessment, we take digital scans using our iTero scanner. These scans are fed into powerful software that precisely plots every slight tooth movement while creating exact templates for aligner production. 

Fixed Braces

Traditional braces consist of brackets attached to the teeth and a wire which runs through the brackets. On many fixed braces, small rubber bands are used to hold the wire to the brackets.  Tension along the wire slowly straightens or realigns the teeth. Fixed braces are highly effective and can treat mild to severe cases. 

During the treatment process, the tension along the brace’s archwire will be increased. We make these adjustments during appointments at the clinic. 

Although traditional braces are typically made from metal, we use Clarity braces. These are tooth-coloured ceramic braces, which make the treatment process less noticeable. 

Because the brace is fixed to their teeth, there is no risk of your child forgetting to replace them after meals. Extra care is required during brushing and eating. Food can become trapped in the brace, causing damage and increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease if not cleaned correctly.

The benefits of ceramic braces include:

  • Able to treat a variety of cases
  • Tooth coloured for discretion
  • Braces are fixed, so there is no need to remember to take the appliance out or put it back in

Damon Braces

Damon braces straighten teeth are similar to traditional braces in many respects. However, instead of using small rubber bands to hold the wire in position, the brackets on Damon braces are specially designed to encase the wire to improve comfort, efficiency, and, in some cases, the speed of the treatment. 

Adjusting the tension on Damon braces is quicker than traditional metal braces because we do not need to remove the small bands from each bracket before commencing the adjustment. 

The benefits of Damon braces include:

  • Shorter adjustment appointments compared to other types of braces
  • Improved efficiency
  • Reduced treatment duration

Incognito Braces

Often referred to as “lingual braces”, Incognito braces are the perfect option for image-conscious patients who require a more comprehensive treatment. Incognito braces are entirely hidden from view. 

Placed on the backs of the teeth, lingual braces work like fixed braces. We will need to adjust the braces at different stages throughout the straightening process. 

Lingual braces are highly effective. However, there are some important considerations when choosing this option. First, it is essential to maintain a higher standard of dental hygiene. Because the braces are behind the teeth, it is more challenging to clean them. 

It can take some time to get used to wearing Incognito braces. During this time, it is common for people to develop a temporary lisp. This happens as the tongue naturally tries to avoid touching the brace. Any speech problems will usually pass after a short time. 

The benefits of Incognito braces include:

  • Completely invisible treatment
  • Suitable for use in advanced cases
  • Fixed braces do not need to be taken out

How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Take?

Treatment lengths vary. Most patients will wear braces or aligners for 6 to 24 months. The length of any treatment will depend on the complexity of the malocclusion.

After any orthodontic treatment is complete, it is important to ensure teeth do not return to their previous position. To prevent this, a retainer is used. Retainers are similar to removable aligners. Instead of using force to move teeth, a retainer stops any movement ensuring the new, straighter smile stays perfect.

Retainers are often worn all night for around one year. After this time, the amount a retainer needs to be worn will reduce.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

As mentioned, costs vary depending on the treatment type, complexity, and duration. Here are some examples of orthodontic starting prices. These prices are per arch. 

  • Children’s braces start at £4,000
  • Invisalign Teen starts at £3,500
  • Invisalign starts at £4,000
  • Incognito braces start at £5,000
  • Clarity braces start at £6,000
  • Damon braces start at £5,000

What Is Included In Orthodontic Treatment Costs?

Every treatment cost covers the entire process. The price you are quoted for treatment includes the orthodontic appliance and any other materials used, retainers, and all appointments, including any emergency appointments. There are no hidden costs. 

After an initial assessment, we will create a comprehensive treatment plan and a full breakdown of fees and the final cost of treatment. 

Is It Possible to Spread the Cost of Orthodontic Care?

You can pay treatment costs in one lump sum. However, we understand that paying for a treatment in one go is not an option for many people. For this reason, we offer finance options. You can repay the total cost of the treatment over 12 months, interest-free. 

When paying monthly, we will take an initial deposit, and the remaining balance will be spread over the next year. 

Why Is It Important for Families to Budget the Cost of Orthodontic Treatment?

While orthodontic treatments are essential for preparing a smile for a better oral health future, misjudging or miscalculating costs can leave families facing financial difficulties. This is particularly an issue when there is a misunderstanding about treatment costs. Getting braces should not cause anyone to face undue financial burden.

For this reason, we are always completely transparent about all consultation fees and treatment costs before we begin any new orthodontic case. 

We will help you by providing a clear outline of treatment costs following the initial assessment. Our team will also explain your payment options clearly. 

Your monthly payments will be clearly communicated if you are taking out finance. If you have any questions about the treatment costs, we will always be happy to discuss them with you. 

Breaking Down Orthodontic Treatment Costs

However you choose to address your family orthodontic concerns, we have various effective treatment options that provide exceptional results without impacting your lifestyle. 

The cost of braces and aligners will vary depending on the severity of the case and the type of appliance used. Following a thorough initial consultation, we can provide a full breakdown of the costs associated with your chosen treatment. All treatment costs include necessary appointments and braces, aligners, or retainers used during the process.

West London Orthodontics provides exceptional orthodontic care for children and adults in Hammersmith, Shepherd’s Bush, and Chiswick. Dr Kyi is one of London’s leading specialist orthodontists. She has gained considerable experience delivering all available orthodontic treatment options throughout her career. 

Schedule a consultation today to learn more about the most suitable treatment option and all associated costs.

West London Orthodontics offers the most advanced orthodontic care for children and adults. Serving patients in Hammersmith, Shepherd's Bush, and Chiswick, Dr Kyi and her team specialise in various brace options, including Invisalign. Book a consultation today.

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