Brace for costs to straighten your smile - CBS46 News

Brace for costs to straighten your smile

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Kelsey Vergon and her brothers have all worn braces or retainers. The cost was a shock to their parents' pocketbook.

"Between $18,000 and $20,000 for all three. So it was very expensive," said Kelsey's mother, Tamara Vergon. "My husband always jokes that that's his motorcycle in their mouths -- the motorcycle that he won't have now for a while."

Braces often run between $3,000 and $7,000 per child.

"When planning for the cost of braces you need to think about the entire process of getting braces," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. "Do they need any teeth pulled or a deep cleaning? Also, there is a retainer that children need to wear as well and if they lose it, you're going to add that to your bill."

Orthodontist fees vary widely from one area to another, and even from one doctor to the next. Be sure to get several recommendations from family and friends and consult with at least three orthodontists.

"When selecting your orthodontist you don't want to rely on price alone. Also check the credentials of the orthodontist; How long have they been practicing, are they are member of the American Board of Orthodontists, and do they accept your insurance? These are all important factors in making your decision," Hicks said.

Dental insurance, while helpful, rarely covers more than 25 percent of the cost, so ask about payment plans and up-front discounts, and try to negotiate with orthodontists to reduce your overall price tag.

A non-profit organization called Smiles Change Lives is partnering with local dentists to help low-income families. Click here to apply. If you qualify, they will put you in touch with orthodontists who can offer greatly reduced prices for your child's braces.

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