Braces on a Budget: Creative Financing for Fixing Your Child’s Smile

You know your child needs to go to the dentist. But, you resist because of the costs. Did you know that these costs don’t have to be prohibitive? If your child needs orthodontic care, and you don’t think you can afford it, keep reading – you probably can.

Smiles Change Lives

You may qualify for a program called Smiles Change Lives. It’s a program that serves kids and teenagers in every state. If your child is between the ages of 11 and 18, you can apply to the program. If you’re accepted, you’ll get braces for your child for between $250 to $500. Considering that braces usually cost several thousand dollars, this is a great deal.

To be accepted, you can’t earn more than $10,000 per person in the household. Meaning, if you’re a family of 4, you can’t earn more than $40,000 per year.

In addition to that, the teeth have to be moderately to severely crooked. If your child’s teeth or jaw alignment is not a serious problem, or if you’re only doing this for cosmetic reasons, then you won’t qualify. Your child must also take excellent care of his or her teeth.

Go To A Dental School

A dental school is an unusual place to go for dental work, or is it? Many people don’t even consider it because they feel that students won’t have the experience to do a good job. But dental students are actually quite competent. What they lack in experience, they make up for in book knowledge. And, they are always being monitored by a senior professor and experienced dentists.

Because it’s a school, you can get reduced prices for the work. Orthodontists in training will be supervised by more experienced orthodontists, for example, so you can potentially receive valuable services for a fraction of the cost. And, because the experienced orthodontist is in a teaching position, they will have the knowledge and superior experience to help guide the student. It’s like getting a veteran in the industry to do your work without you having to pay market rates.

Go To Your Dentist

Ask your dentist. Guess what? You might be able to get discounted or low-cost services if you are open about your financial position. Some dentists will work with you and your family to help you afford the braces you need. Some dentists will accept a lower payment. Some will help you with financing programs or a payment plan. Or, they may refer you to another dentist that does offer discounted rates.

Each state also has a dental society that may be able to help. These groups can offer free basic care, like checkups.

Some may even offer Invisalign in NYC for a reduced cost, if you need it.

Go To Your Community

Your community may be the greatest source for help. Your church, clubs, and local organizations you belong to. Social clubs can be especially helpful. If you belong to a local chapter of the Moose club, or the Elk’s club, or a VFW.


Finally, there’s Medicaid. When you can’t afford dental care, and you’ve tried all other avenues, the government may be willing to pick up the tab for you so your child can get the services you need.

Amelie Walters works as an orthodontist assistant. A Mom herself, she often takes the time to go over any concerns parents, as well as kids and teens have about getting braces. She writes on this topic for a few health and parenting blogs online.

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March 10, 2016 Braces on a Budget: Creative Financing for Fixing Your Child’s Smile