August 24, 2021

4 things adults should know before getting braces

By Shannon Pais and Sun Life Staff

Have you had it with your crooked teeth? Thinking of finally getting braces? Here’s what you need to know before committing. 

It’s never too late to create a perfect smile. At least, that’s the promise we hear. Clearly, people are listening. More than 1 of every 4 brace-wearers is over 21, according to the Canadian Association of Orthodontists. And the average adult invests 1 to 3 years wearing braces, says the American Dental Association.

Creating a winning smile can be a lengthy and costly process. And there are now many options to choose from. So where do you start? 

Here are some common questions you may have: 

  • How do you find a reliable orthodontist?
  • What types of braces are available?
  • How much do braces cost in Canada?
  • Does insurance cover braces?

How do you find a reliable orthodontist?

Getting braces is a costly and lengthy process. You’ll want to make sure you find an orthodontist that you trust. Not sure where to start? You can find top-rated orthodontists in your area with Lumino Health’s free Provider search.

You can also speak with your dentist or asks friends and family for referrals.

Don’t feel like you need to choose the first one you find. Book a free consultation with several orthodontists. That way, you’ll get a range of treatment options and pricing quotes. Once you have all the information, you can decide which treatment makes the most sense for you. The lowest-priced option may not be the best one.

What types of braces are available?

There are 4 main types of braces to choose from:

  1. Aligners. These clear plastic trays are custom made for your teeth. This is the preferred choice for many as they’re almost invisible. They require a certain discipline to wear them at least 20 hours a day. You can remove them for eating and teeth brushing. 
  2. Steel braces. ‘Conventional’ braces are sometimes better suited for more robust treatments. These usually offer the quickest treatment. They are more visible. 
  3. Ceramic braces. These are a more attractive option to steel braces. The colour of ceramic can blend with your teeth. However, they may mean a lengthier treatment. Also, these braces are slightly bigger and often installed only on upper teeth, as they can be abrave
  4. Lingual braces. Also known as concealed braces, as they attach by brackets to the backs of your teeth. They are virtually invisible and the treatment time is similar to conventional braces. They can, however, be more costly.

Once you complete your treatment, your orthodontist will probably prescribe a permanent or removable retainer. This will keep your teeth from shifting back to their original positions. Be prepared for the cost of getting a new retainer if you lose yours. If you get a permanent retainer, your orthodontist will need to glue it back on if it comes off.

How much do braces cost in Canada?

Braces can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000. The cost depends on which type of braces you choose and what you are trying to correct. 

Ask your orthodontist about a payment plan to spread out the cost over the course of your treatment. You may also be able to negotiate a discount if you pay the full amount upfront. 

Your orthodontist will also recommend a dental hygiene regimen to prevent decalcification and help speed up treatment. Plan on buying an electric toothbrush and special floss threaders or a water flosser.

You’ll also have to consider the cost of more-frequent dental cleanings. They may be necessary while you have braces. 

Does insurance cover braces?

Insurance may help offset some of the cost of your treatment. You may have access to a employee insurance plan through your work. Ask for a quote from your orthodontist and reach out to your insurance provider. Your insurance provider will determine how much your plan covers. 

Don’t have group insurance? Dental insurance, included in a personal health insurance plan from Sun Life, can help offset the cost of medical and dental expenses.

Even with insurance, out-of-pocket costs can be steep. Want help budgeting and getting a clearer picture of your financial situation? An advisor can help. Find an advisor near you

Depending on the treatment you choose, you may also have pre- or post-surgical procedures to consider. Set up separate consultations with your dentist or specialist to assess how much these may cost.

Getting braces is a major decision that will affect your health, your daily life and your finances. The result should be something you’ll be happy to smile about.

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