Hotaling Insurance Services Logo

How Much Are Braces Without Insurance? Discounts and More

How Much Are Braces Without Insurance?

Table of Contents

How Much Are Braces Without Insurance? Estimations & Discounts


The cost of braces without insurance typically ranges from $3,000 to $10,000, depending on various factors such as type and treatment duration. As an expert in the insurance industry with over a decade of experience at Hotaling Insurance Services, I’ve encountered numerous inquiries about orthodontic coverage. One question that frequently arises is, “How much are braces without insurance?”

This query underscores a vital concern for many—navigating the complex landscape of orthodontic care without the cushion of insurance coverage. Whether it’s the cost of pre-braces dental work, understanding insurance plans with orthodontic discount programs, or exploring alternative financing options, individuals are seeking clarity and affordability in their orthodontic journey.

Case Study

Navigating Orthodontic Care without Insurance – Jane’s Journey


Jane, a single mother residing in Georgia, faced a common yet daunting challenge when she learned her teenage son required braces. Like many Americans, Jane did not have dental insurance that covered orthodontic treatment, and the prospect of affording braces on a limited budget seemed nearly impossible. The high cost of orthodontic care, coupled with her sole income supporting a family, put Jane in a stressful situation that demanded a creative and diligent solution.

The Challenge

Orthodontic treatments, especially braces, are notorious for their high costs, which can range significantly depending on the complexity of the case and the type of braces chosen. Without dental insurance to offset these costs, families like Jane’s are often left struggling to find a way to afford necessary care. The challenge was twofold for Jane: ensuring her son received the orthodontic treatment he needed while also managing to keep her finances afloat.

Solution Exploration

Determined to find a way, Jane began exploring various options to make her son’s orthodontic care more affordable. Her journey led her to two significant discoveries that would greatly assist her financial planning:

  1. Orthodontic Discount Programs: Jane discovered several programs offering discounts on orthodontic services. These programs often require a membership fee, but the savings on braces and orthodontic treatments can be substantial. Jane weighed the costs and benefits and found a program that, when applied, would reduce the overall cost of her son’s braces by a significant margin.
  2. Health Savings Account (HSA): Jane also learned about the advantages of using a Health Savings Account (HSA) for medical expenses. HSAs are tax-advantaged savings accounts available to individuals enrolled in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs). They allow individuals to save money tax-free to be used for qualifying medical expenses, including orthodontic care. By contributing to an HSA, Jane could set aside pre-tax dollars, reducing her taxable income and saving money to pay for her son’s braces.


With a clear plan in place, Jane took action. She enrolled in an orthodontic discount program that offered a balance of affordability and quality care. Concurrently, she opened an HSA through her bank and began contributing a portion of her paycheck to the account each month. These contributions not only prepared her financially for the upcoming orthodontic expenses but also provided her with tax savings that eased her overall financial burden.


Thanks to her proactive research and planning, Jane was able to manage the cost of her son’s braces without overwhelming her budget. The orthodontic discount program reduced the treatment’s price, while the HSA allowed her to pay for the care with pre-tax dollars, further mitigating the financial impact. Her son received the necessary orthodontic treatment, and Jane navigated the financial challenges with strategic planning and resourcefulness.


Jane’s story highlights the challenges many face when affording orthodontic care without insurance and illustrates how exploring alternative financing options like orthodontic discount programs and Health Savings Accounts can offer viable solutions. By taking advantage of these options, families can find manageable paths to ensuring their loved ones receive the care they need while maintaining financial stability.

What’s New

Rise in Adult Orthodontic Treatment

Recent trends indicate a significant increase in adults seeking orthodontic treatments, signaling a shift towards prioritizing dental health and aesthetics well into adulthood. This demographic change points to a broader acceptance of orthodontic care across various age groups, challenging the notion that braces are just for teenagers.

Advancements in Teledentistry

Teledentistry has emerged as a groundbreaking advancement, making orthodontic care more accessible through virtual consultations and follow-ups. This technology facilitates easier access to care for patients in remote areas or with busy schedules, marking a pivotal step towards integrating digital solutions in dental health practices.

Popularity of Clear Aligners

Clear aligners have gained significant popularity as a less visible orthodontic solution, appealing to those seeking discreet treatment options. This innovation has expanded the choices available to patients, blending the benefits of effective treatment with aesthetic considerations. However, the high cost remains a barrier for many without dental insurance.

1. Orthodontic Discount Programs: Providers and Common Discounts

Providers Offering Discount Programs:

  • SmileDirectClub: Known for their clear aligners, they often provide promotional discounts and referral bonuses.
  • Aspen Dental: Offers various discount plans that include orthodontic treatment, emphasizing affordability.
  • Western Dental: Provides a membership plan with significant savings on braces and other dental services.
  • Bright Now! Dental: Features a Dental Discount Plan that covers a portion of orthodontic services.
  • OrthoFi: Works with multiple dental practices to offer customized payment plans and discounts on orthodontic care.

Common Discounts Available:

  • Free Consultations: Many practices offer free initial consultations, saving prospective patients the cost of the visit.
  • Percentage Off Treatment: It’s common to find discounts ranging from 5% to 20% off the total cost of orthodontic treatment.
  • Family Member Discounts: Discounts for additional family members who start treatment, encouraging families to use the same provider.
  • Pre-Payment Discounts: Substantial savings for patients who pay for their treatment in full upfront.
  • Referral Bonuses: Incentives for referring new patients, often in the form of discounts on future treatments or services.

2. Flexible Spending Accounts (FSAs) vs. Health Savings Accounts (HSAs)

FSAs: A Flexible Spending Account (FSA) allows individuals to use pre-tax dollars for eligible medical expenses, including orthodontic treatments. Contributions are made through salary deductions before taxes, lowering your taxable income. However, FSAs are “use it or lose it” accounts, meaning any unused funds at the end of the plan year can be forfeited.

HSAs: Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) also provide a way to pay for medical expenses, including orthodontics, with pre-tax dollars. HSAs are available to those with high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) and are unique because the funds roll over year after year if not used. This account not only lowers your taxable income but also serves as a potential long-term savings tool for healthcare expenses.

3. Alternative Sophisticated Insurance Strategies

Consider leveraging a Secondary Health Insurance Plan specifically for orthodontic coverage. This strategy involves enrolling in a dental insurance plan that offers substantial orthodontic benefits in addition to your primary health or dental insurance. By carefully selecting a secondary plan that complements your primary coverage, you can maximize benefits and minimize out-of-pocket expenses for orthodontic treatment.

4. Exploring Secondary Insurance Options

Secondary insurance can provide coverage for treatments not fully covered by your primary plan, offering an additional layer of financial support for orthodontic care.

5. Pros and Cons of Seeking Treatment at Dental Schools


  • Cost: Services are often significantly cheaper than those provided by private practices.
  • Quality: Treatments are performed under the supervision of experienced professionals, ensuring a high standard of care.
  • Contribution to Education: Patients directly contribute to the education and training of future dentists and orthodontists.


  • Time: Appointments can be longer due to the educational context, and the overall treatment duration might be extended.
  • Availability: Access to treatment may be limited based on the school’s schedule and patient load.
  • Limited Treatment Options: Some specialized treatments might not be available at dental schools compared to what’s offered at private practices.

6. Understanding Tax Deductions for Orthodontic Care

Orthodontic expenses can be tax-deductible if they exceed 7.5% of your adjusted gross income (AGI). This deduction applies to the costs not reimbursed by insurance, allowing for potentially significant tax savings. To benefit, expenses must be itemized on your tax return, highlighting the importance of keeping detailed records of all orthodontic costs throughout the year.

7. Organizations Offering Orthodontic Grants and Support

  • Smiles Change Lives: Provides access to life-changing orthodontic treatment for children from families unable to afford the full cost.
  • The Smile for a Lifetime Foundation: Offers scholarships for orthodontic care to underserved children with financial challenges.
  • Donated Orthodontic Services: A program by the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) offering free orthodontic treatment to children in need.
  • Give Kids A Smile®: Part of the American Dental Association, providing free dental care, including orthodontic treatments, to kids nationwide.
  • Ortho Scholar: Offers financial assistance for orthodontic treatment to qualified applicants, focusing on promoting oral health and self-confidence.


Navigating the complexities of obtaining braces without insurance can be daunting, but with my extensive experience in the insurance industry at Hotaling Insurance Services, I’ve witnessed firsthand the resilience and resourcefulness of individuals seeking affordable orthodontic care. The evolving landscape of orthodontic treatment offers new technologies and innovative financing options, making dental health more accessible. By leveraging orthodontic discount programs, utilizing FSAs and HSAs, exploring secondary insurance, or even seeking care at dental schools, patients can find cost-effective solutions.

The collective wisdom shared in communities like Quora and Reddit further illuminates the path, showcasing a range of strategies from payment plans to charitable programs. As the industry continues to advance, the commitment to making orthodontic care attainable, regardless of insurance status, remains a guiding light for those embarking on this journey toward a healthier smile.


What is the cheapest way to do braces?

The cheapest way may involve dental discount plans, utilizing FSAs or HSAs, or seeking treatment at dental schools.

What is the cheapest amount for braces?

Costs vary widely by location and treatment type; however, dental schools and discount programs can offer significant savings.

How much do braces cost in Houston?

Prices can range significantly. It’s best to consult directly with orthodontists in Houston for accurate quotes.

How do you get braces if you don’t have money?

Explore grants, charitable organizations, or consider dental schools that provide lower-cost services.


As we look to the future of orthodontic care, the industry continues to evolve with advancements in technology and treatment options. However, the challenge of affording braces without insurance remains a significant hurdle for many. Through diligent research, exploring alternative financing options, and utilizing available resources, individuals can find cost-effective paths to achieving the dental health and aesthetics they desire. For further insights and guidance, non-profit organizations like the American Dental Association offer valuable resources and support for those navigating orthodontic care without insurance.

Community Opinion: Quora, Reddit Takeaways

  • Many adults pay for braces out-of-pocket due to lack of insurance coverage.
  • Common financing options include CareCredit, payment plans with zero interest, and down payments.
  • Costs vary widely, ranging from around $3,000 to over $8,000, with monthly payments typically between $100 and $250.
  • Some individuals were able to find more affordable options through government grants, medical discounts, or treatment in other countries.
  • The total cost often includes extras like retainers and tooth shaping but not always whitening.
  • Interest-free payment plans are a significant advantage for those managing the high cost of orthodontic care.


  • American Dental Association (ADA) [Link]
  • Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) [Link]
  • Smiles Change Lives Program [Link]

Get Quote Here