Thrive Dental & Orthodontics - Logo

Why Do Braces Cost So Much?

By Dr. Nathan Coughlin

Have you ever wondered why braces cost so much? Have you thought that the braces seem so small, so why does it cost so much to get them?

This is a thought I have heard online many times and I’m here to walk you through why it seems braces cost so much and how you can actually afford them.

Let’s break it down into 3 reasons why braces cost as much as they do and let’s compare the pricing to things you buy every day.

1. The material costs of braces is expensive.

Braces are made from metal alloys or various crystal structures depending on the type of braces you get. 

Clear braces cost more to fabricate than metal braces because the material is harder to get and fabricating them is more labor-intensive. 

Whenever a product costs more to make, that cost gets moved to the consumer, in this case, the patient. 

High fabrication cost is the biggest reason why Invisalign costs more than braces. Invisalign costs more than braces not because they move teeth better or look better, it’s purely because it costs so much to fabricate them. 

The very high lab costs of Invisalign gets transferred to the patients and that’s why, in most cases, the cost of Invisalign is higher than braces. 

When the costs of fabricating braces or Invisalign gets less the cost to the patients will also be less.

2. The amount of visits you need

When you go to the dentist for a filling you will be there for one or two visits and then that’s it. You don’t keep going back month after month for the same filling.

With orthodontic treatment, you will be taking up doctor time every month or so. You will likely come in every 4-8 weeks for the duration of your treatment.

If your orthodontic treatment is 24 months, you may come in over a dozen times for various lengths of time. 

Every time you come in, you are taking up doctor time, staff time, front office team members time, etc. These people are guiding you through your treatment to ensure you get the smile you want.

All of these interactions add to the overall cost of treatment. The longer your treatment, the more expensive braces will be because you are taking more office time.

3. Once your braces are off, you aren’t actually done with treatment.

Many people believe that once you remove your braces, you are done with treatment, but in reality, there are still many follow-up appointments. 

After removing your Invisalign or braces, you will get retainers to maintain your teeth in the same position. We also take follow-up radiographs and pictures to ensure your teeth stay pretty for a lifetime. 

You will likely come for a few more visits throughout the years to make sure your smile stays beautiful. And guess what, the cost of the follow-up visits is included in your original price!

When it is all said and done, you are paying for the physical product, office time, and the lifelong retention of your teeth. 

How does the price of braces compare to your phone?

Now let’s compare the average cost of braces to something you may be using right now. I have an iPhone and a phone plan to go with it.

Our phone plan with the cost of the phone is over one hundred dollars a month per person. The average price of braces is roughly $4500.

If you put $500 down and divide the rest of the payments throughout the 24 months, you will be paying $166 per month.

$166 per month is slightly higher than I pay for my cell phone and the permission to use it on the wireless networks. 

If you have insurance, your payments will likely be less than a phone bill! 

I believe a phone is critical for communication, but so is your beautiful new smile. People are more successful and confident with a healthy, white, and straight smile.

There are multiple studies to show that people are viewed as more successful with a straight smile. Is the $100 – $200 a month worth a lifetime of success?


When answering the question of “why braces cost so much,” I let people know it’s because of the cost of the material, the number of visits, and all of the follow-up appointments needed to keep your smile beautiful for life. 

When comparing the cost of braces versus your phone or other similar items, you can start to realize they are comparable. 

Braces will give you more confidence, and if you wear your retainers properly, you will have that confidence for the rest of your life! 

If you want to learn more about the price of braces at our office, click here

I look forward to helping you on your orthodontic journey! 

Skip to content