This article about braces for your child was last updated in 2022.
Cosmetic dentistry is not all about vanity, but is crucial to our health and wellbeing too. There is a right time to reduce the impact on the patient … and also on your wallet.
To get the lowdown on teeth straightening for your child we’ve brought in expert Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Antish Naeck. Also known as The Zen Dentist, he believes that managing stress throughout the process is part of a successful smile transformation.
WHY DO KIDS NEED STRAIGHT TEETH?
Beginning the process at a young age helps to ensure that as the child grows that their teeth are going to grow in the right way and minimise the impact of future treatment. Getting in early also have advantages while a child’s mouth is the most flexible to work with.
The main medical benefit of having straight teeth is the ability to clean effectively and avoid gum disease and cavities. Also, in the long term, without straight teeth some problems can develop such as headache or migraine, jaw problems and teeth wearing.
Putting medical issues aside, having an attractive smile is crucial to our confidence and how we are received by others. Research shows us that more attractive people do better in life and have more opportunities, whether we agree ethically with this fact or not. I care greatly about reducing stress in my patient’s lives and feeling good about ourselves has to be a high priority.
CAN I DELAY STRAIGHTENING MY CHILDREN’S TEETH?
Starting teeth straightening when a child is around twelve years old would be typical, but some do start as early as eight. Delaying treatment might impact the amount of work required later on and increase costs even further.
Children’s teeth between the age of 8 and 12 are much easier to move, as the jaw bone is more malleable around that age range, and the treatment duration would be reduced. If the treatment time is reduced so are those costs affected by time.
Timing the treatment around a child’s growth spurts is the most effective process. This is where the payment options are valuable to help reduce the financial stress.
FUNDING YOUR COSMETIC DENTISTRY
Payment plans for dental services mean that the patient can begin procedures sooner than later, and also spread the payments over time to help manage cashflow in the household budget.
Overall the total cost can be higher at the end of the procedure if interest fees are involved, but the value is in getting treatment sooner and taking the pressure off cashflow.
If you do opt for a payment plan there are a few specialised companies as an alternative to the usual banks. These funds are independent of any specific dentist, including Denticare which is interest free. A 20% deposit is typically paid up-front and the rest is paid over 12 to 24 months depending on the length of the treatment, subject to the dental plan provided by the dentist. Funding approval works similarly to a bank with means testing. Some dentists may accept ZipPay, MoneyMe, AfterPay or similar Buy Now Pay Later (BTPL) services which attract an interest rate, but may suit some people.
Alternatively, superannuation can be released early for major procedures if the clinic applies on the behalf of the patient. One such provider is MySuperCare.
COMPARING FIXED BRACES AND INVISALIGN®
The real benefit for Invisalign® is not cost related but in an improved experience for the patients without the obvious ‘train track’ braces that people find unsightly and also painful at times.
Invisalign® and fixed braces are fairly similar in price ranging from $2500 – $9700AUD depending on the dental plan complexity.
When it comes to treatment cost, one general rule of thumb is that the higher the cost of living in your area, the higher your provider may charge for their services. After all, your orthodontist needs to pay for their office, equipment, and staff salaries, which all need to be accounted for when they set their price tag. So if you’re in an area with high rent and utility prices, it’s likely you’ll end up spending a bit more for your child’s new smile than someone in a low-cost area.
MANAGING FEAR OF THE DENTIST FOR WELLBEING
The one thing that a lot of dentists and practitioners don’t consider in all of this is the emotional aspects for the patient. Making the process all about detached medical procedures, funding and outcomes can be very stressful; for children in particular but also many adults.
Many people have a huge fear of the dentist – even the word ‘dentist’ has a negative reaction. This is the part that I feel changes the whole experience for many going through these significant procedures. We don’t have the same fears going for cosmetic procedures or the day spa. Being free of stress helps with recovery and feeling good about yourself while undergoing these treatments.
Dr. Naeck recommends discussing your dental plan with a specialised cosmetic dentist even if you don’t have all the funds right now. Planning ahead and knowing the optimum times for treatment will help to reduce costs and the stress. A good cosmetic dentist should also be able to help you manage the stress of the financial side as well.