Is dentistry cheaper outside the city?
February 26, 2005 10:13 AM   Subscribe

Is orthodontal work (braces) cheaper outside the city? Physicians don't really like giving quotes as they discourage rate-checking. I've heard it is cheaper in the country. I don't want to believe 6 - 10,000 dollars is normal.

My insurance will cover 3000. Thanks, P.
P.S. I'm in Washington (the state)
posted by uni verse to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
Braces are definitely expensive, though $10,000 seems waaay out of line to me. I've got braces and go to one of the top orthodontists in L.A./Beverly Hills, and I think the total for mine (before insurance) was about $5000.

When you say that they won't give you price quotes, do you mean over the phone (without even seeing you) or after an initial consultation? If you're just calling over the phone, I don't think it's too surprising that they can't tell you how much it will cost, because they can't see how extensive the work is you'll need. But if you go in for a consultation, and they still won't tell you how much it will cost, then that strikes me as peculiar.

By the way, Archwired is a good resource for adults with braces (or considering getting them).
posted by scody at 10:21 AM on February 26, 2005

scody, yes, I meant consulting over the phone, which I heard is not really possible. Nice to hear you thought my quote was high too. Thanks for the link, I will check that out!
posted by uni verse at 10:35 AM on February 26, 2005

I'd echo what scody's said, but I'll add one more thing -

Many reputable orthodontists aren't necessarily charging you for just the hardware, they are selling you essentially a "package" of care. Depending on how much time and work needs to be done, that figure will fluctuate. Anyone who's had braces will tell you that you will become very familiar with your orthodonists and staff, because you'll often have frequent visits for routine and accidental stuff - as a result, the charge you that package figure rather than collect per-visit charges.
Personally, I have no idea what my orthodontia cost (my parents paid), but even 6-7 years after they came off, I'm still able to go see my ortho for checkups at no additional cost.
posted by dicaxpuella at 10:35 AM on February 26, 2005

I paid $6000 a few years back. That covered upper and lower teeth. I wore them for two years, and have a retainer. Given the amount of work it was a reasonable cost. I've heard of people paying $8-10k. I was in the city.

dicaxpuella is right. I was in there every 6 weeks for 2 years, and just recently had to go back as a tooth was moving again. Aside paying a nominal amount for a different retainer to fix the problem, my care from here on is no charge.

You'll go in, they'll look at your teeth and discuss your options, then you'll be given a written estimate of cost and length of treatment. So you can see a few different orthodontists and then decide. Since you'll be spending a lot of time there, it's important to like the place. (Actually, it's important to like the hygenists, as you'll spend 90% of treatment time with them. Typically the orthodontist just checks your progress, and double checks their work at the end of your session.)
posted by Salmonberry at 12:06 PM on February 26, 2005

That's on the high end but there's a wide range of things that are probably bumping that price up. As dicaxpuella stated, they're very professional in the care package. They encourage you to come in aftewards for check-ups and seem to take pride in their work. Good orthodontics are well worth the price.
posted by geoff. at 12:07 PM on February 26, 2005

I think my parents paid a fee of $8,000 for my orthodonture. That included two years of palette expanders and oral surgery -- my teeth are two big for my small mouth. It also included monthly visits for another four years of braces, plus in-between visits if something hurt or wasn't working right. And it incuded two years of follow ups once I got my retainer.

This was in the late '80s and early '90s, so adjusted for inflation I could see it coming to over $10,000. It was in the DC suburbs, which is densely populated enough that it probably counts as "the city."

Mine was a severe case, though. My teeth were all pointing in different directions, I had fangs and an overbite. It took almost seven years to get it all straitened out.

Now I have a nice, if coffee-yellowed, smile.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 12:25 PM on February 26, 2005

A recent bill in Greater Boston for two-year treatment, all-inclusive and discounted 10% for paying up front, was $4,752.
posted by cribcage at 1:25 PM on February 26, 2005

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