Payment & Insurance

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

The fee for an individual’s treatment is determined by a variety of factors, including the severity of the problem to be corrected, as well as the anticipated length of treatment. The type of “appliance” (the formal name for braces, aligners, retainers, etc.) may also be a consideration.

According to the American Dental Association survey of dental fees for 2013 (its most recent study), the fee for comprehensive treatment of adolescents ranged from $4685 to $6500, and the fee for comprehensive treatment of adults ranged from $4800 to $7135.

We offer a variety of payment plans to make orthodontic care affordable. We provide in-office financing for as long as 24months with no interest charged. To help patients spread their payments over a longer period of time, we offer Care Credit and Lending Tree. The advantage is that monthly payments over a longer period of time can be smaller than payments over 24months. Be aware, however, that a third-party finance company will charge interest.

Some patients have dental insurance that includes orthodontic benefits that will cover a portion of the fee for treatment. Funds from flexible spending accounts (FSAs) can also be used for orthodontic treatment.

Will the orthodontist take my insurance? How much does insurance cover?

If you have dental insurance that includes orthodontic benefits, check with the insurance company or your employer’s HR department to learn details of the coverage available to you – whether coverage is for a percentage of the fee or is capped at a specific dollar amount (“lifetime cap”); who your policy covers ( you, or you and your spouse, or you and your spouse and your children, etc., and whether insurance coverage has an age limit); and whether you are required to choose from the insurance company’s providers.

We offer initial orthodontic consultation at no charge. Whether we are “in-network” or “out of network”, you are able to take full advantage of your insurance benefit. Please call our office to find out.

If free orthodontic care available for patients in need?

Dr. Kim has previously worked with the Papillion-La Vista school foundation to provide free orthodontic care to our community kids in need of care who meet eligibility requirement. We are actively seeking to further strengthen our relationship with our local community. Please stay in tune for further update.

How do I find an orthodontist who takes medicaid?

Currently, we are not accepting Medicaid patients.

Contact the department that administers the Medicaid program and request a list of providers who are an orthodontist.

If you have a Medicaid card, there may be a phone number to call for information.

Do I have to have insurance to have orthodontic treatment?

No. Insurance is not required to have orthodontic treatment. Regardless of your insurance status, we offer “no charge” examination and many times you may receive the same insurance benefit whether we are “in “or “out of network” with your insurance company.

Are orthodontic expenses tax deductible as a medical expense?

Please check with your tax advisor for a response specific to your circumstances.

In general, orthodontic treatment falls under the IRS description of medical and dental expenses that may be deductible from taxable income if the taxpayer meets the overall limits.

Some people use an employer benefit called an FSA (flexible spending account) to cover some or all of their orthodontic expenses. FSAs are funded by pre-tax dollars and have an annual limit. Check with your employer to see if you can take advantage of this benefit

Treatment

Which treatment is the fastest?

Thanks to advances in technology, just about every type of treatment is relatively fast.
These important steps will make your treatment go as quickly as possible:
Follow the orthodontist’s instructions on brushing, flossing, professional cleanings, and diet.
Keep your scheduled appointments

Although speed is an important treatment modality for today’s care, safety is just as important. It is important to understand the risk and benefit of each option that are provided for your treatment options.

Which treatment is the best?

We at Metro West Orthodontics believe that with education and discussion of risk and benefit of each option, ultimately, the patient will choose the best option for themselves to meet their needs. We believe in individualized treatment planning, so there is not a single treatment option that is best for all. The best treatment is the one that addresses your concern helps you reach your vision of smile.

What is the ideal age for orthodontic treatment - is there one?

Chronological age is not a factor when deciding whether a patient is a candidate for orthodontic treatment; there is not one ideal age for treatment to begin. Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. Regardless of age, patients can look forward to teeth that not only look better, but work better, too.

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of the existence of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7. Few patients will need to begin treatment that young, but there are some who will benefit from early intervention. For these patients, treatment is likely to consist of guiding the growth of the jaws so the permanent teeth are in good positions as they come in.

A check-up while some baby teeth are still present, and while the face and jaws are growing, may reveal that immediate treatment is not necessary, but that the child could benefit from treatment in the future. In these cases, the patient visits the orthodontist periodically to monitor growth and development. This “watchful waiting” gives the orthodontist the opportunity to advise parents when the best time is for that child to begin treatment. Often the orthodontist is able to take advantage of predictable periods of a patient’s growth and intervene so that orthodontic treatment can have the best results possible. There are some things that cannot be accomplished once the face and jaws are no longer growing.

Still, orthodontic treatment can be highly successful in adults. The physiological process of moving teeth is the same in adults as it is in children. Adult orthodontic treatment may take a little longer than children’s treatment due to denser bone tissue in adults. A new smile can be especially profound for adults who have spent years hiding their teeth.

Overall, the time required for orthodontic treatment is shorter than it was in the past.

I have been considering braces. My teeth on the top aren't that crooked. Is it possible just to get braces on the bottom?

Whether orthodontic treatment on just your bottom teeth will properly align those teeth with your upper teeth is something that can only be answered by visiting an orthodontist for an exam and consultation.

Orthodontic treatment is designed to develop teeth that fit well and, as a result, wear better over an individual’s life. Think of the teeth in the mouth as a “gear” system. Teeth, like gears, must intermesh well to help avoid excessive wear throughout a lifetime of use.

Please consult Dr. Kim to learn what types of treatment options are available for you.

Multiple orthodontists have offered different treatment plans. Which one is right?

There is not a single “right way” to perform orthodontic treatment. All orthodontists have different educational backgrounds and different technical skill sets. Dr. Kim recommends meeting your orthodontist to discuss what is important to you. The initial consultation is an opportunity for you to get to know your orthodontist and develop mutual respect for each other. No two orthodontists are same however, our ultimate goal is to empower our patient with beauty, health, and well-being.

How long does treatment last?

The length of treatment will depend on the kind of problems an individual patient has. Simple cases may take only a few months to treat, while a complete bite correction can take a couple years. We also offer surgical intervention (sometimes known as speed orthodontics, corticotomy or piezocision). Dr. Kim and discuss all the options available to you to deliver a healthy, beautiful smile in the least amount of time.

I don’t want old-fashioned braces. What are my options?

Thanks for advances in technology, your treatment options may include ceramic (tooth-colored) braces, lingual braces, which are placed behind the teeth, or clear aligner trays.

Today’s standard metal braces are much smaller and sleeker than those of even a generation ago.

Please review your options with Dr. Kim at an in-person consultation to determine what type of treatment will be best suited to your needs.

Can I get braces if I'm missing some teeth?

It can be possible for you to have successful orthodontic treatment if some teeth are missing, depending on our circumstances and your treatment goals. Orthodontic treatment may be able to close the space of a missing tooth or may be able to create or save sufficient space for a replacement tooth/teeth (such as implants). Consult with Dr. Kim to discuss what is right for you. We may need to work with your primary care dentist and/or other dental specialists to help you achieve your treatment goals.

Can I get braces if my teeth have crowns and root canals?

It can be possible for you to have successful orthodontic treatment if your teeth have crowns or root canals. Materials are available to adhere orthodontic brackets to crowns just like you would any other tooth.

If I wear extra rubber bands, will that speed up my treatment?

No, wearing extra rubber bands will NOT speed up treatment. In fact, you could potentially prolong your treatment by wearing extra rubber bands because the extra force could move your teeth in an undesirable way.

To finish your treatment on time and with the best possible results, follow Dr. Kim’s instructions on wearing rubber bands, and any other item that you place and remove. Also, be sure to brush and floss with the frequency recommended, and see your dentist for professional cleanings and check-ups at least every six months during orthodontic treatment, or more often if recommended.

I am 76 years old and considering orthodontic treatment. Am I too old to get treatment?

Healthy teeth can be moved at any age. We regularly treat adult patients. Metro West Orthodontics and Periodontics is focused on restoring beauty and function to adults. Demand for orthodontic treatment for adults has increased tremendously and many of our patients are in their 50s, 60s, and 70s.

Depending on your circumstances, we may work with your primary care dentist and other dental specialists, as necessary, to help you achieve optimal dental health.

How often will I have to see the orthodontist while I’m in treatment?

On average, you will see the orthodontist about every four to eight weeks during treatment. This allows the orthodontist to make the changes needed to progress through treatment and also allows us to keep an eye on your treatment progress, as well as monitor the health of your teeth and gums.

I see ads for perfect teeth in only one or two visits to the dentist. How is orthodontic treatment different?

The ads you are seeing may be for veneers. They cover teeth and do not address the structure in the mouth or how the upper and lower teeth meet. Veneers are not permanent. Many require removal of significant amounts of tooth enamel.

Orthodontic treatment is far more than simply treating how teeth look. It’s about aligning teeth and jaws so that they meet and function effectively. It just so happens that when teeth and jaws are functioning well, they look good, too.

I am pregnant and want to begin orthodontic treatment. Is this OK?

It may be possible to begin treatment while pregnant, however, it is important to discuss this question with your OBGYN/physician/healthcare professional and orthodontist before you start any orthodontic treatment, as pregnancy brings on bodily changes that may affect the mouth.

General Questions

I lost my retainer. What should I do?

Call our office right away to make arrangements for replacement retainers. Without retainers, there may be unwanted movement of teeth.

What do the initials mean after an orthodontist’s name?

Orthodontist educated in the U.S. will have the initials “DDS” or “DMD” after their names. These initials mean the individual graduated from dental school. “DDS” stands for “Doctor of Dental Surgery.” “DMD” stands for “Doctor of Dental Medicine.” Some dental schools confer the DDS, while other schools confer the DMD. The American Dental Association considers DDS and DMD to be equivalent degrees.

Orthodontists may or may not have additional initials that announce their post-graduate specialty education. There is not a standard set of initials that mean that the person has graduated from an orthodontic program. Some accredited orthodontic programs confer a certificate when an individual successfully completes the program; certificates carry no additional initials. Other accredited orthodontic programs confer a degree.

There are many variations of the advanced degrees conferred. Common ones include MS, MSc, and MSD, which represent master’s degrees.

To become an orthodontist, she/he needs to first graduate from dental school and then successfully completed an additional 2-3 years of education in an accredited orthodontic residency program. Only those who have attained this level of formal education may call themselves “orthodontists”.

Is it OK to drink soda pop when you have braces on?

Whether in braces or using another type of orthodontic appliance, patients should limit their intake of any drinks with added sugar, including soda pop (even diet), energy drinks, sweet tea, some juices and sports drinks.

Soda pop contains acid that can weaken tooth enamel. Some juices and sports drinks contain a lot of sugar.

Drinking excessive amounts of any liquids with sugar and/or acid could lead to cavities.

My child has a wire poking his cheek. What do I do?

Use Q-tip or pencil eraser to push the wire so that it is flat against the tooth. If the wire cannot be moved into a comfortable position, cover it with orthodontic wax. Contact our office. We have 24/7 answering service where you can ask to page Dr. Kim.

I'm considering getting a tongue or lip piercing. Are there any dangers?

There are numerous potential problems from oral piercings which can include the tongue, cheeks, or lips.

Particularly with tongue piercing, you can permanently damage your teeth by wearing away the enamel, or by chipping or cracking teeth. There is risk of abrasion or recession of gum tissue if it is constantly hit by the piercing.

Piercing can interfere with basic functions like chewing, swallowing, talking and the sense of taste. A hole from a piercing can be a path for germs into the body and bloodstream.

Will my braces set off the metal detectors in the airport?

You are cleared for takeoff – the lightweight materials used in braces will not affect metal detectors.

My dentist says I have a malocclusion? What is that?

“Malocclusion” is the term used in orthodontics to describe teeth that do not fit together properly. From Latin, the term means “bad bite.”

Do I need to change my oral hygiene routine during treatment?

Yes. Keeping your teeth and braces (or other appliances) clean requires a little more effort on your part. We will explain how to brush and floss, how often to brush and floss, and give you any special instructions based on the kind of orthodontic treatment you are having. Be sure to follow our dental hygiene recommendations to get the best results possible.

In general, patients with braces must be careful to avoid hard, sticky, chewy and crunchy foods. They should also avoid chewing on hard objects like pens, pencils, and fingernails. And never chew ice. It’s much too hard on your teeth – even without braces.

Also, be sure to see your family dentist for a professional cleaning and check-up at least every six months during your orthodontic treatment, or more often, if recommended.

Can I play musical instruments while wearing braces?

With practice and a period of adjustment, braces typically do not interfere with the playing a wind or brass instruments.

We provide covers for your braces to help you lay more naturally.

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