Orthodontic Treatment Costs
Orthodontic Treatment Costs
We deal with fees differently than most practices. Much differently.
3 min read
For patients that know they need orthodontics, usually two questions are on their mind when they talk with the doctor:
- What kind of treatment does the doctor suggest?
- How much will it cost?
Affordability of Treatment
We understand inflationary trends are a concern and we also understand people wonder if they can even afford treatment, especially when there are seemingly never ending phases of treatment with no definite and final total in sight.
We are here to tell you, Dr. Skarin does things very differently. Our philosophy is, and always has been, that we should accommodate and do whatever we can to make orthodontics affordable for everyone, and we do not believe that means people take on large financing bills to make that possible.
While we do not accept chickens and foodstuffs for payment as businesses used to do when times were tough almost 100 years ago, we do have a similar sense of caring for our families and the unique financial circumstances that can arise.
Establishing Treatment Fees
Decades ago, establishing a final treatment fee was simple. Patients were referred to an orthodontist by a dentist when all the permanent teeth had come in. Treatment options were limited to either:
- Braces with pulling teeth out
- Braces without pulling teeth out
Having two options made it really simple to establish a treatment fee, but in the early 80’s everything changed when orthodontists experimented with new procedures.
Early Treatment and Increased Costs
Orthodontists began experimenting with treating patients with orthodontic procedures on children that still had not lost their baby teeth. The results showed that when orthodontic treatment was applied to children before all their baby teeth were lost there were significant advantages:
- Increased probability of treating patients without any removal of teeth
- Reduced time with braces on the adult teeth once they came in
In other words, lining up baby teeth sets up a better bone structure for when the adult teeth come in. This means, less treatment time is needed to straighten teeth once the adult teeth come in and ensures a better result, however, there is a big catch… early treatment results in an additional phase of treatment and higher treatment costs.
What was ultimately meant to benefit the patient ended up benefiting the orthodontist financially as each of these early phases of treatment would add to the cost that would eventually include a full set of braces at the end of all of these early treatment phases.
Inflated Treatment Costs
As practices began treating patients with more early treatment phases, the result was patients would no longer know what their final cost would be. Doctors would say an early phrase of treatment would help, but if it did not, ultimately the patients would be responsible for paying the full adult fee of braces anyway. This is how most practices asses fees today, where costs are continued to be added on top of early treatment. We on the other hand do no such thing.
How We Assess Costs
We would like to bring clarity and put your mind at ease about cost. Dr. Skarin’s philosophy concerning early treatment and how we handle cost structure is all about doing right by our patients. Quite simply, it is what we believe.
We do not want families to feel as if they are being penalized financially for choosing an early orthodontic treatment plan, which we know is better for the patient. In many office, choosing to responsibly choose to go with an early treatment plan results in nearly doubling the cost of final adult treatment.
In our office, we charge appropriate amounts for each phase of treatment that precedes the placement of braces. We believe that each of those early treatment phases, applied appropriately, should make the final braces phase of treatment easier, shorter, and less costly than if a family waited to get braces after the adult teeth came in.
What We Offer
When it is determined braces are necessary, we evaluate the cost for the entire treatment. We then subtract from that fee all the additional phases of early treatment that are needed for treatment. In others words, we do not inflate our treatment costs. We want to reward and encourage patients to come in for treatment at the same price of what it would cost to do treatment without braces.
How Can We Afford This?
Since we treat each case on an individual basis, the difficulty of a case matters. When more patients come in for early treatment, the results are better but it is also easier for Dr. Skarin to treat a case if he can help with early treatment early on. As a result, patients are happier with the results without added cost to them, and Dr. Skarin is happier because he knows his patients are getting the best care but they are also less difficult cases, which means more time to help more patients with early treatment.
It really is a win-win for both the patient and the doctor, which is why we are happy to reward families that choose early treatment without increasing costs for early treatment.