When it comes to straightening teeth, it can be difficult to figure out what kind of treatment is right for you as an adult. Traditional metal braces are the primary orthodontic treatment for tooth alignment issues in children, but understandably, adults have more misgivings about wearing braces. Aesthetics, practicality, effectiveness, discomfort and how much braces cost are justifiable questions you may have, as well as whether there is a braces alternative that may suit your budget or lifestyle better.
Straight teeth are not just appealing from a cosmetic perspective but are crucial for preserving dental health. Crooked teeth can make oral hygiene more complex and lead to tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. Plus, a misaligned bite may cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel and can lead to problems with the jaws, such as TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction. It’s little wonder that more adults are choosing teeth straightening treatments to improve the look of their smile, oral health and increase their confidence.
Fortunately, metal braces are not the only option for a straighter smile these days. Technological advances and new materials offer several solutions that include fixed and removable devices, as well as visible and invisible appliances.
Unfortunately, the cost of orthodontic appliances is not cheap—and the price varies enormously depending on factors that include the type of braces and where you live. Orthodontic treatment in cities is likely to cost more than in rural areas due to the higher costs of running a business where office rents, rates and staffing costs are higher.
The table below shows the average cost of braces in Geelong Victoria, according to the Australian Society of Orthodontists (ASO), compared to the national average across Australia.
|Cost in Geelong Victoria
|$3,000 – $7,000
|$6,000 – $9,000
|$2,000 – $9,000
So, anyone considering braces in Australia will have to factor in the prevalent prices in the area where they live—which may be considerably less than elsewhere in cities such as Geelong Victoria.
Types of Braces
It is no surprise that when looking at factors affecting how much braces cost, the type of braces is a huge consideration.
Orthodontics has come a long way in recent years and is no longer just for kids. There are now more adult-friendly options than ever before to suit all lifestyles and budgets. Although traditional metal braces are still a popular choice, invisible treatments, such as Invisalign, have exploded in popularity in recent years.
This discreet clear aligner system is worn over the teeth, like a mouthguard, and is an attractive option for adults. Lingual braces are another option – these are placed on the back of teeth and are also invisible to others.
From fixed orthodontics to removable aligners, the options for straightening misaligned teeth are more flexible than ever. Even traditional fixed braces can now be customised with coloured brackets to create a unique and personalised appearance for the wearer. However, not all the available treatments are suitable for everyone. There are pros and cons associated with each treatment that anyone considering braces should know before deciding on the best solution for their circumstances.
Traditional Metal Braces
Metal braces are the most popular orthodontic treatment used to correct teeth alignment, and the one people are most familiar with. Metal brackets are attached to the front of the teeth with dental adhesive. A metal wire, called an archwire, is threaded through the brackets and held in place with elastic O rings.
The dentist tightens the archwire periodically, which puts pressure on the teeth, slowly moving them into the desired position. The gradual realignment of the teeth can take between 12 months and three years, depending on the severity of the misalignment.
Pros of metal braces
- One of the least expensive options
- Suitable for mild to severe misalignment
Cons of metal braces
- Highly visible
- Uncomfortable and can irritate the soft tissues of the mouth
- Requires regular visits to the dentist to adjust them
- Elastic O rings can discolour
- May have to modify the diet to prevent damaging the braces
Ceramic braces are a discreet alternative to traditional metal braces. The brackets and the archwire are tooth-coloured, which, although not invisible, makes them far less noticeable than metal braces.
Pros of ceramic braces
- Less visible than metal braces
- A good option for self-conscious people
Cons of ceramic braces
- More expensive than metal braces
- Can cause soft tissue irritation
- Elastics that hold the wires are prone to discolouration
- May have to change diet so as not to damage braces
Clear aligners are custom-made by creating impressions of your teeth and work by using a series of clear plastic trays that fit over the teeth. The trays are worn for about 22 hours a day and replaced every two weeks. Aligners are usually supplied in batches and so typically require fewer visits to the dentist than traditional braces that need regular adjustment.
Clear or invisible aligners have become increasingly popular because they are more discreet than traditional braces and can treat many dental issues, including crooked teeth, overbites, and underbites.
The best part about aligners are that they are removable so they can be taken out of the mouth as desired. That means patients can continue to eat whatever they want and maintain oral hygiene routine without having to spend additional time or money on unique products to clean the teeth effectively with permanent wires attached to them.
Pros of clear aligners
- Virtually invisible
- Fewer visits to the dentist required
Cons of clear aligners
- Must be committed to wearing the aligners for at least 22 hours a day
- Important to clean teeth after eating or drinking anything but water to ensure debris does not collect in the aligners. Debris may contribute to discomfort and an increase in bacteria
- Smoking, red wine and fizzy drinks can stain and discolour aligners (and your teeth)
- If you purchase leading brands like Invisalign, they can be expensive compared to other orthodontic treatment.
Lingual braces are attached to the back of the teeth instead of the front. They are made from the same materials as traditional fixed braces and work similarly but are hidden out of view. Lingual braces are more complex and take longer to fit than conventional braces, so only dentists with the appropriate experience can place them.
Pros of lingual braces
- Virtually invisible
Cons of lingual braces
- Not available from all dentists
- It can take some time to get used to and may affect speech
- May cause irritation to the tongue
- More expensive than other options
Why are braces so expensive in Geelong Victoria?
As well as the cost of dental clinic overheads, several factors influence the cost of braces.
- Treatment times vary depending on the needs of the individual patient. Some patients may only require minor corrections, while others may need extensive treatment. In general, though, most patients can expect to complete orthodontic treatment within 24 to 36 months.
- Dentists recommend braces are adjusted every 4-6 weeks. Even if an orthodontist adjusts your braces, you will still need to see a general dentist for check-ups so any other problems, such as oral hygiene, can be addressed.
- Traditional metal braces tend to be less expensive than leading brand clear aligners like Invisalign. As with every new technology, the research and development involved in getting it to market are significant and often recouped when products are first introduced. Eventually, prices come down as new competitors enter the market, but as Invisalign was the first to introduce invisible aligners, the prices are higher.
To recap, the more severe the misalignment, the longer it will take to correct and the more expensive it will be. Traditional metal braces tend to cost less than invisible aligners, but the more times you have to visit the dentist to monitor or adjust your treatment, the cost will increase.
Braces Cost in Geelong Victoria: Comparison of Different Treatments
Once you have an idea of the various treatments open to you, how much the braces cost in Sydney may be the ultimate decider on the orthodontic treatment you choose. The figures in the table below are sourced from the Australian Society of Orthodontists:
|Types of Braces
|Braces Cost in Geelong Victoria
|$3,000 – $7,000
|$5,000 – $7,900
|$5,000 – $12,500
|Top brand clear aligners (Invisalign)
|$2,500 – $7,900
Does my Insurance Cover the Cost of Braces?
Medicare, Australia’s universal health scheme, does not cover braces as they are an orthodontic treatment often carried out for cosmetic reasons.
This means you will need to contact your private health insurance provider (if you have one) to see if it covers orthodontics. By default, basic dental care, such as regular check-ups and teeth cleaning, are typically included in general dental cover. However, if you want to include other procedures, such as crowns, extractions and orthodontics, you will need to pay an additional premium for major dental cover.
Unfortunately, insurance does not offer one-size-fits-all coverage. You will have to check your particular health insurance plan to see what is included. Furthermore, insurance cover is also limited to specified amounts, which means you may still have considerable out-of-pocket expenses to meet.
Some limitations of insurance are outlined below:
Annual Benefit Limit
An annual benefit limit restricts the maximum amount a person can claim for orthodontic treatment each year. These may be set as a standard amount for the entire policy period, whereas others accrue year-on-year and are known as loyalty limits.
A lifetime limit is a maximum amount you can claim for your orthodontic treatment over your lifetime. Typically, this ranges between $1,000 and $2,800, so there will be a significant out-of-pocket payment for orthodontic treatments.
If you take out healthcare insurance that covers orthodontic treatment, you should also be aware that there is a waiting period of 12 months before you can claim for your treatment. Furthermore, if you decide to switch insurers in the middle of treatment, you may be required to serve a new 12 month waiting period.
Affordable Invisalign Alternatives in Geelong Victoria
Dental braces are a common sight amongst pre-teens and teenagers, but what about adults? Are you tired of hiding your smile because you can’t afford braces? Are you looking for an affordable braces alternative?
If so, there are several options available, many of which are more affordable than traditional braces. We outline some of Sydney’s most popular affordable braces alternatives and how they work.
Byte is a digital teeth-straightening service that creates custom-made aligners for customers without leaving home. It is a much more affordable and convenient option than having traditional braces as the whole process is conducted online.
A dentist supervises each treatment plan, and everyone accepted is sent an impression kit enabling them to take impressions of their teeth and send them back to Byte to create their custom clear aligners. The treatment works similarly to Invisalign, utilising a series of aligners to gradually move the teeth into their desired positions. Each aligner is worn for 22 hours a day for two weeks before replacing with the next in the series.
Byte is an excellent alternative to braces but is only recommended for correcting mild cases of crooked teeth, focusing primarily on re-aligning the front teeth. Treatment is monitored remotely by dental professionals to keep prices low. This braces alternative costs $2,749 for the all-day aligner system and $3,339 for the at-night aligners or monthly payments starting from $53 a month. You can find out more on Byte’s website.
EZ Smile is another company offering at-home teeth straightening with invisible aligners explicitly created for each patient without going to the dentist. In common with other online aligner companies, you will have to take impressions of your teeth yourself by ordering an impression kit. However, EZ Smile also offers the option of going for a 3D scan at one of its centres, if you prefer.
EZ Smile effectively treats mild to moderate spacing and crowding cases. But if you have severe teeth misalignment or minor jaw misalignment, such as an overbite, it may not be a suitable option. The EZ Smile dental team let you know whether their treatment will work for you after reviewing your moulds or scans.
Treatment with EZ Smile will set you back $2,149. There is a range of instalment options, including a no credit check option with a $499 deposit and payments of $38 per week or interest-free payment options over 12 or 24 months. Visit the EZ Smile website for more information.
ClearCorrect has been manufacturing clear aligners for years and is part of Straumann—a premier manufacturer of dental implants and renowned throughout the world in the field of dental aesthetics. Using state-of-the-art 3D printing and scanning techniques, the aligners are made from medical-grade plastic with quality and accuracy in mind.
The process is very similar to Invisalign’s, and they are one of their biggest in-office competitors and most well-known alternative. The main difference between Invisalign and ClearCorrect is the thickness of the aligners—ClearCorrect’s are thinner, which could be advantageous in that they are likely to be more comfortable and less noticeable. However, this may mean they are flimsier and easier to damage.
The Smile Direct Club provides aligners for straightening teeth and was one of the first to offer an at-home teeth-straightening solution. It quickly became a popular option, being more affordable than orthodontic treatment at a dental clinic. Plus, it’s very convenient as the treatment is carried out without the need for endless trips to the dentist.
There are several SmileShops in Australia, including Sydney, where you can visit for a free 3D scan of your smile. This image is sent to an Australian dentist to review and confirm you are a suitable candidate for the treatment.
If you prefer or don’t live near to a SmileShop, you can order an impression kit and take an impression of your smile at home. Send it back to SmileDirect, and a dentist will review it to ascertain your suitability.
At the time of writing, the cost of clear aligners at SmileDirect Club is $2,835 as a one-time payment or monthly payments with no credit check of $119 per month for 24 months with a deposit of $299. Other options for the same price include the night-time only aligners and the speedier option for results in as little as 4-6 months.
SmilePath offers exceptionally low prices for its clear aligners and frequent discounts to decrease costs further. For example, their most affordable one-time payment plan that includes an impression kit, clear aligners and retainers is $1,899 but may be heavily discounted from time to time to as low as $1,499. The SmileFlex payment plan option is typically $117 a month for 18 months but could be as low as $84 a month with a discount.
Although SmilePath doesn’t have any physical locations, you will need to take impressions of your teeth yourself using the impression kit they send you. Patients can schedule a video call with a specialist if they want additional assistance.
The Wondersmile website says that it can help you achieve a straight, confident smile in as little as six months. The idea is that they send an impression kit direct to your door so that you can take impressions of your teeth at home. Additionally, they also have several clinics in New South Wales, including Geelong Victoria, where a specialist will take a scan of your teeth.
An orthodontist reviews the scan and designs a treatment plan with a 3D digital model showing how your teeth will align with Wondersmile invisible aligners. Your aligners are tailor-made and shipped to your door. Your progress is monitored closely by the Wondersmile orthodontists to check you are having no problems and are on track with your treatment.
Wondersmile is also one of the few companies that offer a lifetime guarantee so that if your teeth begin to shift again following your treatment, they will provide you with additional treatment at no extra cost (provided you can show you have been using the product as recommended).
One of the least expensive ways of straightening your teeth, Wondersmile offers two plans – All-Day Aligners or the Night-Clear Aligners. Prices start at $2,690 or $41 a week with a 20% deposit.
The Bottom Line
The cost of braces for adults can vary depending on the severity of the orthodontic issue and the city in which you live. Geelong Victoria is a costly city for dental work, so finding an affordable solution is paramount if you want to straighten your teeth.
Clear aligners are one of the most popular orthodontic options globally, thanks to them being invisible and more comfortable to wear than metal braces. However, they are typically most effective for people with mild to moderate teeth misalignment rather than complex issues where traditional, fixed braces will provide a better result.
The key to finding the best orthodontic solution for you regarding how much braces cost and whether you are a suitable candidate for the treatment is to thoroughly research. Fortunately, if you don’t have complex issues, a more affordable braces alternative like those listed above, may be available to help you achieve straighter teeth and a beautiful smile.
Mouth Healthy. org: – Straighter Teeth Can Improve Oral Health
American Family Physician – Diagnosis and Treatment of Temporomandibular Disorders
Orthodontics Australia: – How Much Do Braces Cost In Sydney?
Colgate – What is Orthodontics?
Crest: Teeth Stains: Causes, Types, and How to Remove Teeth Stains
Australian Government – Medicare in Australia