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Planning for braces requires just that: a plan. Without one, you’ll find yourself in the awful predicament of having to make quick and uncomfortable budget adjustments at a time when your child is trying to move gracefully through adolescence. The thing is, though, developing a plan is more about knowing what sort of help is out there for you – the cost of braces may seem daunting, but it shouldn’t be. Doctors are here to help, and there are several options for payment. Let’s look at the specifics.
Option #1: Flexible Savings AccountsFlexible Savings accounts are pre-tax savings accounts you can establish with the help of your employer. Essentially, you tally up your intended medical expenses for the year, and once you’re enrolled in the program, that money is made available to you (for those medical expenses) – typically via a debit card. You pay into the account by having those planned expenses deducted from your paycheck in amounts equally divided across pay periods. Also, because it’s extracted pre-tax, your spending power is increased. Put in terms of the cost of braces, if your orthodontist suggests a budget of 2K, because you’re taking that money out pre-tax, the actual cost to you (if you are in the 28% tax bracket) would only be $1440. Not a bad deal at all.
Option #2: Ask Your Orthodontist/Doctor about Payment PlansDental professionals understand consumers have limited insurance for dental care. As a result, payment plans are often offered to stretch payments over a longer period of time. Also, the larger the expense, the more creative doctors tend to be. So, if you ask, you’ll likely run into all sorts of payment arrangements to choose from, including discounts for pre-payment, early pay-off, and auto-debiting. All you have to do is ask!
The Alternative?Waiting to plan. Avoiding orthodontic care not only results in crooked teeth, it can also lead to more expensive future dental care because of the resultant difficulty in cleaning crowded teeth. Also, alignment issues are often due to concerns beyond the cosmetic. Braces may be needed to correct developmental concerns with a child’s jawbone and bite – both of which can affect speech, appearance, chewing and the proper digestion of food.
Teeth aren’t in our mouth for cosmetics. They are the first tools of digestion, the designers of our face, and the protectors of our gum tissue. In order to work correctly, they need to fit together correctly. And, unless your children are gifted with a perfect bite, the best thing you can do to care for your children’s teeth is to plan ahead.