Paying for a New York Orthodontist


There are few words that can elicit as much fear and uncertainty as this word. For a New York orthodontist or dentist, this is just something that comes with the territory. For many people, this represents several months of pay.

An orthodontist bill can run anywhere from $3,000 to $7,000. The best New York Orthodontists charge even more. There’s also months of treatment and train rides on the New York subway to visit the orthodontist.

It’s a lot of money.

Can you put a price on happiness though?

People with straighter teeth have higher self-esteem and feel better about their smiles. Happiness leads to success.

It goes beyond just looking good though. Issues with crowding or crooked teeth disrupt good brushing and flossing habits which in the long run, can lead to more issues down the road. Over or underbites can also strain jaw muscles and cause improper wear of teeth over time.

New York Orthodontist Costs are Rising

The introduction of new technologies has enabled orthodontists to detect problems earlier and develop better solutions. Technologies like three dimensional imaging lead to better diagnoses and more precise treatments, but being on the cutting edge doesn’t come cheap, especially in New York.

If you want the best though, you’re going to have to pay for it.

How to pay for a New York Orthodontist

Smiles Change Lives

If you’re a parent looking to get braces for your child, then consider an application to Smiles Change Lives. This nonprofit organization connects low-income families with orthodontists who are willing to subsidize the service fee. To qualify, children need to meet the following guidelines:

  • 10-18 years old
  • Have good oral hygiene
  • Do not currently wear braces
  • Have a household taxable income at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Visit our financial qualifications page to learn more.
  • If approved, are willing to pay a one-time fee of $600*.

For more information, email or call 816-421-4949

Do your due diligence

Fees amongst orthodontists can vary widely from one doctor to another so be sure to comparison shop. It’s in your best interests to consult with at least four different orthodontists to get an idea of the kind of treatment you need and the associated costs.

These kinds of things can be negotiable depending on what you need.

Remember, the relationship you create with your orthodontist will have an impact on how stress-free you or your child will be over the treatment period. It’s long so do your research up front! Find out our top questions to ask your orthodontist here.

Payment Plans

Many New York Orthodontists will offer payment plans that can span the course of the treatment in question. Often times, these will be interest-free and have no additional charges.

Third party providers are also another option, but be careful here! Being able to pay your fees over five to seven years may sound good, but you’ll end up paying multiples of your fees over that time period. Unless the rates are incredibly compelling, it’s in your best interests to avoid these.

If you can afford it, paying the entire fee in one lump sum can be beneficial if the orthodontist offers discounts. This is best suited for simple treatment plans though as you don’t want to be paying for treatment that you don’t need.

Insurance Coverage

Check with your insurance coverage to see if the plans will cover any of the cost. Most plans don’t pay more than 50% of the cost, but something is better than nothing!

One thing that helps to lessen the pain is that these expenses are tax deductible, which in New York is a great thing given that tax rates are some of the highest in the country!


Braces can change your life (or your children) and for the better. They come at a price though so it’s important to sit down and go through the different options you have available to you. No matter what, it’ll be one of the most important decisions of your life.

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Orthodontist Glossary of Dental Terms

Your Orthodontist in New York City should explain these terms to you while in the consultation, but if you need some help on what you expect, take a look at this comprehensive glossary of terms.


Any device, attached to the teeth or removable, designed to move the teeth, change the position of the jaw, or hold the teeth in their finished positions after braces are removed.

Upper or lower jaw.

The metal wire that is attached to the brackets and used to move the teeth.

The metal ring that is cemented to a tooth for strength and anchorage.

A word commonly used to describe a fixed orthodontic appliance, usually comprised of brackets, bands and wires.

The small metal, ceramic, or plastic attachment bonded to each tooth with a tooth-colored adhesive.  The bracket has a slot that the archwire fits into.
Brushing the teeth is part of an individual’s daily home dental care.  Patients with braces should follow the orthodontist’s instruction on how often to brush.

Grinding the teeth, usually during sleeping.  Bruxism can cause abnormal tooth wear and may lead to pain in the jaw joints.

The cheek side of the back teeth in both arches or jaws.

Buccal Tube
A small metal part of the bracket welded to the cheek side of the molar band.  The tube may hold an archwire, lip bumper, headgear facebow or other appliances an orthodontist may use to move the teeth.

Cephalometric Radiograph
A lateral (side view) x-ray of the head.

A stretchable series of elastic o-rings connected together and placed around each bracket to hold the archwire in place and move the teeth.

Class I Malocclusion
A malocclusion with the proper molar relationship and teeth that are crowded together, spaced apart, an overbite, an openbite, a posterior crossbite or an anterior crossbite.

Class II Malocclusion
A malocclusion with the upper front teeth protruding or due to the lower teeth and/or jaw positioned back relative to the upper teeth and/or jaw.

Class III Malocclusion
A malocclusion with the lower front teeth protruding or due to the lower teeth and/or jaw positioned ahead relative to the upper teeth and/or jaw.

Closed Bite/Deep Bite
Also known as deep overbite, this occurs when the upper front teeth overlap the bottom front teeth an excessive amount.

Comprehensive Treatment
Complete orthodontic treatment performed to correct a malocclusion.

Congenitally Missing Teeth
A genetic occurrence in which the expected number of permanent teeth do not develop.

Upper posterior (back) teeth are in crossbite if they erupt and function inside or outside of the arch in the lower posterior teeth.  Lower anterior (front) teeth are I crossbite if they erupt and function in front of the upper anterior teeth.  A crossbite can be individual teeth or groups of teeth.

DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are equivalent degrees, according to The American Dental Association.  All orthodontists educated in theU.S.orCanadawill have either a DDS or DMD after their names.  Orthodontists have an additional two to three years of specialty education in an accredited orthodontic residency program after dental school to become orthodontists.

Diagnostic Records
The material and information that the orthodontist needs to properly diagnose and plan a patient’s treatment.  Diagnostic records may include a thorough patient health history, a visual examination of the teeth and supporting structures, plaster models of the teeth, a wax bite registration, extraoral and intraoral photographs, a panoramic and a cephalometric radiograph.

Ectopic Eruption
Term used to describe a tooth or teeth that erupt in an abnormal position.

The process by which teeth enter into the mouth.

The removal of a tooth.

Rubber bands.  During certain stages of treatment, small elastics or rubber bands are worn to provide individual tooth movement or jaw alignment.

A wire appliance used with a nightbrace, or headgear.  Primarily used to move the upper first molars back, creating room for crowded or protrusive front teeth.  The facebow has an internal wire bow and an external wire bow.  The internal bow attaches to the buccal tube on the upper molar bands inside the mouth and the outer bow attaches to the breakaway safety strap of the nightbrace.

A surgical procedure designed to sever fibers of attachment around the tooth, usually performed to reduce the potential for relapse or post-orthodontic treatment tooth movement.

Fixed Appliances
An orthodontic appliance that is bonded or cemented to the teeth and cannot be or should not be removed by the patient.

An important part of daily home dental care.  Flossing removes plaque and food debris from between the teeth, brackets and wires.  Flossing keeps teeth and gums clean and healthy during orthodontic treatment.

The surgical removal or repositioning of the frenum, the lip and tongue attachment located between the upper and lower front teeth.  A large frenum attachment can cause spacing between top front teeth or cause the tongue to be tied.

Functional Appliances
Appliances that utilize the muscle action produced when speaking, eating and swallowing to produce force to move the teeth and align the jaws.   They are also known as orthopedic appliances with names such as orthopedic corrector, activator, bionator, Frankel, Herbst or twin block appliances.

Soft tissue around the teeth, also known as the gums.

Gummy Smile
Showing an excessive amount of gingival (gum) tissue above the front teeth when smiling.

An appliance worn outside of the mouth to provide traction for growth modification and tooth movement.

Herbst Appliance
This appliance is used to move the lower jaw forward.  It can be fixed or removable.  When it is fixed, it is cemented to teeth in one or both arches using stainless steel crowns.  An expansion screw may be used simultaneously to widen the upper jaw.

A tooth that does not erupt into the mouth or only erupts partially is considered impacted.

Interceptive Treatment
Orthodontic treatment performed to intercept a developing problem.  Usually performed on younger patients that have a mixture of primary (baby) teeth and permanent teeth.

Interproximal Reduction
Removal of a small amount of enamel from between the teeth to reduce their width.  Also known as reproximation, slenderizing, stripping, enamel reduction or selective reduction.  See brochure at

The surface of the teeth in both arches that faces the lips.

Ligating Modules
A small elastic o-ring, shaped like a donut, used to hold the archwire in the bracket.

The tongue side of the teeth in both arches.

Lip Bumper
A wire appliance used to move the lower molars back and the lower front teeth forward, creating room for crowded front teeth.  The lip bumper is an internal wire bow that attaches to the buccal tubes on the cheek side of the lower molar bands inside the mouth.  The front portion of the bow has an acrylic pad or bumper that rests against the inside of the lower lip.  The lower lip muscles apply pressure to the bumper creating a force that moves the molars back.

Lip Incompetence
The inability to close the lips together at rest, usually due to protrusive front teeth or excessively long faces.

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

Lower jaw.

Upper jaw.

Mixed Dentition
The dental developmental stage in children (approximately ages 6-12) when they have a mix of primary (baby) and permanent teeth.

A removable device used to protect the teeth and mouth from injury caused by sporting activities.  The use of a mouthguard is especially important for orthodontic patients.

A removable appliance worn at night to help an individual minimize the damage or wear while  clenching or grinding teeth during sleep.

Open Bite
A malocclusion in which teeth do not make contact with each other.   With an anterior open bite, the front teeth do not touch when the back teeth are closed together.  With a posterior open bite, the back teeth do not touch when the front teeth are closed together.

The specialty area of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, supervision, guidance and correction of malocclusions.  The formal name of the specialty is orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

A specialist in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.  Orthodontists are required to complete college requirements, graduate from an accredited dental school and successfully complete a minimum of two academic years of full-time, university-based study at an accredited orthodontic residency program.  Only those who have completed this education may call themselves “orthodontists.”  Orthodontists limit their practice to orthodontic treatment only unless they have training in another dental specialty.  Only residency-certified orthodontists may be members of the American Association of Orthodontists.

Orthopedic Appliance
A removable functional appliance designed to guide the growth of the jaws and face.

Panoramic Radiograph
An x-ray that shows all the teeth and both jaws on one film.

Palatal Expander
A fixed or removable device used to make the upper jaw wider.

Refers to the hard and soft tissue, or supporting structures, around the teeth.

Plaque is a colorless, sticky film of bacteria, food particles and saliva that constantly forms in the mouth.  Plaque combines with sugars to form an acid that endangers teeth and gums.  Plaque causes tooth decay and gum disease.


Preventive Treatment
Orthodontic treatment to prevent or reduce the severity of a developing malocclusion (bad bite).

Removable Appliance
An orthodontic appliance that can be removed from the mouth by the patient.  Removable appliances are used to move teeth, align jaws and to keep teeth in their new positions when the braces are removed (retainers).

A fixed or removable appliance worn after the braces are removed.  A removable retainer attaches to your upper and/or lower teeth and holds them in their finished positions.

Rubber Bands
During certain stages of treatment, small elastics or rubber bands are worn to provide individual tooth movement or jaw alignment.

Safety Strap
The safety strap prevents the facebow of the headgear from coming loose and causing injury.

An elastic o-ring or small wire loop placed between the teeth to create space for placement of bands.  Separators are usually placed between the teeth a week before bands are scheduled to be cemented to the teeth.

Serial Extraction
Selective or guided removal of certain primary (baby) teeth and/or permanent teeth over a period of time to create room for permanent teeth.

Space Maintainer
A fixed appliance used to hold space for an unerupted permanent tooth after a primary (baby) tooth has been lost prematurely, due to accident or decay.

Supernumerary Teeth
A genetic occurrence in which there are more teeth than the usual number.  These teeth can be malformed or erupt in abnormally.

Tongue Crib
A fixed appliance used to help a patient stop habits or undesirable tongue forces exerted on the teeth and bone that supports the teeth.

Tongue Thrust
An individual’s tongue pushes against the teeth when swallowing.  Forces generated by the tongue can move the teeth and bone and may lead to an anterior or posterior open bite.

Wax is placed on the brackets or archwires to prevent them from irritating the lips or cheeks.

Also known as archwires, they are held in the brackets using small elastic o-rings or stainless steel wire ligatures.  Wires are used to move the teeth.

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How do braces work

When thinking about braces, do you think about Frankenstein? Many people do.

Never fear though! Technology has progressed since the 1980s and braces look far different than they did just a decade ago.

Though they look different, they still accomplish things the same way. They move your teeth over time. Your New York Orthodontist can tell you more, but here are the basics.

Braces are made up of four basic parts:

  • The bracket is made up of metal or ceramic and is the piece that is attached to each tooth.
  • Brackets are attached to your teeth using glue or a metal band.
  • The arch wire connects each bracket and is what puts pressure on your teeth.
  • Finally, we have the ligature elastic (o-ring) that’s a small elastic that holds brackets onto the arch wire.

Together, the parts are used to help straighten people’s teeth, correct bites and fix irregular teeth.

The constant pressure applied by the braces is done through the arch wire which has a natural tendency to be straight. Activated by your mouth’s temperature, the curved arch wire attempts to straighten out, bringing your teeth along for the ride.

New York orthodontists will use nickel titanium wires which react to the heat produced by your body. Normally extremely flexible (so much that you can tie a knot), they become stiff when put into your mouth. These wires are more efficient than stainless steel ones and patients have often reported having less pain as a result.

If needed, springs or rubber bands are installed to exert more force in a specific direction. In extreme cases, headgear is required to keep certain teeth from moving.

Remodeling your smile

The pressure that the braces exert on your teeth causes a process called bone remodeling to occur. The bones in your body are made up of bone-forming cells (osteoblasts) and bone-eating cells (osteoclasts). Your body will make bones stronger in load bearing areas and weaker in non-load bearing areas (this is why you should lift weights!).

Your teeth are surrounded by a membrane under your gum tissue called the Periodontal Membrane (or PDL for short). The PDL holds your bone into your jaw. When its stretched, it acts like a messenger in your mouth that tells your body to take bone away from certain areas and add bone to other areas in order to restore the normal spacing in your mouth. The force is what’s applied by your braces.

It takes about 72 hours for the bones in your mouth to start breaking down and another 90 days or so to rebuild everything. What takes the longest amount of time is for the bones to stabilize. That’s 10 months of wearing a retainer to avoid having all that hard work go to waste!

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