Tooth braces are a rite of passage for many children in the United States. But braces and orthodontic work can be expensive, and some insurance companies view braces as just a cosmetic procedure that is not necessary. However, there are ways you can get braces at a very reduced cost or sometimes even free.
Talk to your orthodontist. Ask her if she knows of any programs that provide free braces to those who are unable to pay or if there are orthodontists in your area that might offer you care on a sliding payment scale.
Call your insurance company and ask if it provides coverage for orthodontia. It's very possible it may consider orthodontia as cosmetic, but it's worth an attempt.
Call a local university that has a dental school affiliated with it. Often, you will be able to get affordable orthodontic care, if not free. The one drawback is that the work will be much slower as each step the student completes must be checked by a superior. Although this process is tedious, it does ensure quality work.
Call Medicaid, if you qualify. In several states (Alaska, Connecticut, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Missouri and Virgina), orthodontics are treated as a necessity and not just a cosmetic procedure. Check with your Medicaid office to see if they will pay for your or your child's treatment.
Contact a local charity if you cannot find free orthodontic care. Some charities that might be able to help you include the Salvation Army or Catholic Charities. Call local churches and synagogues and see if they will assist you. If not, it is likely they will be able to direct you to an organization that can.
Writing since 2008, Fiona Miller has taught English in Eastern Europe and also teaches kids in New York schools about the Holocaust. Her work can be found on Overstock.com, ConnectED and various other Web sites. Miller holds a B.A. in French from Chapman University and an M.A. in educational theater from New York University.