Braces have been around for decades, and there’s a good reason they remain a go-to teeth straightening option for adults everywhere: they work. But one thing that isn’t so certain about braces is treatment cost. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all number — it depends on a variety of factors, including your location.
Braces pricing is different for each state. It’s subject to multiple state-specific influencers like the cost of living and taxes. So, your bottom-line cost in Delaware might be different from what someone else pays in Oregon or Arizona. That might sound complicated, but this guide will lay out everything you need to know about Delaware’s orthodontic prices.
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Cost of Adult Braces in Delaware vs. National Average
According to the American Dental Association, the national average cost for adult braces treatment is $4,800 to $7,135. In Delaware, you’ll find reasonable orthodontic prices that float around the national average. The state doesn’t have many orthodontists, but it’s not an overly expensive place to live and residents can easily travel to nearby cities for more options or better prices.
|Cost in Delaware
|$4,500 - $6,500
|$5,000 - $6,750
|$4,000 - $6,500
These ranges are estimates based on what we know about adult braces costs and some information from a few Delaware-based orthodontists. But they should give you a general sense of what you might pay.
Why Are Braces So Expensive?
There’s no getting around the fact that braces are expensive. But that’s because they’re one of the most consistent and effective treatments available.
They might be visible and somewhat intrusive, but braces’ major benefit is their sturdiness. You can’t take them out like clear aligners, so they eliminate the potential for user error. Sure, you need to avoid excessively sticky or gummy foods, but in return, you’re getting surefire results. Metal brackets and wires give an orthodontist incredible control over your teeth, and during routine office visits, they can make adjustments to deliver the perfect results.
Braces require routine trips to the orthodontist over the course of a 12–24 month treatment timeline, and each visit costs money. Orthodontist offices have overhead costs like rent, utilities, and staff, which translate to patient fees. And don’t forget that you’re also paying for the orthodontist’s expertise and time. However, as you’ll find out, the price you ultimately pay is subject to a variety of influences, including where you live.
Looking For Affordable Orthodontic Treatment in Delaware?
Braces are a time-tested treatment, but their price tag doesn’t fit every budget. That’s why adults with mild misalignments sometimes opt for at-home aligners instead.
By cutting office visits out of the equation, home aligner companies like Byte and SmileDirectClub offer comparable services for lower prices. We’ve done extensive research on home aligner options. Our in-depth guide provides all the info you need to find the best option for your smile.
What Factors Influence the Cost of Braces?
Braces are typically expensive. But exactly how expensive is a more complicated question. Multiple factors can influence your final bill. Some are based on your location, others are constant across state lines. We break them all down in detail below.
This is the most significant price-determining factor. A minor case of crowding or spacing simply takes less time and aligners to correct than a severe case of crossbite. The fewer office visits your teeth require, the less you’ll pay. During your initial consultation, your dentist/orthodontist can evaluate your teeth and estimate how long your treatment might take.
Type of Braces
Orthodontic technology has advanced significantly over the past couple of decades, and standard metal brackets aren’t the only option anymore. For instance, you can opt for ceramic braces that blend in with your teeth, or lingual braces that sit behind your teeth. Each of these is less noticeable than traditional braces, but they’re also more expensive. Ceramic braces can cost up to $8,000, while lingual braces can be between $8,000 and $13,000.
In general, orthodontic care costs more on the coasts and less in the middle of the country. The northeast is particularly expensive, while southern states like Alabama and Mississippi boast some of the nation’s lowest costs. Taxes can also play a role. The state will add sales tax to your total braces cost, and higher corporate taxes might cause your orthodontist to accommodate by raising prices.
Orthodontic prices in Mid-Atlantic states (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, etc.) typically hover around the national average — cheaper than their Northeastern neighbors, but more expensive than their Southern ones. Plus, it’s cheaper to live in Delaware than in most of its surrounding states, and that cost of living is fairly consistent across the state.
You’re probably going to find slightly cheaper prices in Delaware than in Maryland, New Jersey, and especially the Washington D.C. area. But there aren’t a lot of orthodontists in Delaware. For more options, you can travel to Philadelphia or Baltimore, which are both a short drive from Delaware, depending on where in the state you live.
There’s no sales tax in Delaware, so it won’t affect your Invisalign price. However, the state does charge businesses with a gross receipts tax and an 8.7% corporate income tax, so your Invisalign provider might slightly raise prices to accommodate.
Urban, Suburban, or Rural?
Not only are orthodontic costs different for each state, but they also vary based on your location within the state. Urban areas, for example, often have a higher cost of living, and it’s less expensive to live in a small town. Do you have high rent and utility payments? Then your dentist or orthodontist likely does too. Higher overhead costs usually result in more expensive orthodontic treatment.
With under one million total residents, Delaware is one of America’s least populous states. Its largest city, Wilmington, only has around 70,000 residents. And its capital, Dover, only has around 40,000. The benefit is that Delaware’s cities have a pretty reasonable cost of living, so you can usually find some decent prices on orthodontic care. The downside is that the state doesn’t have any pockets with a lot of orthodontist options. Even so, you should be able to get braces without completely breaking the bank.
Smaller towns located outside of Delaware’s cities are often slightly pricier than the cities themselves. Newark and Bear, both outside of Wilmington, have a slightly higher cost of living. As does Middletown, which is farther south. The towns around Dover are also a little more expensive. If you live in one of the towns surrounding Wilmington or Dover, you might see slightly higher braces prices. Even so, you’re close enough to other cities that you’ll have access to better prices if you’re willing to travel just a little.
Delaware’s small towns run the gamut of braces prices. Inland towns like Seaford and Laurel are less expensive than the rest of the state. However, Delaware also has some beach towns that are popular coastal getaway spots, like Bethany Beach and Rehoboth Beach. These towns are some of the most expensive places to live in the entire state, and they don’t have a lot of orthodontist options either. The good news is that residents of any small town can drive to a larger city for more options and potentially lower prices.
When you have numerous orthodontists in an area, they each need to stay ahead of the competition and attract new customers. Many times, this means lower prices and special offers or sales. So, if there’s a high concentration of orthodontists in your area, it can mean lower prices, giving you the ability to “shop around.”
Delaware isn’t saturated with dentists orthodontists like some other states, which means there’s not as much competition for your business. Does this mean higher braces prices? Not necessarily. But it does mean that orthodontists have slightly less incentive to offer sales and promotional pricing. In cities with a lot of orthodontists, they each have to find ways to distinguish themselves from the competition, usually by implementing sale prices or discounts. But in a state that lacks competition, there’s less motivation to get creative with special offers.
We’re not saying you’ll never see a great deal on orthodontic care in Delaware. Orthodontists still sometimes offer discounts to show appreciation for their customers, so you still might find them.
Like most industries, in orthodontia, seasoned professionals can charge more for their services than relative newcomers. So, if your orthodontist has been administering braces for years, you might end up paying a bit more. For this reason, it can sometimes be helpful to “shop around” to weigh your options if you have multiple orthodontists nearby.
Managing Treatment Costs
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by treatment costs, you’re not alone. Take comfort in the fact that in most cases, you won’t have to pay the entire amount up front. Here are some ways you can make that price tag seem a little more manageable:
Review Your Insurance Plan
Braces for children and adolescents are partially covered by most dental insurance plans. However, plans don’t often cover costs for anyone over 18, unless they include orthodontic benefits. But you don’t want to begin treatment expecting help from your insurance provider, only to find out that it’s not coming. So don’t commit to braces without first reviewing your insurance plan and contacting your provider.
Some orthodontist offices also accept payments directly from an FSA or HSA if you have one. Consult your dentist or orthodontist to see how they handle these payments.
Search for Sales and Discounts
You won’t likely see your orthodontist running sales or promotional discounts on braces. But sometimes they’ll offer perks to go along with your treatment, like teeth whitening or a percentage off your next visit. It certainly can’t hurt to ask. Sometimes you can even find deals on Groupon.
Universities with dental and orthodontic schools will also offer discounts if you don’t mind a resident administering your treatment. These individuals are qualified and on the track to becoming state-licensed orthodontists. Plus, they’re overseen by professors and experienced dental professionals, so you can be sure you’re receiving quality care.
While Delaware isn’t home to any schools of dentistry, Philadelphia has two: University of Pennsylvania and Temple. Each one offers dental services and orthodontics at a lower rate than most private practices. If you’re in northern Delaware, this is a great way to save money on orthodontic treatment.
Inquire about Financing Options
Most orthodontist offices offer financing plans that break your costs into manageable monthly payments. Typically you won’t need to pay the entire lump sum upfront. The terms of these plans vary, so you should speak with your orthodontist about the financing options they offer.
If your orthodontist’s options aren’t ideal, you can look into third-party dental financing companies like CareCredit or beWell, which finance everything from routine dentistry to complex orthodontic procedures.
Discuss Aftercare in Advance
Even after the brackets come off, teeth tend to shift back to their old positions. Aftercare retainers keep that from happening. After your teeth have been freed, you’ll have a perfect new smile, and you’ll need to purchase a retainer to protect it. Retainer costs vary, but you can usually get one for $200–$600. This, too, depends on your specific orthodontist.
Because your dentist can make tweaks and course corrections throughout your treatment, they can ensure that you’ll get a perfectly straight smile, and they won’t remove your braces until then. That said, some teeth simply don’t move quite as expected, so your orthodontist might need to add attachments and extend your treatment timeline, which will cost more. Talk to your orthodontist about their mid-treatment refinement policies before you begin.
3 Affordable Braces Alternatives
Braces are one of the most effective and powerful options out there, but they’re not ideal for everyone. Whether you’re unsure about the price tag or the procedure, here are three braces alternatives we think are worth your time.
1. Six Month Smiles
Maybe you want to get the sturdiness and power of braces, but avoid the metal wires and lengthy treatment time. If so, you might consider Six Month Smiles. They’re an in-office brand that uses clear wires and brackets for a more discreet appearance. Or, if you want to avoid brackets and wires altogether, they recently expanded their services to offer clear aligners as well.
With an average price range of $3,500–$5,000, Six Month Smiles costs less than traditional braces in most cases. Plus, as their name suggests, the average treatment time is just six months, so you get the best of both worlds – one-on-one care and an abbreviated timeline. But on the flipside, Six Month Smiles isn’t suitable for as wide a range of conditions as traditional braces. If you have a severe case of misalignment, Six Month Smiles might not work for you.
Byte is a home teeth straightening service that sells custom clear aligners for less than half the price of braces or Invisalign. You'll receive your full aligner series in the mail, then administer treatment from the comfort of your home, no office visits required.
Like Six Month Smiles, byte can treat mild-to-moderate cases of misalignment. But unlike Six Month Smiles, Byte’s aligners are nearly invisible and come with the HyperByte — a high-frequency vibration device that can make treatment more efficient for some customers. We also like their lifetime guarantee, which promises users free revision treatment if their teeth ever move out of alignment.
If you think Byte might be a good fit for your needs, check out our comprehensive review for a closer look at their service offerings, customer reviews, and a whole lot more.
Candid started out as an at-home teeth straightening service like Byte, but has since transitioned to a hybrid model that more closely resembles in-office treatment options like Invisalign.
With Candid, your treatment will be administered by a local dentist, but you'll only need to visit them in person a couple of times throughout the entire process — much less often than braces. That said, you'll still get the clinical oversight you need thanks to Candid's proprietary CandidMonitoring™ system, which allows you to submit scans of your teeth for review every two weeks from the comfort of home.
Candid treatment typically costs less than braces, but on the flip side, it's more limited in the scope of conditions it can address. Candid's treatment plans aren't currently designed to incorporate rubber bands or dental attachments like braces can. However, if you're looking to correct a mild or moderate case of misalignment, Candid could be a great option for you.
Read our review of Candid to learn more.
Getting braces is a big move, a significant step on your journey toward a new smile. But it’s also a big expense, and uncertainty about your treatment’s price tag can be stressful. Fortunately, with the knowledge you’ve gained from this guide, you can get a better sense of whether braces are a viable option.
Keep in mind, though, that the only way to get a truly accurate cost for your braces in Delaware is by visiting your orthodontist. Although braces might seem expensive, there are ways to make them more affordable, like financing, discounts, and insurance. In the end, if you decide that they’re simply not right for you, there are plenty of other options available. No matter which route you take, your destination is the same: a brand new, photo-ready smile.