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.
What you pay for braces in Utah might be very different from what you’d pay in Alabama, Ohio, Nebraska, or any other state. Average orthodontic costs can vary from state to state because each state has a different location, cost of living, sales tax, and more. Sound complicated? Have no fear, this guide will untangle all the nuances of your braces pricing, so you can know what to expect in Utah.
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Cost of Adult Braces in Utah vs. National Average
According to the American Dental Association, the national average cost for adult braces treatment is $4,800 to $7,135. In most cases, Utah’s braces prices fall into that same range, sometimes even cheaper, depending on where you live.
|Area||Cost in Utah||National Average|
|Urban||$4,500 - $6,000||$5,000|
|Suburban||$5,000 - $6,500||$5,500|
|Rural||$4,000 - $5,000||$4,000|
These ranges are estimates based on what we know about adult braces costs and some information from a few Utah 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, he or she 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 Utah?
Braces are a time-tested treatment option, but their price tag doesn’t fit every budget. That’s one reason why more and more adults are opting for “at-home” clear aligners like SmileDirectClub instead of braces or Invisalign.
By cutting office visits out of the equation and providing professional oversight in a remote format, at-home clear aligner companies offer straighter teeth for a much lower price. Our in-depth comparison guide provides all the information you'll need to choose the best provider for you.
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 $12,000.
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.
States in the Mountain region – which includes Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming – generally have orthodontic fees that are pretty close to the national average. Utah has a slightly higher cost of living than most other Mountain states, so it might be just a tiny bit more expensive, but it depends on where you live.
Of Utah’s neighbors, Arizona, Idaho, and Wyoming have a lower cost of living, which usually means lower braces costs too. So if you live near the northern or southern border, you might be able to jump across for slightly better braces prices. But don’t go too far, or your travel expenses might cancel out the savings.
Utah has pretty reasonable tax rates, which is also good news for your braces treatment. Your final price will include Utah’s 4.7% sales tax, so it will be slightly higher than your orthodontist’s quote. Fortunately, 4.7% is low compared to the sales taxes in other states. Utah’s 4.66% corporate tax rate is lower than average too. This tax won’t directly impact your braces price, but it’s an added expense for your orthodontist, who might adjust his or her prices accordingly.
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.
If you live in Utah’s largest city, Salt Lake City, you’ll likely pay just a little bit more than you would elsewhere in the state, although orthodontic rates still aren’t exceptionally high. Housing costs are especially expensive here, but healthcare is a bit cheaper (right around the national average) which tends to keep braces prices reasonable. Plus, more orthodontists are clustered around SLC than other parts of the state, so you’ll be able to compare prices and find the best one for you.
Salt Lake City is surrounded by suburbs, often pretty large on their own. Some of the biggest ones, like West Valley City and Orem, are slightly more affordable than the city. While South Jordan, Alpine, Holladay, and others have a much higher cost of living. If you live in a more expensive suburb, your local orthodontists might charge higher rates for braces, but you could also drive to the next town over in search of cheaper ones.
A majority of Utah’s other cities are in the area just east of the Great Salt Lake, either north or south of Salt Lake City. Provo, Ogden, Layton, and others aren’t a whole lot more affordable than SLC, so you should expect pretty similar braces prices. Cities in other parts of the state, like St. George, often have a slightly lower cost of living, but still right around the national average. You’ll have fewer orthodontists to choose from, but you should be able to find decent prices anyway.
Utah’s small towns have a much lower cost of living, but some of them are pretty isolated. If you live in an especially-remote town, you may have to travel 100 miles or more to find an orthodontist, so travel expenses might cancel out the money you’ll save on treatment. And not every small town is affordable. Ski havens in the mountains, like Park City and Snyderville, are small, but some of the most expensive towns in the entire state. If you live in one of these mountain resort towns, you’ll likely pay more for your braces.
When you have numerous orthodontists in a given area, they each need to find ways 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.”
If you live in (or near) Salt Lake City, you have plenty of orthodontist options, and each one is, essentially, competing for your business. To win over new customers, these offices might run sales and offer special discounts. Monitor orthodontist office websites, or call their offices directly, to potentially take advantage of these savings. Orthodontists in rural towns often don’t have any competition, so they don’t need to try to stand out. They still might offer discounts, but it’s rarer to see them in small towns.
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 account 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 assured you’re receiving quality care.
Salt Lake City residents can visit the University of Utah School of Dentistry and receive orthodontic care for reduced rates. The Roseman University of Health Sciences also has a clinic in South Jordan, but they don’t offer orthodontic services.
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 $100 - $300. 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. With byte, 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 average treatment time is only 3 months (thanks to their “HyperByte” vibration technology). 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 is another home aligner company that takes extensive measures to provide safe, effective treatment for mild-to-moderate cases of misalignment. All of Candid’s treatment plans are orthodontist-designed, so you can be confident that you’ll receive high-quality care.
Candid is the only at-home teeth straightening company that offers Remote Monitoring services, which provides digital check-ins with an assigned orthodontist throughout your treatment. It’s not as thorough as in-office care, but it’s the next best thing.
At $2,400, Candid’s price-point is higher than byte’s, but still much lower than traditional braces. So if you’re looking for a healthy middle-ground between in-office and at-home treatment, Candid is a great option. 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 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 or not braces are a viable option.
Keep in mind, though, that the only way to get a truly accurate cost for your braces in Utah is by visiting your orthodontist. You should also remember that, 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.