Have you ever asked yourself what your oral health is worth to you? Even if you can’t put a dollar amount on it, I bet you’d say it’s worth a lot. Like other aspects of health, oral health is one you want to invest in, because the results you end up with do matter.

That’s why I urge people considering orthodontic treatment for themselves or their child not to choose an orthodontist’s office on price alone. When you realize how much oral health is worth to you and your family members, you begin to understand how value and quality come into the picture when it comes to orthodontic care.

Paying for Quality

Yes, it’s sometimes possible to get what seems like a great bargain, but more often than not, you get what you pay for. This is true when it comes to orthodontic care.

The difference in treatment between orthodontists can be substantial, and that difference is usually reflected in the cost of treatment. After all, all orthodontists know the value of their treatment.  Orthodontists’ office can vary in many significant ways, including:

  • Which treatments are provided
  • The quality of the materials used
  • How new (or old) the technology and equipment is
  • The training and certification of assistants
  • The friendliness and competence of front desk staff
  • The techniques the orthodontist has trained in
  • How experienced the orthodontist is

…And I could go on. Orthodontists may all have the same initials after our names and the same professional degree under our belts, but as in every profession you’ll find a wide variety of experience and skill between providers. If you want more personalized care, higher skill, and better outcomes, you should expect to pay a bit more.

Or Paying for Mistakes

I don’t want to scaremonger and I don’t want to talk negatively about any of my fellow orthodontists, but I do want to be honest. Unfortunately, sometimes by choosing the cheapest option in orthodontic care, you get what you pay for – and in this case, that can be a very bad thing.

For starters, a lower cost orthodontist may not offer you the latest treatment plans because they don’t have the latest techniques or the know-how to do so. They may use cheaper materials to save money that can end up breaking or malfunctioning, extending treatment time and requiring more office visits from you. Worst case scenario, you could complete treatment only to find years later that the treatment wasn’t done correctly, or was the wrong treatment plan to begin with, and have to go through (and pay for) orthodontic treatment all over again. These are just a few examples of what can happen when you choose an orthodontist primarily on price. In many cases these corner cutting methods are dictated by the orthodontist’s corporate employer…the doctor has little control.

Again, my purpose here is not to warn you away from orthodontists, just to encourage you to think about the quality of the care you’re getting, and understand it’s an investment. The cheapest option seem be nice in the short-term, but it may be detrimental to the experience and the outcome you receive in the long run.

Can You Put a Price on a Beautiful Smile?

Having seen the results of orthodontics first-hand in thousands of patients, I know that having a great smile is priceless. Great orthodontic treatment does more than change your teeth, it changes your life.

Numerous studies have shown that a smile is very important when it comes to other people’s perceptions of us. They may believe we are more confident, more successful, more attractive, more likely to date, more likely to get the job we’re after, and have better hygiene, than someone with an unhealthy or unattractive smile.

That doesn’t even compare to the perception we have of ourselves when we look in the mirror with a brand-new smile. Seeing a beautiful smile beaming back for the first time is an incredible moment. It’s the start of new-found self-esteem and self-confidence that changes how we interact with the world. It can change lives professionally and personally. And it’s a lifelong change.

It’s Not About Cost, It’s About Value

As Oscar Wilde said, one can know “the cost of everything and the value of nothing.” Cost is how much you pay for something. Value is what you get for what you pay. Fewer, shorter, and more pleasant visits along with shorter overall treatment time, and a better result are all things that add to the value of your treatment.  If your oral health and your smile are worth something to you (and I’m guessing they are) then you owe it to yourself and to your family to work with a professional who can give you the best treatment and outcomes possible. When you start your search for an orthodontist, look beyond the fees to outcomes and experience. Remember, it’s an investment in your life and your future.