Kids' Health

This Map Shows How Much Braces Cost Parent In Every State

Braces are expensive, but the cost varies widely state by state. (Don't have crooked teeth in New York.)

Braces can be costly—especially if you have the misfortune of living in New York, New Jersey, or Pennsylvania. The tristate area boasts the highest average cost for braces in the United States, according to an analysis of the Consumer Price Index and private insurance claims. The data suggests that getting your dental work done in Delaware could save you up to $500.

Unfortunately, no matter where you live and what type of braces you select, the procedure will run you at least $3,000. Beyond crossing state lines for orthodontics, there are several ways to mitigate the costs of keeping your kids’ teeth straight. Parents can opt out of more expensive types of braces (invisible aligners, ceramic braces, lingual braces) and instead ask for traditional metal braces.

Metal braces may be the most visible (and most humiliating to wear in high school) but they’re less expensive and just as effective. Another option is investing in dental insurance.

One option you don’t have, however, is skipping braces altogether. Because braces don’t just help straighten teeth, they also prevent gum disease and can forestall costly, painful jaw misalignments down the road. Studies have shown that adults who go through life with crooked smiles have lower self-esteem and are less successful than their peers. Braces may be expensive but, once an orthodontist says your kid needs them, they’re probably worth it.