Guide to teeth straightening options in Australia: online & local

4 February 2022

When was the last time you revealed all of your teeth in a warm smile?

 

About 55 percent of Australians feel self-conscious about their teeth.1 If you're one of them, you might not show off your teeth unless you have to.

 

Straightening your teeth could give you the confidence you need to smile widely. And getting help could be easier — and less expensive — than you ever imagined possible.

Understand your teeth straightening options

 

In years past, patients had just one tooth-straightening method available to them. Now, you have several products and applications to choose from.

·      Metal braces: Tried-and-true methods for teeth straightening still exist. Metal braces involving brackets and wires are available, and this option could be right for you if your teeth need a great deal of help.

·      Lingual braces: Metal wires and brackets sit on the backside of your teeth. They're not visible to anyone watching you smile or eat. But your new lisp will be hard to ignore, and people may ask questions about what's happening in your mouth.

·      Ceramic braces: Avoid shiny metal and opt for brackets made of ceramic. They'll be harder to see, and they can still offer significant correction for misaligned teeth.

·      Aligners: Plastic trays wrap around your teeth, exerting gentle pressure. You must wear your trays the majority of each day and night, depending on your plan, but you can take them out for:

  • Cleaning
  • Important speaking engagements
  • Eating

 

 

Costs

Convenience

Oral Health

Ideal Patient

Metal

About $4,500 - $10,000

Impossible to remove

Difficult to keep teeth clean, must use specialised equipment

People with significant tooth issues

Lingual

$7,500 – $12,500

Impossible to remove

Flossing is impossible, sores on tongue common

Financially stable people willing to accept significant discomfort

Ceramic

$6,500 – $9,500

Impossible to remove; easily stained

Difficult to keep teeth clean, must use specialised equipment

 People with significant tooth issues

At-home Aligners

Varies; less than $4,000 on average

Easy to remove and clean

Easy to brush, floss, and clean

Adults and teens  with  mild-to-moderate problems

 

What's the cheapest way to straighten teeth?


Few private health funds in Australia cover the entire cost of orthodontics.

If your plan includes a special tooth-straightening waiver, you could get help with some of the fees. But expect to pay at least something to get the smile you want. Shopping around for  deal may help you stay within your budget.

 

In-Chair aligners are rarely less expensive than standard braces unless it’s a mild case – and costs vary from each provider. Costs are usually inflated due to these factors:

  • Approach: Every time you need a new aligner tray, you must visit the dentist in person.
  • Personnel: Your dentist makes your impressions, and you're not allowed to do any of the work yourself.
  • Supplies: Your dentist needs putty, trays, aligners, and printers to make your aligners. Patients help to cover material costs.

 

At-home aligner systems like Byte are much less expensive for those with mild to moderate cases. While in-office aligners can cost between $3,000 and $9,000, a Byte All-Day system is $2,749 and At-Night system is $3399, and all cases are still reviewed by a registered Australian dentist. But you do some of the work, including making impressions at home, and you conduct all of your appointments remotely.

 

About 40,000 Australians use aligners to straighten their teeth. And experts say more consumers are choosing at-home aligner therapy after growing comfortable with telemedicine during the pandemic.

 

Before COVID lockdowns, you may never have considered chatting with a medical professional on your computer. Now, it seems almost commonplace. If you can save money and still get exceptional care, why wouldn’t you try it?

Pros & cons of teeth-straightening options


With so many choices, how can you find the right one for you? Let's dive into the known benefits and drawbacks of each type.

Metal braces

Pros:

  • Straightforward, known therapy type
  • Suitable for even complex cases
  • Relatively low cost

 

Cons:

  • Visible to everyone
  • Hard to keep your teeth clean
  • Painful, as brackets will scrape your cheeks

Ceramic braces

Pros:

  • Harder for people to spot
  • Suitable for even complex cases

 

Cons:

  • Easily stained
  • More expensive
  • Painful, as brackets will scrape your teeth
  • Hard to keep your teeth clean

Lingual braces

Pros:

  • Invisible, as brackets are inside your teeth
  • Suitable for moderate cases

 

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Painful, as brackets will scrape your tongue
  • Extremely difficult to keep teeth clean
  • Will likely cause a noticeable lisp

Aligners

Pros:

  • Less expensive (if you use at-home methods)
  • Easy to keep abreast of treatment (if you use at-home methods)
  • Removable for cleaning and eating
  • Less painful, as no metal parts will scrape your mouth

 

Cons:

  • Easy to extend treatment time if you don’t wear them regularly
  • In-office versions can be expensive
  • Not always suitable for those with significant dental issues

Teeth straightening as an adult


More than 60 percent of Australian adults are considering orthodontic treatment. Appliances aren't just for children. People of almost any age can get the smiles they want.

 

Adults can use most of the same methods children use, but adults tend to be motivated to improve their oral health. Where a child might not always wear aligners or lose them, an adult might be more willing to stick with the program and get results.

 

Treatment time for adults is slightly expanded when compared to children. Adults often need between six months and two years of care to improve their smiles.

Your teeth and ligaments have less flex as you age, and they are slightly harder to move. That's the only real difference you'll see if you start treatment as an adult.

How to choose the right option

You know your oral health, your budget, and your motivation to change your smile. You have all the ingredients you need to make a smart decision.

 

Think about the following:

  • Cost: How much are you willing to pay for the smile you want? Will your private health fund help if you decide to obtain in-office treatment?
  • Habits: Are you committed to improving your oral health? Will you wear your aligners, even if they are slightly uncomfortable?
  • Health: How much must your teeth move? Do you have any existing oral health issues?
  • Hygiene: Are you prone to getting cavities? Can your oral health survive a few years with a lack of common procedures, like fillings or cleanings?

Frequently asked questions

How much does teeth straightening cost?

Prices vary depending on the method you choose. Lingual braces are the most expensive choice, while at-home aligners can deliver real cost savings.

Will my private health fund pay for my tooth straightening?

Most conventional private health fund plans may not pay the full cost of braces or aligners. Some have provisions  to cover a portion of fees and rebates are only available for in-chair treatment.

How long will aligner treatment take?

Time in care varies depending on your age, oral health, the extent of  straightening to be done,  the level of commitment and compliance by the customer. There is no set timeline for all mouths.

Can adults straighten their teeth?

Yes! Many Australians want to improve their smiles.

General references

 

Are Metal Braces the Only Option? (January 2017). Orthodontics Australia. Date fetched: April 22, 2022.

 

Braces Cost. CostHelper. Date fetched: April 22, 2022.

 

Teeth Straightening and Braces. (February 2022). Australian Dental Association. Date fetched: April 22, 2022.

 

Health Insurance and Orthodontics. Australian Society of Orthodontists. Date fetched: April 22, 2022.

 

Lessons From Telemedicine for Teledentistry and Teleorthodontics. (July 2020). UCLA Health. Date fetched: April 22, 2022.

 

Smile Prep Explains How the Australian Dental Industry Changed Forever During the Pandemic. (November 2021). International Business Times. Date fetched: April 22, 2022.

 

Leila McKinnon: Why I Have Braces and Metal Plates Screwed Into My Cheekbones. (January 2016). MamaMia. Date fetched: April 22, 2022.

 

The Ins and Outs of Adult Braces. (October 2021). Orthodontics Australia. Date fetched: April 22, 2022.

Medical references


1 Aussies Want to Improve Their Teeth: Survey. (September 2017). Orthodontics Australia. Date fetched: April 22, 2022.