Considering getting orthodontic treatment but not sure about costs and what is included? Read this so that you can make an informed decision about the cost of orthodontic treatment.

What is the cost of braces in NZ?

The cost of treatment depends on many factors including the duration and complexity of treatment and the type of treatment you choose. Without an initial consultation, it is impossible to determine the full cost of orthodontic treatment.  That said, here is a guide for what you can expect to pay for a full course of orthodontic treatment in NZ:

  • Metal braces (traditional braces): $6,000 – $10,000
  • Ceramic (clear) braces: $6,500 – $10,500
  • Lingual braces: $9,500 – $15,000
  • Clear aligners (Invisalign): $6,500 – $10,500

* These prices are typically for a 15 to 24 month treatment period that not only straightens teeth, but helps to correctly align the jaw as well.

Limited treatment to improve the appearance of the front teeth but not correct the  bite  may be an option, with a shorter  treatment period of about 6 months and costs ranging from $3,500 – $7,000.  

Orthodontics NZ recommends you always consult a specialist orthodontist before undergoing any type of treatment including clear aligners (aka Invisalign), to better understand if your preferred option or even limited treatment will be suitable and safe for you in the long term.

How do you pay for braces?

There are many ways you can pay for orthodontic treatment that allows payment to suit your budget so that treatment  can be financially manageable.

Some ways you can pay for your treatment include:

  1. Paying for your treatment up front (often with a discount).
  2. Paying for your treatment with a payment plan allowing the cost to be spread over the duration of treatment. Finance plans often include a deposit followed by monthly payments. Payment options and plans vary between Orthodontists, so it is a good idea to talk with your Orthodontist about the specific terms they offer. 

Does health insurance cover braces?

Orthodontic treatment is not usually covered by private health insurance in NZ but it is worth checking as occasionally your policy will allow a contribution towards orthodontics if your policy includes dental care.

Can you get braces in the Public Hospital system in NZ?

There is government assistance for orthodontic treatment associated with cleft lip and palate and other craniofacial conditions. This is usually associated with major public hospital centres where orthodontic treatment is available. Sometimes there is also limited orthodontic treatment available in the Public System up to 18 years of age if your parents have a  Community Services card.

Wish For A Smile is a charitable trust run by the New Zealand Association of Orthodontists (NZAO) where successful young New Zealand applicants are provided with free orthodontic treatment whose families would otherwise be unable to afford orthodontic care. Please have a look at the selection criteria before you consider applying.

How about cheaper braces?

Orthodontic treatment is a significant financial investment. Many orthodontists are happy to help you arrange a payment plan to make orthodontic treatment manageable within your budget.  While cheaper orthodontic treatment from a treatment provider that is not registered as a specialist orthodontist might seem appealing, it is important that you see a registered specialist for all your orthodontic needs. In fact, orthodontic treatment delivered by a less qualified non specialist provider can end up costing more than the same treatment provided by a specialist orthodontist.

Can I opt for limited treatment?

Limited orthodontic treatment, which focuses on a single tooth or single group of teeth, may be an option. Your orthodontic specialist can guide you with this decision.

How do I know I’ve been quoted a reasonable price by my orthodontist?

As with any investment, it’s important to do some research beforehand. Prices can vary depending on the work being done, the treatment option you have chosen and where you live in NZ. As each orthodontist sets their own fees, there will inevitably be some variation in the amounts each practice charges for their services.

The best way to check you’ve been quoted a reasonable price is to obtain an all-inclusive quote from a couple of local orthodontists. Take the time to review the specialist’s reputation and ask friend and family circles relating to services received from a particular practice. Obtaining an all-inclusive financial quote in writing and a comprehensive diagnostic report from your specialist orthodontist is the easiest way to avoid confusion and unexpected costs.  In order to compare quotes for cost-effectiveness, you should have a clear idea of what it includes. Make sure to ask clearly about the inclusion of things like treatment time, replacement wires, breakages, retainers etc.

Use our Finder tool to find a registered orthodontist near you.

What is included in my braces fee?

You should ask your orthodontist whether the quote includes the following:

  • Consultations, pre-treatment reviews and orthodontic record taking
  • Orthodontic appliances, regular treatment visits, emergency appointments
  • Removal of appliances and retainers (including replacement retainers)
  • Follow up treatment reviews and for how long.

Other things to check

Are payment plans available?

Are there any other costs that I may be charged?

Are you seeing a registered specialist orthodontist?

What is the long term benefit of investing in orthodontic treatment?

The cost of orthodontics is an overwhelmingly positive investment in you or your child’s future health and happiness. A confident smile has the potential to be your best and most memorable asset – one you will surely be grateful for down the track!