Please note this post is based on my experience.

Many people do not realise how crazy expensive braces are. Honestly, I was a bit flabbergasted when I found out how much my braces would cost me.

The sad reality is that most medical aids will not cover the entire amount and there are always hidden costs involved.

Dental care is not a priority for many medical aids yet gum disease and so on could have a major effect on the heart and lungs.

This is what I have learned about the process:

Since braces are crazy expensive, it is highly recommended that you find an orthodontist that fits into your budget and someone who is accredited.

Reviews are also extremely important. If you end up with the wrong orthodontist, you could most probably end up wearing braces for a longer period than your initial treatment plan because sometimes they do mess up!

Tip: Do some research on orthodontists in your area and make a shortlist of the ones you keen on learning more about.

Once you have a list of orthodontists you are keen on working with, call them for quotes. Now they most probably will not tell you how much it is going to cost for your braces as a whole but they will tell you their consultation fee and what it includes.

R1200 vs R5000 for the first appointment with an Orthodontist? (This is a rough cost for the Sandton area)

After phoning around, I have noticed a significant difference in price between orthodontists for a consultation.

When I heard R5000, I was shocked! But why? Then the receptionist explained to me that this includes the consult and scans etc needed to be done before the actual treatment plan.

When I heard R1200, I was like wow, this is more reasonable and something I would go for.

What does R1200 include? Just a consult. If the orthodontist’s thinks you need the scans etc, you will need to pay around R3800 more.

Now here is where I did not think long term. I took the R1200 option because it seemed cheaper at the time not realising that my orthodontist could charge more than others in the area for braces and the treatment plan.

When you go for a consultation for R1200, they most probably will send you for the scans anyway so the R1200 vs R5000 does not really matter. Be ready to spend the R5000 or more.

My advice for you is if you are not sure whether you need braces or not, visit your dentist first because he/she will be able to tell you what they think based on their scans and perhaps also recommend someone they work with closely that is also in their price range.

Once your first consultation is done, you will get a quote for braces and the treatment plan. In reality if you spend R5000 with one orthodontist, you most probably will not visit another orthodontist to get another quote, so you are stuck with the only quote you have which might be higher than you assumed it would be.

Tip: Choose your orthodontist and dentist wisely. Try and make sure at least one of them is 100% covered by your medical aid which will be easier on your pocket long term.

How much did I pay as a deposit: Around R20 000 (which is needed before the treatment begins).
Total cost for braces: R74 000
Monthly payment plan: R2570
The fee includes:
  • Placement of appliances at the beginning of treatment.
  • Oral hygiene instructions and demonstration. I got a pack with a toothbrush, floss etc and told what I should and should not eat.
  • A set of brackets at the commencement of treatment and the arch wires needed during treatment.
  • All consumables during treatment (excluding lost or broken appliances).
  • All appointments during active treatment until braces are removed.
The fee does not include:
  • Clear braces (Additional around R950 per bracket).
  • Pre (the one I mentioned above) and post-treatment diagnostic records. (Costs around R3800)
  • X rays needed to evaluate factors arising during orthodontic treatment.
  • Broken brackets or archwires during treatment.
  • Retainers (which are needed after your braces treatment) Cost is around R7200.
  • Post-treatment consultations (only charged 12 months after completion of active treatment).
  • Post-treatment infection control and sterilisation.

Remember that the above costs exclude the dentist visit which is highly recommended before you put on braces and during your braces journey. It also does not include the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon if you need to remove teeth before you put on braces.

My total costs thus far are over R90 000, but this includes the full amount for braces which I am yet to pay. I am lucky to be on a good medical aid plan which covered the majority of costs I incurred thus far but I needed to pay first then claim for many of the treatments because 2 of my 3 doctors are not medical aid rates.

I hope this post gives you an idea of costs but please note that there are orthodontists that charge between R40 000 to R60 000 for braces, you just have to do your research before committing.