SA’s #1 Provider Of Affordable Medical Loans For Braces
Need a medical loan for braces? Dental work can be expensive, especially when you consider the price of braces in South Africa. Since many children require braces from a young age (usually around 12, but sometimes earlier or later), parents are often faced with hefty dental bills they cannot cover. The cost of braces can vary between R3,000 and R60,000 as it depends on the underlying condition, the required device and frequency of treatment or maintenance.
MediFin understands how difficult this can be and, as such, offers the perfect solution through affordable, life-changing loans for braces and other dental procedures. One example is root canals, which is another expensive but necessary dental procedure. Patients can visit their local dentists and enquire about their financing options, or apply for a MediFin loan online through an easy process.
Why Do People Need Braces?
The purpose of regularly visiting a dentist and seeing orthodontic experts is to make sure your teeth and gums remain in excellent health. While braces for children are the most common, adult braces are also available. The most common reason people get braces is for diastemata which refer to missing teeth, abnormally small teeth or a history of poor dental and oral hygiene. However, there are many other reasons, including the following:
- Teeth straightening
- Correcting an overbite, under bite or open bite
- Improve spacing between teeth
- Fixing crowded teeth
What Is The Best Age To Get Braces?
According to many orthodontic experts, the ideal age to have braces is usually around 12 or 13, but it can be earlier or later. The reason for this is that a child’s mouth and jaw are still growing, which is why the opportunity to improve an adult’s teeth is more limited. In these cases, treatment is likely to take longer and may cost more as a result.
Are Braces Painful?
Braces may cause discomfort or pain whilst wearing them, although people mostly only feel uncomfortable when an orthodontist initially fits the braces and when they go for adjustments. However, this is not always the case, as some also suffer if parts of the brace rub or poke into their teeth and gums.
What Are The Main Types Of Braces?
Traditionally, if you needed orthodontic treatment, you only had one option – metallic braces. Fortunately, this is no longer the case as patients can now choose from a wider range of braces from metal and ceramic to clear aligners and specialised palatal expanders. While it’s great to have options, knowing what is right for the patient can be difficult, so here is a brief explanation of the main types of braces and how they work.
Metal braces are the most common across the world and have been used for over a century. They are popular with both children and adult patients as they apply to the teeth and are connected with a wire. The wire connects to the braces using elastic bands that are available in various colours.
To move the teeth, orthodontists will adjust the wire every 4-8 weeks, which means patients need to make multiple appointments. Unlike clear aligners that you can remove, parents and adult patients prefer metal braces since they don’t need reminding to wear them. The downside is that metal braces require careful attention and good oral hygiene throughout treatment.
Ceramic braces are made from clear, tooth-coloured material and while they work similarly to metal braces, they are more discreet. Ceramic braces are most popular among patients who want to discreetly straighten their teeth but don’t want Invisalign or lingual braces. Compared to metal, ceramic braces are less noticeable and a good, affordable alternative, but they are slightly bigger and can stain depending on diet and brushing habits.
Self-ligating braces are currently a popular choice as they provide gentler treatment and requires fewer dental visits. While they also rely on a wire to move the teeth, the difference between self-ligating braces and metal or ceramic braces is that self-ligating braces use doors or clips to hold the wire in place instead of elastic bands.
Many orthodontic experts find that self-ligating braces result in slightly shorter appointment times, as they are easier to adjust. These types of braces are a good option for:
- patients who are more sensitive to discomfort
- people who cannot sit still for long during treatment
- patients with developmental delays and orthodontic need
Lingual braces sit behind the teeth and are completely invisible, but they are the most specialised and least common. The primary reason is that it requires a different set of skills that few orthodontic experts possess. Nevertheless, it is an option that eligible patients should be given since they offer several benefits. They are completely invisible, fully customisable, more efficient and versatile in some patients.
Lingual braces are ideal for adults with complex orthodontic needs who do not want noticeable braces. Since lingual braces are behind the teeth, some patients experience slight changes to their speech, such as lisps, and irritation to their tongue. These symptoms usually appear shortly after treatment and usually go away after a few weeks as your mouth becomes accustomed to the new device.
Clear aligners like Invisalign and Active Aligners
Invisalign and Active Aligners are a type of clear aligner that many patients prefer over metal, ceramic or self-ligating braces. These are available in a range of clear plastic aligners resembling mouth guards and are custom-made for each patient and can be removed when eating and cleaning.
Unlike other braces, clear aligners need to be replaced every two weeks, with each new set adjusted accordingly. Dental experts also recommend clear aligners for ongoing use after completing orthodontic treatment to help to maintain the results until your teeth have settled and stopped moving.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, parents should have their children examined by an orthodontist at the age of seven, since this is when treatment is most effective. To correct difficult overbites, some kids require the use of Forsus appliances, which have largely replaced headgear for braces. The Forsus appliance is a spring that fits inside the cheeks and connects to the braces to move the upper or lower jaw into place.
There are two alternatives for correcting overcrowded teeth, and they are tooth extraction and palatal expansion. In the past, tooth removal was the first choice but today’s orthodontists recommend wearing a palatal expander for some time. This device fits your palate and applies pressure to the back of your upper molars to gradually move your teeth farther apart. It helps to expand your palate and makes it possible for other types of braces to be fitted to correct the position of your teeth.
How Long Do I Have To Wear Braces?
The process of getting braces involves an orthodontist consultation, taking X-rays, photos and making plaster models of your teeth if necessary. Once they’ve made an assessment, they can estimate how long you’ll need to wear braces, but it is almost impossible to predict an exact timeframe. However, here are some general guidelines.
- Most patients need to wear fixed braces for approximately 18 to 24 months
- For more serious dental issues or for older patients, treatment may take up to three years
- If you have generally good dental health and less severe issues and good candidate for clear aligners, treatment may take as little as 6 to 12 months
How To Take Care of Your Braces
Brushing teeth is vital for dental health and even more so when wearing braces since they can also trap food. It is important to remove any bacteria after eating, before bedtime and in the morning, which help minimise the build-up of plaque that causes tooth decay.
Fixed braces, in particular, can make it even harder to clean your teeth, but when you get your braces, the orthodontist will recommend a care pack with special toothbrushes, disclosing tablets, mouthwash, special floss and other specific tools to make it easier to care for your braces.
Does Medical Aid Cover Braces?
We know that medical aid in South Africa can be exorbitantly expensive, and most don’t even cover dental procedures without having to pay extra. When it comes to braces, most medical aid providers in South Africa will cover part or all of the costs, but the way they pay the benefits will differ greatly. If your medical aid does NOT cover it, apply for a MediFin loan.
If you need braces because your teeth, jaw or mouth may be impaired, then a good medical aid should cover the treatment, but not before your claim is authorised by DENIS first. It’s important to note that you need to have healthy teeth and gums before you can have braces. The main reason is you need to be able to keep your teeth and your brace extremely clean to avoid tooth decay or gum disease.
How MediFin Can Help
Medical loans for braces can make your journey to a straighter, happier smile much smoother as you can spread the cost of treatment. Instead of having to pay for your teeth straightening upfront, you can pay a set amount each month for a fixed period of time.
With MediFin, you don’t even need to pay a deposit and approval is almost instant, so you can do it while you wait at the practitioner’s office. All you need when applying online is a copy of your ID, proof of income, 3 months’ bank statements and proof of residence.
To find a truster dental practitioner, have a look at our online directory. If you’re a registered practitioner, you can join MediFin today and help your patients afford the care they need, including medical loans for braces.
Frequently Asked Questions
Want to find out how to pay for braces monthly?
Through MediFin you can apply for a braces loan, which is paid directly to your dentist within 24 hours of getting your application approved. So if you don’t have the money upfront to get your braces fitted, but need braces to correct that misaligned bite, MediFin can help.
Medical Aid plans typically exclude orthodontic treatments such as braces? MediFin can help by offering you a Medical Loan to cover the cost of your braces.
Yes! We can help with a simple payment plan.
Many people don’t realize that braces are actually an essential medical procedure with many health benefits. This is why Medifin offers affordable, easy-to-use loans for orthodontic procedures.