For almost a decade I held true to the “conventional wisdom” that we should not discuss how much orthodontic treatment costs over the phone. Consultant after consultant after consultant told us that we should never give a price and, if forced, we should offer a price range. My friends, peers and competitors all agreed that talking price to new patients over the phone was dumb (but that didn’t stop us from keeping new patients on the phone forever)!

The fact that a bunch of orthodontic consultants, older and wiser orthodontists and my peers all agreed on a non-clinical aspect of how to run SALES in a BUSINESS should have tipped me off – refusing to answer a direct question from a potential new patient IS DUMB. But as I often am, I was slow to learn! [1]

Think about it from a patient point of view. Shopping is a way of life these days and people are busy. Parents, usually moms, want to take shortcuts so they will Google your name and your practice, ask their friends and call around to potential orthodontists to inquire about price. This is perfectly reasonable and logical. Being intentional, informative, friendly and actively selling your practice on the new patient phone call is essential! Refusing to answer questions about price is illogical and does three things, none of them good:

  1. It eliminates you from the pool of potential orthodontic providers.
  2. It makes mom mad.
  3. Insures mom will talk badly about you to her friends!

When potential patients or their parents call to ask how much you charge for braces or clear aligners, I strongly suggest that you and your team are ready, willing and able to give satisfactory answers! Everyone on the team needs to know how much you charge, believe that your services are well worth the fee and be able to discuss any financing you offer while selling the potential customer on why they would be wise to CHOOSE YOU!

Argue all you want but refusing to answer logical questions from a potential customer is folly.

Interested in more ways to improve your business? Want to do things logically instead of the “way they’ve always been done”? Get your free subscription to The Progressive Orthodontist Magazine at and learn more about the business of orthodontics– it’s yours for the asking!

[1] I’ve trained myself to notice whenever there is universal agreement among orthodontists on non-clinical issues – especially business, sales and personal finance – and to be very cautious about going along with “conventional wisdom” in those instances.

2 thoughts on “How Much Do Braces Cost??

  1. Ben, not knowing the complexity of the case, what does your TC or receptionist say on the phone when this question is asked? Give them the average median fee and not a range?

  2. Of course you can’t DX over the phone and everyone is different but we can talk in term of average and ask mom if the patient’s teeth look kinda crazy or not and tell them that sometimes we find stuff on the x-ray like stuck teeth that you can’t even see and those cases generally take the longest and cost the most…. And on and on. Each office will have a different answer based on your philosophy and what you use to get patients what they need to start treatment. Things like technology (not me but lots of people) affordability, speed, convenience, customer service, etc will also be discussed. This is sales and you’re trying to answer a question that can’t really be answered, not make the patient or parent mad and get them to come see you in person. Another way to do it is to talk about what the simplest, average and hardest treatments cost and what financing looks like for each of those.
    Ideally you try to avoid talking exact fee but sometimes you will be forced to and when you are forced to, you need to have an answer.

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