It looks like some people are curious about our experience with teen braces in Spain, so time to dig into the details and frequently asked questions for you! We will cover the process for finding the right orthodontist, the process we went through, as well as our cost for braces in Spain.
- Finding our Orthodontist in Spain
- When the treatment plan goes ad hoc
- Getting our teen braces in Spain
- Braces in Spain – our treatment & payment plan
- Installing the braces
- Braces Adjustment
- After braces teeth shift
- Here are some other frequently asked questions about braces in Spain
- Are braces affordable?
- The Total cost for our braces in Spain was €2225, including all retainers
- Are braces painful?
- Are braces covered by insurance?
- What were the best braces colors?
- Would you do braces in Spain again?
- Dental Terms in English & Spanish
- More resources for dental terms and phrases in Spanish
- MONEY! Cost of Living in Spain
- Move to Spain Consulting
- Move to Spain Relocation Packages
We moved to Spain when our son was 10, knowing full well he would need braces at some point. Our dentist in North Carolina informed us he would be about 10 -12 years old or so. Since we only intended to be in Spain for a year or two, we thought we would just wait until we returned to the US to start the process. As you know, we never did return to the US. Once we knew we going to be away at least another year, we started with the orthodontist in Spain.
Finding our Orthodontist in Spain
At first we were timid and wanted to be sure we could speak English with the orthodontist. We didn’t know of any English-speaking orthodontists in our town, so we went for a sure thing and searched for one with our insurance in nearby Nerja Spain. We visited Dental Carmona, in the spring, and she started the process with retainers.
These retainers were upper/lower block retainers (to expand the palette and pull lower jaw forward). With private health insurance, it was about €450 euros with a €40 euro per month fee for each visit, we only did two in Spain. We made it in for 2 visits and that is when we went nomadic for a year and went off to travel Southeast Asia for 11 months. The orthodontist provided us with detailed instructions and we had a solid plan to keep him on track.
When the treatment plan goes ad hoc
As we traveled in Asia, the plan was to find an orthodontist each month and have the regular adjustments. We brought all of the paperwork, x-rays and treatment plan along with us. We visited one place a few times in Chiang Mai and she wanted to take a more aggressive approach with the treatment plan. I think it was about $10 per visit in Chiang Mai. We wrote all about our experiences with the Orthodontist in Chiang Mai.
We were in Chiang Mai a few months and after that, we didn’t make another visit to an orthodontist until we returned to Spain. Of course just 6 months into the treatment one of the retainers broke in half, but he was a trooper and still used it broken nights only. When we returned to Spain the following June, about 1 year after the start of the treatment the orthodontist wasn’t too pleased with our approach.
That is until she examined him and said his jaw, palate and teeth were just where they needed to be! Phew! She stated he was ready to get started with braces now, but we wanted to do a little more research. Thank goodness for the orthodontist in Chiang Mai for her expertise and advice.
Getting our teen braces in Spain
The next phase was braces! We didn’t have a car the year we returned from Asia, so it wasn’t going to be easy to get back and forth to Nerja for future visits. We became brave and visited local Orthodontists and received quotes from three of them. There was one who spoke English in La Herradura, but we were now confident with our Spanish (the adults, he was already fluent). We felt more comfortable going local and really let him decide where he felt most comfortable.
All three locations quoted pretty much the same price of about €1500 to €1800 and about 13-18 months. Some were with our medical insurance and others weren’t, but it seemed to be the same price quotes either way. In the end, we chose Almusalud. They didn’t speak English, but the staff was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. It was just a 15-minute walk from the house for regular visits, plus we had some neighbors also going there for their teen braces.
Braces in Spain – our treatment & payment plan
Our son had a full exam at Almusalud and more x-rays. They devised a treatment plan and payment plan and reviewed it all with us. The estimated total for upper/lower braces was from €1500 to €1800. We paid €900 total for upper and lower, then €35 a month for 15 months (about €525). If the treatment were to take longer than 15 months, we would have to pay for the extra monthly visits. Once the braces were removed we would have to make a payment of €200 for the final retainers.
Installing the braces
Our son started with the upper braces for the first nine months and then the lower braces were put on. Of course several rules came with the installation, which meant he would have to make several adjustments to his diet. He loved Spanish jamón on a baguette, but both were off the list of things to eat as they were too tough to bite into.
Actually the jamón on its own was fine, but it would get stuck in the braces and make it difficult to clean. Popcorn was another big no-no, as well as chewing gum. You know the normal foods not allowed with braces, as you don’t want them to get damaged or have their alignment altered.
Each month he went in to the office for a braces adjustment. These were usually pretty quick and he never complained about any pain or problems. After nine months the lower braces were installed and he only wore both upper and lower braces for the remaining 6 months. After the total of 15 months, everything was just where it needed to be!
After braces teeth shift
Now after braces teeth shift, so to keep his teeth where they need to be it’s time for more retainers. This time the retainers are clear and fitted to his teeth almost like a clear protector covering all of his teeth. We were warned he needs to be really good with wearing the retainers and He is a champ with following the rules. He wears them day and night and you can’t even notice he is wearing them. Fingers crossed we are done with braces!
Here are some other frequently asked questions about braces in Spain
We covered quite a bit of detail already with our experience, but we will also answer the following questions we’ve been specifically asked as well. We were fortunate to have it easy with our teen with braces!
Are braces affordable?
Braces in Spain seem to be very affordable compared to the cost in America. We know many people who have had braces in the US and we’ve heard of prices from $4000-$8000 and sometimes having braces twice. For some reason in the US they like to put them on at 9 or 10 years and then again as teens. In Spain it is pretty standard to wait until the kids are about 14 for braces. This is to ensure all molars are completely in and won’t cause a shift in the teeth.
Below are the prices we paid for braces and retainers. I am sure the prices will vary depending on your treatment, your location and the orthodontist, so please only use this as a data point.
The Total cost for our braces in Spain was €2225, including all retainers
- 1 year double block retainer – €600
- €450 in total for retainers
- €150 for visits (normal price would be €480 – €40/ month over 12 months)
(We actually only visited her 3 times so fee would be €120, keep in mind this isn’t the normal price to in Spain and about another $30 or €20 in Thailand)
- 15 months braces on the top and bottom – €1425
- €900 in total for braces (upper and lower)
- €525 for visits (€35/ month over 15 months)
- Retainer after braces €200
If you are going by today’s exchange rate (October 2018) from Euros to Dollars it is
(€2225 = $2540). Of course the exchange rate fluctuated during his 15 month treatment, but today’s exchange rate is a good average over that time period.
Are braces painful?
For the first week, he had to deal with his lip and mouth being cut a bit here and there from the braces. They advised him to use some dental wax on the braces, where it was rubbing against his mouth. This helped a great deal and he really didn’t make any complaints the entire time he wore his braces.
Are braces covered by insurance?
Actually we did use our insurance card each visit, but we didn’t have copays or anything. As I stated previously, the quote was pretty much the same with or without our Spanish medical insurance.
What were the best braces colors?
They offered him his a color choice for the braces, but he never opted for them. There are plenty of people around town with colored braces though. We’ve seen pink, blue, purple and more.
Would you do braces in Spain again?
Yes we would! Of course we live here, so that is the easiest option. We found the process to be very straightforward and are very happy with the results and the cost. he smiles all of the time now and actually shows off his teeth, so that is worth all by itself!
Dental Terms in English & Spanish
- Braces – frenos, frenillos, brackets, braces
- Retainer – el aparato de retención
- Mouth – la boca
- Teeth – los dientes
- Straight teeth – los dientes derechos
- To straighten – enderezar
- Tongue – la lengua
- Orthodontic treatment – ortodoncia
- Orthodontist – ortodoncista
- Dentist – el/la dentista
More resources for dental terms and phrases in Spanish
- Spanish phrases a dentist may say to you
- English to Spanish Terms for Dental Benefits and Treatment
- Fun flashcards for dental terminology
Do you have any stories to tell about your teen with braces in Spain? Please feel free to comment below with your experiences and location.
Read more about our life as Americans living in Spain
MONEY! Cost of Living in Spain
This can not possibly represent the entire country, this is just what we have experienced in our town, with our lifestyle. Your life will be different! 🙂
- Cost Of Living In Spain – All Expenses Shared
- How Much Did It Cost To Live In Spain For 1 Year?
- Comparison of USA and Spain Cost Of Living (Show me the money $)
- The Cost of Everyday Things – Spain Food Costs
- Budget in Spain & Reality for our first 4 months
- Living Abroad Budget in Spain – Actual Spend (Months 5,6 & 7)
- Cost of Living in Spain Budget – Actual Spend (Months 8,9 &10)
- Way Over the Monthly Budget! – Actual Spend (Months 11,12 &13)
- Our Budget & Actual Spend (Months 14, 15 &16)
- Do you tip in Spain?
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