A time-traveler from 1960 would find today’s prices staggering: Houses 72 times more expensive, education 146 times more and your telephone – admittedly with far more services – 178 times higher than what families paid 50 years ago (talkfinance.net).

Another way to look at the numbers: The Consumer Price Index, which measures the average change in prices for commonly needed items, now values the 1960 dollar as worth nearly eight dollars in today’s currency.

That must mean braces were dirt cheap back in those days, right? Actually, no. Braces in the 1960s and ’70s cost around $2,000 – and most families didn’t have insurance. What’s more, the insurance that was available generally didn’t cover adults.

In today’s terms, then, braces are a bargain basement item. Prices in actual dollars may have doubled or tripled since modern parents and grandparents were teens – but when adjusted for inflation, they are a sliver of their historic price.

Moreover, they are much better. In the 1960s, the metal in the braces had to be wrapped around the teeth. Then, in the 1970s, the discovery of a new adhesive enabled the brackets to be glued on. Since then, you’ve had your choice of braces that fit your lifestyle, including standard braces in colors; ceramic braces, which can match your teeth; lingual braces, which are worn inside the teeth; and, of course, Invisalign, nearly invisible braces that move your teeth with a series of clear, plastic trays created specifically for your mouth.

New technology also has led to shorter treatment times for many patients.

And the cost? It depends on the condition of your mouth, the length of treatment and the style you choose. However, the money difference between the types of braces is not usually great. And most families have dental coverage that will pay for part of the treatment. Some families may even be able to take a tax deduction for part of the expense.

According to the Oral-B website, www.oralb.com, metal braces today will run from about $3,500 to $6,000. Even the highest cost here has risen far less than the inflation rate.

The other types of braces weren’t even available 50 years ago. Ceramic braces average $4,000 to $6,500; lingual braces, $8,000 to $10,000; and Invisalign – which may surprise you – the same as metal braces, $3,500 to $6,000.

Our office does not charge a premium for Invisalign braces, and we recommend them to most of our patients. Not only are the trays so clear they can barely be seen, but because they’re removable, they allow you to eat and clean your teeth as you would without braces. And they allow you to keep enjoying your smile even as your teeth are being straightened.

Cater Galante is proud to be an Elite Preferred Invialign Provider, meaning we are in the top 1 percent of Invisalign orthodontists in the nation. We would be happy to discuss Invisalign and our other braces options with you in a free consultation. Call us for an appointment at 916-435-8000.