We currently have 2 kids in braces, ages 13 and 11, to the tune of about $12,000. Our dental insurance also is pitiful, it paid $1000 each. Our orthodontist allows interest free payments, so we make monthly installments. Our kids have handled them really well, even the 11 year old who has had a palate expander (a device to widen the palate, and has "key" that you use to "crank" it open wider, ouch!). Most of the kids at their schools have braces, so I don't think there's a social problem at all any more.