I know that a large deposit is fairly normal (but I don't know HOW large), because my mom had to bring in a piece of govt paperwork that excluded us from having to pay the entire deposit because we were military and would be moving in 1-2 years, so we had to pay up front, at time of service for 100% of what was being done.
It was definitely more expensive to pay at time of service (because rates only go up), but it saved us thousands in unused services.
I'm interested to hear what others have to say though, because we're looking at orthodontia, and we sure don't have that govt. opt out/release form!!
In response to Susan:
My sister was in a bike accident when she was 5, flipped over the handlebars, and landed on her mouth...shoving her four front teeth all the way back into her soft palette (extracted), and her 4 growing adult teeth to the right and left in her mouth. So she had orthodontia for years and years fixing the resulting problems.
Accidents are the *probably* most common reason for early intervention orthodontia, followed closely by mouth deformations ((SEVERE under/over bites, that the best chance of "fixing" is during the growth cycle...to either encourage more bone growth in the jaw or less ... (and when I say severe, I mean the classic British "chinless wonders", or underbites so severe that chewing food is impossible, not the little bit most of us have in one direction or the other)... as well as cleft palettes, "shark teeth" - the double or even more rarely triple rows, etc.))
My son's only seven, and we're looking a braces in probably about 3 years, because all we've got are crooked teeth that don't impair eating/talking/breathing... so a cosmetic issue, not a medical one. I do know a lot of people though who start cosmetic stuff young, and that doesn't make a lot of sense to me, either!