Dental Insurance & Braces: Things You Should Know

As if insurance wasn’t confusing enough, normal health insurance does not cover dental problems and procedures. In fact, rather than covering the cost of when something happens like typical health insurance, dental insurance’s aim is to encourage preventative care. It does this by largely covering services like teeth cleanings and other regular checkups. 

People with dental insurance are more likely to visit their oral health specialist regularly and experience greater overall health, but how does dental insurance impact getting braces or other necessary orthodontic treatments? Our team is used to helping our patients navigate payment options and financing, so here is some of their best insight on braces and dental insurance.  

Do You Need Dental Insurance?

You can pay for dental procedures out of pocket, but it’s not something we recommend. Between regular check ups and annual x-rays to monitor goings-on below the gum line, it’s possible to spend $200 on a preventive care visit. 

In addition to regular, preventative care, dental insurance plans also cover a good amount of the cost for things like fillings and extractions, among others. However, it’s important to know what exactly is covered under your policy. It’s possible your dentist may recommend procedures that you aren’t covered for. Unfortunately, that might include braces or Invisialign

Does Dental Insurance Cover Braces?

With the average person in the U.S. spending about $5,000-$7,000 on braces without insurance, it’s understandable when families want their insurance to help cover it. However, a majority of dental insurance policies don’t cover orthodontia or other “cosmetic” procedures. Orthodontic procedures deemed necessary to fix bite alignments or speech problems can be allowed, but they often impose high standards on what is necessary. As we’ve written before, braces and its counterparts are able to correct bite alignments like crossbites, but also more minute alignment problems. 

It’s becoming more common to find dental insurance policies that cover orthodontics. Still, these policies are often geared towards children under 18 years old. If you’re looking for adult braces, you’ll want to make sure to read the fine print. Some policies additionally impose waiting periods for specific procedures or have annual caps for spending. These are important guidelines to pay attention to when looking for dental/orthodontic insurance for you or your family.

We strongly recommend all our patients have a good dental insurance policy. Even if it doesn’t cover orthodontia by itself, you’ll need a healthy mouth prior to your treatment and help maintaining your smile once it’s complete. If you need help navigating the world of dental insurance or other questions about financing your treatment, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team.